The year is 2008 and I had been using Mozilla Firefox for two years after my painful but inevitable breakup with Internet Explorer. But, out of school and professional necessity, I had to make the switch to Google Chrome.
For the most part, it worked out for me. It had features that Firefox at the time didn’t, like being able to sync and access tabs from other devices or saving all my bookmarks under a single profile that I could transfer to other PCs.
Then over the years, Google became more invasive. It, like many other major corporations, started tracking and compiling data and creating detailed profiles that it could sell to marketing firms. Lucrative business for them, but a nail in the coffin for internet privacy.
The other nail is the fact that Chrome’s market share has absolutely skyrocketed during this period of time. Back in 2008 when I first made the switch, Google and Mozilla weren’t too far apart but now, thanks to most other browsers using some form of Chromium to power them, the gap might as well be an ocean.
But I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. I finally switched back to Mozilla Firefox in 2019 and found it to be an incredible browser that had every feature Chrome had and more.
The browser doesn’t track you, which makes using AdBlock actually meaningful
Google Chrome has an array of AdBlock extensions that keeps your data out of the hands of marketing firms looking to compile detailed profiles made of your browsing history. However, the Chrome browser itself does the same and there’s no restricting that access. There are also talks of Google breaking those AdBlock extensions in 2023 with a massive update, which is rather terrifying, to say the least.
However, Mozilla has none of these issues. The browser doesn’t track you in the slightest and even has built-in cookie protection and offers VPN services for a low price. So you can add AdBlock or uBlock Origins or whichever other extension you prefer, knowing the Firefox will not violate your privacy.
There are tons of extensions to protect your internet privacy
While Google Chrome has a good selection of extensions, Mozilla Firefox has far more than that and a sizable amount is devoted to blocking the vast array of internet trackers used by most sites. And unlike Chrome, Firefox is extremely anti-tracking to the point that outside forces (whether work or school) are unable to install tracking extensions and programs into the browser.
These are some Firefox extensions in particular that are, in my humble opinion, vital to the best possible browsing experience:
- 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
Not only are all of these useful for keeping all your data safe and private, but it’s truly sobering just how much of your online experience is being recorded at any given moment.
You can save profiles and transfer bookmarks, as well as sync tabs
One of the features I needed when I switched to Chrome was the ability to sync and open the same tabs on different devices, a feature that later proved indispensable throughout college and especially when I first began writing professionally as a video game journalist. And being able to save all my bookmarks was vital to me not losing access to them in case of a PC failure, ironically what happened when my laptop broke down and I lost all my Mozilla Firefox bookmarks.
But now Firefox has all of these and it’s incredibly simple to use. The browser itself saves your bookmarks and settings under one profile, which you can transfer to multiple PCs and even the mobile version of the browser. From there you can sync tabs between all your devices and open them wherever you want. You can even send tabs directly from one device to another, allowing you to instantly open them without digging around first. And all bookmarks are saved under your profile, giving you full access to them across any device once you log in.
It’s not a processor hog like Chrome
A huge complaint among even the most stalwart Google Chrome users is that the browser eats through your CPU like a Snorlax at a buffet. While this is an issue for any PC, having a browser that consistently takes up almost half your processing power is especially a problem for laptops or other devices with very little RAM.
Which is why Mozilla Firefox is such a breath of fresh air, as it uses much less of your CPU while still delivering a fast browsing experience. So feel free to have as many tabs open as you want in Firefox, your device will barely feel the effects.