Yesterday, Mozilla announced that the 3rd beta of the next version of their immensely popular web browser, Mozilla Firefox would be available for download. I’d posted earlier on the impressive changes between Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 Beta 2. So what does the third Beta bring? Let’s have a look.
As seen from the picture, Beta 3 looks lot different from Beta 2(which more or less looked like Firefox 2).
The most obvious change is in the Toolbar, the Forward & Back buttons get a facelift. Plus these adopt the theme of the OS, so Firefox running under Ubuntu will have the Human theme, under XP, the Luna theme, and Mac OS X users aren’t left behind either.
There are some subtle changes as well, like the separator bar between Locations and search text box is no longer visible as it was the case in Beta 2. I don’t know why the developers thought of hiding it, at first glance I though the bar was no longer resizable. But infact, it is. I wish the developers would show the separator in the final release, else people would not know.
The download manager, which has been vastly improved from Firefox 2, also has some subtle changes in the third Beta. The Downloads window can also be searched, for finding that little file you might have downloaded long time ago. New to the third Beta, is Download status being updated in the lower right corner of the browser. The status now shows the number of files under queue and estimated time of completion of the downloads. The download manager has a resume feature, which was available since the second Beta.
The error messages for timeouts have also been tweaked slightly, making it more friendly for newbies.
The search bar now features an entry for Wikipedia searches, which is very useful. Earlier I’d have to enter something, Google will search and most likely the first result would be a Wiki entry. Now this integration save me a click or two.
As of the second beta, the Bookmarking features had been extensively modified and worked upon, with support for tagging. In Beta 3 again there are slight changes. The end of location Bar has a star icon, as in beta 2. Clicking on it instantly bookmarks it. Clicking on it again you get a second window, where you can add tags to the the bookmark. New to the third beta is a button for deleting the bookmark. One nag I had with the second windows is that the Cancel button is placed on the left, meaning that if you move the mouse slightly as click on it, whatever changes you had done(ie, adding tags etc) are lost. This can be irritating. It would be nice to the cancel button placed on the right.
Addons – Talking about Firefox would be nothing without mentioning about its addons.
Unfortunately quite a lot of addons are still incompatible with Firefox 3 Beta 3, which means you’ll be losing a lot of functionality if you’re extensively using add-ons.
However, with the Beta 3, if you goto Tools -> Addons, you’ll have a 4th new tab, ie, Get addons! Yup that’s right you can search through available addons for Firefox, without having to goto the Addons page. Even better, Firefox retrieves a list of recommended Addons!
Overall, the changes from Beta 2 to Beta 3 are subtle but important. Firefox 3 is indeed shaping to be an impressive update to an already very imrpessive browser. Can’t wait for the final version to be released.