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Firefox 4 Officially Launched

David Gilbert


Firefox 4 Officially Launched [Updated]

As we go to print with this story Firefox 4 has hit the 1.3 million download mark so will have a way to go to hit the record breaking 8 million downloads Firefox 3 racked up its first 24 hours back in 2008.

With last week’s launch of Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4 will be hoping its increased speed and hardware accelerated graphics will be able to lure people away from the much revamped IE9. Firefox 4 first went into beta last summer and since then there has been quite a number of iterations of the browser before finally becoming official today.

The highlights of the new version include speed, with Mozilla claiming 4 is six time faster than 3 (due to the JagerMonkey JavaScript engine), with improved start-up and page load times, speedy Web app performance and hardware accelerated graphics. The new version also looks quite different with a stream-lined interface and a much cleaner look. The App Tabs feature gives a permanent home to frequently visited sites and Panorama allows you to drag and drop tabs into manageable groups - which is a great freature for those of us who usually have dozens of tabs open. Firefox Sync will let your history, bookmarks, passwords and open tabs across multiple devices.

While some complained about flaws found in IE9’s anti-tracking features, Mozilla claim its Do Not Track feature is the first step towards a universal standard Do-Not-Track feature that allows users to opt-out of tracking used for behavioural advertising. It also encrypts any data locally before transmitting them over the net.

Mozilla has set up an online counter so you can see where in the world Firefox is being downloaded and in what quantities which will be some indication of the success of Firefox 4. In the long run though it will be how faster the browser is and how it handles feature rich content on the web which will decide if it is a success or not.

Firefox 4 is available to download now from the Mozilla website for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in more than 80 languages. A release candidate for Android and Nokia Maemo mobile platforms is now available with the official version coming soon.

Update: Firefox 4 hit over 5 million downloads within its first 24 hours which is still a healthy number even if it got nowhere near the 8 million mark of its predecessor. Europe was the region which downloaded the most copies of Firefox 4 having almost as many download as North America and Asia out together.

Source: The Mozilla Blog

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