Mozilla may have caused a small uproar over its lack of a strategy for businesses when it released Firefox 5, but there's no denying that the browser is making leaps and bounds as it marches onward with subsequent versions.
Among the new additions to the desktop version are the capability to check that plug-ins are up-to-date directly from the Add-ons Manager, as well as improved Panorama Groups, allowing users to reduce browser startup time by loading only saved tab groups when they use Panorama. An improved address bar, meanwhile, highlights the domain name of the website you’re visiting to make it easier to identify where you are online.
Enhanced for Large-Screen Tablets
On the Android side, Firefox 6 starts faster and uses less memory, and it also offers higher-quality image scaling, with less pixelation. The Firefox experience has been enhanced for large-screen tablets, and touch events offer better interaction with Web pages, Mozilla says.
IndexedDB allows Web pages to store data offline for faster access, and there's also an improved form helper, a “fresh visual style” on Gingerbread, and automatic text hyphenation.
Improved Memory Management
Then, of course, there's Firefox 7, which on Thursday entered the Aurora channel.
Particularly notable about this release are that it's “focused on delivering performance enhancements and optimizing memory utilization,” in Mozilla's own words, and also that it includes new Web and server technology and tools so developers can build performance tests directly into the browser and boost Firefox's speed further.
Firefox 7 offers a faster startup time on Windows, Linux and Mac, Mozilla says, as well as enhanced font rendering and enabling bookmarks and passwords to sync instantly.
20 Percent Faster
As for Firefox 8, it just appeared in Mozilla's Nightly channel, but already reports are suggesting that it's as much as 20 percent faster than Firefox 5 on pretty much every metric, putting it on par with Chrome 14.
“This isn’t merely an under-the-hood, synthetic-benchmark, on-paper thing either: the difference between FF5 and FF8 is very, very noticeable,” ExtremeTech's Sebastian Anthony wrote.
Overall, Mozilla may have taken a blow in the corporate world by initially disregarding enterprise users with its new, Chrome-style rapid-release schedule. It's now working on that, though, in addition to these exciting new Firefox releases.
I'm betting the result will maintain or even surpass the momentum we saw with Firefox 4.