Firefox just released version 29 and I’ve got to say this is Mozilla’s magnum opus.
Firefox has managed to subjugate woeful web developers with its crispy Firebug plugin and sweeping CSS3 support. Many coders concur that Firefox is sublime.
Sure it isn’t perfect and from time to time gets slow, but ultimately, Firefox warrants our accolades and respect. It has a reputation of being quick and reliable and can now can add vogue to the list.
That’s because now it’s super fun to perform banal tasks like bookmarking a page. Just click the star outline, next to the search bar, and watch the star turn blue and literally leap into your unsorted Bookmarks folder.
That simple animation transfixed me with wonder for five solid minutes.
Haha, okay I’ll stop – I’m trying to be profound but it’s not working.
But seriously, so far I’m enamored with Firefox 29. Almost every element on the screen can be rearranged and the new tabs are so voluptuous that they engender envy from Stacy Keibler.
Sync to me baby, Sync.
Alright – well enough with the gushing.
I’ll stop with the saccharine praise and get on with showing you one of the coolest features around: Sync
With Sync you can access all your bookmarks, tabs, history, passwords and browser settings from virtually any device with a data connection and Firefox browser.
Let me know show you how easy it is to get this going between a Windows 8.1 PC and a Samsung Galaxy S4.
Install the latest version of Firefox then type this in the address bar:
Throw in your email address, a Firefox account password, your approximate birth year and plop a check mark in Choose what to Sync before clicking Next.
Now switch over to your email to confirm your account.
The verification might not work if you click the button from within Outlook. In my case, it opened a blank Chrome document and remained static. It didn’t work until I used Firefox to log into the web interface of my email host.
When you do it right you’ll see a happy green checkmark.
We’re almost there but I need to show you a few things:
Click the three horizontal dashes in the upper right corner to expose the new settings center.
As you can see you can do a lot of stuff here like go Full Screen or fiddle with your options. For now I just want you to click the sync account you just created.
As you can see we’re currently syncing:
I’m going to surmise that’s what you want for now so let’s move on.
Mozilla on Mobile
It’s time to marshal your droids so we can get Firefox on them.
On your PC, sign into the Google Play Store with your Google Account then click Install.
Choose your device from the device list drop down box and click Install again.
Now you’re good to go!
I installed it on my Galaxy S4 and after about 30 seconds the icon materialized on the home screen.
Tap it open, touch the menu softkey to the left of the home button and touch Settings
go to Get Started
Skip the account creation by tapping the blue Already have an account? Sign in link near the bottom of the screen.
Enter the Firefox credentials you created on your computer to confirm your device.
If you tap Back to browsing you might not notice any differences – that’s because we need to force the initial sync.
Touch the tab in the upper right corner of the browser then click the Sync button. You should see your desktop tabs in the list.
Firefox sync actually isn’t a new feature; it existed in older versions of Firefox but I think most people either found it too difficult to setup or didn’t know it even existed.
The new Firefox sync is super easy because like Google, it tied everything together with one account.
So Firesync is great but I really think the new user interface is Firefox’s strongest selling point. It”s officially known as Australis and is a major improvement to its predecessors.
For one, Mac users had a hell of a time draggin’ the Firefox window around because there wasn’t much space between the tabs and the upper edge of the window. Version 29 gives you more breathing room to preclude the possibility of accidentally dragging a tab when you intended to drag the window.
Secondly, there’s a new option to include the full title bar of the webpage so it’s easier to see what you’re looking at on the web.
Third, the Download Manager is less obtrusive and only barks if you recently downloaded a file. Similarly, the Forward button is smarter and only appears when needed. This saves space in the top bar and makes the interface immaculate.
Admittedly, these changes may not be a cogent reason to switch from Chrome but you have to agree that Mozilla has come a long way. It still may not be faster than Chrome but it’s no longer in the dust either.
To be honest, part of me thinks that Mozilla is trying to clone Chrome. Call it Chromefox or FireChrome but the two are looking like copy-cats.
The new Firefox user interface flaunts a stark resemblance to its nemesis.
Ultimately, when it comes to a browser here’s what matters to me in descending order of importance:
I don’t really care if a new update makes my browser look like a Nissan GTR if the engine is still a Nissan Accent what does it matter?
Furthermore, a stable browser is paramount. Speed is always subordinate to stability because if your Nissan GTR goes so fast that it keeps crashing – it’s useless.
The sinuous browser tabs are super sleek and borderline adulterous to look at; however, it may not be enough to lure die hard Chromeheads from Google. Despite all the Firefox improvements, there are still little things that will ineluctably irk Firefox fans.
For example, where is the freggin’ Add-on bar? Sure,you can poke around the customization options or install the Classic Theme Restorer for Australis but how many people are going to intuitively know this?
The Bottom Line
Google Chrome does a lot of things right (and is enjoying adulation from Mozilla).
That’s the bottom line.
Google Chrome is a substantive force in the war of browsers and it’s going to take more than Firefox 29 to usurp the throne.
What do you think about Firefox 29 and the new Sync feature? Is it a worthy competitor to Google? Let me know in the comments!