Review: Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 adds speed and privacy

Mozilla's new beta adds private browsing and other nifty features

You'll get this notification when you're about to launch Private Browsing.

You'll get this notification when you're about to launch Private Browsing.

There's one more minor change as well -- there's now a + symbol at the far right of your tabs, which when clicked upon opens a new tab.

Beta 1 (and Beta 2) also make a nifty improvement to the Smart Location Bar (which some call the "Awesome Bar"). Normally, when you type text into the Awesome Bar, it shows you a drop-down list of URLs you've recently visited, as well as URLs from your bookmarks and narrows down the list as you type in more text. With Firefox 3.1, you can control the Awesome Bar and the results it displays by adding special characters to the end of what you type. You can have the Awesome Bar only display results from your history list, results from your bookmarks, results from the URL itself or results from pages you've tagged. For example, to only display results from your history, you'd type in your search terms and then a space, followed by the ^ symbol.

The bottom line

Beta 2 of Firefox 3.1 is fast and stable and incorporates two important changes to the browser: a private browsing mode and a sped-up rendering engine. I used it without problems or crashes on two different PCs. Those who want to see the future of Firefox would do well to download it now. When the final version is released, it will be a must-have download.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags firefox 3.1

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Preston Gralla

Computerworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?