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Firefox 20’s new features focus on privacy and downloads

by Mark Tyson on 3 April 2013, 09:46

Tags: Mozilla, PC, Firefox

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The newly released Mozilla Firefox 20 has a bevy of new features to enhance functionality and give you more control over your privacy. The old download manager has been revamped in the way that it works and in its appearance; it is now part of the Firefox Library. Eleven security advisories were also patched up.

If you check your Firefox version now you will be offered the update to version 20 (unless, of course, you’ve updated it already). That’s what just happened to me. So what new features and fixes do you get with the update?

Private browsing

The Mozilla Blog thinks the most important change is the way that private browsing has been enhanced. It’s been made more convenient. The new private browsing functionality “allows you to open a new private browsing window without closing or changing your current browsing session”. No longer will you have to abruptly interrupt your current browsing session to open a private browsing window. As it has no “windows” Firefox for Android supports private browsing “on a per tab basis” making it easy to switch between private and standard tabs in your browsing session.

I noticed that, on my Windows system, Firefox wouldn’t allow me to move the private browsing window to a tab within my current browsing session.

Download manager

The appearance and behaviour of the download manager has also undergone a big change. The downloads list has been folded into the Firefox Library and is managed alongside other history, tags and bookmarks. Depending on your config you don’t have to open the downloads window (CTRL-J) or switch to it, there is a dedicated download arrow near the address bar which also shows a handy (but small) progress bar to give you a rough idea of your download status.

Firefox for Android

As already mentioned, the private browsing feature is a big update for the Android version of Firefox. Mozilla has also put in efforts to allow more Android users experience their mobile browser. Less powerful phones powered by ARMv6 processors were part of the extended support announced last September. Now that support has been extended to more popular older/slower smartphones including the: “Samsung Galaxy Next, HTC Aria, HTC Legend, Samsung Dart, Samsung Galaxy Pop and the Samsung Galaxy Q”.

Bugs fixed

At least eleven security problems were fixed in Firefox 20. Three of those problems were flagged up as “critical vulnerabilities”. You can read more about those fixes here.

HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

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One thing that concerns me about this new version is that I've just opened the new Download Manager, and it's now showing me my full download history from the last 6+ months. It shouldn't even have that information saved; for as long as I've been using Firefox I've always had the option “remember my download history” (or whatever it was called) unticked. Where the hell has this information suddenly appeared from?
. Where the hell has this information suddenly appeared from?

Is it reading what's in your Download folder? I'm just offering a suggestion here as I haven't updated Firefox yet.
Could it be that it's just showing you the contents of your Downloads folder?
Good that Firefox is constantly improving however for the mobile side of it I dont see much use, its good on android but it seriously drains battery like no other and if I touch the back of my Nexus 4 it is actually warm where as using AOSP browser or chrome it is stone cold, clearly to get the extra ‘performance’ firefox is just throwing everything at the rendering… not great imo.
for as long as I've been using Firefox I've always had the option “remember my download history” (or whatever it was called) unticked. Where the hell has this information suddenly appeared from?

Do you mean you had Custom Settings applied for history in the privacy tab of options?
Because that ties browsing and download history under a single preference (as i read it)
Which seems a bit odd to me as i could understand wanting to clear download history while retaining a browsing history for the Awesomebar.

It shouldn't be reading the contents of your downloads folder to present a list, fairly certain it's all stored in the sqlite db…