Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Firefox 4 Beta now available for download

Firefox 4 has just released a stable beta, as pictured in the screen shot above.  Aside from the usual improved standards and bug fixes, which are notable in and of themselves, the new release includes an overhauled UI.  One of the first things you'll notice is that the tabs have been moved to the top of the window, and the menu bar has been replaced by a single orange Firefox button on the upper left.  The Bookmarks menu has been similarly condensed into a button on the right hand side, below the tabs.  Next to that there is a feedback button, where you can tell Firefox what makes you happy or sad.  Another nice UI feature that I noticed is that in Windows 7 the tabs are now integrated with the taskbar, and hovering over the Firefox icon brings up a preview of each tab rather than just a single window as Firefox 3.xx does. 

Some of the notable technical changes include native support for the HTML5 WebM video format, which enables hardware accelerated HD video playback straight from the browser, and support for both Direct2D and WebGL, though they are disabled by default for now.

There are a number of other changes too, such as an improved add on manager, a combining of the refresh and stop buttons into one, and too many more to list here.  Check out the handy big chart o' features and the changelog for more.  Beta testers will want to remember that the design is not yet finished, and some features may be hard to find without turning on the menu bar via the "customize" menu located in the Firefox button or by pressing "alt".  Download the new Beta here.

Via The Mozilla Blog

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