Firefox 4: Ready and waiting to be downloaded
If you're fed up with constantly seeing yet another 3 point something update for Firefox, good news. Mozilla announced late on Tuesday that it released Firefox 4.0 into the wild (admittedly still in beta) for all to play with after the press of the download button.
"Firefox 4 Beta 1 is now ready to download and test! This first version gives an early look at what’s planned for Firefox 4", said the team in a blog post announcing the new software build.
The new offering, which seems to be very much a work in progress, will give Firefox users who want to be on the cutting edge of what's possible, exactly that.
"Stay tuned, because there is more to come and we plan to release new beta versions every two to three weeks", says Mozilla. "Firefox 4 Beta 1 includes dozens of major features and improvements - by testing them early we’ll be able to respond to your feedback for future versions of Firefox. Once you download Firefox 4 Beta 1, you’re part of our beta program and will receive regular updates as more features launch".
The new browser has had a design overhaul for Windows users, and although it is available for both Mac and Linux users as well, they won't be getting the new design just yet according to Mozilla.
"We moved the tabs to the top to make it easier to focus on the web content and easier to control the tools in your Web browser", claims Mozilla, and not presumably because they've been influenced as to how Google do it with Chrome.
Other visual changes include the Menu bar being replaced with a single Firefox button so you can get to the most used options with just one click.
But it's not just a "Facelift" claims the team, there is a new Add-ons manager to build on the success of the organisations 2 billion add-on downloads, hardware-accelerated HD-quality HTML5 video support and privacy improvements.
The new browser also gets better crash protection that lets you resume browsing by simply refreshing the page when a plug-in crashes, and as you would expect the whole thing gets a claimed performance boost.
It's worth pointing out though that this is day one of the new version, and that means bugs, the possibility of your favourite add-on not working and a whole manner of other exciting "living on the edge, living the dream", caveats that come with using beta software.
Still, that said, you can get the download from the Mozilla site.