Mozilla Firefox: The IE Alternative

July 16, 2009 at 2:17 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , )

Mozilla Firefox is the second most popular web browser for Internet services, next to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Mozilla was one of the first companies to implement tabbed browsing, which is now standard for all Internet browsers. Their browser is free to download and compatible to Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Firefox is also an open source software, meaning their engineering is available to anyone to be improved or borrowed to make other products. Google’s new browser, Chrome, was based off of multiple Firefox features, and Google openly credits Firefox for their ideas.

There are a variety of features started by Firefox that are now used on other browsers. The “Session restore” feature allows you to go back to the sites you were visiting in the event of Firefox or your computer unexpectedly crashing or closing. Bookmarking, similar to “Favorites”, can be done with one click on the star icon in the address bar to save the current page to view again later.

Firefox also has several unique features: The “Password Manager” offers to remember (or never remember) password information that you are entering on a website. Instead of an intrusive window popping up in the middle of the screen, this feature displays just under the toolbars and can easily ignored if you don’t want to specify how to handle the password information.

Downloading is simple and convenient on Firefox. When you click on a link to download, you will see the Download Manager window, showing the name and progress, as well as the option to pause or cancel the download. Once the download process is complete, just double click the file to open it, instead of trying to find it on your computer.

Firefox may very well be the king of customization with over 6,000 customization options—and counting! These vary from necessary add-ons that help you view certain webpages and applications, to personas and skins tailored to your personality and interests. Here are a few examples:

  • The Minimap Sidebar shows the location of any address by drag and dropping from websites or manually entering an address. You can then get directions with Google, Yahoo, or Live Local. Address are automatically saved for future reference.

  • AnyColor allows you to customize your web browser frame and options window to your favorite color.

  • Speed Dial lets you preset 9 websites of your choice to one-click access them from blank new windows or tabs.

  • Lazarus: Form Recovery saves all the data you type in forms online in the event of a crash. You can simply return to the form, right click, and “recover form” to restore all your information.

Being able to create a browser that is just right for you is easy with Firefox’s many add-ons. For example, the new and improved Internet Explorer 8 has many of the same features, but with Firefox, you can choose only the features that you will use.

Firefox continually looks for ways to make a better browser. The latest version, Firefox 3.5, is faster and safer than previous versions with new technology and better handling of your computer’s memory. It also now has the “Private Browsing” option, like other browsers, which allows you to surf the web without saving any cookies, history, or files on your computer. To read more about the security and speed features, see all the available add-ons, and read more about Firefox 3.5, check out firefox.com.

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