Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 9, 2011
Yes, it was time for me to download Firefox 4 to see what it had to offer. I thought about waiting up until late last week, when 3.6.whatever started freezing up on me again. No idea why it kept doing that, but I can honestly say that version 3 never lived up to expectation and almost drove me away from what had become my favorite browser.
Actually, I’d thought Firefox 4 was still in beta, but it seems to be the real deal, and it’s about time. It’s promised faster speed and better functionality; let’s see what it’s all about.
The download, of course, was simple, one of the gripes that I had against Chrome. It automatically updated all my bookmarks and all my add-ons and the like, with a few exceptions. I don’t have weather anymore, and I lost this neat little add-on from AVG that tested links before I went to them and gave warnings to those that were dangerous. It looked like I was going to lose my Multirow Toolbar add-on as well, but I searched beforehand and saw that its creators had a beta going for FF4 and, once I updated to the new Firefox version, went and grabbed it and things are working great once more. I was also able to get an old favorite of mine back, Colorful Tabs, which helps me see all the different tabs easier than having them all be the same color.
One of the first things I noticed was how much it seemed to look like Chrome. It took away the toolbars and put the tabs at the top of the browser, with the address bar underneath it. The idea was to open up the browser so we could see more of our content. Me being me, I like change but not that much, so I went into the options setting, which is at the top left, and put things back where they used to be; very easy to do. The one thing they finally added that both Chrome and Opera had was where you can choose the option to Paste and Go if you copy a link into the address bar; that’s sweet.
Firefox 4 is supposed to be up to 6 times faster than its previous version, so of course I had to test that. I’ll say that normal websites seem to load pretty fast, but I had to do the test of YouTube. The videos did load faster but they didn’t play much better than previous. For whatever reason everything was shaky; not sure what that was about, but it’s somewhat irritating.
It’s also supposed to handle resources better, but I just checked and it’s using 430K of my resources, which is pretty much the same as the other version. I had read where the more tabs you have open the more resources it uses but come on. I turned off prefetching webpages to help speed things up and reduce resources, as well as altering about:config to tell it to reduce resources if I minimize the browser to the toolbar, but that seems to be being ignored as well.
The final test I can’t do yet, and that’s to see if the browser will lock up any time soon. That one I’ll just have to wait for, but I’m a patient guy. Overall Firefox 4, at least for the casual user, has some things that are changed around that some people might find fascinating, but since I have no need for synching my browser to anything the only thing that’s different to me might be the speed. I hope the YouTube thing clears up eventually as well.