Mozilla today launched its Firefox Quantum browser which, according to the open source developer, is the largest Firefox update since the launch of the initial 1.0 version in 2004. The browser has a revamped interface and a new engine that should make the browser perform much better.
Firefox Quantum (which is actually Firefox 57) should be about twice as fast as the previous Firefox version (Firefox 56), released 6 months ago. In total 7 million lines of code were changed. Firefox Quantum only works with Web Extension extensions, old legacy extensions are no longer supported. Fortunately there was sufficient time for extension developers to make their extensions ready for Firefox Quantum.
The increase in performance is possible because Firefox now better makes use of multiple cores of modern CPUs. The browser splits up tasks and feeds them to individual cores when they are available. Google Chrome already adopted this behavior years ago, which is why Firefox was relatively much slower, but that should change with Firefox Quantum.
Google is introduced again as the default search engine for Firefox users in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Three years ago Mozilla changed Google for Yahoo for these users, but now reverted that decision.
Another change is the permanent tracker protection, users can now also block advertisements, analytics trackers and buttons for social media sharing in normal mode of the browser, previously this was only possible in Private Browsing. Also protection against phishing attacks is now part of Firefox.
Firefox Quantum also solves 15 vulnerabilities of which 3 were marked as critical. In the worst case, these critical vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to take full control over the computer. An user only needed to visit a malcious website to become a victim of such an attack.
Users can update to Firefox Quantum through Firefox’s automatic update feature or by downloading the new version from Mozilla.org.