Today Mozilla will release the newest version of its flagship browser, Firefox. Mozilla switched to an accelerated development cycle in 2011, which sees a new major version of Firefox released approximately every 6 weeks. The full development cycle for any one new feature would take about 18 weeks; transitioning through 3 “levels” of increasingly more stable development… Nightly, Aurora and Beta… before reaching the “Stable” or “Released” version of Firefox. Google Chrome follows a similar 3-tiered development approach. There are a number of interesting new features to be found in this new release. Among them are:
- Per-window private browsing mode – Matching features currently found in Chrome and Opera, private browsing allows the browsing of sites without a record of browsing history or cookies that might betray which sites the user had visited.
- In-tab downloads – Rather than opening a separate window to show downloads in progress, downloads will now be shown in a newly opened tab.
- In-browser support for the h.264 video codec – Previous versions only supported the Webm format when viewing HTML5 video. This causes problems with the quality of videos viewed on sites like YouTube. Unfortunately this update only fixes this problem for Windows versions Vista and newer, with which the h.264 codec is distributed.
- Search engine hijacking protection – Lets you know when a site or process has altered your search engine selection and allows you to reset it to the default search engine for Firefox, which is Google.