Mozilla has released the newest version of its popular Firefox browser today, Firefox 8, adding in a useful Twitter-search ability and disabling add-ons by default to boost performance.
Firefox users have seen quick updates of their browsers ever since Mozilla decided to mimic Google Chrome’s rapid release schedule. Six weeks ago Firefox 7 debuted with performance gains, and six weeks before that Firefox 6 hit with extra tools for developers. Mozilla has been a little spooked ever since it started to look like Google Chrome could overtake Firefox as the number 2 browser.
Two big changes are in store for those updating to Firefox 8. First, there is the addition of a Twitter search tool that can be selected from the top right corner, like searching Google, Bing or Wikipedia. Second, Firefox 8 disables add-ons by default and forces users to re-reselect add-ons if they truly want to use them.
“Add-ons installed by third parties present a number of problems: they can slow down Firefox start-up and page loading time, they clutter the interface with toolbars that often go unused, they lag behind on compatibility and security updates, and most importantly, they take the user out of control of their add-ons,” said Mozilla programmer Justin Scott in an August blog post about the decision.
Firefox 8 also adds support for “Cross-Origin Resource Sharing,” which lets developers load WebGL graphics and textures from other domains securely. Additionally, the updated browser offers a faster way to restore windows with many tabs that can be turned on from the Firefox Menu under Options/Preferences.