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Firefox Quantum 59 boosts page loading times, adds options for blocking intrusive website requests

13 March 2018, Nick Peers

Firefox QuantumMozilla has released Firefox Quantum 59.0 for desktop, along with Firefox for Android 59.0 rolling out imminently.

The new version continues to refine performance with the promise of faster page-loading times, while the Home page gains one new customisable feature. Other highlights include improvements to the built-in screenshots tool and the ability to block website requests for advanced access or notifications.

Firefox’s new Home page gains an additional customisation feature as of this release: users can now drag and drop entries within the Top Site list to rearrange them.

Firefox Quantum 59.0

Firefox’s Screenshots tool gain annotation features in the new release.

The built-in Firefox Screenshots tool also continues to evolve – users gain basic annotation capabilities in the form of Pen and Highlighter tools, while images can be re-cropped after saving. This functionality is actually handled by the server-side part of the Firefox Screenshots tool, so is also available to all versions of Firefox (56 onwards) that support the tool.

Two notable tweaks have been added to Firefox’s options: the first is an option to prioritise search suggestions over browsing history in the address bar under Search settings.

The second feature is designed to rein in the increasingly intrusive nature of some websites. It’s buried away under Options > Privacy & Security > Permissions – click the appropriate Settings button next to Location, Camera, Microphone or Notifications to prevent websites asking for access. Existing permissions remain unaffected and can also be tweaked from this location.

Speaking of privacy, Firefox’s Private Browsing mode now removes path information from referrers sent to third parties to help prevent third-party data leakage.

Elsewhere, Firefox’s Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities have been improved, including the introduction of features designed to support large-scale conferences.

US users gain the ability to autofill credit card information into forms, while Windows users gain an Accessibility Service Indicator icon – a cyan-coloured icon of a person – that appears in the Firefox tab bar when the Firefox Accessibility Service has been enabled.

Performance improvements can be found in the promise of faster loading times for content on the Firefox Home page. A new ‘Race Cache With Network’ feature also boosts loading page times by choosing the faster loading option from either the user’s locally stored cache or Firefox’s networked cache.

One final performance improvement sees Mac users gain the improvements in graphics rendering offered to Windows and Linux users in Firefox 58.

Firefox Quantum 59.0 is available now as a free, open-source download for supported versions of Windows, Mac and Linux. Firefox for Android 59.0 is due imminently.

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