Firefox 4 Likely to Launch on March 22
Firefox 4 is queued up for a March 22 release, provided the Mozilla team’s Wednesday briefing doesn’t uncover any additional bugs.
“Firefox 4 RC1 has received a very warm welcome; it’s time to make a decision to ship. As of now, there are no known issues that would stop us from shipping RC1 as final,” Damon Sicore, Mozilla’s senior director of platform engineering, wrote in a Tuesday note on the Google Groups page for Mozilla developers.
The Firefox team was scheduled to hold a meeting at 11:30am Pacific to decide if Firefox 4 will ship as is. “Both IT and Marketing have indicated that March 22nd is an acceptable final launch date,” Sicore continued.
The Mozilla wiki page lists March 22 as the ship date; when asked if that was accurate, a Mozilla spokeswoman said the company was “trying to make that decision today.” (Update: Mozilla said later that “we just confirmed we’re aiming to ship Firefox 4 on March 22.”)
“If at any time we discover issues that would block final release, we would issue an RC2 as soon as possible, reset the ship date, and communicate to everyone,” Sicore said.
Mozilla has streamlined the user interface, collapsing the full menu bar into a small “Firefox” drop-down option on the top left. The tabs are front and center, with the URL and search bars underneath.
For those who have a lot of tabs open at one time, Firefox 4 features the ability to drag and drop tabs into separate groups, known as Panorama, which can be accessed with the click of a button. to that end, Firefox 4 also allows users to pin frequently used sites to the top left of the browser. Sites like Gmail, Twitter, or Flickr can be turned into “App Tabs,” which will show up as small icons on the top left and glow slightly when new mail, tweets, or other notifications arrive. no matter how many other tabs you open, these “App Tabs” will remain on the left for easy access, and can be removed at any time.
If you access Firefox on various devices, Firefox 4 has the ability to sync settings, passwords, bookmarks, history, open tabs, and other customizations. Executives insisted that the process is secure; the data is encrypted via a 26-character key.
Firefox is known for its add-ons, and Mozilla said that more than 70 percent of its add-ons are now compatible with Firefox 4. for easier access, Firefox 4 includes an Add-On Manager that helps people discover new add-ons and manage existing ones.
The updated browser also includes a “do not track” option. The “Advanced” screen in Firefox Options will now include a box that, when checked, tells Web sites that you want to opt-out of tracking used for behavioral advertising. Mozilla added the feature to a pre-build version of Firefox in January, and added it to the beta in February.
In an interview with PCMag this week, Mozilla executives said the feature is a work in progress. since adding it to the beta, various ad networks have contacted Mozilla asking how they can be a part of the process. most people are not that concerned about the targeted ad process, so Mozilla is exploring the option of having different levels of “do not track.” It’s early days at this point, the company said, but a main component is actually defining what “do not track” entails. It’s not just ad networks; if a news sites serves up stories based on your preferences, does that fall under “do not track”? Stay tuned, Mozilla said.
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