Is Firefox Losing Me?

Are the downloads of Mozilla Firefox indicative of its users? Apparently not (via Larry Dingan). There is an admission that only 50% of the users who download actually end up using it. It is a good thing that Mozilla is aware of this and is taking active steps to increase retention.

Is Firefox losing me? Not me, but definitely my Dad, and probably many more. There are some Mac users who prefer Camino or Safari for their casual browsing. Even I have started using alternative browsers like Epiphany and Konqueror for casual surfing, and Firefox has turned into just a developer tool. Why? Because it is too expensive, in terms of memory and CPU usage both, for Web surfing.

Somehow Firefox seems to have deviated from its focus of Web surfing. It has become overqualified for surfing, And with what its trying, it is quite possible that it will be suitable only for the heavy Web users. Firefox, the browser, seems to be losing to Firefox, the platform. And with other browsers which use Gecko, the same rendering engine as Firefox, comparable alternatives are available.

Firefox has already captured a lot of the developer userbase. It can gain more market share only if it appeals to the common man. For that, I think, Mozilla should have one more point in their plan, probably at a high priority – to refocus on Web surfing and to treat Firefox as a browser, not a platform.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Anand said:

    While I cannot fathom a point when I will be moving out of Firefox, it sure concerns me with the CPU usage…I would suggest Firefox to come up with a developer version for the ‘heavy users’ while retaining the simplicity for the common man..

  2. kalpesh said:

    I have been using firefox for a long time and vouch for its reliability. Nothing can beat firefox as for features the users who have non-technical background may find it extremely difficult to utilize the true strength of firefox.

  3. Andrew said:

    I completely agree that Firefox is facing serious bloat. One of the big reasons it was successful originally was that it recognized the feature bloat present in the Mozilla codebase and returned to its roots…web browsing.

    I think as of now they’re striking the right balance between providing useful features built-in and allowing more extraneous features as extensions, and social networking features sound exactly like something an extension should provide.

  4. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Thanks for your comments people.

    Anand, two different apps by users might not work very well. It usually ends up creating confusion for the end user.

    kalpesh, I agree with you that Firefox suits technical people. However, majority are not and they are the target if Firefox wants to increase the market share.

    Andrew, yes I think Firefox should keep the social network as an extension. I feel they are trying to make Firefox into a do-all application, which might hurt.

  5. Andreas said:

    Same issues here, Firefox is just to bloated. So i use it only for webdevelopment. Daily surfing is done by Camino. Another point against firefox, its just ugly compared to camino.

  6. Enlaces para leer y ver 40 « el50 said:

    […] ¿Está firefox perdiéndome? / ifacethoughts. A mi sí, demasiado pesado para simplemente navegar aunque tampoco lo dejo, pero en estos momentos Opera es mi navegador. Metáforas Visuales: 7 buenos ejemplos/ Devlounge. Que es, como y porque se usa una metáfora en el diseño. Un excelente artículo lleno de imágenes para ilustrar mejor el tema. Además fue escrito por Larissa Meek :). […]

  7. Alex Suraci said:

    I just wish they’d stop adding useless crap into it. Firefox v0.8 was great because it was do lightweight, and they left the features where they should be – the extensions.

  8. Ryan said:

    I would switch if I could get browser sync and del.icio.us extension for safari. I love FF, but I can’t stand how heavy it has become these days. It slows my computer down in no time. It’s unfortunate…

  9. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Ryan, some time back I was where you are . I have given up some convenience and started using other browsers for casual surfing. However, Firefox is still the choice for development work.

  10. Mobile Firefox - Browser Or Platform? | iface thoughts said:

    […] they should not adversely affect the browsing capability. I am in the same boat as many who have use Firefox more as a development tool rather than a browser. Why? Because Firefox seems to be good as a development tool, sometimes even […]

  11. Sumesh said:

    I’d love to use Opera regularly, but extensions that I use daily are exclusively on FF.

    I read Duncan Riley saying that Flock is better. I’m trying it out soon, coz Flock’s got all FF extensions, the same rendering engine etc. Only that Flock team has tweaked it better.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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