Mozilla Ships Firefox 96

Posted on January 11, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Mozilla Firefox with 15 Comments

Mozilla today released the latest version of its flagship web browser, Firefox 96, adding several new features and fixes.

New features include:

  • Significant improvements in noise suppression and auto-gain-control as well as slight improvements in echo-cancellation to provide users with a better overall audio experience.
  • Significantly reduced main-thread load.
  • Firefox now provides a solid first line of defense against Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks by enforcing the “Cookie Policy: Same-Site=lax” policy by default

Fixes include:

  • On macOS, command-clicking links in Gmail now opens them in a new tab as expected.
  • Fixes an issue where video intermittently drops SSRC.
  • Fixes an issue where WebRTC downgrades screen sharing resolution to provide users with a clearer browsing experience.
  • Fixes video quality degradation issues on certain sites.
  • Detached video in full screen on macOS has been temporarily disabled to avoid some issues with corruption, brightness changes, missing subtitles, and high CPU usage.
  • Various security fixes.

You can download Firefox 96 from the Mozilla website.

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Comments (15)

15 responses to “Mozilla Ships Firefox 96”

  1. dftf

    Good for them, but I do wonder how much-longer we'll see Firefox around.

    StatCounter says between Dec 2020 and December just-gone, it's use-share went from 8.39% to 8.49% on desktop OSes. In the same period, Edge's use went from 7.43% to 9.22%. And Google Chrome from 65.96% to 66.6%. (And oddly Safari 10.43% down to 9.56% -- wonder which browser macOS users are going to?)

    On smartphone devices, Chrome owns 62.48% of the market; 26.48% by Safari; Samsung's own Internet browser at 5.19% and Firefox is amongst the "everyone else" group with just 0.5%; beaten by Opera at 1.96%.

    On tablet devices, it's essentially a two-horse race between Google Chrome and Safari; Firefox's share must be so-low, they don't even count it separately. It just comes under "others".

    I'm glad it's still around as an alternative... but for how-much longer, I wonder?

    • MikeCerm

      Their market share went up and you're concerned? That actually sounds like good news to me, because I'd expect it to be declining. They're not far behind Safari and Edge (on desktop anyway), which is interesting. I wish we had a way to know how many of those Chrome users are actually using Chromium derivatives (like, Brave, Vivaldi, etc.), which are generally counted as Chrome. What that would likely show is that Firefox is far and away the most popular 3rd-party browser, i.e., a browser that doesn't owe a large part of its market share to being the default (or only) browser on Windows/Mac/iOS/Android/Chrome-OS.

      • dftf

        Their market-share on desktop-based systems went up 0.1% in a year -- so by the end of 2030, it could increase a whole 1%, if that trend were to continue. I've heard of "playing-the-long-game", but I seriously doubt most-people would agree that is good. By that same time, Edge is likely to be somewhere-around 15% market-share, I'd estimate (accounting for some slowdown).

        And they have no-growth where it matters with the younger generations thesedays: smartphone and tablet devices.

        Oh, and on your second point, don't forget too that some Mozilla fans have been frustrated with some of the UI changes made in Firefox, and are also using derivaties. Pale Moon, Waterfox, Sea Monkey, GNU IceCat, Basilisk and TenFourFox to name just some.

        • MikeCerm

          Chrome derivatives like Brave, Vivaldi, and just plain Chromium represent tens of millions of users. I seriously doubt any of those Firefox derivatives have more than a few hundred users. Some are just one-man passion projects, Basilisk has been discontinued (because that one guy decided to stop. And I'm pretty sure they each use a user-agent string that is easily distinguishable from from Firefox (I know Pale Moon and Waterfox do, not sure about others, but again, they have no users.)

          If Firefox is capable of maintaining nearly 10% of just the browser desktop market, who's to say that isn't enough to keep up development? Firefox will never be dominant, but it doesn't really matter, it can still be a functional alternative to Chromium and Safari. Apple has been making computers since the '70s, but they only reached 10% market share in the last 5 years or so. Even when they were at 5%, it was still enough for developers to maintain some level of support for the Mac ecosystem.

    • whistlerpro

      Firefox are still ahead of Samsung Internet in the US, whereas in the UK they fall below it. But maybe that tells you more about Samsung's market share in the US.

  2. ruivo

    I used Firefox daily until Mozilla mangled the mobile version to make it "more Chrome like". So I switched to Edge on mobile. Eventually the account sync made me switch on desktop as well.

    Firefox was the alternative for those that disliked Chrome, and we loved it because it was different, not despite. So, if you are going to turn into a bad copy of them, I might as well go for the real thing and be done with the suffering.

    • MikeCerm

      You think Firefox is more like Chrome than Edge is? On mobile? I think Edge has a lot more in common with Chrome than Firefox does. Firefox supports add-ons (albeit a limited set), which includes some really useful ones like background video playback, and Dark Reader to enable "dark mode" on bright websites. Edge has adblocking, and that's it.

      • dftf

        "You think Firefox is more like Chrome than Edge is? On mobile?"

        On Android it isn't; but on iOS, like with every web-browser on that platform, it is WebKit at it's heart then, as Apple do not permit any app to use any-other rendering-engine.

        "Firefox supports [...] background video playback"

        On desktop Edge, you can play many embedded videos in "pop-out" mode by right-clicking on them, then choosing "picture in picture". For video-players that offer their own right-click menu, like on YouTube, you'll need to right-click twice to get the Edge one. (I'm not-sure for sites that detect whether they are the "active tab" if the pop-out player will continue working once you switch-tab; frankly, I wish the API that lets sites know if they are in the background or not could be turned-off in all browsers).

        On Android, use "split view" and you could have a video playing on the top half or quarter of the screen, while you continue to web-browse in the area below.

        "Edge has adblocking"

        Well, sort-of... the Android legacy version used to have integrated AdBlock Plus ad-blocking. But since the revised version, based on Chromium, it now uses the same mechanisms as the desktop versions, which won't block all ads. Mostly just third-party originating ones.

      • ruivo

        Maybe I wasn't as clear as I first thought. Of course Edge is more Chrome like than Firefox, it is just that since Firefox is trying to become more Chrome-like, I decided to ditch it already and jump ship - but to Edge, that I find more palatable than Chrome.

  3. ikjadoon

    After the thoughtless level of bloat and clearly anti-trust behavior from Microsoft on Edge, after 2+ years on Edge, I've switched back to Firefox. What pushed me over the line: CTRL+H is forced to open that tiny, slowly-populating overlay, instead of the full history page, as of Edge 97.

    The Edge bar, the games, the stupid loan / credit injection, the incessant Bing traps everywhere, etc. Thought I might miss Chromium / Edge, but after a few minutes, actually, kind of like to back in a browser/user-first environment.

    Alas, had Edge kept its ego in check, I might've stuck with it. Browser vendors, I'm looking for less tracking, less bloat, less cryptocurrencies & NFTs. Seems like Firefox is still leading the pack, with those metrics.

    Just let the browser be...a browser.

    • dftf

      "... the incessant Bing traps everywhere ..."

      Yeah, sadly this extends to Android also. If you have the Outlook app installed, you get an extra "Search with Bing" option added to the text-selection pop-up panel. No-idea why Google don't add an option in the settings where users can control what apps can add to it...

    • vladimir

      same here. I was using Edge on desktop but it has become unbearable with bing and payment stuff. Last time I was supposed to pay something with a credit card, a pop-out came up to pay through microsoft that was covering the actual payment form I was filling in. Moreover, it frequently bugs me to go back to default settings, which mostly means using bing for search. I stopped using it and went back to Firefox, which is actually good. On mobile (iPhone and iPad) I never even consider going beyond the deafult. I tried but never seen any benefit in doing so.

  4. Donte

    I use Mac's and PC's. I have tried them all. I am sticking with Edge unless they go crazy. I just recently decided on it after primarily using FireFox for the last two years.

    FireFox just quits working from time to time and oddly enough it is the web browser that I run into odd issues with certain webpages. Safari is now more stable in that regard.

  5. Andi

    Mozilla has gone from "the web for everyone" to "we need more than deplatforming". As long as you hold certain beliefs Mozilla doesn't believe you should have a voice online. It has become a company more concerned about socio-political issues rather than tech.

    Brave is the spiritual successor of the Firefox of old, despite its Chrome engine. It's even more private than Firefox.

  6. abrarey

    Back using Firefox for a few months and I must say it is pretty good and stable so far. After using Cr Edge as my primary for a long time got tired of all the crab MS is adding, what used to be a great browser now has become what I disliked about chrome. My second-to-go browser is Vivaldi.