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Mozilla today launched Firefox 76 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Firefox 76 includes new Firefox Lockwise password functionality, Zoom improvements, and a handful of developer features. You can download Firefox 76 for desktop now from Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.
The coronavirus is impacting not just everyone spending more time in their browsers as they learn and work from home, but also the software developers building the browsers. Google was forced to delay Chrome 81, skip Chrome 82 altogether, and move Chrome 83 up a few weeks. Microsoft followed suit with Edge’s release schedule, consistent with Google’s open source Chromium project, which both Chrome and Edge are based on. Last month, Mozilla made it clear that while “some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work,” it is sticking with its 2020 Firefox release schedule.
Mozilla this year sped up Firefox releases to a four-week cadence (previously they arrived every six to eight weeks). Even before the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Firefox staff and contributors worked remotely, tested on remote hardware, and collaborated across timezones. While the schedule remains unchanged, Mozilla did shift its roadmap to avoid shipping changes that might negatively impact the user experience on, or possibly break, government and health services websites. The company also committed to fixing video conferencing issues.
Lockwise, the password management service formerly known as Firefox Lockbox, is getting smarter. The Firefox feature already lets you generate, manage, and protect all those passwords for streaming services, grocery deliveries, and anything else that helps during the pandemic.
If you share your device with family or roommates, Lockwise in Firefox 76 can now protect your saved passwords. When you try to view or copy a password from your “Logins and Passwords” page, you will be prompted for your device’s account password.
It’s also now easier to check the security of your passwords (click on the hamburger menu button => Logins and Passwords). If any of your online accounts were involved in a website breach or use a vulnerable password, an icon indicator next to the website address will let you know.
- A Vulnerable Password alert appears when a password is identical to a password that has been breached.
- A Website Breach alert appears when your login and password is involved in a breach and includes more details about the breach.
Lockwise can also now generate secure passwords (minimum of 12 random letters, numbers, and symbols) for more sites. That means when you’re creating a new account or want to change your password, Lockwise will now ask if you’d like to generate and save a new password.
Audio and rendering improvements
ScriptProcessorNode, worklets run off the main thread in a similar way to web workers. Mozilla also notes Audio Worklets are “being adopted by some of your favorite software programs.” The company specifically called out Zoom, which has become a phenomenon of its own during the pandemic. In short, you now join Zoom calls in Firefox without having to download or install the Zoom client.
Next up is WebRender, Mozilla’s next-generation GPU-based 2D rendering engine meant to make browsing feel faster and smoother by moving core graphics rendering processes to the GPU. It’s rolling out to more Firefox for Windows users, specifically on modern Intel laptops with a small screen (<= 1920×1200).
Windows, Mac, and Linux
There are a few other additions in this release. Here’s the full Firefox 76 for desktop changelog:
- With today’s release, Firefox strengthens protections for your online account logins and passwords, with innovative approaches to managing your accounts during this critical time. Firefox displays critical alerts in the Lockwise password manager when a website is breached. If one of your accounts is involved in a website breach and you’ve used the same password on other websites, you will now be prompted to update your password. Automatically generate secure, complex passwords for new accounts across more of the web that are easily saved right in the browser. If you don’t have a master password set up for Firefox, Windows and macOS now requires a login to your operating system account before showing your saved passwords.
- Picture-in-Picture allows you to multitask, the small video window following along no matter what you are doing on your computer, across different applications and even workspaces. Now, when you are ready to focus on the video, a double click can take the small window into full screen. Double click again to reduce the size again.
- Firefox is now supporting Audio Worklets that will allow more complex audio processing, like VR and gaming on the web, and is being adopted by some of your favorite software programs. With this change, you can now join Zoom calls on Firefox saving you the need for additional downloads.
- WebRender continues its roll out to more Firefox for Windows users, now available by default on modern Intel laptops with a small screen (<= 1920×1200) for improved graphics rendering.
- Two updates to the address bar improve its usability and visibility: The shadow around the address bar field is reduced in width when a new tab is opened, and the bookmarks toolbar has expanded slightly in size to improve its surface area for touchscreens.
- Testing mobile interactions using DevTools’ Responsive Design Mode now mimics the device behavior for handling double-tap to zoom. This builds on previous improvements to correctly rendering meta-viewport tags, allowing developers to optimize their sites for Firefox for Android without a device.
- Double-clicking table headers in DevTools’ network request table now resizes the column width to fit the content, making it easier to expand the important data.
- WebSocket inspection now supports ActionCable message preview, adding to the list of automatically formatted protocols like socket.io, SignalR, WAMP, etc.
- Various security fixes.
- Audio playback is currently not working when running the 32-bit Windows version of Firefox from a network drive. This will be addressed in an upcoming future Firefox release.
input element’s min and max attributes now work correctly when the former’s value is greater than the latter. The
calendar options of the
Intl.RelativeTimeFormat constructors are now enabled by default. The
IntersectionObserver() constructor now accepts both
Element objects as its root. If you’re a web developer, check out the details here: Firefox 76 for developers.
Mozilla once again did not update Firefox for Android. The Android team is still working on Firefox Preview, a new version of Firefox for Android powered by GeckoView. Mozilla plans to launch the new Firefox for Android in the first half of 2020 — it’s got less than two months left.
Mozilla releases new Firefox versions every four weeks. Firefox 77 is currently slated for June.
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