With Firefox 3.0 set for release later this month, we caught up with Mozilla Corp. CEO John Lilly to hear about some of the cooler things that the newest version of the browser will do.
At the end of the interview, Lilly also gave us a heads up that the
company will be putting more effort into the mobile version of Firefox,
which will work on either mobile Linux or Windows Mobile platforms.
"We have some handsets that we think Firefox mobile will ship on by the end of the year," he told me.
Lilly and I spoke in a back room of the San Francisco Ferry Building
while catering company workers rushed around to serve guests of the
Outcast Communications CEO dinner. You can see San Francisco Bay
outside the windows.
Lilly was psyched because a release candidate version of the new Firefox had just come back from testing on the morning we talked.
According to Lilly, Firefox 3.0 will be six to 10 times faster than
Internet Explorer in terms of Java script performance. "It's the
fastest browser I've ever used."
One of the new browser features, dubbed "the awesome bar," by Firefox developers, lets users easily find where they've been on the Web by combining the history and favorites functions.
Firefox 3.0 will also have 5,000 add-ons to enhance Web surfers' experience and more security protections to fight spyware and phishing scams.
Given that it will ship months ahead of Internet Explorer 8, a test version of which is just being released, Lilly thinks there's no doubt that Firefox will gain market share.
"We have 180 million users right now... we're thinking it might go to 250 million by the end of the year," Lilly says, thank in part to Mozilla shipping the product in 50 languages.
The latest figures give Firefox about 18% of the browser market.
"The browser space is more competitive than it's ever been," said Lilly, echoing what we wrote last week.
Lilly says while capturing market share is nice, the goal is to make the Web an easier and more open place to get around.
"We have a worldwide community of thousands of people who help put together Firefox," Lilly says. "It's of the people, by the people."