As best I can tell, browsers on the Mac are a dime a dozen. Maybe less. The major browsers– Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, Mozilla’s Firefox, and some Chinese company’s Opera– are free, fast, packed with goodies. In other words, they’re about all the same, right?
Chrome is the most used browser on planet earth and the one likely to track you to the point of stalking as other browsers have taken the hint and added more privacy and security features. Besides, Chrome these days is a sloth compared to a few new models that have hit the streets. Honestly, I do not understand Chrome’s popularity. Do users not understand what Chrome does?
The second most used browser on earth arguably is Apple’s Safari, thanks to a billion or so iOS device users. Typical Apple, Safari hits the sweet spot where usability meets speed which meets privacy and security. I use it. I like it.
What about Firefox?
This is a perfect example of where competition is a good thing. Chrome has marketshare, deserved or otherwise. Safari is built-in to everything Apple but exceeds Chrome in some respects. Firefox? The little webpage rendering engine that could has fallen on hard times in recent years with marketshare and usage slipping by the day.
The latest Firefox is called Firefox Quantum and is the result of a year long project where Mozilla tried to re-invent the browser. The end product is, well, another browser. It looks like a browser. It works like a browser. So, it’s a browser. It’s also the fastest browser I’ve ever used and if it came with a built-in virtual private network (VPN) like you find in the latest Opera, I’d use it more than Safari.
Firefox Quantum is fast. Which is to say visible faster than Chrome, faster at loading webpages than Safari, and, at least for the Mac, uses less memory and that uses less battery. In terms of look and feel, Quantum looks and feels like Opera but without some of the sidebar features. One feature you will like if you browse like me– a couple of dozen webpages open in tabs– is how fast it is to click to switch to each window.
Chrome don’t work that way, folks.
To be fair about a recommendation, I’m surprised that Mozilla doesn’t take Firefox to another level of privacy and security– add a VPN, and completely anonymize browsing– but I understand that spot between the rock and the hard place where it lives. Private browsing blocks online trackers and forgets your browsing history when you quit. That’s all well and good but a VPN would up the level of privacy. Still, I like Quantum’s new Private Browsing mode and Tracking Protection mode better than Opera.
As you would expect, you can import bookmarks, grab auto fill information from Safari, even capture passwords and history, but I like to start clean. Firefox Quantum also syncs up with other Mac and iPhone Firefox browsers via a Firefox account. And, of course, Firefox Quantum runs most– but not all– the standard Firefox extensions and add-ons.
The keys to success here are Mozilla’s continued focus on private browsing and tracker blockers but the speed is what you should try first. My biggest complaint is the default search engine. Yes, it’s Google and no search engine or advertising company tracks and stalks users more. But Google also pays Mozilla a few hundred million dollars for the privilege.
Still, the new Firefox Quantum is built for speed but you’ll stay for the privacy. If only it had a free VPN. Paid by Google.