Mozilla has launched Firefox Quantum – the largest replace the browser has acquired since its first launch in 2004 – and for those who’ve strayed away to Edge or Chrome, the non-profit is hoping to win you again.

We caught up with Mark Mayo, senior vp of Firefox, to seek out out extra. “[Quantum] is twice as quick as Firefox 52,” he informed us. “We’re at some extent the place we’re as quick as, or sooner than Chrome. In comparison with a yr in the past, it’s an enormous leap in efficiency.”

That isn’t simply on high-end PCs with buckets of RAM, both. Mozilla makes use of a US$300 Acer laptop computer as reference , having established that it’s the most typical for its consumer base.

“We targeted on ensuring it stayed quick on odd PCs, and never at the price of consuming up plenty of reminiscence,” mentioned Mayo.

The very first thing you will discover about Quantum is its redesigned interface. “Simply profitable in benchmarks isn’t very helpful,” Mayo defined. “A browser has to really feel quick and clean. It isn’t nearly making a brand new UI – it’s about how individuals understand efficiency. The designers had a good time placing in issues they’d needed for many years.”

Safety and extensions

A type of new options is Screenshots, which Mozilla trialled in its Check Pilot program final yr underneath the identify Web page Shot. Not like tapping the Print Display key on a PC or tapping Command+Shift+three on a Mac, Firefox Screenshots allows you to seize a complete net web page – together with components that aren’t at the moment on the display.

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“I’ve a hack the place I screenshot a bunch of pages I need to learn after which open them on the airplane,” mentioned Mayo. “Offline studying completed by a scrolling screenshot.”

Quantum additionally has new safety features underneath the hood, together with improved sandboxing, and the consumer interface has been simplified so all the safety data seems in a single place. “Firefox was type of inconsistent,” Mayo defined, “so we’ve finished numerous work to make [the security options] extra linked so you may have confidence that the location is secure.”

Certainly one of Firefox’s most spectacular options has at all times been its large array of extensions, and these have had a significant overhaul for Quantum. Reasonably than having free rein to do no matter they like, authors now have a extra tightly managed set of knobs to show through the newly applied WebExtensions API. 

This implies all legacy extensions will cease working with Quantum, however developer APIs have been obtainable for many of 2017, giving them loads of time to make the swap.

“By and enormous, the transition to WebExtensions is finished,” mentioned Mayo. “There have been some big-ticket ones we had been ready for, however these are finished now.”

Popping out swinging

With Quantum, Mozilla is focusing on each new customers, and those that used to make use of Firefox however have switched to Edge or Chrome.

“We would like individuals to make the selection to make use of us,” mentioned Mayo. “Many individuals do not know we’re a non-profit – not only a big enterprise that is made a browser to push its essential enterprise. We fell behind for 5 years, so it feels good to come back out swinging. We’re simply going to go straight at them!”

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Firefox Quantum is obtainable now for Home windows, Mac and Linux. New variations model of Firefox Focus – Mozilla’s privacy-focused browser that clears your searching historical past on the finish of each session – and the Firefox cell apps are additionally on the way in which. 

Obtain Firefox Quantum