Mozilla has recently announced the pilot of a new Firefox browser for the Android users. The browser – named as Firefox PreView – is available for use for the early adopters, with a new feature-rich version to be released in the fall. Mozilla’s announcement of the pilot couldn’t have come at a better time, with rival browser maker Google facing a lot of flak for its privacy mishap. With a lot of users switching from Firefox to Chrome because of that, Mozilla is trying to make the most of it through a privacy-focused browser.
But is that all Firefox Preview browser offers? And, is it rich enough with features to challenge the dominance of Google Chrome browser?
Let us look at it in a little more detail.
Firefox Preview At A Glance
Firefox Preview is going to be a browser which will be focused on speed and privacy. It is already twice as fast as the current and all previous versions of Firefox browsers available for Android. Other than that, it sports a minimalistic design and blocks tracking by default. The reason for its speed arises from the fact that it blocks the computation made by tracking software to build a profile for showing ads. Other than that, it has a Collections feature to assist in organising and sharing sites in a collection. It also sports a bottom URL along with it.
What sets it apart from Chrome is its browser engine. While Google Chrome, along with most other Android browsers, use the browser engine Blink, Firefox Preview uses its own mobile browser engine called Geckoview for processing and rendering websites. The best part of Geckoview is the fact that it is not reliant on Google’s decisions about the mobile, unlike Blink. It allows itself and its users’ independence in operation, allowing greater flexibility in privacy and security features.
Mozilla’s Expectations With the New Browser
Despite Mozilla being around for as long as it has and its significance in the Browser market, it never could assert itself too much in the mobile devices. Android users usually stuck to Google Chrome while the iPhone and iPad users stuck to Safari, both of which were the default browsers provided to the users initially. However, after the recent slip-up from Google, Mozilla doesn’t want to waste the opportunity. Mozilla said that it has been rethinking its strategy for Android, with the Mozilla Preview being a combination of the privacy and security features of Firefox Focus along with the amenities of a full mobile browser. For those who are wondering, Firefox Focus is a stripped down browser which offers privacy benefits and performance gains. It is available for use on Android.
Regarding the impact Firefox PreView will have on Firefox Focus, Mozilla had this to say :-
Why don’t they seem worried about Apple devices? The answer is simple, really. On the iPad and the iPhone, Apple prohibits the usage of any browser engine other than the one present in its own webkit. Therefore, Mozilla won’t be able to release the Firefox Preview on these devices.
With a 9.59% market share, Firefox comes second only to Chrome in the PC (Desktop and Laptop) market. However, in the mobile browser market, Mozilla Firefox captures a mere 1.43% share, while Chrome leads the pack with a 63% market share.
The idea of creating a fast and privacy-focused browser is not a novel one. The Brave Browser, created by the Brave Software founded by ex-Mozilla Chief Executive Brenden Eich, showcases similar boosts and features. It uses a technology called the Adgraph which doesn’t allow the advertisers to sidestep the address lists which are commonly used to spot ads. It also recently announced a new ad-blocking engine which is going to increase its ability to do the same by a factor of 69.