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Firefox 41 launches with built-in instant messaging

A new version of the Firefox web browser from Mozilla has been launched, and it comes packing its own instant messaging tool.

Firefox 41 is rolling out now with the usual tweaks and improvements, but it also comes with one particular headline addition.

If you’re using the desktop version (Windows, Mac, or Linux), you can now send instant messages from a Firefox Hello video call. It’s a feature Mozilla has developed in conjunction with Telefonica, and the company claims that it’s a first for web browsers.

As Engadget points out, you’ll even be able to chat with Chrome and Opera users in future thanks to the fact that Firefox Hello is built on the WebRTC standard.

The advantages of a browser-based chat system over an app-based system like Skype are fairly obvious. You’ll be able to use the service even if you’re accessing the web from another person’s computer, or a public one for that matter. It could be perfect for light travelers.

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Firefox users can now also add a profile picture that will display to the other person while you’re using the Hello service.

Mozilla has also updated the Android version of Firefox, with features such as the ability to access multiple search providers from the search field, duplicate bookmark detection, and also the ability to swipe to close tabs.

If you’re shopping for a new smartphone, check out our smartphone buyers guide first:

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