Mozilla has finally released the new Firefox 4. After a year-long trail period attempting to get all the kinks worked out, the company finally unleashed the new browser on March 22nd, 2011. Within the first 24 hours of the new release, the browser was downloaded more than 7 million times. Mozilla’s Firefox 4 fell just short of the Guiness World record, held by their own Firefox 3 release which was downloaded more than 8 million times. This debut left the new Internet Explorer 9 browser in the dust, which, in its own debut, saw only a quarter of those downloads in the first day. This demonstrates not only the faithful users of Firefox, but also the people wanting to get their hands on the new browser, which has some new features that are worth noticing.
The new user interface has been stripped down to make the browser less cluttered, easier to navigate, and with a single menu button like that which you would find on the Google Chrome browser. Also, the tabs have moved to the top of the browser to give users space for more tabs, whereas before it was at the bottom and only allowed users to have limited space. The toolbar even has more space: Mozilla has moved the reload, stop, and bookmark buttons into the address bar. It may take users a little while to get used to, but it’s a simple and clean design for the new toolbar.
One new feature that was tested during the beta release, called “Panorama,” helps users to organize tabs into manageable categories while navigating around with many tabs open. It lets them create a little window to display the tabs they have open, which they then can sort to be organized by tasks or categories. Once users have organize their tabs, Panorama allows them to open only one group at a time, saving the other unopened groups so that the tab bar doesn’t get too cluttered.
Another feature that Firefox 4 offers is that users can now “pin” tabs in the same way Google Chrome allows for its users. This lets users send tabs to the left side of the tab bar as a tiny “favicon only” tab for those sites they utilize the most. Also, users are able to search for tabs that are open in the address bar, making it quicker and easier to jump from tab to tab.
The above improvements are some of the biggest features added to Firefox 4, but are definitely not all of them. Mozilla has really stepped it up with their new release, adding support for the WebM video format, full hardware acceleration for graphics, plugin sandboxing for crash protection, extra privacy protection, and increased HTML5 and CSS3 support. There’s an even longer list of all the features that were added, so if you would like to find out more about Firefox 4, go to Mozilla’s page. Download Mozilla’s new release and tell us what you think about the new browser.