Firefox 4 Beta 1 Review

Firefox 4 Beta 1 was released earlier today. The newer version of Firefox from Mozilla is definitely better than Firefox 3.6 and is definitely worth trying out. Firefox 4 runs on the Gecko 2.0 web platform. Earlier today I downloaded Firefox 4 and put it through some drills, here is a review of Firefox 4 Beta 1 where you can find the new features and also the how Firefox 4 fares against other browsers in web browser benchmarks.

New User Interface

Firefox 4 New User Interface

Firefox 4 sports a completely different interface, some of which are from and . Firefox 4 has some new buttons and also a unified menu which is similar to the one Opera 10.6 has. In addition to that the tabs also default to the top which is similar to Google Chrome.

However, the menu bar is initially hidden and users can unhide it to go back to the older navigation found in Firefox 3.6 and below.

Firefox 4 Bookmarks menu

Firefox 4 also has a new bookmark button giving users easy access to their bookmarks with one click. You can find and navigate through all your bookmarks and folders using the bookmark button next to the search box.

New Add-ons Manager


Firefox 4 sports a new add-ons manager which integrates into the browser. However, the interface is still under construction and you cannot use the add-ons manager to browse and install add-ons yet. However, it is definitely much better than the earlier version and also has some new developer tools.

Mozilla also says that the add-ons manager UI will be changed before the final release, so don’t start falling in love with it yet.

Search and Switch to Open Tabs


Firefox 4 also has a hidden gem in the smart location bar, which will allow you to switch to an open URL by typing in the URL or searching for the title of the page. The feature is very handy if you have several open tabs and want to switch to it without navigating through all the tabs.

When you want to switch to an open tab, just start typing the URL or the title of the page and you will be shown an option to Switch to that open tab. Pretty neat.

Windows 7 Integration

firefox_4_windows_7_integration firefox_4_windows_7_jumplists

Firefox 4 tightly integrates into by having tab previews and Jumplists. Using the tab previews you can easily preview all open tabs. In addition to that the jumplists allows you to quickly perform tasks and open frequently opened URLs.

Native HTML5 WebM Videos Support


Firefox 4 has native support for WebM videos. WebM is an open source royalty free codec for HTML5 videos which is an alternative to H.264 and Theora codes (Learn more about WebM). In my tests HTML5 videos works pretty good on .

Speed and Other Benchmarks


Firefox 4 is definitely much more lighter and faster than Firefox 3.6 and it uses much less memory than the earlier versions. However, Firefox 4 is not yet the fastest browser and it was beaten by both Google Chrome 6 (dev) and Opera 10.60 in the Peacekeeper benchmarks I ran.


Firefox also failed the Acid 3 test, but the results were far better than Firefox 3.6. This shows a lot of improvements being done under the hood. Firefox 4 was also slower than in the SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark  and way too slow in the V8 benchmarks I ran (screenshots coming shortly).

Other Features

Firefox 4 also has Crash protection for Flash, QuickTime and other plugins, however, this was introduced in Firefox 3.6. Firefox 4 also has a HTML5 parser which allows you to run the latest apps, support for WebSockets for real-time online interactions like chatting and gaming and IndexedDB which will allow users to use offline storage.

If you have not yet downloaded Firefox 4 Beta 1, you can do it from here or visit this blog post on Mozilla to find out all the latest features available in Firefox 4.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 Available for Downloads

Mozilla has just announced the availability of Firefox 4 Beta 1 for downloads. The Firefox 4 Beta 1 gives a glimpse of the future of Firefox and the upcoming Firefox 4 release. The new features in Firefox 4 are pretty exciting and I am trying them out as we speak so keep an eye on the review for Firefox 4.


Firefox 4 Beta 1 has several new features which include:

New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!

HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.

Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.

Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.

Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.

Firefox 4 Beta 1 fully integrates including videos and offline storage. The beta also sports a new look which Mozilla has been working on for a long time. If you are interested you can download the Firefox 4 Beta 1 from here. A full review of Firefox 4 beta 1 will be posted shortly, so stay tuned.

Firefox Completes 2 Billion Firefox Add-on Downloads

have been one of the biggest reason I and I believe several other users have still stuck with the browser. Firefox extensions or add-ons as they are known spice up the browser adding features which make it more useful and better.


Today, Firefox completed a huge milestone with over 2 billion downloads of various add-ons and . Firefox has reached the milestone with 2 billion downloads over a period of over 3 years from The below chart shows the downloads on a year to year basis.


Firefox had completed 1 billion downloads back in November 2008, the second million took over 19 months. The Firefox add-ons boasts of over 150 million add-ons in use every day. Mozilla has also created a special collection of add-ons called Best of 2 Billion Firefox add-ons which contains about 25 add-ons, you can view the list and download it from here. For more information on this milestone visit the Rock Your Firefox announcement.

Opera 10.60 Released: Boosts Speed, Standards Support and Security

Opera Software, the little Norwegian browser maker that pioneered many of the modern web browser features, has just released Opera 10.60. As suggested by the version number, the new build is more evolutionary than revolutionary. Opera 10.60 builds upon the 10.5x releases and polishes many of the significant changes introduced in the previous releases.


Visual Enhancements

Opera 10.60 refines the existing skin by making subtle but noticeable all-around adjustments. The hideous O-menu button has been replaced by a more civilized looking button. Hover thumbnail tab previews have been cleaned up and internal tabs (like Feeds, Mail, Notes and Downloads) have been graced with pretty looking icons. Also, Speed Dials now makes better utilization of the width afforded by wide-screen monitors.

Standard Support Enhancements

HTML5 has become quite the buzzword these days. Of course, thanks to the misleading usage by vendors like Apple, most people have come to associate HTML5 with any new web technology that is cool. That being said, Opera 10.60 truely delivers better HTML5 and other standards support. With this stable release, it becomes the first browser to support WebM videos. Also supported in this release are standards like Geolocation, Appcache and Web Workers. You can find more information on these new technologies here.

Performance Enhancements


Also included in Opera 10.60 is the customary speed improvement. I didn’t do any benchmarks with the final build, but Opera claims that the new build fares 50% better than it’s predecessor in some benchmarks. Earlier, Opera 10.60 alpha had managed to edge out Chrome’s dev channel releases.

Security Enhancements

Opera has added AVG anti fraud, malware and phishing feeds to beef up it’s phishing and malware protection feature. According to Opera, “Live feeds supply fresh information on the latest web threats to the users and keep them in the know about potential malware, harm or scams”. In certain regions, Opera will also be using data supplied by Yandex for fraud protection.

Other Enhancements

Live Search Suggestions are coming to Opera. For now, it works only with few search engines like Wikipedia. Hopefully, more search engines will be supported in the near future. Opera has also added Bing as an search option. Google remains the default search engine, but Bing will be used as the Speed Dial search engine.

This is also the first time UNIX users would get to try the significant enhancements introduced in Opera 10.50, since Opera was not offered in final version for the 10.5x series.

Opera 10.60 for Windows/Mac/UNIX can be downloaded from You can view real-time downloads of the browser in an interactive map available at

A Web Browser for Your TV – Kylo

[Windows and Mac] I have hooked up my computers to the TV occasionally. It’s pretty cool, but for me, it’s not very handy. My couch is too far from the screen and I can’t read most of the text while surfing. A new web browser called Kylo, promises to solve that problem. The Kylo browser is based on Mozilla code, so it’s using the same engine that Firefox uses. Here’s what the web site says about their browser:

Sit back and get ready for big-screen browsing. Kylo brings your TV and computer together to create the ultimate content experience. Enjoy your favorite online shows, videos, music, games and news. Take your HDTV anywhere on the web.

I tried Kylo briefly last week. At first I was pretty amazed at how well it worked. Here you can see the Kylo home page. (click to expand pictures)


Next, I visited Youtube. It works very nicely in full screen mode most of the time. Occasionally the video would freeze, but going back to normal screen usually resumed the video.


Below, you can see the on-screen keyboard that pops up whenever you click into a text entry box.


In the next two screens, I was watching a soccer match. It was almost like watching it on regular TV.

kylo-fifa-live kylo-fifa-full-screen

Rather than go into too much detail, I’ll show you a video on how Kylo works.

Click here if you can’t see the embedded video.

Download the Kylo TV Browser

Techie Buzz Verdict:

As I mentioned above, full screen video would occasionally freeze up. Other than that, I was pretty pleased with the way Kylo works. If you want to surf on your big screen, Kylo may be a good solution for you.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

First Release Candidate for Opera 10.60 Is Here

The developers at Opera seem to be really keen to polish up and release Opera 10.60 as soon as possible. In a span of less than two weeks (since the beta), Opera Software has released as many as seven builds. Of course, this is a good thing. I am taking the urgency on Opera’s part to be an indication that they are itching to start working full throttle on Opera 11.

Anyway, the veteran browser developer has just released the first release candidate (RC) for Opera 10.60. If you are already using the beta, then there aren’t any major surprises in store for you. This build is essentially a bug fix release. However, the list of bugs squashed is fairly large. If you are experiencing inconsistent behavior with your current Opera 10.60 build, then the release candidate is a highly recommended update for you.


If you are still on the Opera 10.5x trunk, then Opera 10.60 has quite a few nice changes for you. Check out our previous coverage to learn about the improved standard support and the miscellaneous visual and performance enhancements introduced in Opera 10.60.

This time around, Opera will be releasing the final build for all platforms simultaneously. This is especially good news for UNIX users, who didn’t receive a stable Opera 10.5x build.

[ Download Opera 10.60 RC 1 for Windows/Mac/UNIX ]

Firefox 3.6.4 Released With “Crash” Protection

The biggest bane I have had with Firefox over the past year is that it is too bloated, crashes at will and freezes the system, all this even if a single tab you have open has some problem. on the other hand has a feature which will not crash the browser if there is a problem with a single tab, thanks to it using a different processes for each tab.

Firefox Crash Protection

However, it looks like Mozilla has set out to do something about the problems users have been having with the introduction of Firefox 3.6.4, which has a feature called "Crash Protection".

Crash Protection in Firefox 3.6.4 will reduce the number of crashes that users encounter while watching videos or playing games using Flash. With the new update, Firefox will run plugins as different instances through Out-of-process plugins or OOPP.

This is definitely a good move forward and hopefully Mozilla will also move towards making Firefox more memory efficient and lightweight in future builds.

Firefox 3.6.4 offers crash protection for Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight on Windows and Linux computers. Users can upgrade to Firefox 3.6.4 by choosing the "Check for Updates" option available under the Help menu.

Learn more about Firefox 3.6.4

Opera 10.54 Fixes Multiple Security Issues

Opera-10.54 Opera Software has just released Opera 10.54, which is a highly recommended security update. This release fixes multiple security issues, including one which allowed Opera to be used as a vehicle for exploiting a flaw in font handling in Windows operating system. Here is the full changelog:

  • Prevented Opera from being used as a vector for a font issue in the underlying operating system, as reported by Microsoft’s security team; see our advisory.
  • Fixed an extremely severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.
  • Fixed a highly severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.
  • Fixed a moderately severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.
  • Fixed a less severe issue; details will be disclosed at a later date.

As you can see, the Norwegian browser maker has been surprisingly vague while describing the security vulnerabilities that have been fixed in this release. The most probable reason for this is “responsible disclosure”. Opera’s changelog strongly hints that other applications (most probably browsers) are also vulnerable to the same exploits.

Last week, Opera Software released Opera 10.60 Beta 1, which propelled Opera to the front of the pack once again, in terms of rendering speed. The good news is that, if you are using Opera 10.60 Beta 1 or a newer build, you are already protected and you don’t need to downgrade to Opera 10.54.

[ Download Opera 10.54 ]

Flock Dumps Mozilla Firefox for Chromium

Flock the popular social browser which earlier ran on the Firefox Gecko engine has dumped Mozilla for Chromium, the popular new browser which also powers .


The new Flock beta browser now runs on Webkit which is also part of Safari and Google Chrome. Flock which has about 8 million users has also landed a new feature where you can create a Flock account and sync your settings to the "cloud".

Users can use the cloud feature to take their accounts to any Flock browser without having to reset it again and again. Considering that most of the other browsers too have an option to sync profiles or at-least bookmarks, it made more sense to have it in the newest Flock beta too. Apart from that Flock almost remains the social browser people have known it to be.

The switch from Firefox code to Chromium will come as a big jolt for Mozilla whose internet browser Firefox’s popularity has been going down since the launch of Google Chrome. Also the team at Flock had initially worked with the Mozilla team on the Netscape project before moving towards creating Flock, so their decision to branch out Flock to Chromium will be even more bitter.

You can download the latest beta of Flock by visiting this page, more info and details are available at the official Flock blog here.


Opera 10.60 Beta 1 Released – Speed, Geolocation, WebM and More

Earlier today, Opera Software released the first beta build of Opera 10.60. Regular Techie Buzz readers are probably already aware of all the major new features, since Opera 10.60 beta doesn’t do anything we haven’t seen in the snapshot builds. Here is a quick recap:

Speed: Not willing to be left behind by the likes of Chrome and Safari, Opera has amped its JavaScript engine. The end result is that it outperforms Chrome Dev. 6, Safari 5 and Firefox nightlies in almost all the JavaScript benchmark tests.

WebM: WebM is Google’s new open video platform that will hopefully become the de-facto standard on the web. Opera was quick to release an experimental build when WebM was announced and has now merged it with the main trunk.

Geolocation: Opera has been toying with the W3C Geolocation API for a long time. In brief, the Geolocation API can be leveraged by services like Twitter and FourSquare to guess your location without requiring the use of a GPS device. Check out this article to get a deeper understanding of the Geolocation API.

Web Workers: This is a new technology that allows web applications to spawn background processes to improve performance through greater parallelism.

AppCache: AppCache or Application Cache is a new HTML5 technology designed to provide offline access to web applications. You can think of it as a standards based alternative to Google Gears.


Improved UI: Opera has received numerous visual tweaks, which makes the overall experience more pleasant. Among other things, the ugly O button has been replaced with a more dignified Menu button, tab previews as well as internal tab thumbnails are prettier, speed dials now work better in wide-screen monitors and search previews provide suggestions as you type (available for Wikipedia).

Opera 10.60 beta is so fast, it will blow you away,says Chief Development Officer, Christen Krogh, Opera Software. Beyond the speed boost, the latest version of Opera improves on our robust HTML5 support and provides more options for quick and efficient Web search through your preferred search engines. By combining raw speed with intuitive and easy-to-use features, Opera places you among the fastest Internet users on the planet.

Opera 10.60 Beta 1 is available for Windows, Mac and UNIX and can be downloaded from