The third beta version of Mozilla's Firefox 3 browser was released earlier this week, incorporating approximately 1,300 changes from the previous edition. These include hundreds of bug fixes as well as many performance enhancements and improvements to the interface.
From a security perspective, Beta 3 includes significant improvements on the browser's malware protection and identity verification. Also, 50 new memory leaks have been plugged. The add-ons manager has been fully integrated with the browser itself, although several popular extensions are still not compatible with this latest beta. Further architectural upgrades in Beta 3 have resulted in a noticeable difference in page load speed. Other notable additions in Beta 3 include podcast support as well as further integration with the OS X and Linux operating systems.
Many of the changes and fixes are a direct result of community feedback, and development of this latest edition was truly a group effort. "During the last week of January Mozilla developers from Japan, China, Israel, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, England, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Denmark and New Zealand all converged on Mountain View, CA to finish up Beta 3," said Mozilla VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer. "It was really an amazing experience as 55 different people from around the world committed changes in one day to Firefox 3." Beta 3 is available for download in 34 different languages and is intended for testing purposes only. Beta 4, being coined the "final ship", is slated for release within the next week or two. It appears that Firefox 3's public release may not be that far off after all!(Photo © Mozilla)