As a big fan of the Firefox web browser these figures come as something of a surprise to me...
In a refreshingly honest announcement developer Mozilla has admitted that just 25 per cent of the users who download Firefox actually then continue to use it long term. This is something I find rather bemusing considering the awfulness of main rival and market leader Internet Explorer 7 and (relatively) the little known Opera.
Of course Mozilla has come out fighting on the back of its own revelations saying that it plans to dump its Fox logo for something more WWW-centric (a shame but perhaps appealing to technophobes), create a more appealing homepage and also begin a global marketing push to for more awareness of the brand and - vitally - its differentiating features.
In all, however these low take up figures have got me thinking: What is it about Firefox that I like so much which apparently fails to hook so many? And I think I have an answer: third party apps.
The little gems coded by god-knows-who but which I couldn't live without and simply aren't available on other browsers. Problem is, if you're a technophobe you won't do the digging to find them (if you even know they exist at all?) and as such FF in its vanilla form perhaps hasn't advanced as much in recent versions as it should.
So if you're one of the 75 per cent here is my shortlist of indispensible FF third party apps...
*Context Search - expands context menu's ‘Search for' item into a list of all your installed search engines
*Add to Search Bar - simply right click on any website search bar to add it into Search Engines
*IE Tab - renders pages using Internet Explorer within FF for any incompatibilities you may find
*Forecastfox - displays international weather forecasts in the status bar and allows multiple profiles
*Foxmarks - enables FF bookmarks to be synchronised over multiple computers
*Gmail Manager - Account management and new mail notifications from FF status bar
*Search Engine Sorting - Sorts search engines alphabetically. Simple but useful
*Tab Mix Plus - Allows multiple rows of tabs, advanced tab restore options, colour coding and page loading progress bars on each tab
So Mozilla, I expect a cheque in the post - but in the meantime get to work on greater functionality out of the box!
Sheesh, I could fix the world, me.
Update: Add to that Grab and Drag which lets you grab and scroll webpages as if they were Adobe Acrobat pages. Simply double click on text to go back to pointer mode or single click on a blank part of the page to go back to drag and grab move. Goodbye vertical scroll bar!
Update 2: Know all those 100 per cent CPU usage problems suffered in Firefox? It's the Flash load over multiple windows that kills your computer, not the browser itself. Solve that once and for all with Flashblock. Speedy computing and better laptop battery life are now yours. Yes, you can thank me later.
Update: 3 Another essential: Download Statusbar - just trust me...