Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Birth pangs of Firefox 3

The world record that Mozilla foundation is heading towards sounds ambitious, and I am confident they will get it. Firefox is going to become the most popular browser ever, no doubt about it - it's now only a matter of time.

I downloaded Firefox 3 today for Mac, and I'm impressed with many new features. However, after using it for 4 hours, I already see a couple of areas for improvement:

1. Mac specific problems (as always): Websites created with iWeb '08 won't show the photo pages at all! However, websites created with previous versions of iWeb work well. There is a solution from an enthusiastic Apple user, but looks like Mozilla will take some time to listen.

2. 1 Billion people ignored: I'm an Indian, and want to use Firefox in my language. But that's my own selfish demand. Let's say that in another way: "If you make a Hindi language pack for Firefox, you will be able to reach 1 billion people directly". You heard it right, 1 billion - one sixth of world population.

3. Imperfect anti-phishing mechanisms: I also noticed that the anti-phishing system relies on reporting by suspecting users rather than a built-in algorithm. This has two flaws: 1. Not all phishing websites can be reported, 2. Not all can be reported in time - the reporting then just serves as a "damage control" mechanism rather than a method of prevention. I think it'd be great if Firefox can scan a link's text if it's made to look like a link, and alert the user if the link points to some other website. For example:


But it takes them to www.randomwebsite.com

4. In-browser PDF display: Just like the previous versions, you must download a PDF and open it with a different application - Firefox 3 cannot display PDF files inside the browser. The solution came rather quickly from Google. I haven't tested it, but it's reported to work well.

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