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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mozilla Ships Firefox 2.0 ... It's a Dud

Me, in WinInfo:
Today, Mozilla will officially unveil Firefox 2.0, the latest version of its Web browser and, increasingly, a credible challenger to Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE). Unfortunately, some of Firefox's more trend-setting features have been delayed to a later release, and the new release suffers as a result. What's left is pretty unimpressive.

Disclaimer: I've been a Firefox user and advocate for a long time--so long, in fact, that I used the browser when it was still called by its Phoenix code name. Although I'll likely provide a longer review on the SuperSite for Windows in the days ahead, I think it's relevant to supply a few first impressions here.

I don't like it. The new Firefox "visual refresh" replaces the previously clean Firefox UI with muddy and vague-looking icons. So, one of the first things I did was download a theme that returned the old Firefox 1.5 look and feel. The built-in phishing protection is truly third-rate. There are two antiphishing options: Mozilla's weak blacklist-based protection (yes, seriously) and Google's antiphishing technology, which is both poorly rated and a privacy nightmare. The new Options dialog box is a miasma of choices, some of which are hidden in embedded tab controls. It's ugly, confusing, and illogical.
Ed Burnette at ZDNet offers a rebuttal of sorts. However, I think he's missing one important point here:
Phishing protection. Paul says IE's is better, and I haven't put them to the test so I can't say. But the presence of this protection at all is surely a boon to Firefox users, and it will only get better with time.
Well, IE 7's phishing filter was more highly rated, yes. The phishing filter that's built into Firefox 2.0 is a joke. You have two options: The built-in version, which literally uses a lame (and immediately out of date) white list/black list system. Or you can use Google's low-rated and privacy-challenged phishing filter. A better bet is the excellent Netcraft toolbar, which isn't as good as IE 7, but is much better than the two options Mozilla provides.

Anyway, I don't mean to suggest that Firefox 2.0 is worthless. It's still arguably as good or better than IE 7. But it's such a tiny incremental upgrade from Firefox 1.5. They should have just called it 1.6.
[ Posted at 9:46 PM | Permalink ]


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