Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Firefox 3.5 final available

Probably not a secret to most, but the latest version of Firefox is out. A big update, since the version went from 3.0 to 3.5. Most of the changes are underneath, so they aren't readily apparent. I've run it for a few hours and haven't had any issues. Tried doing just about everything you can with a browser and it all went well.

Speed is one thing that Firefox 3.5 is touted as having over the older version. It seems like everyone is touting their new, even faster browser. I do notice that Firefox doesn't compare itself to other browsers like Safari and IE but the earlier 3.0 and 2 versions. Safari is still faster for me going loading new pages, but clicking back to ones in your history, it's still Firefox.

One thing you'll see that is new is the private browsing feature. Safari has had it for quite awhile. Google Chrome launched with it and spread awareness, even getting the nickname "porn mode". Nothing groundbreaking, but handy to have. You can always just clear your private data manually.

Firefox 3.5 does have one thing that no other browser has. It supports some video types natively, without the need for a plug-in or 3rd party add-on. However, it's only the open source Ogg file types. Most things people watch online aren't using this. you can see a demo of a video that also showcases the new features. If web developers make more use of Ogg files, then this could be good. My guess is that it won't mean much until more file types are supported. Wikipedia might be an exception.

Missing is a top sites feature, like Safari and Opera have. You can get it with add-ons for Firefox, but this is becoming a standard feature of these days. I didn't think it was a big deal when Opera had it and then when Safari 4 added it. Once i started using it, it was like tabbed browsing. How did I get by without it before?

Other features include geolocation, the ability to drag tabs to be their own window, and adding a window as a new tab in a different browser window.

Of course there is security. there's a whole list of features listed at the Mozilla Firefox security page. Private browsing and Forget This Site are the new ones listed. Many of the others, like antimalware and antiphising are listed as improved. I haven't tested those two filters, but they are likely to be weak as they have been in all browsers.

You can download Firefox 3.5 at www.getfirefox.com now. The internal updater for Firefox 3.0 doesn't offer it, as of yet.


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