Firefox 4 Beta available for download

The guys over at Mozilla certainly don’t close for holidays. Not only are we getting a new update for Firefox 3.6 every two weeks or so, but now we also have the first beta release of Firefox 4 to play with. This new version of Mozilla’s popular browser brings a bunch of new features, some of which you’ll see from the very beginning, some others will stay under the hood. Let’s take a look at them:

The most outstanding new feature in Firefox 4 is the new interface design. Tabs are now on top of the address bar by default, which may put some users off. I’m fine with it, but if you don’t like it you can disable top tabs by going to View > Toolbars and unchecking “Tabs on top”.

Firefox 4 Beta available for download

Another new element in the interface is the big orange button on the top left corner. This button opens a drop-down menu that replaces the standard toolbar from previous versions. I think it’s going to take me a while to get used to it…

Firefox 4 Beta available for download

The Bookmarks bar is now also a button,  placed on the right side of the interface. You can switch back to the regular Bookmarks toolbar if you’re not comfortable with this new menu.

Firefox 4 Beta available for download

The best new feature in Firefox 4 (at least for me) is the new add-ons manager. It opens up in a blank tab instead of a separate window, it’s got a much cleaner design and it’s easier to use.

Firefox 4 Beta available for download

Besides these major features, there are a couple of minor improvements I particulary enjoyed in the new Firefox 4. One is the little indicator one each tab that displays the website’s loading progress, and the other is the merging of the Reload and the Stop buttons in one.

Firefox 4 includes also other interesting features, though they may not be that obvious. The implementation of Websockets and a new SDK for add-ons, together with support for HTML5 and CSS3 make Firefox 4 a really interesting update. Also, the browser scored an excellent 97/100 in the Acid3 test – not perfect, but still better than other browsers on the market.

Have you tried Firefox 4 yet? Do you like it? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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