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Mozilla Out With Firefox 3 Beta 4 The beta 4 version of FireFox 3 is out ..

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The just-released beta 4 version of Firefox 3 offers a few visible additions to the browser. For example, the download manager has been improved, making it simpler to locate and work with downloaded files. It's quite nice -- you can easily search through your downloads.
Also, Firefox now integrates directly with your virus scanner, and shows the scanning being done right inside the download manager. And you can see the icon of the file you've downloaded, making it a lot quicker to identify.

The primary interface has been somewhat modified to look more modern, but much more important are a host of less immediately obvious features that any serious Web surfer will welcome.

The zooming feature, already improved in previous betas, has been refined. You can now, if you wish, zoom in and out of the text (rather than the entire page); your settings are remembered, so you don't have to reset them each time.

In addition to visible features, there are a number of key changes to be found under the hood. Firefox has long been bedeviled by memory bloat problems, and with this version, Mozilla claims that it has gone a long way towards solving that. It claims that it has plugged hundreds of memory leaks.

In addition, Mozilla says that it has cleaned up a related memory issue: that the browser uses increasing amounts of memory the longer it's in use. Mozilla says that Firefox now collects and releases unused memory, and reduces memory fragmentation.

Although I did not run specific tests, I can say the browser seems faster and does not slow down over time, as did previous versions. I tried the version for Vista; the version for XP shouldn't be much different.
Better Browsing and Bookmarking

Other changes to the browser have already been available in previous betas, but are worth mentioning. The most visible is the more modern-looking upper left corner with its icons for forward, back, reload, and stop. The forward and back buttons now have a 3D chiseled look, bringing what had been a tired-looking 2D interface into the modern age.

One not-so-nice change: Mozilla has moved the Home button off of the Navigation toolbar and onto the Bookmarks toolbar. This may have freed up some real estate on the Navigation toolbar, but it means that if you normally hide the Bookmarks toolbar (which I do), you no longer have access to your Home button. The change does not make much sense.

That being said, Firefox has done an exceptional job of turning the Navigation toolbar into a highly useful and powerful tool by integrating it with bookmarking and security features. For example, there is now a star icon on the far right side of the address bar; click it and you'll bookmark the site you're currently visiting. When you bookmark the site or visit a site you've already bookmarked, the star is gold; otherwise it is gray. To edit the bookmark -- for example, to change its folder, add tags, and so on -- click the star after it's turned gold.

Also useful is a new search-as-you-type feature. As you type an address into the Address Bar, a drop-down list of sites you've visited and in your bookmarks appears. The list includes not just the site URL, but also the site name and favicon.

Similarly, when you're visiting a site on which there is an RSS feed, an RSS icon should show up, as it did in the previous version of Firefox. (In this beta, I found that the icon did not always show up on pages with RSS feeds.)

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Well I give the Mozilla team this much when you run firefox 3B4 it does seem to load fast and at a nice 30K this is the smallest yet. However, after 6 tabs open to various website it jumps up to over 80k, and so it seems that each tab takes a lot of memory regardless the new memory stuff they used. I will say this though it takes a bit longer this time for the browser to use up memory. As for that virus scan in the download manager that is non-existent and I still prefer the firefox 2 version then this one interface wise that is.I like to mention after visiting the release page it would seem depending on the operating system that firefox looks different so I might installed this on the vista computer just to see how it look. Also for you web developers the IE Tab works with this version, but sadly the Web Mail Notifier does not, and the latest headlines folder icon has a new look which I like. Of course I still find it dubious that between FF3B3 and FFB4 900 fixes were done to this. and that gives it a total of 12,000 fixes to this browser in 3 years. Ok first off they were still working on firefox 2 at the time, and so either they were working on the gecko engine at the time or they were working on both versions of the browser but I don't want to think about it though. Of course the question is now when will they final release this browser now that IE8 just went beta, granted that FF3 has a year and half start give or take a few days it would seem that the final release will come this summer.

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