Mozilla Firefox 100 Is Packed With Updates, But Can It Win Back Chrome Users?

Do you remember what you were doing towards the end of 2004? One thing you could have done was browse the web with firefox version 1.0, which appeared in November of that year and would later become an extremely popular alternative to Internet Explorer. Almost 17.5 years later, Mozilla is celebrating the release of Firefox version 100, but many of the same people who adopted the IE alternative are now using Chrome instead. This begs the question, are Firefox’s best days behind it?

In terms of features, capabilities, and support, Firefox’s best days are right now. Mozilla has had nearly two decades to prepare and evolve Firefox into a mature browser, and the latest version adds a bunch of new and improved features to the mix. For example, picture-in-picture mode now supports video captions and subtitles on YouTube, Prime Video, Netflix, and websites that use WebVTT.

Firefox 100 also brings HDR support to the browser on Mac (starting with YouTube) and enables hardware-accelerated AV1 video decoding on Windows with supported GPUs (Intel Gen 11+, AMD RDNA 2 except for Navi 24 and NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series). There is also a Windows-enabled video overlay for Intel GPUs, which should reduce power consumption during video playback.

Besides, MozillaComment added the ability to check spelling in multiple languages, changed scrollbars on Windows 11 and Linux so they don’t take up space by default, and added support for auto-filling credit card fields and capture in the UK.

This is all on top of a host of bug fixes, security fixes, and other general changes. And that’s great, but unfortunately for Mozilla, its long-running browser isn’t the disruptive force it once was. Nothing in Firefox 100 will change that.

Before the Firefox devotees come to me, let me say that I use Firefox often (as in, daily) and really like it. I also use Chrome and occasionally run Edge, which is based on the same Chromium base as Chrome.

The market share figures, however, tell the story. If you pass StatCounter figures, Firefox accounts for 3.41% of all browser usage, behind Edge at 4.07%, Safari at 19.13% and Chrome at 64.36%. The numbers change a bit if accounting is limited to desktop, but Firefox still comes in behind Safari and Edge, and far behind Chrome.
NetMarketShare’s accounting is not radically different—Chromium dominates like IE once did, and Firefox comes behind Edge on desktop, and behind Safari on mobile as well.

If you’re a Firefox fan and looking for the ribbon liner, Mozilla is still trolling and championing a cross-browser landscape to keep the web honest. And although Chrome is ahead of all other browsers, the rise and fall of IE is proof that no browser is ever too big to fail.

It was a very different time, however, and a different web. It’s hard to predict how things will play out in the future, especially with the Metaverse, or Web 3.0, on the horizon. In any case, you can consult Firefox 100 Release Notes for the full list of changes.

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