Web browsers have become bigger than ever in more ways than one. Yes, they have become practically central to the way we use computers but they’ve also become more complex as they gain new features. Web pages, too, have become more complex and browsers have to adjust to support them. Complexity always has a cost, however, and most of that cost is in performance. With the latest version 67 release of the Firefox browser, Mozilla is promising a faster experience not by trimming off the fat but by “procrastinating on purpose”.
Not everything has to be loaded when you open a web page or even start up Firefox itself. In fact, some web pages already employ progressive loading so that users can immediately see the content they want or the content the authors want them to see first. Likewise, Firefox 67 prioritizes which parts and scripts get loaded first, like scripts for Google or Amazon searches. Some don’t even get loaded until they’re actually needed, like form auto-fill modules.
In other cases, Firefox will even suspend content that’s not immediately needed. Idle tabs, for example, start getting suspended when the browser detects the computer only has 400 MB of RAM left. Firefox itself will skip loading stuff on startup when the user has already customized the browser.
Privacy is still a major focus for Mozilla and Firefox 67 is no different. It now has options to block fingerprint and cryptomining but you have to turn it on yourself because those might break some sites. Ironically, the latest release also now allows passwords to be saved and extensions to work in Private Browsing mode. At your own discretion, of course.
Although it’s arguable that Google Chrome has become the world’s biggest browser, especially considering how Chromium serves as the foundation of other browsers like Microsoft Edge, Firefox remains a solid choice especially for those who may have qualms using Google’s software. Some may have had issues with Firefox’s performance, however, and version 67 is geared towards addressing at least part of that.