Mozilla reacts to rivals with plans to beef up Firefox 3.1

It's squeezing in another month's work on JavaScript, privacy mode

Among the features of a Firefox privacy mode that Shaver would like to squeeze into 3.1 is one that would let users wipe surfing traces retroactively. "It would be nice if you could pretend these last two hours didn't happen," he said.

Other changes that may land in Firefox 3.1 between its first and second betas, said Shaver, include improvements to the location bar -- which Mozilla dubs the "Awesome Bar" -- and detachable tabs, a feature Chrome also sports that lets users drag tabs from a browser to the desktop to open a new window.

"In some ways we get a free move," said Shaver, talking about looking at rivals like IE8 and Chrome, studying how they implement a feature and watching the reactions from users.

Currently in Alpha 2, Firefox 3.1 is scheduled to go "code freeze" at the end of this month, with a tentative ship in four weeks or so, said Shaver. "We're in good shape for mid-October to the third week," he said today.

Firefox 3.1 can be downloaded in its present form from Mozilla's site in versions for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

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