Firefox 4: What's New & Awesome in This Browser Update?

Linda Sharps
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Since its release yesterday, Firefox 4 has been downloaded over 7 million times. That's pretty impressive, considering there's been relatively little publicity around the new version.

In comparison, Internet Explorer 9's release day topped off at 2 million downloads. Now, grabbing the latest and greatest software update doesn't mean that's what people will stick with as their browser of choice, but Firefox is clearly maintaining its status as an increasingly popular runner-up to IE's 57% market share.

What's got people so excited about this new release of Firefox? Let's take a quick peek under the hood:

Fancier tabs. Tabs are now placed above the URL bar, giving your window a cleaner look. (Here's a quick video on why they made the decision.) You can also search across tabs, and there's something new called App Tabs, which Firefox describes as “small consistent tabs placed on the left side of the tab strip” for applications you like to leave open—like Pandora or Gmail. (They're sort of like mini bookmarks.) Also, a new feature called Panorama lets you create groups of tabs and open them all at once.

Sexy HTML 5 support. Firefox is now providing not only native support for HD HTML5 Web M video format, but also support for more HTML5 control forms. No idea what HTML 5 is? Doesn't matter, just remember that it's cool. The latest web apps using HTML 5 have PC-like functions like drag and drop and advanced photo editing.

Add-on manager. Firefox fans love customization, and the built-in Add-on Manager has been designed to make it super easy to find plugins and manage the ones you already have.

Speed, baby! A new Javascript engine has Firefox humming up to six times faster than previous versions. Yeah, I think this one right here might seal the deal for me.

You can get the rundown on what's new in 4 and download the browser (for free, natch) at Mozilla's site.

Are you using Firefox? What do you think of the new release?



Image via Mozilla.com

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