Silent Updates Appear to Boost Firefox 14's Uptake

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 24, 2012

 Many dedicated users of Mozilla's Firefox browser have been wrestling with the new silent updates, which upgrade and modify the browser automatically, rather than at users' discretion. The silent updates have been quite controversial. They are in place and going strong with Firefox 14, and there are signs that they are helping with adoption of that version of the browser. At the same time, some users find them very intrusive.

For a long time, Firefox had no silent updates. The Mozilla team reported earlier this year that the browser would begin to have them, and it was clear that doing so was an effort to compete more closely with Google Chrome, which has offered silent updates for years.

Citing data from StatCounter, Computerworld notes that the silent updates may be boosting usage of Firefox 14:

"Firefox 14 accounted for nearly half of all copies of the open-source browser in use just a week after its launch, a sign that Mozilla's automatic update mechanism may be working as intended. The browser became the most-used edition much faster than its predecessors, Firefox 12, which launched April 24, and Firefox 13, the version released June 5."

Almost certainly, the silent updates are responsible for uptakes in usage of Firefox 14, but the jury remains out on whether most users want these updates. Some users have reported that the updates have caused interruptions and annoyances, though.

When we first reported on Mozilla's silent update plans, one reader posted this comment:

"I prefer to control my computer, I'll decide when to update things, not the other way around. Auto-updating may (or may not) be fine at home, but in a business that is considered consumer tech when something can break that easily. First Windows got into businesses, then the iPad, now this? People keep the garbage out of our network."

If you've had a silent update to Firefox, what was your experience?