My favourite features in Firefox 3 are in Opera

Warning This article was written over six months ago, and may contain outdated information.

I’ve been playing with the Firefox 3 nightlies for quite a while now so the first beta release didn’t really hold any great surprises for me. The updated rendering engine is fast and clean, and it’s got lots of nice new features which make it a treat to use. Most of my favourite new features are already in Opera 9.5, however; and one that isn’t could really do with the Opera touch.

First, the new password manager displays as a bar along the top of the screen rather than an alert, meaning you can see if your password works before choosing to store it. One small usability point is that the option ‘not now’ is displayed only as a close button; this appears at first as if your only options are ‘remember’ or ‘never’. Opera’s implementation is clearer on this point.

Password prompt

The intelligent history search now looks for words in the titles of pages, not just in the URLs. This is probably my favourite new feature of the UI; it’s incredibly useful if you can remember what a page was about, but not its URL. Opera, however, goes one step further and searches the content of pages in the history, meaning you can find what you want even if the page doesn’t have a logical title.

History search

Places, the new Bookmarks functionality, allows you to tag and star your favourite websites then recall them quickly. It works a lot like sites such as or, although without those two sites’ big advantage: getting to your bookmarks from different locations. The new Opera has the synchronize facility, which keeps your links current no matter where you log in from; this is a function that Places is crying out for. Otherwise, it’s a useful tool.


Of course, both browsers are in beta status at the moment, so plenty could change, but if Opera 9.5 already has my new favourite features, why will Firefox 3 still be my browser of choice? The add-ons architecture. Above all else, that’s why I keep loyalty to Firefox when I now have no shortage of options across the different platforms. Sorry, Opera; you make a great browser, but until you dump Widgets and allow extensions, you’re my second choice.

5 comments on
“My favourite features in Firefox 3 are in Opera”

  1. Not sure whether you’re aware of this extension for Firefox but I’ve been using Foxmarks for a while now

    Once installed, it allows you to synchronize bookmarks really easily and is a great tool for transferring bookmarks and links between home and work.

  2. Interesting, but I’m still a little uneasy at managing it through a third party. It’s a service I think Firefox should provide.

  3. Foxmarks can be set up to use your own server instead of the default Foxmarks server.

  4. Besides Firefox is free (and not only as in free beer) !

  5. Opera is free too (and since when has beer been free — except at Media Temple parties). Open Standards are far more important than Open Source.