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Mozilla releases eighth Firefox 4 beta

by Pete Mason on 22 December 2010, 11:45

Tags: Firefox, Mozilla

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Compared to Google's dizzying six-week Chrome release schedule, Mozilla seems to be updating Firefox on a glacial time-scale. However, the developers are working diligently on the next major release, and have announced that the eighth beta of Firefox 4 is now available for download.

Since beta seven - released last month - was feature complete, beta eight is really just a collection of bug fixes and performance tweaks. That doesn't mean it's a small update, though, and literally hundreds of bugs have been squashed.

A 'Firefox' at Knoxville Zoo sponsored by Mozilla

However, there have been a couple of bigger changes in this release that are worth mentioning. Firstly, the set-up process for Firefox Sync has been vastly improved. Not only will it be much easier to make an account to sync your tabs, bookmarks and history but the process to connect with the mobile version of Firefox has been streamlined.

There have also been some major tweaks that affect the speed, functionality and compatibility of the WebGL API. The 3D toolset is still a pretty niche feature, but it does hold a lot of potential for the future, and at the least these changes will improve your experience of flying around Google's new Body Browser.

Lastly, the Add-on Manager - which was revamped in a previous release - has been given a lot more polish, further improving its usablility.

Despite being on the eighth beta, the final version of Firefox 4 is still some way off and isn't expected to be released until a vague point in 'early 2011'. Until then, the latest pre-release version - along with a complete list of changes - is available from Mozilla.

Note: at the time of writing, the download link hasn't been updated, but you can grab the Windows installer directly here.

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