What this means for average computer users is that Mozilla is now offering two different browsers for free for use of the public. The newest of these lets you experience the latest browser innovations on a daily basis.
Step Right up Folks and Be Mozilla’s Guinea Pig
That’s right folks, Mozilla is giving you the privilege of being a guinea pig for their new technology on a daily basis. If you are not completely frustrated with Microsoft Explorer, just go over to Mozilla.com and download the latest Firefox prototype. Who cares if it actually works or not? It’s new and it has a cool-looking icon.
How this is supposed to help Mozilla’s reputation is beyond me. Firefox is a huge success because it actually works. You can actually use it to log onto the internet from the average computer with the average internet hookup in less than a minute. More importantly, you can actually download stuff through it. Another big advantage to Mozilla is that it only shuts down for no reason occasionally. You are not likely to have it go down right in the middle of a streaming video you are trying to download.
I use Mozilla because it actually works on the lousy broadband they have at my house. Like a lot of people, my choices in broadband are limited to whatever the phone company feels like giving me and satellite internet which does not work half the time.
In addition to Aurora, Mozilla is still giving us regular Firefox – the one they have tested and taken the bugs out of. Only it is now being called Beta. If you are looking for a browser that works and will let you log onto the net, you need Beta. Aurora could be fun to play with it, but who wants to be a test subject for a bunch of geeks?
The only advantage I can see to Firefox Aurora is that you get to provide feedback on the features. That means if they do not work, you can send a complaint to Mozilla. If you do not need a browser that works, Aurora could be some fun.
It will be fun because Mozilla will let you see its cutting edge features before they release them to the public. If you are a developer creating new apps, it might help your business. It might also be an interesting way for journalists and bloggers to research the latest in browser technology.
Microsoft should definitely subscribe so they can see what a browser that actually works looks like. It could also help them avoid the day when nobody is actually using Explorer.
The biggest change for the average person is that the standard Firefox is now called Firefox Beta. If you are putting a browser on an average person’s computer or your own PC and you just need to get online, use Beta.
You can still provide feedback to Mozilla with Firefox Beta. You just won’t get to see some of the geeky new features first. That means you will not be able to impress the gang in the lunchroom with your knowledge of the latest browser features. It does mean you will be able to see your Facebook page.
There is also a Firefox Beta for mobile, so you will be able to get online from mobile devices as well. Both Firefox Betas provide lots of cutting edge features and stability.
All three versions of Firefox can be downloaded here:
Latest Round of the Browser Wars
The reason Mozilla is making two different versions of Firefox available is obvious. It is feeling competition from Google Chrome, which now has about 10% of the browser market. Like Firefox, Chrome has a big advantage – it actually works and it is easy to use.
Mozilla wants to preserve Firefox’s place as the cutting edge browser, so it is taking this step. Part of the reason it could be doing this is the fact that Chrome is much more than just a browser. The Chrome browser is actually sort of a Trojan horse that lets Google sneak Chrome OS into our computers. Google has done something nearly impossible – it has gotten average computer users to actually use Linux. Chrome OS is nothing but Ubuntu-flavored Linux repackaged for non-geeks.
We see Chrome, we use it, we like it, and we get used to the idea of using Google for a lot more than searching. It is sort of sneaky, but it is a brilliant marketing plan because it works. It is also Mozilla’s marketing plan – we use Firefox because it is free, easy to use, and actually works. Another company doing something similar is Facebook.
The real victim of the browser wars could be Microsoft. Explorer is still popular, but it is losingmarket share faster. All the people using Windows and other browsers are now conditioned to use non-Microsoft solutions. That means those people will be much more likely to download or even pay for Apps from some place besides Microsoft. Google is counting on this change of attitude to drive business to its App marketplace.
One has to wonder if a Mozilla marketplace or Mozilla App store will be part of Firefox Aurora. If it is, a lot of people are going to be burning the midnight oil at Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Wash.