Productivity

First Look At The Improved And Redesigned Firefox 4

Windows/Mac/Linux: Mozilla today released the first beta build of Firefox 4, complete with a new look, new features and support for more HTML5 specs. Here’s a quick screenshot tour of how it’s shaping up:

The big changes come in the form of an interface overhaul and some updated support for HTML5 features. In this release the new-and-improved Firefox skin is only complete for the Windows release, so Mac and Linux users, you’ll have to wait a bit. The highlights from the release notes with images:

  • Tabs are now on top by default on Windows only – OSX and Linux will be changing when the theme has been modified to support the change.
  • On Windows Vista and Windows 7 the menu bar has been replaced with the Firefox button.
  • You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar
  • The stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like).
  • Crash protection for Windows, Linux and Mac when there is a crash in the Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime or Microsoft Silverlight plugins.
  • Native support for the HD HTML5 WebM video format.
  • More responsive page rendering using lazy frame construction.

That covers pretty much everything that stands out in Firefox 4 so far, though a couple of feature tweaks that aren’t specifically highlighted in the release notes that we particularly like include:

  • The new add-ons manager, which loads in a tab of its own instead of a separate window.
  • The new page loading progress indicator you see in the screenshot below.


If you’ve been kicking the tires on the new Firefox 4 beta and you’ve got a favourite new feature — whether we mentioned it above or not — let’s hear about it in the comments.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 [Mozilla]