Final Version of Firefox 4 Is Out, Plenty of Cool New Features
Article by George Norman
On 23 Mar 2011
After going through 12 Betas and 2 Release Candidates, Mozilla has put the finishing touches on Firefox 4 and rolled it out to the masses. If you stayed away from Firefox 4 until now because you didn’t want to contend with a potentially buggy Beta or troublesome Release Candidate, you need not stay away anymore. Now is the time to get the browser and enjoy the functionality it provides.

If you would like to get Firefox 4, you can grab it straight from Mozilla here. The browser is offered free of charge to Windows, Mac OS X and Linux users. There are localized versions in more than 80 languages. If you are on Firefox 3.6 you can click Help -> Check for Updates and you will be presented with a notification to update to Firefox 4.

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The Firefox 4 browser comes with several new bits and pieces. Here are the one’s that caught my eye:

Fresh new user interface – the tabs are on top, the Menu bar is replaced by a Firefox button, the Home button has been moved to the right, there’s a new bookmarks button next to the Home button, that replaces the bookmarks toolbar, the Reload and Stop buttons have merged into one and are displayed to the right of the Awesome Bar.

Hardware–accelerated graphics - Certain graphics rendering operations are now hardware-accelerated using Direct3D 9 on Windows XP, Direct3D 10 on Windows Vista and 7, and OpenGL on Mac OS. For Windows 7, Direct2D Hardware Acceleration is on by default.

Panorama – you can put tabs in groups and clean up the tab clutter.

App Tabs – right click a tab, select “Pin as App Tab”, and you can turn any tab into an app tab.

Awesome Bar – open tabs appear in the Awesome Bar. Say you have multiple tabs open and one of them is FindMySoft. When you type in FindMySoft in the Awesome Bar you will see an option to switch to the open FindMySoft tab.

Firefox Sync – you no longer need the Firefox Sync add-on as Firefox Sync is part of Firefox 4. You will be able to keep your bookmarks, passwords, history, and even tabs in sync between your work and your home computer for example.

Speed – thanks to the JägerMonkey JavaScript engine Firefox 4 is up to 6 times faster than Firefox 3.6

Privacy – Firefox 4 provides support for the Do Not Track ("DNT") header that allows users to opt-out of behavioral advertising

New Add-ons Manager – the Add-ons Manager has been polished a bit and looks quite good now.

You can read more about the new bits and pieces Firefox 4 brings to the table in the release notes, on the features page, or you can check out some videos here and here. The Mozilla blog has some interesting info as well - see here.



Tags: Mozilla, Firefox 4
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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