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Firefox sells itself by criticizing old Firefox

Commentary: A new ad from Mozilla to launch its Quantum browser suggests it wants to end your "wait face". As a loyal Firefox user, I've had that face for years.

2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


That's how I used to look. Well, not the blonde hair.

Mozilla/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I've never wanted to put all my eggs into Google's basket.

I don't know what Google wants to use that basket for -- and I have suspicions that it's not all good -- so I try and use competing products as much as I can. 

This has meant having, oh, a Hotmail account. (I know, I know.) And using several browsers, with Firefox being the principal one.

I'm moved by the Mozilla mission to make the web "open and accessible to all," courtesy of a non-profit organization. Well, more than I'm moved by Google's mission, which seems to encompass being a very for-profit organization.

Using Firefox has, though, not been without pain. It froze more often than a nerd on his first date. And it was as zippy as Mark Zuckerberg's wit.

Now, however, there's a new Firefox browser called Quantum. My colleague Stephen Shankland has been testing it for a while and says I should believe Mozilla's promises for a brighter, faster future.

To go with the launch, Mozilla has released an ad. I want to believe in that too.

The ad promises that Quantum will end your "wait face."

It shows a series of people who are waiting for pages to load and streams to stream. These people don't have happy faces. They're not getting what they want right now.

This is America, after all.

As I watched this ad, only one thought occurred to me: "I used to look like that when I used old Firefox. Mozilla is admitting that old Firefox drove you nuts. How charming."

This was remarkably open and accessible honesty. Or, at least, so it seemed to me.

Just to be sure, though, I contacted Mozilla and asked: "Are you criticizing your old product?"

Chief marketing officer Jascha Kaykas-Wolff told me: "Wait Face is all about the general frustration of slowness on the internet and how Firefox Quantum is the antidote to that. It's fast because it's built for modern devices and the way people today need their browser to perform."

Well, that was diplomatic.

Still, I'm going to try it. And I'll see if I can return to writing this column via Firefox. (It's brought to you currently by Chrome.)

If I can, you understand, it will make me feel I'm a better person. A slightly better person from a very low base, that is.

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