Desktops and Notebooks: Firefox 5 Browser Launches, Boasting Tweaks, Security, Privacy
By Nicholas Kolakowski on 2011-06-23
Mozilla's new Firefox 5.0 for PCs and Firefox for Android aim to offer users a best-of-class combination of security, privacy and speed. Coming a mere three months after the release of Firefox 4, this latest browser supposedly includes more than 1,000 improvements and performance enhancements. However, features like "Do Not Track" may do more to draw users increasingly leery of the Web's rampant data mining. For most consumers, downloading and installing Firefox 5 will only take a few minutes, although larger companies still deploying Firefox 4 could become annoyed at having to switch so soon.
Despite those hundreds of improvements, Firefox 5 doesn't seem to offer a radically different experience from its predecessor. Certainly, it addresses security concerns left over from Firefox 4, whose life essentially ends with this release. But for the most part, Mozilla's latest offering embraces the same streamlined design (with an emphasis on putting the Web's content front-and-center, via shrunk icons and an eliminated "status" bar along the bottom of the screen) and features as before. Firefox 5 will face competition not only from Microsoft's still-enduring Internet Explorer franchise, but also upstarts such as Google Chrome and Safari, both of which have gained market share over the past year. Meanwhile, Firefox for Android aims to extend features like "Do Not Track" across multiple platforms.