Firefox 3 to Launch Today

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The Firefox 3.0 browser is scheduled for release today, and while it isn’t quite online yet as of this writing, the Mozilla folks are hopeful the new browser will make a splash: the debut of the browser be be audited in an attempt to set a Guinness world record for the most software downloads in a 24 hour period.

Firefox 3 sports a variety of new features, including significantly improved performance (Mozilla is claiming the new release will be seven times faster than Internet Explorer and three to four times faster than previous editions of Firefox), single-click bookmarking, a smart location bar, and improved security features that warn users about expired certificates, site forgeries, and malware. The release will also see improved password management, a new download manager, better security for add-on updates, a full-page zoom feature, and other new features.

Mac and Linux users may be pleased to see Firefox 3.0 has attempted to make itself behave more like a native application, although release candidates for Mac OS X have garnered about the same amount of criticism as previous versions for failing to honor Mac OS user interface conventions and user interface elements.

Firefox 3.0 is available for free; downloads via the Web (not FTP) will be counted toward the world record attempt. Firefox is currently the second most-popular browser on the planet, behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.