When you first install and launch the beta of Firefox 3, the initial impression (especially for those who remember some of the earlier promises of a revamped user interface and increased Web 2.0 integration) can be a little disappointing, since it doesn’t look much different from the current version of Firefox.
But then as you begin to use it you realize that what Firefox 3 lacks in bells and whistles has been made up for in increased functionality and usability. To a certain degree, it almost seems as if Mozilla listened to all the most common complaints and gripes about its free open-source browser and decided to address them with this new version.
With less than a day of initial testing, it’s a bit hard to make a definitive call on this first beta of Firefox 3 (which became available Nov. 19). But so far it looks as if Firefox 3 should be welcome both for its many small usability improvements and for its under-the-covers Web rendering engine and security enhancements.
When the main screen for Firefox 3 launches, almost nothing looks different from Firefox 2. The only new UI feature appears to be a favorites star added to the main address bar.
But using the browser reveals many welcome improvements. Opening a group of tabs now appends them to existing tabs, rather than removing and replacing those that are already open. When lots of tabs are open, it is now easier to scroll through them, and when shutting down Firefox 3 now asks if the user wants to save the open tabs.
When logging into a password-protected site, Firefox 3 asks if the user wants it to remember the password after having successfully logged in, rather than prior to logging in when password mistakes may occur. In the download manager it is now possible to get location information for files that have been downloaded, and the Add-on management dialog now includes the ability to manage classic browser plug-ins.
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