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Firefox Turns 2.0

Far from terrible, Firefox’s twos are good; very, very good. One week after the general release of Internet Explorer’s version 7, Mozilla has made Firefox 2.0 available to the general public. While the final products seem very similar, the changes to Firefox are relatively subtle when comparing the two programs. This is largely due to the fact that Microsoft’s IE 7 represents the first major update to their browser in five years, and they’ve added many features that are new to Internet Explorer.

Users of the Firefox browser will notice a few changes in the way the new version of the browser looks and functions. Below is a short list of new features available in the new version of Firefox.

 

 

  • Improved tabbed browsing
  • Better security features
  • Advanced RSS capabilities
  • Improved extension and add-on management
  • Enhanced search features
  • Lighter use of system resources

The new tabbed browsing allows a user to have more tabs open than would ordinarily be able to fit in the browser window. This is accomplished through clever use of scrolling arrows that allow a user to scroll left or right through open tabs. To jump directly to an open tab without scrolling a user can click the tab summary icon located to the right of the tabs. If Firefox is set as your default browser, it will now open links as a new tab rather than in a new browser session. Should Firefox close unexpectedly (system crash, power outage, etc.) users will be prompted to restore the previous browser session. Clicking “OK” reopens Firefox and all of the tabs that were in use in the previous session.

Firefox 2.0 plugs what vulnerabilities there were in previous versions and adds an important new feature, anti-phishing. As a user browses using Firefox, the browser will check websites against an online blacklist, helping to ensure that users don’t accidentally fall victim to malicious software and hackers. If a user should encounter a website Firefox suspects to be a forgery, they will be warned and prompted to return to their home page.

The new RSS system in Firefox allows users to preview a site’s feeds before subscribing to them. When subscribing to a feed Firefox gives a user the option of subscribing through a live bookmark in Firefox itself, a stand-alone feed-reader, or a web service such as My Yahoo!

Extensions and Add-ons are now handled in the same window, consolidating the separate management tools used in previous versions of the browser. Many add-ons and extensions in use with previous versions of Firefox may not work right away after installing 2.0. Firefox will automatically update those themes, add-ons, and extensions for which add-ons are available, and list those that are no longer compatible.

When using Google, Yahoo, or Answers.com Firefox will supply search term suggestions as a user enters their query on any of these engines.

The software is overall lighter. Running Firefox with more than a dozen open tabs the software was using only 80 MB of system memory. Firefox is very light on system resources and runs efficiently and quickly.

For more information about Firefox 2.0, or to download the software visit the Mozilla site: Mozilla.com/Firefox

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