Firefox adds security, search with 3.0 beta release

Mozilla has released its first beta version of Firefox 3.0.

Mozilla has released a beta version of Firefox 3.0, moving its next-generation browser one step closer to general release.

Close to 75,000 developers have been testing early "alpha" versions of Firefox 3.0 code for several months now, but this first beta release of the code, unveiled Tuesday, should open up the software to a much larger group of testers, said Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering. "The move from alpha to beta typically means that we've hit a point of quality where we believe the browser is useable as a daily browser," he said. "For us, it's a step up in terms of getting closer toward the final release."

Schroepfer expects a second beta to follow by year's end followed by a final beta 3 update in early 2008. By the time the finished product is unveiled, sometime in 2008, the team hopes to have close to half a million users testing its software.

One of the big changes with Firefox 3.0 is an overhaul of the way the browser bookmarks and keeps track of browsing history. With this new feature, called Places, browsing history will now be stored in a database, meaning that it will be much easier for Firefox users to search for sites they've visited. "Because of the new Places infrastructure we're able to store a much larger component of your history," Schroepfer said.

And the browser will now be able to search what is being typed into the address bar to see if it's relevant to previous Web visits. For example, someone who had recently visited a Web page entitled "Review of 2008 Toyota Prius," could type "Prius" into the address bar and would be directed to the review page.

Security has also taken a front seat with Firefox 3.0

The browser is now integrated with Google's database of known malicious Web sites and will warn users before they visit sites that are considered to be dangerous.

And Firefox's download manager is now better integrated with antivirus software, making it easier to spot malicious files before they are placed on the desktop. The browser will no longer allow add-ons to be downloaded from insecure sites, mending a practice that could have serious security ramifications according to some.

Much of the hardest work has been under the hood, however. Firefox sports a new HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) rendering engine, called Gecko 1.9, that will make it perform better in the graphically rich Web 2.0 world, where developers are trying to find new ways of running software whether the PC is connected to the Internet or not. "You won't see those as a user right away," Schroepfer said. "But you'll see Web applications do more interesting things and run more quickly in Firefox over time."

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?