What's new in Firefox 3?

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Beta 1 of Firefox 3 was released today. I found a few bugs, but overall it’s looking like there are some excellent new features and improvements. When it goes final, I may switch from Maxthon 1.0 to Firefox for my Windows machine. Let’s take a look at some of what’s new, thanks to Asa Dotzler from Mozilla. Asa is my kind of Geek, that’s for sure.

More Security

  • One click site info: Click the site favicon in the location bar to see who owns the site. Identity verification is prominently displayed and easier to understand.
  • Malware Protection: malware protection warns users when they arrive at sites which are known to install viruses, spyware, trojans or other malware.
  • New Web Forgery Protection page: the content of pages suspected as web forgeries is no longer shown.
  • New SSL error pages: clearer and stricter error pages are used when Firefox encounters an invalid SSL certificate.
  • Add-ons and Plugin version check: Firefox now automatically checks add-on and plugin versions and will disable older, insecure versions.
  • Secure add-on updates: to improve add-on update security, add-ons that provide updates in an insecure manner will be disabled.
  • Anti-virus integration: Firefox will inform anti-virus software when downloading executables.

Easier to Use

  • Easier password management: an information bar replaces the old password dialog so you can now save passwords after a successful login.
  • Simplified add-on installation: the add-ons whitelist has been removed making it possible to install extensions from third-party sites in fewer clicks.
  • New Download Manager: the revised download manager makes it much easier to locate downloaded files.
  • Resumable downloading: users can now resume downloads after restarting the browser or resetting your network connection.
  • Tab scrolling and quickmenu: tabs are easier to locate with the new tab scrolling and tab quickmenu.
  • Text selection improvements: Multiple text selections can be made with Ctrl/Cmd; Double-click drag selects in “word-by-word” mode; Triple-clicking selects a paragraph.
  • Find toolbar: the Find toolbar now opens with the current selection.

More Personal

  • Star button: quickly add bookmarks from the location bar with a single click; a second click lets you file and tag them.
  • Tags: associate keywords with your bookmarks to sort them by topic.
  • Location bar & auto-complete: type the title or tag of a page in the location bar to quickly find the site you were looking for in your history; favicons, bookmark, and tag indicators help you see where results are coming from.
  • Smart Places Folder: quickly access your recently bookmarked and tagged pages, as well as you more frequently visited pages with the new smart places folder on your bookmark toolbar.
  • Bookmarks and History Organizer: advanced search of your history and bookmarks with multiple views and smart folders to store your frequent searches.
  • Easy to use Download Actions: a new Applications preferences pane provides a better UI for configuring handlers for various file types and protocol schemes.

Improved Performance

  • Reliability: A user’s bookmarks, history, cookies, and preferences are now stored in a transactionally secure database format which will prevent data loss even if their system crashes.
  • Speed: Major architectural changes put foundations in place for major performance tuning which have resulted in speed increases in Beta 1, and will show further gains in future Beta releases.
  • Memory usage: Over 300 individual memory leaks have been plugged, and a new XPCOM cycle collector completely eliminates many more. Developers are continuing to work on optimizing memory use and reducing fragmentation.

So there you have it. A long list of reasons why you should be taking a look at the new Firefox version 3.0 when it is released. Excellent kudos to all of the Dev team at Mozilla.

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