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[Analysis] Review: Firefox 3.5 Beta 4


FF35b4 Screenshot

Firefox 3.5 will be the next version of Mozilla Firefox. The latest beta version, 3.5 Beta 4, is available on Mozilla’s website. For the past week, I’ve been using Firefox 3.5 beta 4, and taking notes on what it’s like.

Firefox 3.5 will not be a completely new version of Firefox, so don’t expect to see a new theme or redesign. Rather, there will mainly be  security and stability updates.

Features added

– Firefox 3.5 has a Private Browsing Mode, which is also available in Internet Explorer, Safari, and Google Chrome. When using private browsing, Firefox does not add sites visited to your history or save forms, logins to websites, searches, or cookies. This could especially come in handy on public or shared computers. To enter private browsing mode, go to Tools > Start Private Browsing or type Control+Shift+P.

– Instead of using File > New Tab or Control+T to open a new tab, Firefox 3.5 introduced a tab bar with a quick button to open a new tab. The new tab bar can be disabled by going to Tools > Options > Tabs.

– Location-Aware browsing (see below).

Website compatibility

– I went to the following websites to see if Firefox 3.5 had problems loading them. They all were loaded correctly.

– google.com, yahoo.com, live.com, msn.com, youtube.com, microsoft.com, en.wikipedia.org, ebay.com, aol.com, ask.com, craigslist.org, answers.com, about.com, mapquest.com, windows.com, and adobe.com. In addition, it also loaded Website Graveyard and our sister site, TemplatesOne, correctly. I have yet to find a website that isn’t fully compatible with Firefox 3.5.


– Firefox 3.5 uses Gecko 1.9.1 as its rendering engine. It was either significantly faster than Gecko 1.9, or more compatible with my computer. Either way, pages loaded faster.

– More compatible with websites (see above).

– Still compatible with toolbars designed for Firefox 3, including the Google Toolbar and Wolfram Toolbar.

– Utilizes a new feature called Location-Aware browsing. With Location-Aware browsing, Firefox sends your current IP address to Google, which determines your location based on it. This feature will only be used if you OK it.


– Originally, Firefox 3.5 loaded more slowly than Firefox 3. However, Firefox 3.5 is now loading just as fast as Firefox 3.

– Being a beta, not all add-ons are compatible.

– Firefox crashed twice, but the addon Session Manager was able to recover the tabs.

In the end…

Firefox 3.5 is definitely an improvement from Firefox 3, offering better compatibility and more features. However, it’s not yet as stable as Firefox 3. For those of you who just want a web browser, wait until it comes out of beta. But if you want to experiment with the next one, why not try Firefox 3.5?


View tech specs for the computer used >>

Categories: Z Old Posts

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