Slowly but surely, Mozilla's Firefox
continues to grow into more and
more of a respectable opponent to Microsoft
's Internet Explorer. As the
years have passed, more people have grown tired of IE's nagging and
security holes, and Firefox has been able to capitalize like no other.
The company's newest version of Firefox 4 Beta adds even more impressive
features, just in time for the holidays. Of course, since it's a Beta
build, there's always a chance that something may react strangely, but
if you have been looking for never-before-included features in a
browser, installing this as a secondary one just to test the waters may
not be such a bad idea.
According to Mozilla, this beta offers easier account and new device
setup for Firefox Sync,
expanded support for 3D graphics in the browser and a revamped Firefox
Add-ons Manager. Firefox 4 Beta now includes a streamlined Firefox Sync
setup, making it easier to bring Awesome bar history, bookmarks, open
tabs and passwords across your computers and smartphones. There's also
increased support for 3D graphics. Firefox 4 Beta now supports WebGL
for most modern built-in graphics
cards, making it easier for developers to create interactive 3D games,
vivid graphics and new visual experiences for the Web without the use
of third-party plug-ins.
You can watch some of the new features in the video here, but of course
the best way is to just try things out for yourself. It's a free
download, so why not?
Firefox 4 Beta Gives You an Easier Firefox Sync Setup and 3D Graphics for the Holidays
We are excited to release the latest Firefox 4 Beta. This beta offers easier account and new device setup for Firefox Sync, expanded support for 3D graphics in the browser and a revamped Firefox Add-ons Manager.
Streamlined Firefox Sync Setup
Firefox 4 Beta now includes a streamlined Firefox Sync setup, making it easier to bring Awesome bar history, bookmarks, open tabs and passwords across your computers and smartphones. Based on your feedback, we’ve made it much easier to setup Firefox Sync while still securing your Firefox data with the same high-grade encryption. Ragavan Srinivasan, Project Manager for Firefox Sync, describes the new setup procedure for desktops, laptops, Android or Nokia Maemo phones and iPhones in more detail (and with videos!) in this blog post.
Increased Support for 3D Graphics
WebGL is an open standard for accelerated 3D graphic rendering on the Web that enables developers to build applications that until now required a user to install plug-ins. Firefox 4 Beta now supports WebGL for most modern built-in graphics cards, making it easier for developers to create interactive 3D games, vivid graphics and new visual experiences for the Web without the use of third-party plug-ins. For more information on WebGL, read this post from Principal Firefox Engineer Vlad Vukicevic.
Combined with our previous work to bring open HTML5 technologies for animation, video, and sound to the Web, developers can now create amazing experiences that are rendered directly in the browser, combining themselves with live data from the Internet. Watch the video of the “Flight of the Navigator” below, or better yet, try it on your computer (it requires a modern computer with recent graphics hardware). The live demo is rendered in your browser as you watch. As Professor and Mozilla Developer Dave Humphrey describes, this is not a video – it’s built using open technologies, pulls in data from Twitter and Flickr, and puts it all together as you watch.
Automatic Updates with new Firefox Add-ons Manager
The revamped Firefox Add-ons Manager is now available on Windows, Mac and Linux with an easy way to manage and discover add-ons to enhance and personalize your browsing experience. Now, add-ons update automatically with the Firefox Add-Ons Manager enables add-ons to update automatically so your add-ons are always up to date. For more information on the Firefox Add-ons Manager, see this blog post from Jennifer Boriss on the Firefox User Experience team.
Making Firefox Add-ons Compatible
We are working with the amazing community of add-ons developers to get the gallery of thousands of beneficial and fun add-ons ready to customize the features, look and functionality of Firefox 4 Beta. For more details on how to make your add-on compatible for Firefox 4, read this blog post from Firefox Add-ons Developer Relations Lead Jorge Villalobos.
Thank you to all our beta testers for all the help building and testing Firefox 4 Beta. Please keep the feedback coming. We love to hear from you and we couldn’t build Firefox 4 Beta without you.