Oh Mozilla, you are indeed a clever fox. I tend to be very loyal, almost to a fault. I stayed with you Mr. Firefox when everyone else had switched to Chrome. I stayed with you Mr. Firefox when everyone told me how much happier I would be if I just gave you up. The temptation grew and I finally started spending more time with Chrome. You sensed my weakness and decided to take action. You went to the code gym and worked out. You checked out the competition and understood why I had weakened. You came back to me, leaner and meaner than before. And, oh!, how your performance has improved. Now I want you as my main browser again.
There is a lot to like about Firefox 4. Chrome was the wake-up call that Firefox needed to get itself back in shape. Version 4 certainly took some lessons from Chrome–the interface is sleeker and cleaner, much like Chrome’s interface, only better. There is much more real estate for content and the toolbar is minimal, much like Chrome’s. Only Firefox allows for a bit more customization, so I can set up my toolbar just the way I like it. Additionally, Lifehacker offers some tips on how to ‘Fix Annoyances with Firefox 4’s New Look‘, although I don’t consider some of those ‘annoyances’ to be annoying. I like the tabs on top (also new in FF4), but some don’t; but you can change that if you don’t like it.
I really like being able to pin some of my tabs for those sites I use all the time. This required an add-on before, but now it is integrated into the browser. This saves a lot of real estate, especially if you tend to have many tabs open. This is just one example of how some very good add-ons are now core features in the browser.
Speaking of having a lot of tabs open at one time, FF4 has the option to ‘switch to tab’ when it recognizes you’re typing something in the address bar you may already have open. So you can quickly search for a tab by typing in the address bar or using the drop-down listing, making for more efficient web surfing. There is also the Group your Tabs’ option that provides a panoramic view of the sites you have open.
Many have complained that the Awesome Bar ain’t so awesome because FF4 still has a separate address bar and search box. That’s easy to remedy by using Smart Keywords. This isn’t new in FF4, but now’s a good time to start using it. I have long gotten rid of my search box in Firefox and used the Smart Keywords, which is just one of the things that makes the Awesome Bar awesome. Mozilla provides easy directions on what Smart Keywords are and how to use them.
Being someone who uses several computers throughout the day, one feature I really like is the Syncing capabilities of Firefox. FF4 lets you sync your bookmarks, history, passwords (I don’t sync my passwords…or store them, for that matter), and even open tabs across devices. That includes mobile devices.
These are just some of the things that have brought me back to Firefox. Firefox performs better, fast, and is more secure. It has some great built in features such as Do Not Track, Crash Protection, HTML5 parser, Anti-phishing, and much more.
Try it, again. You’ll like it. I’ll still keep several browsers on my computer, but Firefox has definitely won me back and will be my primary browser once again. I’ll still visit Chrome now and then, perhaps Safari, and even IE on those very rare occasions, but Firefox will once again be my default. Welcome back you clever Fox!