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Firefox 4 Beta Hits Download

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Mozilla has spent a great deal of time talking the talk about the wonders of Firefox 4, now it's time for walkies...

The non-profit software developer has quietly released the first public beta of Firefox 4 and first impressions are a) it is indeed much faster (if not Chrome fast), b) it looks like the spitting image of Opera 10 and c) at this stage a lot of basics are missing.

First up a refresher on Firefox 4 and happily the long awaited move to 64bit has occurred, along with the contentious switch of tabs to a Chrome-like position along the top (though there is an option to switch them back) and there's also the introduction of sandboxed tabs (seen in Firefox 3.5.4), wider HTML5 support and a huge rewrite of the browser's code to make it perform far more efficiently.

Other interface tweaks see add-ons and the bookmarks manager integrated into browser tabs, improved cookie control and it all works very nicely with Windows' Aero Peak which spreads out open tabs across the taskbar.

Early impressions are as simple as a, b, c above, but expanding on the last point so far I've noticed no way to pin tabs (if there is, the implementation is unintuitive), the rejoining of separate windows is clumsy and the bookmarks toolbar is far too wide. That said, it all feels a huge advance over Firefox 3.x because it is far more responsive - both in starting up and loading pages.

As yet it's still not converting me back after my switch to Chrome though...

Link: Firefox 4 Beta Download Link

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