It’s almost pointless by now to keep track of the version numbers of web browsers, considering the biggest ones like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have passed the number 50 mark way back. Of course, it’s still just as interesting as ever to keep track of the features that these releases bring. And version 59 of Firefox has such treats for almost all its users, from desktop, to Android, to enterprise, and, yes, to Amazon Fire TV.
That last bit wouldn’t have been that important if not for the drama behind it. The war between Amazon and Google has come to a point where Google has yanked out YouTube support from Amazon’s devices in retaliation for the latter’s exclusion of Google products from its store. Amazon’s solution? Get a web browser to do the dirty work of playing YouTube videos.
Although Amazon has its own Silk web browser, Firefox for Amazon Fire TV brings not just YouTube but also familiar and much needed features, like syncing. In this release, Firefox can now also pin frequently visited sites to save users from the painful experience of typing a URL using a remote control. And, yes, notice how YouTube is there among those pinned tiles.
Firefox 59 has a curious new feature for Android users as well. It calls it “Android Assist” and it basically wants to replace Google Assistant on your phone. At least when you long press the home button/icon. Of course, that will be useful only for searches but not for the other things Google Assistant will be able to do.
Desktop users will also enjoy a variety of optimizations and improvements in Firefox 59, especially those related to privacy and tracking. Mozilla is also announcing the start of its beta program for a Firefox Quantum for Enterprise spin aimed to nibble at Google Chrome’s dominance in that market.