Firefox is celebrating its 10th anniversary with an exciting new release that puts control directly in the hands of users. In a press release earlier this week to celebrate Firefox’s 10th anniversary, Jonathan Nightingale, VP Firefox, took a quick look at what Firefox has achieved so far, from what it had set out to do 10 years back.
Johnathan Nightingale says in Blog post:
“10 years ago we built Firefox to give you a choice. The Web was a monoculture and the only way in was through the company that controlled your operating system. We believed then, and so did many of you, that the Web deserved an independent alternative. Today hundreds of millions of people trust Firefox because they understand that we’re different; that our independence lets us put you first.”
Jonathan has rightly used the opportunity of the 10th Anniversary of Firefox to assuage some of the privacy concerns plaguing internet users these days. He chose to take on the issue of personal privacy head on when he stated, “Search is an integral, and deeply personal, part of online life. The things you search for can say a lot about who you are. DuckDuckGo gives you search results without tracking who you are or what you search for. Other engines may use tracking to enhance your search results, but we believe that’s a choice you should get to make for yourself.”
DuckDuckGo, as per Jonathan is the direct outcome of a global online survey conducted in 2014 by Mozilla through Harris Poll,which collected data from more than 7000 adults regarding safety concerns while using the internet. The survey concluded its findings with the result that more than 75% of respondents were of the opinion that the internet knew too much about them and more than half of the surveyed population wanted to forget something they had done online.
Mozilla used its 10th anniversary as an opportunity to release some new features that its audience asked for:
- DuckDuckGo comes standard -Newer versions of Firefox will now have DuckDuckGo preinstalled as a search option and will be compatible across operating systems including Windows, Linux, Mac and the Android. Personally, I think it is an extremely useful feature to have, as DuckDuckGo has no in-built mechanism to track individual search patterns, enabling you to search anonymously on the net without revealing anything about your personal preferences.
- Forget Feature– Another newly introduced feature announced in the 10th anniversary press release, which is quite a useful feature to have in households where multiple people use the same machine, is the “Forget” feature. Forget allows users the option to clear out recent online activity at the click of a button. All you need to do is select the amount of online activity you want to clear out from your laptop; it could be as recent as one hour or as long as one or two day’s activity. Once you chose the option and click Forget, no one including you will be able to view any online activity on your part for the specified time period including sites you visited or transactions you made.
As one of the fastest web browsers available, Firefox has always had a large loyal group of users. These new features are sure to add more people to the growing tribe of Firefox users. Firefox also always beenknown for its great user experience with simple and accessible controls and new features like the Automatic Session Restore and the Spell Checker. With the Automatic Session restore, users get to pick up from where they left the last session in case the session was shut down unexpectedly due to any reason. Session restore can even reopen incomplete downloads or half written mail texts saving the user from having to start all over again from scratch.
Personally, what I like best about the entire user experience provided by Firefox, is the drag and drop functionality which makes it easy for a user to drag a link or text from any web page to drop it on to the search bar for fast and easy search. Another equally convenient feature is the built in PDF viewer, which means that you can view PDF files on Firefox itself and do not need to open a new program to be able to view a PDF file.
Other than these features, I feel what makes Firefox so universally popular is its security settings. Mozilla Firefox is built in such a manner as to protect your system against any kind of malware, spyware, pop-ups or phishing, which means your system remains completely safe as long as you are using Firefox. With DuckDuckGo, you can easily switch to private browsing mode if you want to conduct your search in total secrecy. There is also the option to customize your security setting for downloads, passwords, cookies etc depending on your personal inclination. If you are wary of other sites using cookies to access your personal information, Firefox’s one-click site info is a great feature to use. You can view safety information accessed by the site by clicking on the visiting site in the address bar and delete information that you do not want to share with the click of a mouse.
Needless to say, the new features that come with the 10th anniversary of Firefox get a huge thumbs up from users like me, not simply because they address very important privacy concerns but also because they add to the great user experience that Firefox has been providing so diligently for the past 10 years.
As Jonathan Nightingale so aptly sums up “When you use Firefox, you make our voice louder; you become part of a community of millions building our shared values into the fabric of the Web. We couldn’t do it without you, and we hope you enjoy the new release.”