Firefox 3: New front in the browser war!

It has been 2 weeks since the much hyped FireFox 3 has been launched. Mozilla claims to have logged in excess of 20.3 million downloads until now. The browser saw 8 million downloads within the first 24-hours of its release. This download feat is considered as a the most downloaded file in a single day and is being considered for inclusion in the Guinness Book of Records. Amidst all the hype it has created, did the new version live up to everyone’s expectations or was it just old wine in a new bottle? Lets have a breakdown of what the new version offers!

The developers claim 15,000 new tweaks, features and improvements in the software, which is rapidly building market share at the expense of Internet Explorer. Mozilla promised a browsing experience like never before, and it delivered exactly that, by working on improved performance, better stability, less CPU usage, more sustainability, and by giving it a personal touch.

Some of the new features in the web browser include one-click bookmarking, the smart location bar, full zoom, Instant Website ID, session restore, better security features and lightning fast performance.

One-Click Bookmarking:
This new feature helps to manage bookmarks better. There is a star in the address bar to the right and one click on the star will bookmark the page, two clicks to change the location of saving the bookmark and also tag it at the same time. One advantage of this is that Firefox saves this information and looks into your bookmarks too when you begin searching for a website or enter any keyword in the address bar and displays bookmarked links and also pages from your browsing history for selection.

Smart Location Bar:
This features a quick way to visit sites you frequent often even if you don’t remember the address completely. The new location bar learns with extended usage your personal preferences and in due course will start throwing up links and web pages based on your past browsing history. This is more like an auto complete feature found elsewhere but Firefox customizes it to a degree that’s more personal based on your past browsing history. Again this feature will need extended usage to find out how useful it really is.

Full Zoom:
As per Mozilla, you can visit your favorite news page and read the caption under the picture – or view the picture itself in a size you can see. An elegant new zoom feature lets you swoop in and see entire web pages. They scale in the way you’d expect them to, with all the elements of a page’s layout expanding equally, so you can zero in on what matters.

Instant Website ID:
Online safety has always been a strong feature with Firefox and this continues in version 3.0 too. Clicking on a site’s favicon will bring up information about the site and further clicks give more information like the times this site has been visited, does it save passwords, etc.

Session Restore:
If your PC stops responding or have an improper shut-down, there is no need to worry about the browser pages that you were working on. When you restart FireFox again, it will give you an option to open the same pages automatically instead of going through the History!

Security features:
The new Firefox delivers better protection for anything from malware to forgery and data leaks.

Performance Boost:
Firefox claims improved Memory Management, Smaller Memory Footprint, Faster JavaScript, Faster Page Load, and Graphics Engine Improvements in version 3.0.

Other notable new features are: The password-saving feature is still there, but comes up as a more convenient notice bar, instead of a dialog box. The download manager is actually useful now, and the resume button makes other download managers useless. The Install Add-ons Manager makes Firefox easy to customize, while the Library makes every search through bookmarks and history a stress-free one.

However, Mozilla security chief Window Snyder has confirmed the existence of a serious code execution vulnerability in the brand-new Firefox 3.0 browser. Snyder’s confirmation follows a public warning by TippingPoint’s ZDI (Zero Day Initiative) that the flaw could lead to PC takeover hijacks if a user simply surfs to a rigged Web site with Firefox. So expect an update for FireFox 3 soon!

With Opera launching the spruced up 9.5 version and Microsoft gearing up for version 8 of Internet Explorer, the browser market is becoming more innovative and competitive now, which is good news for the end user.