What Is Firefox?

Home & Family, Technology
on March 13, 2012

Firefox is a popular Internet browser created by Mozilla, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. The Firefox creators and developers operate under the belief that "as the most significant social and technological development of our time, the Internet is a public resource that must remain open and accessible to all." The Firefox browser can be downloaded for free from Internet Explorer, Chrome or any other web browser.

Firefox popularity. According to W3Schools, a website designed to educate individuals on web technologies, more technological savvy users go with Mozilla Firefox more than any other browser. According to StatCounter, Firefox is third, slightly behind Google Chrome and significantly behind Internet Explorer, in overall Internet users.

A brief history of Firefox. Mozilla's first browser, the precursor to the current Firefox, rose out of the ashes as the Phoenix browser. Although the Phoenix browser is a much stripped down version of the current edition of Firefox, it had the tabbed browsing and download windows, common today but not so common then. The browser's name changed to Firebird when it was discovered another open source browser had the same Phoenix name. Another naming conflict arose (apparently none of the current browsers at the time were good enough to research name infringement), and Mozilla changed the name of the browser to Firefox. Firefox was released in 2004. Five days later, it reached the one-million download mark.

Firefox innovations. Firefox does many things that all browsers do — search the Internet, for example — but that's not all. It's most popular innovations, those that have since been incorporated into other browsers include what the folks at Mozilla call The Awesome Bar. The Awesome Bar is its version of an address bar that learns your search preferences and gives you popular options as you type in a web address. This feature makes it so you don't have to remember web addresses.

Other key features. As part of its mission to make the Internet accessible to all, Firefox makes searching the Internet simpler with some of its key features. The Firefox browser allows you to reopen previously closed tabs and windows with no loss of previously searched sites. An integrated web search allows the user to choose any search engine by the simple means of a scroll down menu in the search box, located in the upper right hand corner of the browser. Firefox add-ons help users personalize the web, and parents have access to parental controls to keep their kids safe online, in addition to private browsing to keep others from finding out where they've been.