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Mozilla Firefox 3 Beta 2 Impressions

Couple of days ago, Mozilla released the second Beta for the third version of their immensely popular browser, Firefox. Now generally I stay away from beta versions of software, but when Subbu told me it’simproved a lot over the first beta, I just rushed to download it & try it out.

Let’s have a look at the new features of the Second Beta:

Although been using it for only past couple of days, I have been using FireFox extensively. The most obvious change is in address bar(known as Location bar in FF3b2). The address bar  now not only shows the URL, but also a description of previously visited sites. If that wasn’t good enough, Firefox also performs a full search on all available entries in the URL bar, highlighting the keywords. This feature while sounds trivial, it just rocks. If you happened to visit some site previously, which had an obscure URL but remember bits and pieces of the address(or just the words in the title) then this feature is immensely useful. Now before you guys rant “Google it”, also consider situations such as my office where Intranet-based applications are developed, with no Internet access. A double thumbs up from me, for this feature.  You can also expand/shrink the amount of space allocated to address bar/search bar.

The bookmarks have also been reworked tremendously. There’s now a “star” icon at the end of the address bar. Clicking on it instantly bookmarks it. Clicking it the second time, you can change the title, name, add tag, etc. Yes, you read that right! You can now tag bookmarks. And again this is a must upgrade feature! Instead of scrolling through a sea of URLs, just get the right bookmark by clicking on the appropriate tag. Wonder how I got through without this feature, I wonder.

Another neat feature is that now upon exiting, Firefox prompts you, asking whether to save any open tabs. Another very useful feature, if you want to continue reading on something, but don’t want to bookmark it. The download manager has also been worked upon, supporting Resume feature, though still it’s no match for dedicated Download managers like Internet Download Manager(IDM).

Security has also been beefed up, with Firefox by default not loading any sites with Invalid SSL certificates(just visit https://google.com/adsense instead of https://www.google.com/adsense using FF3b2 and you’ll know what I’m talking about), though you can force Firefox to load a particular site by adding it to the exceptions list.

As for memory consumption, Firefox consumed about 91MB of memory, with 10 active tabs.

With regards to stability, well it was hard to believe that I was working on a beta software, as Firefox crashed only twice, though this is because of an issue with IDM add-on. Despite the crash though, Firefox upon relaunching restored all open tabs, because of the session restore feature.

Overall Firefox 3 is shaping up to a really good update to an already-fantastic browser. The drastic improvements in the Address Bar and reworking of Bookmarks is itself a compelling reason to FF3 immediately. I can’t wait for the final release.

New Features in Firefox 3
Download Firefox 3 Beta 2

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