I like to try different things when it comes to technology, but I do have a sweet spot for certain things. For example I like trying different operating systems and I use them according to my needs, but I will always have a sweet spot of Linux and specifically Ubuntu. Same goes for browsers. I have tried different browsers and over the years my primary browser has changed multiple times.
There was a time when I was primarily a Firefox user, and then Google Chrome, even Edge( the old edge) – most people do not give credit to Microsoft, but I thought it was a very good browser that brought things that other browsers did not have. I had short lived enthusiasm for Opera and Vivaldi and even Safari…LOL just kidding; Safari is the browser that you use to download other browsers. The last time I used Safari was more than 5 years ago, so things may have improved over the years, but the last time I used it, there was nothing likeable about that browser.
I had tried Brave browser before, but then stopped using it because of the company’s business model. Couple of months ago, I decided to give it a try again because Firefox was constantly a memory hog and Brave now includes a synchronization feature which is quite unique. You do not have to open an accounts or provide an email address. The synchronization happens only between Brave browsers or rather different user profiles on Brave browsers on different devices. I thought that was pretty cool and also Brave in my experience has been the most stable and the fastest browser on Windows, Linux and even on Android.
I switched (temporarily) to brave because I was getting frustrated with Firefox’s slow speed and memory usage. But after about two months of using Brave, I am moving back to Firefox because in my view pros clearly outweigh the cons. So here is why I am recommending Firefox in 2021:
There are plenty of add-ons and themes available on Firefox. You want a dark theme, sure. You want a Marvel superhero theme, yup, there is one. You want dark mode, there is an add-on for that. Ad blocker, Multi-account containers, YouTube downloaders, you name it and there is an add-on for it.
Privacy and Security
With Firefox, you can share as much or as little as you want to the developers and with websites that you visit. By default Firefox blocks third party tracking cookies, cryptomining scrips and social trackers. In addition, there are plenty of add-ons available to increase your privacy and security.
You can even set a master password to protect your local Firefox data such as bookmarks, history, password etc. This can be helpful if you share your computer with other people.
Firefox Monitor alerts you in case your email address has been a part of any online data breach.
I have been using Mozilla products for a very long time. For the majority of my adult life, I have used Thunderbird, even when Mozilla had announced that they were going to stop new development for it. Sure, I did use other email clients from time to time, like Apple Mail or Windows Mail. I am currently using mutt/neomutt – more on that in a later post.
I have used Firefox on and off for a very long time too.The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that I trust. Their products and services are focused on creating a good balance between privacy and functionality and user satisfaction.
I was using Google Chrome as my primary browser for several years until an update automatically logged me in to google services when signing in to the browser to sync my browsing data. That was the last time I used Chrome. Not to mention incognito mode was not really incognito. Now, I am aware of the concept of “I got nothing to hide”. But the point is not about having or not having anything to hide, the point is about trust. This point is something that I recently realized after reading about view points on privacy practices of tech giants when it comes to handling user data.
Brave browser is a very private and secure browser, but its business model essentially takes ad revenue from other ad networks and pushes its own ad network.(Things are a bit more complicated than that but this is the gist). There are some positives to its business model too, mainly that users can support individual content creators and websites. I will get into this in a later post.
Not based on Chromium
Firefox is one of the very few browsers available today that do not use the Chromium code base. There is nothing wrong with Chromium. In fact it is open source and it is a great open source software project that has pushed internet browsers into the ‘future’. However, if you want to use something other than Chromium, for whatever reason that you may have, the only truly viable option is Firefox.
Features for Power Users
If you are a power user, Firefox has some truly powerful features built into its core. The browser has a default search engine just like every other browser, which you can of course change. However, you can also quickly switch between search engines on the fly directly from the address bar by selecting one of the search engines under “This time, search with:”
If that is not enough there are shortcuts for search engines. For example if you want to search with Google, just type @google ‘search phrase’, or @amazon ‘product name’ etc..
If you do not like the default shortcuts, you can even customize it with something like @g ‘search phrase’. If that is still not enough, you can even easily add websites like IMDB to search engine list.
keyboard only browsing
If reaching for your mouse to click on a link is beneath you, you can even do a quick search with ‘/’ and then hit enter when you reach your target link and Firefox will take you do that linked page.
and even more add-ons
Yes, I know that I have already talked about add-ons, but if you are not satisfied with the default features of Firefox, there are plenty of add-ons to increase your productivity.
wait… one more thing about add-ons
So far, I have been all for add-ons, but I in fact use very few add-ons. And a word of warning when it comes to add-ons is that you should be careful about what you install on your browser. Do your due diligence before adding any add-on.
So, this are the reasons why I wold recommend that you use, if not at least give Firefox a try. You will be pleasantly surprised.