Firefox 4 Beta Released

Clearly, I am glutton for punishment.  Anytime there is a new Beta/Alpha/Release Candidate/Pre-release, I immediately download it, install it, and hope my computer keeps working after the install.  Why is it that I need to reformat/reinstall my entire environment every 6-9 months?  Ponderous. 

If you’re as daring, feel free to participate in the open Firefox 4 Beta at

I really dig the new theme they’ve applied (only for Windows, so far).  The tabs are at the top of the page, above the URL address bar.  They’ve also ‘borrowed’ from the typical Microsoft Office interface (sort of) – the menu bar at the top has been replaced with a Firefox button.  This is good.  People are used to finding the main menu item in the upper left corner.



Each tab has a small gauge to show page download progress of the page for that tab.  I find this extremely helpful.  I’m a huge fan of launching MANY browser tabs from a search result page (Ctrl + Click), and this feature makes it very easy to see which tabs are loaded. 

The bookmark toolbar has been consolidated into a button (to the right of the search box).  I’ve been using Google Toolbar to manage my bookmarks for a long time, so I don’t really see a need for the localized, browser based bookmarks.  I also use different computers all the time, and this keeps my list accessible.  The local bookmarks/favorites is something I typically hide on all my browsers to free up screen real estate.  If the upcoming Firefox Sync ends up easier to use / faster / better, then I may switch and start using this again – but it would be hard to beat my Google bookmarks.

Seems they’ve done a lot of work under the hood for HTML5 (support for the WebM video format, new HTML5 parser, HTML5 form controls, etc.).   The new Add-Ons manager is extremely easy to understand.  What is this?  YAAS Coming?  (Yet Another App Store?)


So far, my computer is still working great.   I loved Firefox yesterday, and after only an hour of use I’m pretty enamored with Firefox 4.  It seems fast and stable – and it looks great.  My only complaint is that the Google Toolbar isn’t yet compatible.  One-and-a-half thumbs up… so far.

By John Stover

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