As Chrome tarnishes, Mozilla is ready to reignite Firefox with Quantum

“Don’t be evil.” That’s been Google’s motto since it was first unveiled in 2000, and for years that attitude shaped the company’s attitudes, outlook, and products. And it helped turn the fledging Chrome web browser into the most popular platform on the internet, with nearly 60 percent of the market (Internet Explorer is the next closest, with 15 percent, according to NetMarketShare).

But a funny thing happened on the way to world dominance: Business. Today, talk about Google is equally spread between its efforts to do good — bringing the web to Puerto Rico or pushing renewable energy — and the company’s dominance of online advertising and overall monopoly status.

Isn’t there an alternative, you might be wondering? Meet Mozilla — again.

Firefox Quantum

On Tuesday, the do-gooders at the not-for-profit Mozilla Foundation unveiled Quantum, the latest version of the browser that’s had more lives than Wilt Chamberlain’s had female acquaintances. Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, chief marketing officer for Mozilla, says Quantum represents two things: The Foundation’s nonprofit attitude and several years’ worth of work tinkering with code.

“Connecting that do-good mentality with creating the best possible browser — that’s our superpower,” Kaykas-Wolff told Digital Trends.

Quantum is a slick and modern-looking browser, not the old-school Firefox you might be accustomed to. The new UI and design language even puts Chrome’s brand of minimalism to shame — by comparison, Chrome looks dated.

The new UI and design language even puts Chrome’s brand of minimalism to shame.

The new design is the result of behind-the-scenes labors known as the Photon Project, a research initiative dedicated to digging deep into what people expect from their browsers. It worked. Quantum feels like a modern browser should. Tabs are squared, animations are glassy-smooth, and all the settings and preferences are right where they should be.

“The user experience is as important as the guts. The nuances, the way the tabs interact with pages, the way the download buttons work. The experience itself feels vastly different,” Kaykas-Wolff said.

Thanks to Project Photon, which yielded a new parallel processing browser engine called Servo, Firefox Quantum feels a bit more intuitive than other browsers. Even if you haven’t used Firefox for years, jumping into Quantum feels just familiar enough that you know where everything is, but different enough that you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised by little design flourishes here and there. (Read more in our full hands-on review.)

firefox 58 improved speed screenshots android update ux430 performance2 1024x576 2

The new browser is part of a new attitude at Mozilla, which might just be the most earnest group on the internet. Mozilla’s motto is getting you where you want to go faster, so to introduce consumers and reviewers to the project, Mozilla’s marketing team chartered a high-powered ferry in the New York City area. You can take Mozilla to work today and tomorrow, and when you get there, take the browser for a spin.

Mozilla views itself as a champion of the internet, and takes that seriously — internet health, web literacy, all that jazz. Last fall, it presented an art project to explore internet privacy that featured a “Data Detox Bar” to let you cleanse your data from the web while you detox your body with a veggie smoothie. Facebook studies its users like an entomologist does a mosquito, so another artist collective put the social network itself under the microscope: They created a scale model of Zuckerberg’s house, and mounted it under a glass bell jar — with floor plans nearby for the four houses that surround his, which Zuckerberg also bought.

“You get the social benefit of supporting an organization like Mozilla.”

In the same vein, Mozilla held “self-defense” classes to discuss best practices for privacy and protection online, and incorporated physical self-defense lessons as well. Tae Kwon do anyone? To that end, there’s a new motto: Faster for good, meant to reflect both the browser’s speed and the ideology that built it.

“It’s a nod to who builds Firefox. And it’s Mozilla, you get the social benefit of supporting an organization like Mozilla,” Kaykas-Wolff said.

Kaykas-Wolff calls Quantum’s target audience “The Conscious Consumer.” It’s someone who chooses to buy products with an understanding of their values, who supports farm to table, who indexes higher on privacy and security. Who knows what conflict minerals are and how to avoid them. This group makes 17 to 20 percent of the internet population, he says.

Computing

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Computing

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.
Photography

Insta-checkout? New Instagram service lets you shop without leaving the platform

Shopping on Instagram no longer means leaving the platform to checkout in a web browser. Instagram checkout launched in beta today with a handful of retailers, allowing users to checkout without leaving the app.
Computing

Get the most out of your high-resolution display by tweaking its DPI scaling

Windows 10 has gotten much better than earlier versions at supporting today's high-resolution displays. If you want to get the best out of your monitor, then check out our guide on how to adjust high-DPI scaling in Windows 10.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Deals

Looking for a Chromebook? The Google PixelBook just got a $200 price cut

Once relatively obscure, Chromebooks have come into their own in a big way in recent years. One of our favorites is the super-sleek Google Pixelbook, and it's on sale right now from Amazon for $200 off, letting you score this premium laptop…
Computing

Nvidia’s GTX 1650 graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over the 1050 Ti

Rumors suggest Nvidia might soon launch the GTX 1650, and a leaked benchmark listing from Final Fantasy XV suggests that the new graphics card could be just a slight upgrade over last generation's GTX 1050 Ti. 
Computing

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.
Computing

Get the new Dell XPS 13 for $750 with this limited-time deal

Dell is currently running a limited time deal lasting through Thursday, March 28, where you can bring home a version of this year's new XPS 13 for around $750 with the use of a special coupon code. 
Mobile

This is the easiest way to save your iPhone data to your computer

Living in fear of losing your contacts, photos, messages, and notes on your iPhone? Fear no more -- in this guide, we'll break down exactly how to back up your iPhone to your computer using Apple's iTunes or to the cloud with iCloud.
Mobile

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Computing

Microsoft’s Clippy came back from the dead, but didn’t last very long

Before Cortana, Alexa, and Siri even existed, Microsoft Clippy dominated the screens of computers in the 1990s to help assist Microsoft Office users when writing letters. He recently made a bit of a comeback only to die off again.
Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…