Firefox 59 flies in with faster page loading speed

Do you use Firefox, gerbils? You don't have to answer—we already know a significant portion of you do. The latest Firefox update is called Quantum like its predecessor, but it brings the app's version number to 59. Big changes this time around include improvements to page load time, enhanced security in private browsing mode, and added features to the screenshot editor.

Mozilla says that Firefox 59 should load websites and the Firefox home page faster. The company doesn't explain exactly where the improvements originated, but does say that the app will load content from both local and network caches. Mac users are also getting the benefits of Off-Main-Thread Painting for faster graphics, an improvement that came to the Windows version in the previous Firefox release.

Another big change this version has to do with the handling of HTTP referers in private browsing mode. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an internet privacy advocacy group, discovered that some websites like HealthCare.gov were leaking personally-identifiable information to ad-serving networks through HTTP referers—a bit of data containing information about the site you came from when you're redirected or click a link. Disabling referers altogether would break many websites, so the Firefox team is now stripping website paths and sending only the domain names when in private mode. There's a blog post here that has more details on this topic.

Firefox's screenshot capture ability saw some improvements, too. Users can now annotate and crop saved screenshots without opening an external image editor. Finally, Mozilla says that there are also "various security fixes" in this update.

The new version is available for desktop computers running Windows and macOS, as well as Android and iOS devices. You can read the full release notes, hit Mozilla's website to grab it for your PC, or open up the appropriate app store to grab it on your mobile device.

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    • synthtel2
    • 1 year ago

    I understand how gerbils don’t like a lot of recent Mozilla decisions, but what browsers are actually doing better at those things? They make some good decisions and some bad decisions, but most of their competition seems to be making the bad decisions straight down the line and just doesn’t get called out on it because they never even claimed to care about things like privacy in the first place. On customizability / extensibility, they may have removed a lot, but what they’ve got left is still at least as good as their competition.

    My problems with Chrome are probably obvious. Edge and Safari are both unavailable on my main platform. I’ve caught Opera doing some particularly obnoxious tracking, and won’t be back. Stripped-down Chromium variants would work, but I still struggle to find ways in which they’re superior to FF. I’ve been using Vivaldi as my default browser on Windows just to give something other than FF an honest shot, but for every cool feature it has that FF doesn’t, I find it missing something important from FF (and the UI still feels like it’s trying way too hard even after months of getting used to it).

      • meerkt
      • 1 year ago

      I’m still hoping Vivaldi grows to be a new Opera 12. But after 2 years since their first final version it still feels rough and incomplete.

      • w76
      • 1 year ago

      FF was patient zero for putting politics above products and attacking someone over political beliefs (Brendan Eich). If they put the same zeal in to Firefox as they do their politics they might not have a desktop market share chart that looks like a long slide in to oblivion: [url<]http://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share/desktop/worldwide/#monthly-201401-201802[/url<] (down by almost half since 2014, while Chrome is up significantly) Anyway, I'll give them another try if I ever get the feeling they're focused again on developers and users.

        • synthtel2
        • 1 year ago

        I do hear a lot more complaints about Mozilla’s politics than their products.

        On the politics (and proto-politics) side, they’ve certainly had their blunders, but nothing worthy of a “patient zero” title. (Humans do things like they did to Eich all the time; it’s easy to miss it in these terms, because few cases happen to involve someone so high-profile outside of literal politics.) I’m far from agreeing with everything they do, but it isn’t difficult to be less evil than Google.

        On the product side, AFAICT they’ve mostly got reduced extensibility working against them. Removing features is always going to be tough on market share, but they’ve both still got as good extensibility as anything (their original selling point) and now have more speed than anything (beating Chrome at Chrome’s own selling point). FF feels like an extremely polished and capable product, to the extent that I’m flat out of ways to understand Chrome’s dominance as a result of product traits alone.

      • LoneWolf15
      • 1 year ago

      I’ve slowly been switching from FF to Vivaldi. I loved Firefox, but I have had HTTPS issues (sites refusing to load) and other problems that have been nigh on unacceptable in the past six months. It was getting tiresome, and I needed a change.

      About the only thing I don’t care for with Vivaldi is the new-tab behavior, and it’s a minor gripe from an old fart, that I can fix by clicking “Open new tab in background”; I can probably do more if I research it when I have some downtime. But it’s long past time for my once-beloved Firefox to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    Sadly, I’m tethered to Firefox until Chrome re-implements similar menu functionality.

    It’s maddening how UI design has become “HIDE ALL THE THINGS.”

      • meerkt
      • 1 year ago

      Count your blessings. At least it’s not REMOVE ALL THE THINGS (well, not always).

        • Growler
        • 1 year ago

        I’m mostly upset with how Google removes options with every update. It’s nice to be able to choose behaviors of what you use, but Google has a tendency to change things and then essentially tell its users to get used to it.

          • odizzido
          • 1 year ago

          Removing and hiding things is the latest software fad. Google is just one of many and it’s terrible.

    • brucethemoose
    • 1 year ago

    Is Firefox on Android the same as the desktop version?

    I know it’s not a native browser skin like the iOS browsers were for awhile, but I was under the impression that releases were separate from the desktop versions, whereas Chrome is basically the same release on all platforms.

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      Nah it’s mostly the same.

      • thedosbox
      • 1 year ago

      The android version is slightly behind the desktop build. The nightly build only just got the Quantum CSS engine that’s been on desktop since Firefox 57.

    • odizzido
    • 1 year ago

    Page loads are a bit weak with FF ATM.

    • Yan
    • 1 year ago

    I used [url=https://addons.mozilla.org/fr/firefox/addon/refcontrol/<]RefControl[/url<] to remove referrers for many years, and the number of sites it broke was minuscule (you could create exceptions).

      • meerkt
      • 1 year ago

      Or [url<]https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/change-referer-button/[/url<] (But doesn't work with new FF, I guess.)

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