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Red-hot browser

Users have anxiously awaited the release of Firefox 1.0, the latest and greatest attempt to unseat IE as the default browser on user desktops.

The age of high-speed connections has brought bandwidth-hogging ad technologies, which slow down your browsing to sub-56K speeds, take over your screen against your will, and open doors for all kinds of snooping and spying. To combat these malicious Web technologies, we’re obliged to purchase and load all kinds of additional software, such as FailSafe Technologies Inc.’s Guard-IE Ad Blocking and Web Privacy Suite and Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware.

I’ve often wondered why browser makers don’t just build this stuff into their software, rather than requiring users to get it from third parties. In the case of Internet Explorer (IE), the reason is Microsoft owns one of the largest direct-marketing and ad technology companies and builds the leading suite of tools for direct marketers. So it’s in its best interests to make it easier for these bandwidth-hogging, screen cluttering, and privacy invading technologies to flourish within its software.

But Microsoft can’t keep the competition from making browsers that block pop-ups and spyware. This is why users have anxiously awaited the release of Firefox 1.0, Mozilla’s latest and greatest attempt to unseat IE as the default browser on user’s desktops. Firefox is the first browser that has built-in pop-up and spyware blocking, as well as lots of cool user interfaces innovations.

After I downloaded Firefox, I was immediately in awe over download speeds. I’m accustomed to waiting up to 30 seconds on a high-speed connection to load ad-heavy pages such as ESPN.com. Firefox loaded it in three seconds. I was also stunned to see a big fat zero new critical objects (bad spyware) two days in a row on my Ad-Aware scan. I typically run Ad-Aware daily after browsing four big-name news sites with IE and it catches about 20 spyware objects.

I also love some of Firefox’s user interface features, such as the Open as tabs function. I have a bunch of toolbar favorite folders, such as News. Firefox lets me open the entire folder as a set of tabs that appear under the toolbar. Now that I have tabbed access to all my favorites folders, which load with incredible speed and without pop-ups or spyware, I’ll never use IE again.

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