Mozilla Firefox: The Searcher’s Browser

Firefox has emerged as the first browser in years to seriously challenge Internet Explorer—with good reason. Firefox has superior security and anti-scumware features, it works on Windows, Linux, MacOS X and other operating systems, and it’s free.

Best of all, Firefox offers lots of goodies for searchers, both through a built-in Google search toolbar, as well as dozens of free extensions created by an active open-source developer community.

This week, I’ll be taking a close look at Firefox, reviewing some of the native features that make it a compelling alternative to Internet Explorer. I’ll also review my favorite browser extensions that enhance both search and browsing the web.

If you haven’t yet tried Firefox, download it now. This link is to the 1.0 “preview release,” but this version is very stable and really works like final, production software. The download is a relatively light 4.5 MB, and the program installs quickly, without requiring any type of registration.

During installation, you can also opt to have Firefox import options, bookmarks, browsing history, passwords and other data from Internet Explorer or a previous version of Firefox.

You’ll also be asked whether you want to make Firefox your default browser. Although I love Firefox and use it daily, I still keep Internet Explorer as my default browser, because some web sites are designed specifically for IE. If you find that you really prefer Firefox you can always set it to be your default browser later through the options panel.

Once installed, you should have no problem using Firefox. It’s similar enough to Internet Explorer that it doesn’t need a lot of explanation. That said, if you really want to dig in deep check out the excellent Introduction to Mozilla Firefox.

Firefox was designed from the ground up to be highly customizable. You can tweak literally any aspect of the browser, from appearance to fundamental behavior. See the Firefox Tips & Tricks page for details. The tips are divided into four categories and sorted by importance/popularity.

Tomorrow I’ll focus on Firefox’s search tools, starting with the built-in Google search toolbar that can be extended to add just about any of your favorite general purpose or specialized web search tools.

Part 2 of this series is here and Part 3 is here.

Search Headlines

NOTE: Article links often change. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline.

Pay-Per-Click Perils
InfoWorld Nov 8 2004 2:32PM GMT
Google search on Mac not needed
Australian IT Nov 8 2004 2:07PM GMT
Link Development: The Key to Successful SEO | ClickZ
ClickZ Today Nov 8 2004 12:55PM GMT
Yahoo looking at new arena
San Francisco Chronicle Nov 8 2004 11:37AM GMT Find (open) source code fast
NewsForge Nov 8 2004 9:39AM GMT
Meeker Doubts Microsoft Impact on Search Market Nov 8 2004 6:10AM GMT
The Low-down: Search and Your Affiliates
iMedia Connection Nov 8 2004 3:22AM GMT
New Stuff from Feedster and Technorati
Search Engine Watch Nov 7 2004 5:51PM GMT
Google’s latest tool offers both promise and peril Nov 7 2004 4:37PM GMT
Tide of migrant BNP PR menaces Google News
The Register Nov 7 2004 11:37AM GMT
More Stupid PageRank Articles
InsideGoogle Nov 7 2004 1:06AM GMT
Google ‘Hack’ Prevention
CNET Asia Nov 6 2004 5:34PM GMT
Searching Television via Closed-Captioning
Search Engine Watch Nov 6 2004 5:33PM GMT
An Hourly Visualization of the News
Search Engine Watch Nov 6 2004 5:32PM GMT
Google’s Ads In Taste Tests
New York Post Nov 6 2004 5:00PM GMT
New Options at Yahoo Shopping
Search Engine Watch Nov 6 2004 4:57PM GMT
Speegle Search Engine Talks to You
ResearchBuzz Nov 6 2004 1:41PM GMT

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