Mozilla has brought out the latest version of its web browser today (May 3), with Firefox reaching version 100, bringing new and improved features for users across operating systems.
While Google Chrome reached version 100 in March, there wasn’t much in the way of substantial features that marked this milestone, but Firefox 100 looks to be different. Available for Windows 11 and macOS (opens in new tab), Android (opens in new tab), and iOS (opens in new tab), it looks like Mozilla has included plenty of new features to try out.
There’s an improved picture-in-picture mode, for example, which is similar to Apple’s feature in its own Safari browser where a video can pop out of an app, and be viewed anywhere, even when you’re using other apps or browsing other websites. Firefox’s version of this feature now supports subtitles and captions, something that Apple’s take still doesn’t have. There’s also new wallpapers for Firefox mobile users, and an HTTPS-first setting for Android users, enabling an extra layer of security while you browse.
With these useful features, it may tempt some users who use Google Chrome, Safari, and others to finally move to Firefox.
Analysis: this could be the version that moves Chrome users to Firefox
Since its debut in 2004, Firefox was seen as the first real alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser, mainly due to having tabs, something that we all use in our web browsers today, but at the time was something of a novelty.
However, Mozilla’s web browser has somewhat disappeared in recent years, mainly due to Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft’s Edge web browser being more visible thanks to the marketing budget that Apple, Google, and Microsoft have.
Being an underdog can bring innovation to features that users have been clamoring for, and better picture-in-picture support is an example of this. Since its debut in iOS 9, the feature has barely been updated by Apple, with no way of scrubbing the timeline of a video or placing a video anywhere on an iPad display.
But with support for subtitles, and support for Netflix, YouTube, and Prime Video, it could be the sole feature that tempts users to move to Firefox. Imagine using another tab for Google Docs, or just for scrolling through Twitter, but you want to make sure that you’re watching a video at the same time. Combine this with subtitles and you’re essentially browsing two bits of content at once, without switching between tabs.
While Google Chrome often boasts about how fast it can load websites, it’s had a reputation for being a battery-hog for years, with no sign of improvements. Having tried Firefox on a MacBook Pro 14-inch for much of this year, we’ve found the web browser to be less of a burden on memory, which could tempt some users to make the switch.
However, version 100 gives us hope that Firefox could finally have a real chance of being a rival to Google Chrome, and it makes us wonder if a new generation of browser wars is about to occur on your desktop.