Long Live Firefox!

A new feature introduced recently in Firefox: Firefox Suggest caused a lot of backlashes. People are trashing Firefox for sharing their data with ad providers. Some hate seeing additional results at all. This article is about the first group of comments against Firefox for sharing the data with ad-partners.

There are hundreds of browsers out there, just like different Linux distributions. However, only a handful of browsers have all the functionalities to be the daily driver. When someone says Google Chrome, I see a browser that can work with almost every website. Google Chrome never failed me on any aspects of browsing. I'd even say Google Chrome sets the bar for all other browsers. Similarly, other browsers have their unique selling points to stand out:

  • Vivaldi - Customizability
  • Brave - Adblocker and Speed
  • Edge - Google Chrome of Microsoft
  • Opera - Builtin proxy

In this list, Firefox: "the only completely open-source browser." promises privacy. There is no surprise in Google Chrome leading the market, and I am confident that Microsoft Edge will soon come closer to Chrome neck to neck. However, these two browsers are built and maintained by two big brothers of the industry. Both these browsers will try their best to suck users' data. You can expect anything but your privacy from these top two giants. For these two companies, the browser business is not to make money but to collect data and to have control over the internet. Among the next-level competitors, Mozilla cares more about privacy. It raises voice over any anti-privacy movements from other companies. Looking at the history of these browsers, I trust Mozilla the most.

The recent changes made in Firefox, from including Firefox Suggest to testing Bing are all desperate movements to keep the company running. Though we talk a lot about privacy, the majority of users don't care. They either go with the default browser that comes with the operating system that again comes pre-installed - that is Edge; otherwise, choose the most heard name: Google Chrome. The shrinking market share leaves Mozilla to survive at the mercy of Google and Microsoft based on who agrees to sign a deal to be the default search engine of Firefox.

It is a natural choice for a company that survives with the support of its competitors to look for alternatives to make money. That's where "Firefox Suggests" come in. Even if Mozilla collects search queries, I believe Mozilla will not misuse it. Firefox even offers an option to turn this feature off. I hope people complaining against "Firefox Suggest" use duckduckgo as their search engine. Otherwise, Google and Microsoft collect your search query and they have better tracking than Mozilla to personally identify you.

Of course, there is no doubt Mozilla should have a better plan to make money within its current constraints but what is that plan? Nobody knows; even Mozilla. All its current attempts are justifiable as a decades-old privacy-focused and open-source company trying its best to survive without just letting it go. If Firefox goes extinct in the future, there will be a void for privacy-focused browsers and another chromium-based browser may emerge to fill that gap. Why shouldn't this be Firefox itself with enough cash flow to live longer?


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