Mobile Browsing with Addons

One of the things that I liked a lot about Android 4.x is that Chrome was now a browser option. It meant that I got an almost Desktop quality browser on my phone and tablet. The almost bit has gotten pretty annoying of late though, because mobile Chrome doesn’t support extensions.

About a year ago I converted over to using Lastpass, which means all my passwords for various websites are unique, and 12+ characters of randomness. Huge security improvement. However, it means every time I try to log in on the mobile web it’s a multi step process to jump over to the lastpass App enter master password, enter it again to get username and password copied, jump back over to mobile Chrome, copy paste into the input fields, and finally log in. This is in contrast to the Desktop experience of feeding my master password ever couple of hours, and it automatically detecting and logging me into sites when I visit them. The mobile browsing experience feels clunky and broken compared to the desktop.

How I wish Mobile Chrome supported extensions, but it’s not clear they are ever going to change that.

However, Mobile Firefox does.

Over Christmas break I figured out that lastpass actually works in mobile firefox, and after a little configuration started using Mobile Firefox instead of Mobile Chrome on both my Nexus 7 and S3. The overall browser seems roughly the same speed (maybe slightly slower), however the experience is much better. You get Ad Block, which turns the web back into something vaguely sane, and my browsing experience is now akin to the Desktop. Enough so that I’ll now use my Nexus 7 over my laptop for many browsing tasks.

Hopefully Google will eventually bring these features to their platform, but for now, the Firefox mobile strategy seems to be bearing some fruit, and reopening mobile browsers to innovation.

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