Rolling out today, the latest version of the Mozilla Firefox browser — Firefox 55 — will be loaded with a few new features that might make you momentarily think about switching back from Chrome. I would make that same assumption about Microsoft Edge, but let’s be honest, you aren’t using Microsoft Edge. The biggest touch point of the latest Firefox update is finally adding support for WebVR. There are also some other features in the update, which are excitedly laid out on the Mozilla blog.
WebVR support means you won’t have to download an individual app for each website so you can get your web-based Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality experience on with little problem. Firefox will join Edge and Chrome with built-in WebVR support, leaving only Safari (as far as major browsers) out in the regular reality. As the updates roll out today, your Firefox browser will support WebVR 1.1 which means no more add-ons, developer switches or wondering how you even lived before web-based VR. It should be noted that the WebVR release on Firefox is a general user focused release and not exclusively on the dev end like Chrome and Edge.
For more on what WebVR means for your Firefox experience you can read this Medium post about it or if you prefer the visual, Mozilla made a handy dandy sizzle reel for your infotainment:
In addition to WebVR and finally giving anyone using Microsoft Edge a reason to no longer do so, Firefox 55 comes with some other neat features. I say neat because let’s be honest, you don’t really give a crap. You have one question when it comes to what browser you are using — is it fast enough for these forty tabs of porn I have open? Probably. Maybe. Mozilla uses the word “fast” a lot in its blog post.
There is faster search, similar to Google Chrome auto-fill. The new 64-bit Windows update is much less prone to running out of memory and crashing, which is good news if you haven’t bookmarked your forty tabs of already buffered porn. Speaking about tab hoarding, the Quantum Flow project from Mozilla has improved performance when restoring Firefox tabs from a previous session.
Then there is the Performance Panel, where you can adjust (among many things) the number of content processors that Firefox uses. The default is four, but if you are running anything more than that you can adjust that number to improve browser speed. Why would you roller skate with only five wheels when you have eight? I have no idea. Who roller skates anymore? I mean, besides those two Brits on America’s Got Talent.
If you are using Google Chrome as your day-to-day browser, it’s probably because it generally is the faster browser. Though there is a lot of contention to that point. I have found that on my eight processor five-year-old laptop, Chrome is the better option. While on my gaming PC, Firefox tends to take up less memory but I’m already using Chrome on the other computer so it makes sense to just keep with it. Sometimes I accidentally open Edge though, so just use whatever browser you like.
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