Mozilla Unveils Firefox 3.1

Sneak peak at what is planned for the final release in 2009...

Launches don’t come much bigger than Firefox 3, the new third major iteration of the popular open source browser broke the download Guinness World Record managing an incredible 8,002,530 downloads in a single 24 hour period (and that after the servers initially crashed!). So how does the first beta of v3.1 follow that…?

In all honesty it can’t, so instead Mozilla has wisely gone for sensible incremental improvements with the key features being:

  • Web standards improvements in the Gecko layout engine
  • Added support for CSS 2.1 and CSS 3 properties
  • A new tab-switching shortcut that shows previews of the tab you’re switching to
  • Improved control over the Smart Location Bar using special characters to restrict your search
  • Drag and drop tabs from one Firefox window to another.
  • Support for new web technologies such as the and elements, the W3C
  • Geolocation API, JavaScript query selectors, web worker threads, SVG transforms and offline applications.

Another titbit which isn’t mentioned however is that Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 scores an impressive 89/100 in Acid3, a major boost for Internet-wide compatibility given 3.0 only managed 71/100. Surprisingly however there is no mention of the much touted ‘privacy mode’ (now dubbed ‘porn mode’) as seen in Google Chrome which stores no record of a users browsing history, passwords or cache once closed. Never fear however my sweaty-palmed readers, there’s still time before the formal January release…

Firefox 3.1 Beta 1 is available now, but remember the usual bugs / beta / extensions incompatibility warnings loom large as ever…

Firefox 3.1

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