While the official launch of Firefox 8 is scheduled for November 8, Mozilla has made the release build of Firefox 8 available for download at day early on the Mozilla FTP server. For users that would prefer to wait until tomorrow, the final build of Firefox 8 will be available on the front end of the official Mozilla site. The browser also alerts users to any available update as well. The release of Firefox 8 comes approximately six weeks after the release of Firefox 7. The main features of Firefox 7 included more efficient user of memory, add-on compatibility, a new version of the HTML5 Canvas element using hardware-acceleration, speed improvements and a variety of bug fixes.
While Firefox 7 focused on improved performance, Firefox 8 adds a handful of features to the Web browser. The most notable change is how Firefox handles add-ons installed by third party applications. These add-ons are disabled by default, thus increasing security against actions like new malicious toolbars or potential spyware. Once the new version of Firefox is installed, the browser prompts the user about all previously installed add-ons from third parties to make a decision about keeping each one.
Beyond the new security measure, Mozilla has added Twitter to the list of search engines available for the search bar. This is ideal for users that want to get the latest real-time chatter about significant events in the news. Firefox 8 also brings the ability to load tabs as the user sees fit when the browser restarts, thus improving start up time. Instead of loading all tabs that were open when the browser was closed, each tab doesn’t load until the user switches to a new tab. Other upgrades in Firefox 8 included a smattering of bug fixes that improve stability, support for HTML5 context menus and improvements with performance as well as memory handling.