Review: Firefox 3

Yes, I have waited a few weeks to write my Firefox 3 review.  However, this has kept me from what would be my initial gush over the cool features, smooth interface, and smart url bar.  Firefox 3 is indeed an improvement on the best web browser in many ways, though it falls short in places as well.

First let’s talk about the good things.  In just the few weeks I have been using FF3, I am already dependant on some features.  One of these is the smart url bar.

While most browsers bring up your recently vistited URL’s when you type, the FF3 bar will bring up recently visted sites with the same address, key words in the site’s description, etc.  For example, if I were to type “ryan bowen” into the address bar, i get a dropdown list of sites that I’ve visited with that keyword (FaceBook, SpreadFirefox, NBA, CockyTalk, etc).  This makes it much easier to find sites, and you will no longer have to search through the web history.

Another new feature that I absolutely LOVE is a little harder to explain.  It also may have gone unnoticed to you thusfar, though it is very neat, even though not incredibly useful.  Let’s say you want to add cover art to one of your iTunes albums.  Generally speaking, you probably Google Image search the coverart, then drag and drop it into the “Get Info” -> “Album Art” box.  With FF3, it drags a slightly dulled image of whatever you are dragging with the mouse.  As I said, this is difficult to explain, but it is a nifty feature indeed.

The last feature I’ll talk about has come in really useful to me.  Many times, I’ll have 5 or 6 tabs open, and I’ll get called away from my computer for a while.  I don’t want to leave a window open since I don’t know when I’ll get back to it, but then again I don’t want to bookmark all my tabs before I quit.  Thanks to FF3, I don’t have to.  Now, when you try to close a window with multiple tabs, it gives you an option to “Save and Quit”, so when you re-open, all your tabs come back!  Ingenious!

Now, I do have a few issues with Firefox 3.  For one, although it doesn’t do it as much now, Firefox would crash constantly when I first go it – I’m talking 3 or 4 times a day.  I have a brand new computer, it runs multiple apps flawlessly, but Firefox would crash ALL THE TIME.

Another problem I have is with the Add-Ons.  Some of my favorite extensions aren’t compatible with FF3.  I know that isn’t Mozilla’s fault, but still.

I also think there should be a way to add a FaviCon to your favorites for sites that don’t automatically have one.  For half of my favorites, I have to look at a yellow star.  It’s much easier to navigate through my favorites by looking at icons rather than reading.  That sounds incredibly lazy, but it’s true.

So, the bottom line is, I like Firefox.  I think security will be an issue in the months to come, because as it gets more popular, more hackers will target it.  However, it remains the most secure, customizable browser out there, and I highly recommend it.

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