Firefox 3 Browser Released

The volunteer-led Mozilla project has released version 3 of the Firefox browser.

The release represents a major upgrade of the browser and the culmination of three years' work involving thousands of developers, according to a project announcement. It features more than 15,000 improvements.

New features include:

  • Smart location bar. With a redesigned user interface, the browser features an address bar that, when given a search term, will automatically generate a quick list of previously visited Web sites.

  • Page zooming. A zooming feature lets users display any part of a Web page in greater detail, including text and images.

  • Memory improvements. Firefox 3 uses a new version of the browser's rendering engine, Gecko 1.9, that requires less working memory. Faster page-rendering times are also promised.

  • Security enhancements. Version 3 offers new safeguards that alert users to possible malware and phishing sites. Also, on sites that uses SSL encryption, Firefox offers a pop-up box with more security information (including the owner of the site).

  • Add-on manager. Previous versions of Firefox allowed users to customize their browser with more than 5,000 add-ons, such as tools for uploading digital photos and participating in online auctions. The new add-on manager is integrated with the browser rather than appearing as a separate pop-up box. Not all older add-ons will work in version 3, however, such as the icon to tag Web pages for the social-bookmarking site.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the chief technology editor of Government Computing News (