Twitter and Firefox sitting in a tree

Firefox logo onlyFirefox is so 2 years ago. Its rapidly losing market share to Chrome and its recent efforts to accelerate its development have been slow to show results users can appreciate. In the meantime, Chrome powers ahead towards the spot after the incumbent, Internet Explorer, which has fallen far from its 80-90% market share so somewhere in the low 50s.

That said, Firefox just launched Firefox 8 and all that rapid development seems to be coming together (whether its too little, too late is another matter entirely). While Firefox 8 looks substantially the same as Firefox 4 (which represents a departure from the familiar interface that Firefox had since the beginning to a tabs on top design), it is really fast, light on resources (based on my entirely unscientific tests) and worth looking at. Reviews have been positive and one of the features mentioned in all the reviews I have seen is Twitter search integration in Firefox both as a search engine and into the AwesomeBar itself. Its this Twitter integration that makes Firefox a little more compelling to Twitter users.

Twitter - Firefox integration

You can do three things using this new Twitter integration:

  • You can search for Twitter users and hashtags from the AwesomeBar/location bar;
  • This integration creates a dedicated app tab set to the Twitter web app (aka making Twitter a little more accessible;
  • You can search for stuff on Twitter from the browser search panel (the separate panel is a bit of a relic from ghosts of Firefox past but it works).

I know you are now uninstalling Chrome as fast as you can and installing Firefox to replace it if you are a happy Chrome user (I want to believe but Chrome remains my default) but if you are not bonded to your browser in use and use Twitter a lot to tweet, find threads and hashtags, take another look at Firefox. From a performance perspective Firefox 8 is pretty impressive. I especially appreciate the work done to reduce the memory footprint. I have 8 tabs open in Firefox including the Twitter app tab and a YouTube video and Firefox reports that it is using just over 700MB of resident memory (I’m not sure if my terminology is correct here so feel free to correct me) and has a roughly 570MB explicit memory allocation. Chrome currently has 3 tabs open (two blogs and a Flickr photo page) and its comparable figures appear to be ±650MB and ±460MB, respectively. Not bad at all if these metrics are truly comparable.

Bottom line: if you are a Twitter user/slave then give Firefox another look.







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