Firefox 4 has gone through twelve betas and one RC since July 6, 2010. Since then, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 isn’t as unique in the ways it was going to change the browser market. Today, Firefox 4 final is ready for production and has been released. It brings with it improvements in speed over its earlier versions, getting faster and more stable with each beta. The Mozilla team has been on quite the bug squashing mode with recent betas but there are also new features to brag about as well.
The features fall in 3 categories:
Individually, the features include HTML5 support, the WebM video format, hardware acceleration, greater CSS3 support, support for WebGL and GPU acceleration, a Do Not Track feature, and a lot more that promise a better browsing experience. Firefox 4 also introduces Firefox Sync to synchronize your settings, passwords, bookmarks, and open tabs across multiple devices. A new feature is called Panorama and allows you to organize your open tabs and view them in groups. This should help the tab overload problem. Add-ons are also supposed to be easier to manage with the new Add-on Manager built more integrated into the browser.
You can see a Firefox 4 video tour in the Mozilla Video Gallery.
Firefox 4 is also sporting a new look. Tabs are on top, following the pattern of other applications, and hopefully providing a better view of your web content.
Firefox 4 does away with the menu bar and consolidates it all into an Office 2010-like Firefox button in the top-left corner.
Something is going to have to change if they wish to keep up with the 2011 roadmap they’ve set for themselves of shipping Firefox 5, 6, and 7 in 2011. That sounds like a problem for Future Mozilla. For now, go download Firefox 4!