Opinion publish by
Scott Adam Gordon
Mozilla launched us to an experimental new Android browser final week known as Firefox Preview. This in-development browser is the inspiration on which the mainline Firefox for Android browser shall be reinvented. Mozilla plans to relaunch the Android Firefox browser later in 2019.
Preview, because the title suggests, is a work-in-progress, nevertheless it already presents some interesting prospects. Mozilla claims the browser is as much as two instances as quick as its earlier Android browsers. It additionally comes with an unconventional interface and built-in monitoring safety.
I’ve been taking part in round with it for just a few days to see if it delivers any of what Mozilla guarantees — under, you’ll discover my early impressions.
Obtain Firefox Preview
How briskly is Firefox Preview?
To this point, it appears to be quicker than the present Firefox for Android, and about on par with Chrome for Android, or barely slower. Nonetheless, it’s nippy — I believe as quick or quicker than a lot of its rivals. Chrome nonetheless appears to have the sting however I could also be subconsciously biased in the direction of Chrome, which I’ve used endlessly and is my all the pieces.
For probably the most half, Firefox Preview is fast in web page loading and common navigation, however customers could discover the final workflow quicker too because of its distinctive interface. What’s that like?
Interface highs and lows
The Firefox Preview’s interface has some clear strengths. Its touchdown web page, or common home space, is the place you’ll discover your search bar, open tabs, incognito mode toggle, and another choices.
This space offers you a view of your open tabs — one thing those that repeatedly have dozens of open tabs will admire — and the knowledge right here is properly laid out. I favor this to Chrome’s carousel tab view as a result of you may learn see extra of them at a look, but when there’s an enchancment to be made it’s within the total readability. The place Chrome allows you to see a snapshot of the particular web page within the carousel tab view, right here you solely get the web site, web page names, and web site icon should you’re fortunate.
The incognito toggle and search field areas are simply accessible on the high of this space, however should you’re the form of one who has 99 tabs open, the Collections are on the backside goes to get buried. I’ll discuss extra about Collections in a second however the excellent news is that they imply it’s possible you’ll not must have dozens of tabs open within the first place.
As for the way internet pages are arrange, Firefox Preview consists of an deal with bar, tab counter, and an choices menu on the web page — as many browsers do. Nevertheless, this toolbar is about aside from its rivals with one key important distinction: it’s positioned on the backside of the display quite than on the high.
This doesn’t work for me.
One the one hand, web sites have a tendency to position a very powerful info on the high of an internet web page, so de-cluttering this area on the browser degree appears cheap. However a browser like Chrome hides the URL bar whenever you scroll down anyway, so it doesn’t take up any pointless area (don’t fear, I believe that is the top of my Chrome fanboying for this text).
Firefox Preview’s strategy does make this bar simpler to entry with one hand when utilizing an enormous telephone, which most likely displays most individuals’s state of affairs. That bar is steadily accessed and will be onerous to succeed in within the aforementioned circumstances. The difficulty is, whereas on the backside, it’s straightforward to mistakenly press a navigation button as a substitute of the bar.
On a extra optimistic word, a slide upwards from this bar reveals simply accessible share and bookmark buttons which I fairly like, however I simply can’t consider Mozilla hasn’t put an “add to Collections” button there.
What’s this about Firefox Collections?
Firefox Preview’s Collections are principally like bookmarks folders. You’ll be able to title and add web sites to collections for a handy place to seek out and entry teams of internet hyperlinks. For instance, you may need a set known as “Travel” with all your favourite journey web sites saved there.
Yow will discover your collections under your tabs within the touchdown space. Tapping on one will open it up so that you can view the hyperlinks saved there. Faucet a hyperlink and also you’ll be taken the corresponding web site.
So, yeah, they’re bookmark folders, solely they’re barely fancier bookmark folders with a few advantages — certainly one of which is saving the state of a selected website (h/t Lifehacker for that data nugget). Should you’ve added an merchandise to a buying cart on a selected web page, for instance, it ought to stay there whereas the hyperlink is saved within the assortment.
You may also share these collections, and Mozilla locations a little bit of emphasis on this (you may’t miss the share buttons). However how usually does an individual wish to share collections of internet sites nowadays? I don’t suppose it’s going to develop to be a very worthwhile or attention-grabbing function.
Since Collections appear superior to bookmarks and are extra simply accessed — bookmarks are tucked away behind choices > your library > bookmarks whereas Collections are there on the faucet of the tabs button — I really feel like utilizing collections will develop into the extra in style approach to save Firefox hyperlinks sooner or later. For now, since Firefox Preview can sync up a earlier Firefox consumer’s bookmarks, I can perceive why they’ve been stored round.
What else does Firefox Preview supply?
Firefox’s wonderful Reader View has gotten its personal coloration and textual content to go together with its icon within the slide-up menu (alongside Share and Bookmark) on appropriate pages. I’ve but to resolve if this can be a extra smart placement. At the very least should you stumble your manner there, the button’s perform is extra clear.
Firefox Preview comes with monitoring safety, which blocks content material that will observe you and is activated by default. Most individuals most likely don’t wish to be tracked, so making it opt-out quite than opt-in looks as if a sensible transfer. I haven’t been in a position to choose its effectiveness but, although.
The general look of Firefox Preview is robust. The animations appear to borrow from current Google animations in some locations, however they’re slick. The transition from regular looking to personal looking is especially attractive.
Preview’s Darkish Mode additionally appears nice, and you’ll set the Mild or Darkish modes to robotically mirror your system theme.
Firefox Preview’s “signature” options — the pace, the monitoring blocking, the bottom-mounted deal with bar and buttons — aren’t essentially world-beating proper now. However I nonetheless suggest the Firefox Preview browser.
It’s free for starters, so, you realize, why not simply give it a attempt? Nevertheless it additionally seems like the start of one thing attention-grabbing. I admire why a few of these early strikes have been made, even when I don’t agree they had been all vital. Preview ought to solely get higher because the months roll on.
Mozilla mentioned Preview could be improved primarily based on consumer suggestions, so should you’re eager, you may electronic mail them at [email protected] For anyone that’s already taken a glance, inform me what you want or don’t like about it within the feedback. Your ideas and methods are additionally appreciated!