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Firefox 3.5 release showcases increased speed

Mozilla today finally launched Firefox 3.5, a browser which is faster than its predecessors and which has more features

Firefox 3.5 release showcases increased speed
Firefox 3.5 is faster and has more features.

Firefox 3 set the Guinness World Record for software downloads in 2008 after 8 million people downloaded the browser in just 24 hours. It’s difficult to tell whether this will happen this year, but, at the time of writing, overall downloads have been approaching 3.7 million with around 40 to 59 downloads of the browser occurring each second.

The browser is faster owing to what Mozilla calls a ‘Trace Monkey JavaScript engine’. The result is that Mozilla claims that Firefox 3.5 is twice as fast as Firefox 3 and ten times faster than Firefox 2. It is faster than Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 but it still lags behind the likes of Google Chrome in terms of speed.

Apart from being a faster browser, Firefox has a number of interesting features such as Private Browsing, website identification, an improved tabbed interface and augmented video support.

The Private Browsing feature gives you the opportunity to browse the web without Firefox keeping track of what you’re browsing in your history browser. In essence, it ‘forgets’ what you’re surfing. This is quite similar to Internet Explorer 8’s private browsing feature and, in Firefox, all you have to do to access it is click on Tools and Start Private Browsing.

There’s also a more advanced website identification tool that allows you to identify whether websites are to be trusted or not, and an improved tabbed interface under the history menu where you can view recently visited websites.

Mozilla have also capitalised on a new feature of HTML 5 that lets Web developers embed audio and video into Web pages in an open format called Ogg Theora. Mozilla claims it's the first to integrate this feature directly into the browser.

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