Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Firefox Roadmap for 2012

Lately Firefox has been in news for the wrong reason. They have been losing out to competitors especially Chrome.

I personally use both the browsers and like both of them. I really like the Firefox add-on system because it is quite rich (Chrome has caught up quite a bit on this too). One thing which I don't like is its bloated nature (the other day I saw Firefox was taking close 2 GB of my RAM!).

I got a chance to look at the Firefox Roadmap for 2012 which got updated very recently. There are some good things planned and I was able to categorize them into themes:

  • Catch up to Chrome:  One of the primary themes which I could make out (because they obviously won't say it that way) is Firefox trying to add a lot of Chrome features. For example: silent updates, web apps marketplace (like Chrome Web Store), add-on sync seem the most important ones. There are a few others as well.
  • Performance - There are a lot of items on this one and I am very glad about it. Firefox is looking at changes for better memory management, improving start up speed, faster session restores. They plan to introduce a next generation JavaScript engine 'IonMonkey' which is expected to have improved performance. They are other similar ones mentioned in the roadmap including a few obvious ones.
  • Social engagement - Firefox is planning to provide ways to share stuff. It is also going to have an id system (log on to Firefox with a password which hooks you to other things). One of the best things they are planning to introduce is an ability to monitor site tracking and control it (one of my friends would be thrilled with this feature). I would like to learn more about this and if I do, I will share it.
  • Firefox for Window 8 Metro: There is plan to release beta version of Firefox for Windows 8 metro. At this point in time we don't know how this will pan out and the kind of features that will come out. For the matter we don't even know how much Metro will catch on. Something to wait and watch.
  • Other catch up/good stuff: Reader mode similar to Safari. Language translation  etc.

Now these are significant features for sure. The one that can make Firefox standout and be counted as serious contenders is the social/privacy feature. If that is good then a lot of privacy conscious people (and that is a lot of people!) will take to Firefox. And to make them not regret that decision, Firefox performance improvements will help.

On the whole it looks like Firefox does not want to give up and die! I hope and want them to make it.

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