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Mozilla Teases a Faster, Simpler Firefox 4 (And We Like It)

Firefox 4 teaser preview
Mike Beltzner, Director of Firefox over at Mozilla, has given the world a glimpse of what to expect in Firefox 4, which the company hopes to ship by the end of this year. Most obviously, the next version of the most customizable browser on Earth is targeting speed improvements. In most measurements of raw speed, Chrome, Opera and Safari have all surpassed Firefox, and the upcoming Internet Explorer 9 is nipping at its heels, too.

Almost as important as giving Firefox a shot of adrenaline, though, is modernizing it. All of its competitors have been stripping away user interface (UI) components in an attempt to streamline the browsing experience (e.g., ditching the traditional "File, Edit, etc..." menu found on many other desktop applications). The UI tweaks are just the beginning; An upcoming update will add out-of-process plug-ins like Chrome, meaning if Flash crashes, your browser won't follow suit. Mozilla also plans to integrate Weave, now known as Firefox Sync, so passwords, bookmarks and browsing history can be shared across several computers.

Other improvements include: background updates (since, at the moment, Firefox interrupts you when launching the browser to install updates), multi-touch compatibility and support for next-generation technologies like CSS3 and HTML5, which will form the backbone of new and powerful Web apps. The built-in password manager and extension manager will also be getting updates in order to more seamlessly integrate into the browsing experience.

Mozilla hopes to launch the first beta of Firefox 4 by the end of June or early July, and to ship the final project by November. The open-source developer was careful to state that all of this is preliminary and subject to change. Deadlines may be extended and some features may fall by the wayside, but -- all in all -- Firefox 4 is shaping up quite nicely. [From: beltzner.ca and CNET, via: Engadget]

Tags: browser, firefox, firefox 4, Firefox4, mozilla, mozilla firefox, MozillaFirefox, top, web, web browser, WebBrowser