After a series of delays and the re-adjustment of the release schedule, Mozilla has finally launched today its highly-anticipated Firefox 4. Following the release of the other best web browsers (Google Chrome 10 and Internet Explorer 9), Firefox arrived to keep fighting for the web browser market, a field that has turned into a battlefield. Will this edition has enough features to captivate more users? Here are 5 aspects that were improved in the fourth edition of one of the best Internet browsers.
More browsing speed
The interface was probably one of the most tweaked aspects of Firefox 4. Tabs are now located on top of the browser, the design was stripped down to fit a more minimalistic layout and several features were included to give users the possibility to organize the browser according to their needs. In this way, you’ll find Panorama, a function that lets you group tabs according to an unifying criteria; you’ll have the opportunity to pin sites you keep open at all times to your browser’s interface (in this way, they will be always available at a corner of your screen); and you’ll meet a single Firefox button that will display all the menus you previously had in the Menu toolbar. The result: a cleaner interface with more space to visualize the Web.
Synchronize your Firefox across platforms
If you’ve ever wanted to migrate your bookmarks, user names and passwords to another Firefox edition (say, Firefox mobile), then you’ll surely enjoy Firefox Sync. This feature started as an add-on for the previous editions but it became so popular that Mozilla decided to incorporate it as a built-in function. To use it, you’ll simply have to open an account on Mozilla servers and start setting up the components you want your Firefox to share. It’s a very useful feature for people who use different computers (one at home and one at work, for example).
Do Not Track methods included
I’ve briefly discussed the implementation of “Do Not Track” mechanisms to ensure more privacy. In that post I pointed out the need of stronger policies about the tracking methods to learn about the internauts’ habits and the possibility to include alternatives for those who don’t want to be tracked. Although its system can be criticized (as I said in the aforementioned post, the idea is that the methods should be of the “opt in” nature), Firefox 4 offers the opportunity to stop websites from tracking your activities. This option, however, needs the cooperation of web developers to function, so its potential is yet to be confirmed in the next months.
Support for modern technologies
The ideal browser would obviously have to comply with all modern standards. That’s why Firefox 4 (like Chrome and IE9) supports new technologies that, although today aren’t popular, will be common in the future. In this way, you can find HTML5, WebM (for HD video), WebGL (it helps in rendering 3D graphics), CSS3 (for smoother animations’ display) and multitouch support.
In spite of all the delays and troubles during the development stage, Mozilla has delivered a powerful web browser that’s fully prepared to compete for the top spot in the Internet browser race. Although it may has some flaws, there’s a component that puts it ahead of the other browsers: Firefox community.
When a product includes its own users deep in its development process, the result will surely be more appropriate for their needs. And if an issue should be encountered, the community surely will know how to fix it. What do you think? Is Firefox 4 what you’ve expected?
Click here to download Firefox 4
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