April 29th brought Firefox 29.0. The latest update to Mozilla’s latest browser came to Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Version 29 of the popular open source browser brings a number of fixes, improved Firefox Sync, and a new customizable interface.
You can read the release notes for 29.0 to read the full list of changes and known issues. The change you will most likely notice first is the interface redesign. A tour when you first start the browser after upgrading will show you the ropes of what has changed. Everything uses more curves and tries to standardize to what seems to be a mobile-friendly interface. While the gut reaction says that the new Firefox looks more like Google Chrome, I think that sells it short.
Tabs became rounder and the other tabs that are not currently selected inherit the color scheme behind them. This allows the selected tab to be more visible and the other tabs to be less distracting. The big Firefox button in the top-left that followed Office 2010/2013’s example is gone. It is now replaced with the three horizontal bar hamburger menu in the top-right like Chrome. The add-on bar has been removed with extensions showing up next to the menu button. The menu now has big icons and can be pretty easily customized. The menu also has a power button that turns red on hovering over it. This seems odd to me. It does close the browser but I’m not sure ‘power’ is an accurate symbol.
Mozilla blogged about the new changes in FF 29 and released the following video:
This new version of Firefox also improved Firefox Sync which existed previously but was horribly implemented in my opinion. The new approach requires the creation of a Firefox Account and allows you to sync history, passwords, bookmarks, and open tabs across your computers and Android devices. Firefox for Android was also updated today. It received the new Firefox Sync and Mozilla discussed that feature and other customization in a separate blog post today.
You can download the new Firefox from Mozilla.org.
Last month, Mozilla announced that they were shelving their work on a Windows 8 “modern app” (metro) version of the Firefox browser after seeing very little adoption in pre-release environments.
Also of note, Mozilla Thunderbird updated to version 24.5.0 today.