Firefox 57 – Firefox Quantum – what’s new?

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Today, the 14th of November, is Firefox 57 release date – the official version of the latest version of the Mozilla Firefox browser is Firefox Quantum and here we will go over the main changes and improvements that the developers at Mozilla have added to their product.

Engine

With the release of Firefox 57, one of the most significant changes that have been introduced to the browser is a modified engine. Up until now, Firefox has been using the Gecko engine. However, with the new version of the browser, its old engine has gotten modified and is now called Quantum (hence, Firefox Quantum).

There are two main improvements that this new engine modification is set to offer. First, according to Mozilla, with Quantum, their browser would be twice as fast as it used to be, say, an year ago. According to a number of beta testers, the browser indeed feels faster and smoother and is currently one of the fastest performing big browsers out there.

The second improvement that is said to come with Quantum is a decrease in the required RAM that the browser needs to run ad support its tabs. Again, according the developers at Mozilla, the used virtual memory would be 30% less than what Google Chrome needs in order to function. This makes Firefox a lighter browser able to run smoothly even on weaker machines which is always a good trait of any program.

Firefox 57

Many researchers and users have pointed out in the past that Firefox’s interface looked dated. With Firefox 57 this dated look is now changed. Here are some of the modifications that have been made to the appearance of the browser:

  • Combining the two boxes – most modern browsers nowadays have one single box that handles the URL and searches. Until its latest version, Firefox had the URL and search box separated. However, with Firefox Quantum, this has been changed and now there’s only one box – for site addresses and for search queries. Some might see this as more convenient but a lot of researchers and users seem to dislike this tendency among modern browsers as it supposedly comes at the cost of less privacy. It has been said that whatever the user types inside the URL/search box could get monitored by search providers and used as telemetry data.
  • New tab look – though this isn’t really a major change, the tabs of Firefox are no longer rounded and instead have a square look – something that most modern browsers have already adopted.
  • Screenshot tool – Firefox Quantum also ads a screenshot utility to the browser’s arsenal of built-in tools. The feature works like Window’s Snipping tool and it allows the user to take screenshots of the browser – the whole browser or only separate segments. This isn’t some sort of novelty as many other browsers such as Opera, Vivaldi, Maxthon and Slimjet have had a similar utility for quite some time. Still though, it can come in handy so it is nice to have it in your browser.
  • Other changes – there are a number of other less prominent cosmetic changes made to Firefox with its Quantum update that we will not cover separately here. Overall, the look of the browser now feels more stylish and slick which would likely be enjoyed by many users.

Tracking Protection (Privacy)

Since 2014, Firefox has had the Tracking Protection feature which blocks trackers that try to gather personal data regarding your surfing habits from your browser. However, up until now, this function was only enabled when the browser worked in Incognito Mode. Now, with Firefox 57, this has been changed so that users can enable the Tracking Protection for their regular browsing sessions as well. This can all be easily done through the program’s settings. To be fair, it was technically possible to enable the Tracking Protection for regular browsing prior to Firefox 57 update but it required a several extra steps and most users didn’t know how to do it.

Extensions

Another important change that has been made to Firefox with its Quantum release is that now the extensions for the browser will be handled with the WebExtensions standard instead of the XUL (XML User Interface Language) API that was being used up until now.

What this means is that Chromium-based and Edge extensions will now be compatible with Firefox but, on the flip side, many Firefox extensions will need to be remade by their developers according to the WebExtensions standard in order to be usable on the very browser they have been created for.

As was stated in the start of this article, today is Firefox 57 release date and anyone who uses this browser will be able to experience the changes that come with its Quantum version. Firefox 57 download happens automatically so there is no need to search for a way to get the browser update manually. If you want to see the official page of Firefox Quantum, here is a link where you can visit it.

 

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Boris' main task on TinySoftware is to keep an eye out for the latest cyber threats, software news and technology trends and then turn those into articles for this site. In his articles, he seeks to present the collected information in a way that would be easy to understand by the regular user allowing everyone to learn more about the each of the topics that he covers on TinySoftware.

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