Mozilla announced today Firefox v.48, the browser’s latest update for desktop usage. It will include the multi-process feature known as Electrolysis or e10s for the first time in seven years in the making, offering users a steadier and secure browsing experience.
Throughout the past decade, primary rival Google Chrome has become the leader in web browsing business, so Firefox is trying to catch up and attract users by improving its core technology with projects like Electrolysis and Servo.
Electrolysis to offer better Firefox experience
Mozilla vice president Nick Nguyen explained that Electrolysis, also known as e10s, will separate web content from Firefox UI processes to provide a “major improvement” in Firefox’s browsing experience. It means no more freezing in this new Firefox version. Previously, the tabs, buttons, and menus got locked up in the browser when web page content was over consuming the computer’s processing power.
Nguyen also suggested that for users to avoid any customization-related problems like the ones that appear when installing extensions, as has been the case in past versions of Firefox, Mozilla will send the v.48 software update initially to just 1% of desktop users for testing.
So until the update, which will reportedly include a new extension system, is available for everyone, Mozilla developers will have to keep creating layers as a temporary alternative to support the old extensions that interfere with other parts of Firefox.
Firefox v.48 has other improvements as well
Putting the Electrolysis aside, Mozilla also enhanced other areas of its web browser. Firefox’s bar will now offer more relevant and personalized search suggestions to users, while the Research & Discovery Toolkit got redesigned for easier reading.
Mozilla also merged the Reading Lists with Bookmarks and the Synced tabs was relocated to the Browsing History Panel. Furthermore, Firefox v.48 has improved security and download protection.
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Servo is already faster than Firefox’s current engine Gecko, which is expected to replace and better equip the browser as well.
Mozilla’s Firefox still behind Chrome and Explorer
Although Mozilla has finally released its multi-process feature, rivals Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer have been using it for several years now. Mozilla began working on the Electrolysis project in 2009 but got suspended between 2011 and 2013 due to the complexity of designing the browser’s extension architecture.
When Firefox debuted in 2002 under the name Phoenix, it rapidly surpassed Internet Explorer as the world’s leading web browser, but delays on the mentioned feature caused Firefox to slip behind in the race. But it appears that Firefox is finally catching up.
As of 2016, according to web traffic analysis tool StatCounter, Firefox has a 15% worldwide usage share of desktop browsers (behind Chrome and IE) and 8% all platforms combined (behind Chrome, Safari, and IE). Leaders, Google Chrome, have a 62% worldwide usage share of desktop browsers and 50% all platforms combined.
Source: Tech Times