Firefox 57 is twice as fast as Firefox versions that were released six months ago according to Mozilla, the organization behind the web browser.
Mozilla decided to give Firefox 57 a special name, Firefox Quantum, to highlight the speed gains of that version. The organization plans to release Firefox 57 on November 14th, 2017 to the Firefox release channel.
Mozilla used the web benchmark Speedometer 2.0 to benchmark Firefox 52, a version of Firefox released in March 2017, with Firefox 57 -- Firefox Quantum -- which is available in the Beta and Developer channel currently.
Speedometer 2.0 is still in development, but the results highlight that a lot of things have improved in Firefox 57 compared to versions of the browser released half a year ago.
Note: I ran the benchmark in Firefox 56 and 57. The Firefox 56 run returned a rating of "infinite" after the run, the Firefox 57 run a result that was about 20 points less than the result of Google Chrome (95 to 75).
A new blog post on the official Mozilla blog reveals how Mozilla managed to make Firefox Quantum faster. One of the core changes is the effective utilization of multi-core CPUs, for instance when it comes to laying out pages.
This improved utilization of your computer’s hardware makes Firefox Quantum dramatically faster. One example: we’ve developed a breakthrough approach to laying out pages: a super fast CSS engine written in Rust, a systems programming language that Mozilla pioneered. Firefox’s new CSS engine runs quickly, in parallel across multiple CPU cores, instead of running in one slower sequence on a single core. No other browser can do this.
Firefox includes other improvements, prioritization of foreground tabs and a multi-process architecture. Mozilla ran an initiative in the past couple of months to identify things that slow down the browser, and to find ways to eliminate these slowdowns altogether, or to speed things up at the very least.
468 of these issues were identified by Firefox engineers according to Mozilla in that time and corrected.
While speed gains are important when you compare one browser version to another, it is also important how Firefox Quantum stacks up against its main competitor Chrome.
Mozilla tested the web load performance of several important web properties, Google Search, Yelp, YouTube, Yahoo Search and others, and published a video of its findings.
Firefox does not beat Chrome in all of the load tests, but there is no instance where the browser is lagging behind severely. Interestingly enough, Firefox manages to load some Google-owned pages, Google's own login page for instance, faster than Google Chrome does.
Check out the video below to see a side by side comparison of load times. The usual reservations when it comes to benchmarks created by organizations or companies that showcase their products apply.
Interested users may download Firefox Beta, Developer or Nightly to experience the speed gains first hand.
I did not measure Firefox's performance, but it seems to have improved a lot in Firefox 57 when compared to previous versions of the browser. That's a good thing and something that Firefox really needs to keep up with Google Chrome.
Now You: Have you tried Firefox 57 builds yet? What's your impression of the speed of the browser?