Firefox 4 Beta
Firefox 4 Beta was released for testing last year. A couple of million volunteers have downloaded the beta and provided feedback that is helping Mozilla finish and improve this latest-generation browser. After 12 iterations of Firefox 4 Beta, it's almost ready for general release. Here's what you can look forward to...
What's New in Firefox V4?
The browser interface has been redesigned, which may or may not please everyone. The menu bars are now more compact and tabs are placed at the top of the window, because users heavily prefer tabbed browsing. A new button labeled "Firefox" on the main menu bar opens a drop-down menu containing the familiar File, Edit, Save, Find, options. At first I thought this was odd, but noticed that when the browser window is maximized to full screen, the Firefox button and the tabs combine into one menu bar. It would be nice if this was always true, at least for consistency.
The Home page and other buttons on the main menu bar have moved, too, which will take some getting used to. If you don't like the placement of the tabs, or the Firefox button, you can customize the menu bar area by right-clicking in an empty space.
Startup and browsing speeds are significantly improved in Firefox 4 Beta. Images render much faster and pages load sooner. Depending on which browser benchmark you use, the performance of Firefox 4 Beta is 3 to 5 times better than version 3.
Hardware-accelerated graphics support is built into Firefox 4 Beta. When the appropriate graphics hardware is present, Firefox 4 is able to use Direct2D and Direct3D on Windows, XRender on Linux, and OpenGL on Mac platforms. These features are enabled by default.
Security and Crash Protection
Security is enhanced by support for HSTS in Firefox 4 Beta. HSTS enables a Web site to force a Secure-Sockets Layer connection between itself and Firefox 4, keeping bad guys from intercepting one's communications with the server. There's also a new setting that promises to help users opt out of being tracked by online advertising companies. This is still in a test phase, and will rely on advertisers voluntarily cooperating to make it effective. Personally, I think this is all based on over-hyped fears, and will only serve to make online ads less relevant for users who opt out.
Crash protection is built into Firefox 4. If an add-on such as Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight crashes, it won't bring down Firefox. You simply reload the page to restart the crashed add-on and try again.
A new system for managing add-ons and plugins makes it easier to find and use the tool you need, keep add-ons up to date, and discover new add-ons that make browsing more productive or fun.
Synchronization comes to Firefox with the ability to keep bookmarks, settings, add-ons, and other customizations up to date across several devices, including smartphones and iPads.
Firefox 4 Beta compares favorably to Google Chrome in agility and simplicity, say some beta testers. It certainly brings Firefox up to par with the fastest and most capable Web browsers in use, and paves the way for new third-party applications to keep the Web experience evolving. You can bet that without the competitive influence of Firefox and other non-Microsoft browsers, Internet Explorer would not have many of the features it has today.
You can download Firefox 4 Beta and try it without uninstalling your older version of Firefox. But the beta will overwrite some settings that alter the look and feel of your older browser.
Have you tried Firefox V4? Post a comment and share what you like or dislike, especially if you've also tested IE9...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Feb 2011
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Unsecured Loans Online
The Top Twenty
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Firefox 4 Beta (Posted: 18 Feb 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved