Mozilla today launched Firefox 41 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Notable additions to the browser include instant messaging via Firefox Hello, profile photos in Firefox accounts, and different search providers in the search panel on Android.

Firefox 41 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play.

Mozilla doesn’t break out the exact numbers for Firefox, though the company does say “half a billion people around the world” use the browser. In other words, it’s a major platform that web developers target — even in a world increasingly dominated by mobile apps.

Desktop

The most important addition to Firefox 41, from Mozilla’s point of view anyway, is support for instant messaging. This addition is being made as part of Firefox Hello, which Mozilla calls “the first global communications system built directly into a browser.” When you’re on a Hello video call, you can now send and receive instant messages as well in Firefox for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Next up, Firefox Accounts, an account system that provides access to Mozilla services, is getting slightly more personal. You can now add a profile photo in Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

Last but definitely not least, Mozilla is moving towards requiring that all Firefox add-ons are certified and digitally signed through addons.mozilla.org, regardless of where they are hosted. In Firefox 40, the browser started warning users about unsigned add-ons.

Firefox 41 was supposed to automatically disable extensions that haven’t been certified. That has now been delayed until Firefox 43, though the browser will still offer a preference that allows signature enforcement to be toggled (you can turn off xpinstall.signatures.required in about:config).

In Firefox 44, both the beta and release versions of Firefox will not allow unsigned extensions to be installed, and there will be no way to override this.

Here’s the full Firefox 41 changelog:

  • New: Enhance IME support on Windows (Vista +) using TSF (Text Services Framework)
  • New: Ability to set a profile picture for your Firefox Account
  • New: Firefox Hello now includes instant messaging
  • New: SVG images can be used as favicons
  • New: Improved box-shadow rendering performance
  • Changed: WebRTC now requires perfect forward secrecy
  • Changed: WARP is disabled on Windows 7
  • Changed: Updates to image decoding process
  • Changed: Support for running animations of “transform” and “opacity” on the compositor thread
  • HTML5: MessageChannel and MessagePort API enabled by default
  • HTML5: Added support for the transform-origin property on SVG elements
  • HTML5: CSS Font Loading API enabled by default
  • HTML5: Navigator.onLine now varies with actual Internet connectivity (Windows and Mac OS X only)
  • HTML5: Copy/Cut Web content from JavaScript to the OS clipboard with document.execCommand(“cut”/”copy”)
  • HTML5: Implemented Cache API for querying named caches that are accessible Window, Worker, and ServiceWorker
  • Developer: Removed support for binary XPCOM components in extensions, use add-on SDK “system/child_process” pipe mechanism for native binaries instead
  • Developer: Network requests can be exported in HAR format
  • Developer: Quickly add new CSS rule with New Rule button in the Inspector
  • Developer: Screenshot a node or element from markup view with the Screenshot Node context menu item
  • Developer: Copy element CSS rule declarations with the Copy Rule Declaration context menu item in the Inspector
  • Developer: Pseudo-Class panel in the Inspector
  • Fixed: Picture element does not react to resize/viewport changes
  • Fixed: Various security fixes

If you’re a Web developer, more details are available for you here: Firefox 41 for developers.

Android

Firefox 41 for Android isn’t a major release by any stretch. That said, a number of new developer features have been added.

As for new features, you can now use different search engine in the search panel, swipe-to-close tabs on Android tablets, and the bookmark manager has received duplicate detection. The rest is mainly improvements and bug fixes.

Here’s the full Firefox 41 for Android changelog:

  • New: Quickly search with different search providers from the search panel
  • New: Swipe-to-close tabs on tablets
  • New: Overlay to manually search and copy/paste login credentials from login manager when they’re not auto-filled
  • New: Improved bookmark management with duplicate bookmark detection
  • New: Improved box-shadow rendering performance
  • New: Open Android applications from a web page via Intent URIs
  • New: Locale added: Croatian (hr)
  • Changed: Updates to image decoding process
  • Changed: User Agent now includes Android version
  • Changed: Support for running animations of “transform” and “opacity” on the compositor thread
  • HTML5: MessageChannel and MessagePort API enabled by default
  • HTML5: Added support for the transform-origin property on SVG elements
  • HTML5: CSS Font Loading API enabled by default
  • HTML5: Copy/Cut Web content from JavaScript to the OS clipboard with document.execCommand(“cut”/”copy”)
  • Developer: Removed support for binary XPCOM components in extensions, use add-on SDK “system/child_process” pipe mechanism for native binaries instead
  • Developer: JavaAddonManager can now send, receive and respond to messages from Gecko
  • Developer: Experimental new “speed dial” home panel add-on API (example add-on)
  • Developer: Generic API lets developers create a grid of icons and then optionally allow for a large header image
  • Fixed: Support for playing MP3 files on Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and above
  • Fixed: Various security fixes

Mozilla typically releases new Firefox versions every six weeks, and we thus expect Firefox 42 to arrive sometime in November.