By Annie Pettit

I don’t know about you but I love colour photos. That’s why I trust Kodachrome colour film.

At least, I used to trust Kodachrome colour film. It may have been one of the first film products to appear on the market in 1935 but, beginning in 2002, it slowly disappeared from the shelves. Digital cameras disrupted the marketplace and positioned their products to win with improved quality, price, and convenience. Today, there is a solid generation of people who’ve never used a film camera and can’t even picture what film is.

Now, I wonder whether Firefox Quantum has disrupted the browser market and whether it will affect Google Chrome.

Let’s ponder privacy for a bit. Data hacks and leaks that expose consumers’ personal data are becoming ever more common. Equifax notified the public that more than 145 million financial records were hacked in the USA plus at least 19 000 in Canada. Are you comfortable with your credit card information floating around in the cloud? Uber revealed that, more than a year ago, data from 57 million drivers and users was hacked. Are you comfortable with data about the location of your home, work, and entertainment venues being freely available? And more recently, we learned that Google is tracking our location even when we’ve tried to regain some personal privacy by turning off the GPS on our devices. These examples aren’t the kind of transparency that consumers are seeking.

With every hack, leak, data breach, and unexpected revelation, we’re reminded just how fragile privacy is. We may have once had it, but now it seems we must fight for it.

As consumers, we do want companies to have our personal data – within very clear and specific boundaries. We want to dictate how, when, and by whom our personal and private data is used. We want to be able to trust the people and companies to whom we’ve given permission to use our data. Specifically, this McKinsey article outlines that when it comes to shopping, people are willing to share their personal data to:

  1. Receive relevant recommendations they wouldn’t have thought of themselves
  2. Receive information when they’re in shopping mode
  3. Receive reminders of things they want to know but might not be keeping track of
  4. Receive valuable and meaningful information
  5. Be recognized on every channel

Unfortunately, there comes a point when consumers need to take charge. When their desire for these benefits of personalization outweighs the risks. When they decide it’s time to switch providers, brands, or companies because they feel their individual needs and desires aren’t being respected. Which brings me back to Firefox.

Just a few weeks ago, Firefox a launched a new browser with lots of fanfare. They even went so far as to create television commercials (End wait face, Reggie Watts), something I have never seen for any internet browser before. 

Their big strategic marketing claims? Speed and performance, of course. Competing with Google Chrome, which holds 58% of marketshare, is tough but they managed to build a product that is just as speedy and just as slick. 

What caught my attention in particular? That they recognized the importance and wide spread use of private browsing. As part of their speed tests, they determined that their private browsing mode, which includes tracking protection, loads twice as fast as their regular browser windows, and twice as fast as Google Chrome. In other words, using Firefox Quantum private browsing allows for enhanced privacy and enhanced speed.

Up to now, I hadn’t much thought about switching browsers because there was no unique advantage with any competitive option. I had comfortably installed all of my browser extensions on Google Chrome (e.g., Buffer to share good articles, Honey to find coupon codes, Ghostery to prevent tracking). Although I wasn’t thrilled with the speed, it was reasonable and no other browser could offer the same speed plus allow me to use my favourite extensions. But Firefox Quantum changed the field. They found the whitespace.

So I switched.

For quite a few years, I was a reasonably happy Google Chrome user. Now, it’s my Kodachrome.