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Posts Tagged ‘Firefox

There has been a lot of talk about the dirge sounding for the Firefox browser. With a marked nosedive in market share (roughly 15%), the one-time king of the browse war has now fallen into third place (behind Internet Explorer and Chrome). As most pundits are scratching their heads, I’m fairly certain that there’s a clear reason for this change:

Google.

The 15% market share applies only to desktop browsers. Once you move to mobile… all bets are off. But why? What has shifted to cause Firefox to drop so sharply? Is it a bad product? Honestly, to the majority of users (I’m talking “average user” here), a browser is a browser is a browser. The biggest difference to the average user is the use of “Favorites” over “Bookmarks.” Since most users wouldn’t even know Firefox from Internet Explorer, how could this change have happened?

Again, I say… Google.

Actually, I should be more specific and say Chrome — or even better, Chrome OS and Android.

From November 2013 to the end of the year, a reported 21% of all laptops sold were Chromebooks. Worldwide, Android takes nearly 81% of the mobile market share. That’s a LOT of Google-based browsers out there. I don’t think it’s a huge leap of logic to assume a vast percentage of those users would have been, otherwise, using Firefox.

Let me present myself a case in point. For the longest time, I was a devout Firefox user. But then I discovered a few of the Chrome apps/extensions (such as Tweetdeck) and added Chrome to my Linux desktop. Then I adopted a Chromebook as a laptop. Since I really only do two things on a laptop (write and browse), it made perfect sense. Add to this the fact that my smartphone platform has been Android for what seems like forever, plus the mobile version of Firefox is dreadful, and you have the makings for a typical migration from Firefox to Chrome.

Let’s be honest — as long as the browser gets the job done, it doesn’t matter which browser you use.

  • Unless you’re on a Chromebook
  • Or on Android
  • Or you depend on Google Apps

You can see the pattern here, right? It’s like third-party politics in the United States. Many people don’t vote for third parties because it takes away votes from the party they once championed. In this case — every person using Chrome is one less person using Firefox. Why?

Caution: generalization coming…

Most people who use Internet Explorer simply don’t know that the product they’re using is inferior to every other product of its kind (either that or they depend on a site that was written ONLY for IE). So, there’s little to no chance they’ll jump ship to either Firefox or Chrome.

So, what is Mozilla to do? Well, they’re busy focusing on the Firefox OS, which is akin to Ubuntu focusing on the Ubuntu Phone — it’s detracting from what they’ve always done really well in exchange for jumping into a ring with two of the heaviest hitters in the history of the game — Android and iOS.

And then there’s that advertising deal with Google that’s about to expire. The majority of Mozilla’s income is from that deal, and Google has less reason to continue on with that search agreement. Google no longer needs the advertising real estate from a browser suffering from a possible slow death. Should Google pull this, Mozilla will have to pull off a miracle to stay in the fight.

However, there’s good news. You can’t forget that Firefox is an open-source browser. That means, even if Firefox were to die, another batch of forks would appear. So, even if Google Chrome were to knock Firefox out of the ring, more contenders will appear to take up the gloves. But even a horde of forks are not likely to pull Firefox from the slow Chrome burn. Google isn’t going anywhere but up. As Chromebooks and Android continue to take over the mobile planet (and users become less tethered to their desks), Firefox will continue to suffer.

Firefox is still a quality product. But like Internet Explorer, it’s facing a foe that’s stronger, faster, and more agile. That new opponent is poised to take over nearly everything it touches. Fortunately (for users, not the competition), that new foe offers a stellar product on every platform (Linux, Windows, Mac, Chrome OS, Android, and iOS). Chrome is the only browser on the planet that can make that claim (as Chrome is the only browser that will run on Chrome OS) – a claim that’s becoming ever more important in a world gone mad for mobile.

I don’t have a prediction for Firefox. Will it die? Will it become an “arm” of Google? Will it get a second wind and, thus, a second life? No one really knows at this point. If I had to make a guess, I’d say both Firefox and IE will fall to Chrome. The difference is that IE is embedded into the psyche of many users, so it won’t suffer as much as Firefox.

The gloves are off and Chrome is set to rumble. How do you think this fight will end? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

Kristina Kozlova

Kristina Kozlova
Kristina.Kozlova@altabel.com
Skype ID: kristinakozlova
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development 

The Web as we know it have been born and matured on computers, but as it turns out now, computers no longer have dominance in it. According to a recent report by analyst Mary Meeker, mobile devices running iOS and Android now account for 45 percent of browsing, compared to just 35 percent for Windows machines. Moreover, Android and iOS have essentially achieved their share in just five years and their share is getting tremendously larger.

According to some forecasts their worldwide number of mobile devices users should overtake the worldwide number of PC users next year. If forecasts come true, this shift will not only continue, but accelerate. Based on data from Morgan Stanley, Meeker estimates roughly 2.9 billion people around the world will be using smartphones and tablets by 2015.

What does it mean now that more people are accessing the Web through tablets and smartphones rather than laptops and desktops? And is it really a big deal? Anyway, Internet is intended to be accessed from anywhere and thus from any device. Well, it is quite a change at least in terms most people consider the Web and how it gradually adapts to be used on mobile devices.

Apps-like sites
As mobile devices take over, the use of today’s desktop browsers like Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari will decline. Mobile browsers are already very capable and will increasingly adopt HTML5 and leading-edge Web technologies. As mobile devices naturally have less screen area, the sites need to function more like mobile apps and less like collections of links. So the sites are likely to look like apps.

Apps may rule
Native apps for smartphones and tablets almost always surpass websites designed for mobile devices because they can tap into devices’ native capabilities for a more responsive and seamless experience. This is most likely to change in the nearest future – most experts agree HTML5 is eventually the way of the future. This is already the status quo in social gaming: for example Angry Birds and Words with Friends. Some services won’t be available at all to traditional PCs — they won’t be worth developers’ time.

Less information at once
Web sites and publishers will no longer be able to display everything new for users and hoping something will catch the user’s eye. Smaller screens and lower information density means sites will need to adjust to user preferences and profiles to customize the information they present. Increasingly, the Internet will become unusable unless sites believe they know who you are. Some services will handle these tasks themselves, but the most likely contenders for supplying digital identity credentials are Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, and mobile carriers.

Sharing by default
In a mobile-focused Internet, anonymity becomes rare. Virtually every mobile device can be definitively associated with a single person (or small group of people). Defaults to share information and experiences with social circles and followers will be increasingly common, along with increasing reliance on disclosure of personal information (like location, status, and activities, and social connections) to drive key functionality. As the Internet re-orients around mobile, opting out of sharing will increasingly mean opting out of the Internet.

Emphasis on destination
Internet-based sites and services will increasingly function as a combination of content and functionality reluctant to link out to other sites or drive traffic (and potential advertising revenue) elsewhere. These have long been factors in many sites’ designs but mobile devices amplify these considerations by making traditional Web navigation awkward and difficult. Still URLs are not going to die – people will still send links to their friends and Web search will remain most users primary means of finding information online.

Going light weight
As people rely on mobile, cloud, and broadband services, the necessity to do things like commute, store large volumes of records or media, or patronize physical businesses will decline. Businesses won’t need to save years of invoices, statements, and paperwork in file boxes and storage facilities – cloud storage comes as their rescue. Banks will become purely virtual institutions consumers deal with online via their phones. Distance learning and collaborative tools will let students take their coursework with them anywhere — and eliminate the need to worry about reselling enormous textbooks.

Going mobile is an obvious trend today. Experts envisage that nearly every service, business, and person who wants to use the Internet will be thinking mobile first and PC second, if they think about PCs at all. Do you agree? And what other related changes can you imagine?

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts :)

Aliona Kavalevich

Aliona Kavalevich
Aliona.Kavalevich@altabel.com
Skype ID: aliona_kavalevich
Business Development Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

According to recent most financial statement, the Mozilla Corporation, responsible for Firefox and Thunderbird development, makes 84% of its revenue from a search partnership with Google. All new installations of Firefox use Google as the default search engine and most of Mozilla’s revenue comes from that arrangement and similar deals with Microsoft and other search partners. Even as Google extends Mozilla’s funding for another three years, Firefox is losing market share.

With Firefox market share falling, will businesses find it relevant three years from now? And what if Google doesn’t extend the agreement at that point and the money runs out?

Firefox faces many challenges, the largest of which are based on its being in an extremely competitive browser market. Here are the top three:
Power Users
Power users initially loved Firefox due to its extended features and customizability. Recently, Google’s Chrome browser has provided the same, and went further with better security and speed, causing many power users to switch over.
Deep Pockets
Mozilla is a nonprofit organization, and Firefox is an open-source project. Though neither of its top two competitors, Google’s Chrome or Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, are direct money generators, both companies depend on browsers as a window to their online products. For Google, ads on Web pages generate most of its money, so it wants to get as many ad-filled Web pages in front of users as possible.
Mobile Market
Though 93 percent of Web browsing is done through desktops and laptops, mobile browsing has nearly doubled in the last year to reach almost 8 percent. This is likely to grow exponentially in the next year, as tablets and e-readers hit the mainstream, and nearly every new mobile phone will have a Web browser. Apple and Google own the default browsers on the popular mobile devices, giving them a huge advantage.

Desktops aren’t dead yet, but eventually you can expect mobile usage to surpass desktop usage, perhaps within those three years for which Mozilla has secured Google’s funding. As users and businesses embrace new phones and tablets, they’ll be learning how best to browse the Web with them, and how to seamlessly share the browsing experience among their desktops and mobile devices. This is where Firefox could make a difference. Mozilla already has a mobile version of Firefox that uses Firefox Sync to sync browsing history, open tabs, bookmarks, and saved passwords. If it were to release an iOS version as well – as mobile browser Dolphin did – it would have a presence on the top smartphones and tablets.
Google has its thumb on Firefox, but is enabling it to live a bit longer. If Firefox wants to remain competitive several years from now, it has to make a difference, as it did in its early days. Finding a killer feature and working not only across the major operating systems, but between desktops and mobile devices as well could be Firefox’s saving grace.

Will Mozilla make it happen?

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Within the past couple weeks; we have had two major Web browser releases. Microsoft unleashed Internet Explorer 9, and Mozilla officially launched Firefox 4. Each browser had millions of downloads on its inaugural launch day. Bellow you may find some quotes from people who have already tried both of browsers and shared their opinions.

«I’ve installed both IE 9 on a Vista SP2 VM and Firefox 4 on my Mac Book Pro running 10.6.7, I have to say that I like both a lot; both are very clean browsers in terms of the user interface and both feel very quick in their operation. Firefox 4 is a major re-design in the product; I feel that IE 9 is a very nice re-working of IE 8. I will use both over the coming week more and I’ll see how both really compare.»
Neil Hobbs

«I haven’t even bothered with IE 9. Stopped using MSIE years ago and haven’t looked back. I really like the new FF4 interface. The customizability, and usability and most importantly, the amount of real estate they’ve cleared up make it a better browser. I like the available personas (doesn’t affect performance, but is a nice touch) and I can’t wait for more new themes.»
Mike Greene

«I just recently upgraded to Firefox 4 and I love the new interface, which surpasses even previous versions of its own browser. I am one of the seemingly growing numbers of folks who detest ALL versions of IE and frankly Microsoft should have a great deal more development on IE8 before it was released. I haven’t tested IE9 yet, but if what was true about IE8 is also true about IE9 I think I’ll be one of those who waits a long while before getting any newer version than 7.0 that I now use, and I only use that when some sites tell me they don’t work the way they should on some browsers. Otherwise, I use either Firefox or sometimes Safari, which is Apple’s browser.»
Matthew Booker

«Frankly, I wouldn’t ever consider IE in any version. I have no faith in what M$ tells me about it. I’m using Firefox 3.6.16, the last before FF 4. I downloaded FF 4 this morning and it behaved badly with respect to my add-ins, so I was forced to uninstall it and fall back. So much for early adoption.»
Brian C.

«I have not used IE since about version 6 back when it was *new*. However having tried IE9, I was pleasantly surprised at the progress Microsoft have made. I would recommend trying it out before passing judgment.»
Darren Cresswell

«For me the answer is Chrome – although I now have Firefox 4 also loaded, and apart from a few plug-in missing it seems to be pretty complete. Chrome just feels cleaner, simpler, and I am finding more and more sites now experimenting with HTML5 for video and better UI. What is crucial is the number of old corporate (and a few personal) PCs still running IE6 – they have to move forward. So many web sites have to cater for its quirks and even Microsoft has stopped supporting it for key systems like SharePoint 2010. If you look at browser version numbers, interesting that Chrome are already on version 10 – expect to see more and more developments in this area as the functionality wars really start to heat up.»
Brian Merritt

«IE 9 is one step beyond: clean and essential design, great usability, top performance. It lacks compatibility since can’t be installed on XP. The netbook I bought last year was equipped with XP home edition, to install Seven I needed to buy the OS license, double the RAM and performing a tricky installation (since no optical unit on this PC). Normal people won’t do this, neither will change their PC every year, that’s way FF4 that runs on every platform will be their best choice.»
Roberto Pellegrinelli

In my opinion, Firefox 4 wins over its Microsoft arch-enemy. But that does not mean Internet Explorer 9 is bad. Far from it. Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 are going to be great browsers once released. If you’re a Firefox user, no need to abandon your favorite product. It’s still the good old stuff that made the difference and broke the monopoly. If you’re an Internet Explorer user, now you truly have a good browser, which you can use and be proud of.

Have you tried them both and decided on a winner or are you still thinking about which one is the best?

BR,
Kristina
Altabel Group

Choosing among Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari is not simple. All are perfectly good choices, but one may be slightly better for certain users than others. Bellow you may find the most interesting thoughts on this topic from LI members.

«The perfect balance of features & speed is Opera. Resource footprint & speed are my chief priorities when browsing. I like Firefox and am a fan of open source software, but FF tends to chew up more system resources than any other browser I have ever used. IE I use almost exclusively for interacting with the MS site. I find it slower to open and slow to load pages. Chrome is good, nearly as fast as Opera in my experience, but I dislike the interface. I cannot speak to Safari. I remember using it and not being blown away by its speed. »
Ed Han

«It’s a close race between Firefox and Chrome. I love many of the plug-in that make FF so easy to use, especially the S3 plug-in for my Amazon account. That just makes the upload super simple. However, sometimes it’s a little “clunky”. I use Chrome for my primary browser. In the last 90 days it began to crash more frequently than before. I only use IE if the site will not support anything else (and there still are some). »
Dan Scott
Lawyer, Coach, Entrepreneur

«If you start with features or flexibility, IE is out! There is not much to customizing it unless you can do some application development; IE7Pro is an example it adds features but how many of us can say we could have wrote that program compared to writing an add-on/extension/widget for the other browsers? Firefox as far as feature or flexibility goes would top the chart; you cannot create your own build with the other browsers like you can with Firefox. Examples of alternative Firefox’s is Flock, Camino, Fennec, etc. Not to mention that the engine under neath it all can be used for other things. I would say Chrome, Opera and Safari are relatively tied regarding features and flexibility; the most you can do with them is create add-ons. Firefox overall has the balance of features, speed, innovations, and flexibility. Some may say it is a resource hog, but so are the others once you start tacking on add-ons/extensions/widgets. The add-ons are what bog them down. There is nothing you cannot do with Firefox. What would make Firefox even more superior is the ability to enable/disable without restarting like Chrome and Safari. Firefox well more specifically the engine behind it all can be formed to do numerous things. If you where my mom and dad well into their 80’s I would tell you to use Chrome (it’s just plain simple). If you are like me and want full control over your bookmarks (sorting, duplication, tagging, suggestions, etc), advertising, custom page editing, leaving post it notes on sites you go to, and integration then go with Firefox. »
Richard Lloyd
Freelance IT Consultant

«I’m a Chrome user. I used to use Firefox, but starting with 3.5 it became quite the resource hog. There is no reason for a web browser to use 100MB+ of memory with no add-ons and sitting on about: blank. For the add-ons that I used in Firefox, I’ve found replacements in Chrome. I like that my toolbars can stay active (processing data) but out of the way in Chrome. I never found a way to do that in Firefox. I used Opera for a short while until I learned that my data was being bounced through their servers. If I want data bounced anywhere like that, I’ll use TOR. I never really liked the interface in Safari. Seemed clumsy to me, like most things Apple. The only thing that I use IE for any more is Microsoft.com sites and Netflix instant (stupid unnecessary DRM). If your website requires me to use IE (or even Firefox) to use and locks me out otherwise, I leave. »
Brian Altenhofel
Web developer

And which of the leading browsers is the perfect balance of features, speed, innovation, and flexibility for you?

BR,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group
http://www.altabel.com


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