Today Mozilla updates its popular open-source browser to version 3.5, just six days after the third release candidate went up for final bug testing.
With a whole array of updates focused on upgrading the browser’s speed, and stability, Mozilla is betting its updated browser will stand up to and surpass the competition—Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari, and Google Chrome.
Besides rudimentary performance tweaks, Firefox 3.5 comes packaged with a bunch of exciting new features.
Some of these features are logical extensions of old features: the ability to open “Recently Closed Tabs” is now supplemented by the ability to open “Recently Closed Windows.” Further, the AwesomeBar allows users to search specific databases (history, bookmarks, etc.) with various tag restrictions.
Other features show Firefox playing catch-up with Safari and Chrome, like the ability to drag tabs out into their own windows, and vice versa.
Arguably the most exciting feature of Firefox 3.5, “Location Aware Browsing,” will utilize geolocation to personalize the user’s web experience. The technology makes computers think locally while connected to the Web: for example, searching for services on Google Maps will result in local listings automatically, without asking for location input.
Improving the browser’s reading of HTML 5-coded sites and making the browser available in over 70 languages, the foundation is making it quite clear that Firefox 3.5 will definitely be elbowing itself into a larger piece of the market.
Internet Explorer still holds the lion’s share of the Web browser market, with 66% penetration, according to the latest data from Net Applications’ Market Share service. Still, alternative browsers like Firefox, Safari, and Chrome (with levels of penetration at 23%, 8%, and 2%, respectively) have slowly been eating away at Microsoft’s majority hold for some time now.
How much Mozilla’s latest update to Firefox will aid its efforts in gaining further market share depends on how successful users find its increased speed and other upgrades, in contrast to Apple and Google’s offerings.