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]


Comments

    Never really understood why you would want the tabs on top, since, at least in my case, "tabs" is the function I most use when surfing?

    its starting to smell a lot like google chrome......

    So on the whole... it looks a lot like chrome?

    Eh, I know it's a beta but a search toolbar? Seriously? Why would that be included by default when it's configured BY DEFAULT to do something the awesomebar already does?

    And the status bar at the bottom of the screen is a whooole lot of wasted space.

    Still a very nice browser, I'll stick with chrome for the time being.

      the reason the search bar is there is so you can search whatever search engine you want. you click the icon and click what search engine you want to use, or you can just hold down the button and release on the engine you want. it comes in handy trust me.

      i've got google, wikipedia, youtube and a few others.

      anyway, all of this searchbar and tabs thing could just be changed with extensions anyway. it's not that big of a deal.

    looks a lot like Opera. chrome copied opera originally too.

      +1 for Opera

      Forget FF and Chrome people

    Just to let you know, Minefield/Firefox is based on Chrome.

    Why tabs on top!!! I hate them up on top and this is why I don't use Chome.

    I hope this changes in the release version

      This should give a rundown of Tabs on Top.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmgtW2Iw-kE

      You can change most of these aspects anyway, which (as far as I know) you can't in Chrome.

      You can turn off the Tabs on Top by going Firefox > Customize > Tabs on Top.

      You can also bring back the Menu bar in the same menu.

      Use both of those and you've got yourself a browser looking very similar to Firefox before 4.0.

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