Mozilla today launched Firefox 57, branded Firefox Quantum, for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. The new version, which Mozilla calls “by far the biggest update since Firefox 1.0 in 2004,” brings massive performance improvements and a visual redesign.
The Quantum name signals that Firefox 57 is a huge release that incorporates the company’s next-generation browser engine (Project Quantum). The goal is to make Firefox the fastest and smoothest browser for PCs and mobile devices — the company has previously promised that users can expect “some big jumps in capability and performance” through the end of the year. Indeed, three of the four past releases (Firefox 53, Firefox 54, and Firefox 55) included Quantum improvements. But those were just the tip of the iceberg.
Firefox 57 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. The Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play, and the iOS version (which is usually updated separately from the other platforms) should eventually arrive on Apple’s App Store.
Mozilla doesn’t break out the exact numbers for Firefox, though the company does say that “half a billion people around the world” use the browser. In other words, it’s a major platform that web developers target — even in a world increasingly dominated by mobile apps.
Mozilla says that Firefox Quantum will feel speedier when you browse your favorite websites, thanks to faster page loading, smoother scrolling, and a more responsive user interface. The company noted three ways Firefox now bests the competition:
Firefox Quantum is 2X as fast as Firefox was 6 months ago, according to the (still-in-development) Speedometer 2.0 benchmark Firefox Quantum is oftentimes perceivably faster than Chrome in a side-by-side comparison Firefox Quantum often uses less memory than Chrome (~30 percent less using a Windows 10 PC)
While Firefox has historically run mostly on just one CPU core, Firefox Quantum finally takes advantage of multiple CPU cores on desktop and mobile. Firefox Quantum features a faster CSS engine written in Rust that runs quickly, in parallel across multiple CPU cores, instead of running in one slower sequence on a single core. “No other browser can do this,” Mozilla claims.
Firefox Quantum prioritizes the tab you’re actively using — that tab downloads and runs before other tabs you have open in the background — and includes a new CSS engine called Stylo, which takes better advantage of multiple CPU cores that are optimized for low power consumption. Mozilla has
- Report: governments in 30 countries manipulated social media to counter critics, drive specific agendas, more; elections in 18 countries may have been affected (Freedom House)
- Sources: Apple is working on a rear-facing 3D sensor for 2019 iPhone to improve AR capabilities (Bloomberg)
- Firefox Quantum, built from the ground up as multi-device browser, has useful features, strong privacy protections, is faster & better at memory use than Chrome (David Pierce/Wired)
- Sources: Mozilla lays off dozens from its Taiwan office, which was working on Gecko and other open-source projects, as it refocuses priorities in Asia (Stephen Shankland/CNET)
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