Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s release of Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla has launched its fourth full version of Firefox. New features include the obligatory speed bump as well as App Tabs and a drag-and-drop feature called “Panorama.” Also on board is a Do Not Track feature, though it doesn’t work exactly the same way as a similar feature bundled into IE.
Its logo depicting a wily flame-colored fox encircling the globe suggests that nonprofit Mozilla aims to set the world on fire with every new version of its free, open source Web browser Firefox, released in its fourth incarnation Tuesday.
The newest version also incorporates new privacy safeguards, including a controversial Do Not Track feature IntelliProtect CEO Doug Wolfgram called “an attempt to gain share in the browser wars. If a person feels more safe with a particular browser, they will use it.”
The browser wars have attracted much attention of late, with version after version of various Web browsers hitting the market amidst varying levels of fanfare. All the new features are designed to keep up with the Joneses — and the Googles.”Chrome has been gaining share every month for the last couple of years,” Mandeep Khera, CMO of Web security firm Cenzic, told LinuxInsider.
Firefox 4 boasts a number of new or upgraded features, from App Tabs that give frequently visited sites a permanent home, to Panorama, a drag-and-drop feature for multi-site navigation.In the browser wars, however, apps may be less important than “atts,” or attributes such as security, privacy, and ease of use.
“Firefox 4 delivers a completely customizable Web experience and unparallelled security and privacy,” Johnathan Nightingale, director of Firefox engineering, told LinuxInsider. “Features like Firefox Sync — the ability to synchronize all your browsing history, bookmarks, passwords and open tabs between computers and even to Android phones — makes it hard to beat.”
To consumers, however, speed may be the most important browser attribute of all.Firefox is up to six times faster than the previous release, according to the Mozilla blog claims. It comes loaded with improved start-up and page load times, speedy Web app performance and hardware accelerated graphics.
Rich, interactive websites, however, pose some of the Internet’s more insidious security threats, one of which — so-called “man in the middle” attacks — Firefox 4 repels with HTTP Strict Transport Security. The system establishes secure connections to stop and keep sensitive data safe from interception, the Mozilla blog explains.