Out-foxing the competition
Having previewed Firefox 4 a couple of months ago, Mozilla has now released the first beta version for public appraisal.
The browser market is as competitive as it's ever been, with Google the most prominent new threat, both on the PC and mobile device, so Mozilla will be feeling the pressure to perform. As a consequence, Firefox head Mike Beltzner has called for as much end-user feedback as possible at this early stage in the development process.
As well as a new look and feel, here are what Beltzner considers to be the highlights of the new beta:
- New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!
- HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.
- Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.
- Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) - when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.
- Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.
- HTML5 Parser: Run the best Web apps of today and tomorrow - if a user's browser doesn't support HTML5, they still won't miss out on your content.
- WebSockets: Build real-time, online interactions like gaming and chatting.
- IndexedDB: Use structured storage in your Web applications to speed them up or provide offline support.
- Web Console: Peek into dynamic websites with this experimental "Heads Up Display" analysis tool.
- Simpler Add-On Development: Authors can create Add-Ons that don't require a restart to install, develop their Add-Ons more quickly using the new powerful Jetpack SDK, and safely connect to existing libraries using js-ctypes.
You can see more details and download Firefox 4 Beta 1 here.