Mozilla Firefox Review: A Faster, More Efficient Web Browser

Mozilla Firefox has long been one of my favorite browsers. I think perhaps it stems from the fact that it was one of the first to really take over from the dreaded Internet Explorer monster that still haunts me to this very day. The latest release of Firefox 13 really helped seal the deal for me as far as confirming why I use it as my regular browser day to day. Today, I thought I'd take a look at the latest release and share with you my Mozilla Firefox Review.

Mozilla Firefox 13 brings with it some welcome enhancements such as the introduction of a thumbnail page that functions almost exactly the same as the Speed Dial page found in Opera.

Mozilla Firefox Review Firefox 13 -Thumbnail Page

Mozilla Firefox Review Opera – Speed Dial

Opera has had their Speed Dial functionality for quite some time and it's good to see that Firefox has gone this route as well (as has Google Chrome).

From within the thumbnail page, you can easily pin your favorites or remove them using the icons that appear when hovering over each individual thumbnail:

Mozilla Firefox Review

The only obvious difference I can find between this implementation and that of Opera is that you can not add your own custom thumbnails manually. Firefox simply pulls them from your recently visited websites. Perhaps, if it's a feature people decide they want, the Mozilla guys will have it implemented down the road.

Along with the thumbnail page is the introduction of a new Mozilla Firefox home page, complete with handy quick link icons that launch the most common menu items within the browser:

Mozilla Firefox Review Firefox 13 – New Home Page

The team at Mozilla have done a great job putting this together and these simple touches to the home page make it a great default for users. Just like we see in the CMS world, customer experience is the key and Mozilla appear to be both aware of this and focused on it.

Of particular interest in this release is the introduction of Tabs on demand. This means that when you have to restart your browser (after installing an addon, etc), the browser will only reload your last active tab. Your other tabs will open as well but will not load until you actually click on one of them. This is handy for those of you that surf with 10+ tabs at a time and often have to wait for each one to reload on a relaunch before beginning to continue your work.

It's the simple things that matter and Firefox 13 brings some definite improvements. This release also incorporates the SPDY protocol and it's completely enabled with this release. It was present in previous ones but not enabled by default.

For those unfamiliar with the SPDY protocol, it was developed primarily by Google and here's how it's described (warning: Serious geek speak ahead!):

The goal of SPDY is to reduce web page load time. This is achieved by prioritizing and multiplexing the transfer of web page subresources so that only one connection per client is required. TLS encryption is nearly ubiquitous in SPDY implementations, and transmissions are gzip or DEFLATE compressed by design (in contrast to HTTP, where the headers are not compressed). Moreover, servers may hint or even push content instead of awaiting individual requests for each resource of a web page.

For those who glazed over trying to read and understand that, I apologize and welcome back.

To summarize this Firefox Review, Firefox 13 feels faster and more usable to me and even if it's on account of a placebo effect, I'll take it. I think this new release brings this great browser one step closer to perfect (when combined with the amazing Firebug that is) and I can't wait for the next release.

To learn more about Firefox 13, check out the introduction post on their blog or download it. I'd love to hear your thoughts about this Firefox Review or the product itself. Share them in the comments below!