It’s not quite the final version, it’s not completely clean of bugs, but it’s getting there: Mozilla have released today their version 3.0 Beta 1 of Firefox. I downloaded it as soon as I heard of the news hoping to see some genuine improvements from the rather unstable Alpha releases. What I saw was something that looks promising but that still needs a bit more work.
The interface has supposedly been improved, but I barely saw any difference, compared to version 2.0. The toolbar icons have been slightly improved though. In terms of performance, Mozilla have promised to reduce memory usage but the Beta still oscillated between 100 and 150 MB, still more than I’d expect of it. The browser also takes a bit of time to launch, and I’ve found it to freeze up rather frequently. I was also disappointed to see that none of my add-ons were yet compatible with the Beta, but that should hopefully be fixed for the final release. Firefox can be used offline though, including applications you’ve already got installed.
One of the exciting new features is Places, yet you could almost not notice it, as it sits as a folder on the left side of your bookmarks bar. I did find it quite useful though, as it gives quick access to items like most visited pages or recently starred pages. Which brings us to starring, which you can do by clicking the star icon on the right of your url address bar. Double click it to add a description, choose the bookmark folder to store it and add tags.
Security is another of the features Mozilla looked to improve upon. You can now report broken sites and web forgery from the Help drop down menu. Clicking on a site’s mini icon in the url address bar supposedly brings up information on the given site, but every site we tried it with, including Google, came up as unknown. Double click on it though, and you’ll get more in depth info, like media, permission (pop-ups, images, cookies) and security (does the site store cookies? Have you visited it before? Are you on an encrypted connection?)
In all, it’s nice to see what we can expect next from Firefox. The new version looks promising, even though it still needs some significant improvements. I suggest waiting for the final release before getting your hands on it.