Mozilla Firefox 3.5

If you already use Firefox you'll want to upgrade right away. If you're not a Firefox user, Mozilla Firefox 3.5 represents a very good opportunity to give the browser a test run

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Mozilla Firefox 3.5
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5

Pros

  • Browsing the web is significantly faster, can reopen closed tabs, PrivateBrowsing, free

Cons

  • Some of your add-ons may not be compatible yet

Bottom Line

If you're a Firefox user, the upgrade to Mozilla Firefox 3.5 is a no-brainer. Browsing the web is significantly faster, the ability to re-open previously closed tabs and windows is a major improvement, and as for PrivateBrowsing... we won't delve into your personal life, but if you've got a need to keep some of your browsing a secret, you'll want this feature.

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Mozilla Firefox 3.5: Interface tweaks

The new version of Firefox has some nice interface tweaks as well. Primary among them is Mozilla Firefox 3.5's ability to re-open tabs or windows that you've previously closed - functionality that was previously available only through add-ons.

Select History and look for two items at the bottom of the menu - Recent Closed Tabs and Recently Closed Windows. From those menu items, select the tab or window you want to re-open. Note that this works only for tabs and windows you've closed in your current browsing session. After you end a session, you won't be able to restore them.

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 also supports watching video and listening to music directly in a web page, without having to launch any plug-ins, by supporting the HTML 5 audio and video elements. The web page itself plays the video, and includes audio and video controls. You can even download the video or audio by right-clicking and saving it.

For all of this to work, though, the elements have to be in the page itself, which means the developer has to code it that way. At the moment, there are very few pages that contain these kinds of video and audio elements; only time will tell whether they become popular.

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 has taken a page from Google Chrome, letting you drag a window out of a browsing session and launch it as its own browsing session, or else drag a tab from one browser session into another to combine them. In addition, when you drag a tab to reposition it among other tabs, you see a thumbnail of the tab as you move it.

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 now also supports what is called Location Aware Browsing, which tells websites your location so that they can deliver geographic-relevant information for online maps or to help when you're searching for local information and businesses.

It works like this: Firefox finds your IP address, gathers information from any nearby Wi-Fi hot spots, and sends that to Google Location Services (its geolocation service provider), which then tries to determine your location and shares that information with the website you're visiting. All this happens only if you give Mozilla Firefox 3.5 permission; Mozilla claims that it's done in a way that protects your privacy.

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 also supports downloadable fonts, and CSS support has been improved. And the "Awesome Bar," which is Firefox's name for the Address Bar, has gotten a slight change that power tweakers will appreciate: You can now more easily filter results as you type text into the bar. So, for example, if you want to see results only from your bookmarks, use the * character (as in Gralla*); if you want results only from tags, use the # character (e.g., Gralla#).

Note to current Firefox users: As with previous Firefox updates, some of your add-ons, such as Google Gears, might not work until they are updated to work with version 3.5.

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