Statcounter, which releases reports on the userbase for the most popular web browsers, revealed that Apple’s Safari overtook Microsoft Edge in April 2023 as the second most-used browser in the world. This is especially significant as Safari is the only non-cross-platform browser, meaning it edged out (forgive the pun) a browser that’s available to any OS.
Of course, if you happen to be keeping up, the number two spot is a race for a distant second. Google Chrome is by any measure the most used browser online with a whopping – as of April 2023 – 66.13% market share, compared to Safari’s 11.87%, Edge’s 11%, Mozilla Firefox’s 5.65%, and Opera’s 3.09%. Considering how powerful Google’s brand recognition is, it’s hardly any surprise that it's considered one of the best web browsers out there.
But, as I’ve done before, am here to tell you which browser really deserves that top spot and why. And it’s definitely not Chrome. It’s actually the browser that unfortunately has the second lowest market share: Mozilla Firefox. That ranking is a crime against the internet as Firefox has some seriously robust features and a great user interface that makes it the number one browser in my heart.
Being able to sync tabs, save and transfer profiles
One of the best features of Google Chrome is the ability to sync tabs in order to open them on other devices, as well as save and transfer profiles to multiple devices. But what if I told you that Mozilla Firefox offers those same tools, which are just as easy to use but don’t have that pesky ability to track all those profiles you make in the process?
The process of creating profiles on Firefox is quite simple. Once you have the browser downloaded and installed, you’ll be prompted to create an account or log in to a preexisting one. You can create multiple profiles with different email addresses of course, and then log out of the previous one to log into a new one. And you can log into as many devices with the same profile as you like, as well as transfer over bookmarks from other browsers to Firefox.
Syncing tabs is exactly as it sounds, with tabs from all your devices logged in the same Firefox profile available to open on your current device. In my opinion, this is especially handy for transferring over tabs from your mobile browser to a desktop one. It’s the feature that I originally left Firefox for Chrome over and one of the main features that had me coming back.
Adblock is actually useful, and it won’t break
Despite Google Chrome having extensions that block ads and advertisement tracking in general, there are two reasons why it’s rendered meaningless. The first is that, if your ad-blocking extension of choice happens to be Adblock Plus, don’t even bother. It turns out that Google reportedly pays it to whitelist all its online advertising, defeating the purpose of even having it since Google will still track you through the browser. And if you use other ones like the excellent uBlock Origin and uMatrix ad blockers, well I’ve got some bad news for you.
You see, in January 2023 Google started the process of phasing out the Manifest V2 Chrome extension platform for its experimental Canary channel in order to introduce its Manifest V3. And in June 2023, Manifest V2 will be phased out for all stable channels with the eventual plan to introduce V3 completely. The issue is that Chrome’s version of V3 will most likely break current ad blockers, including those two aforementioned ones as well as other anti-web tracking extensions like Privacy Badger.
But Mozilla Firefox avoids both issues. First, since the browser doesn’t sell users advertisements or track users within the browser, any ad block or anti-tracking extension will work to block any third-party shenanigans. And second, Firefox’s creator has stated that it will support Manifest V3 but let ad blockers work as intended.
Tons of useful extensions
In my previous piece, I listed several extensions that in my opinion are absolutely necessary to have a safe and privacy-filled internet browsing experience. You can find the list of them below as reference:
- uBlock Origin - Adblock but better and uses less CPU
- Facebook Container - prevents Facebook from tracking you across sites
- Google Container - prevents Google from tracking you across sites
- Multi-Account Container - keeps websites from interacting with each other and from tracking you by putting them in a separate container
- Disconnect - prevents third-party sites from tracking you
- Privacy Possum - falsifies tracking data and sends it to tracking companies
- Privacy Badger - learns how to block invisible trackers
- HTTPS Everywhere - enables HTTPS encryption automatically
- DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials - complete privacy protection for your browser
There are also some non-privacy-oriented ones that are very useful for Firefox users. One that’s made for writers is called Tomato Clock, which sets an automatic timer that you can use to write as much as possible within that time limit. There’s also FoxClock, a handy reference for those who communicate with people in other timezones, as it lets you choose timezones to display as a browser toolbar or within the extension itself.
And one of my favorites, Shinigami Eyes, is a very useful extension that marks the name of any anti-transgender person or organization in red, allowing you to avoid them completely. Of course, there are tons more out there to discover and use, which is the beauty of Mozilla Firefox.