Firefox 3.5 Adds Features, Claims to Be Twice as Fast

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The Mozilla Corporation has released Firefox 3.5, the latest version of its free open source Web browser. And although Firefox 3.5’s new features and capabilities won’t be any surprise to anyone who’s been participating in the beta process, for the general Web-using public the put Firefox right back in the thick of things with the likes of Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome…and, of course, with the explicit intent of leaving Internet Explorer in the dust.

“So much is happening on the Web right now, it’s a great time for browsers,” said Mozilla CEO John Lilly, in a statement. “Firefox 3.5 brings together the most innovative Web technologies and delivers them in the most complete and powerful modern browser.”

Firefox 3.5 includes a handful of new features, including a Safari-like Private Browsing mode that makes sure no browsing or session data gets retained on a computer, along with plug-in-free support for open audio and video formats (Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora), which, if they take off, might eventually dethrone Flash as the mainstream technology for distributing Internet video. Firefox 3.5 also promises significant performance improvements, due in part to its new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine: Mozilla claims Firefox 3.5 is up to twice as fast as Firefox 3.0, and more than ten times faster than Firefox 2. Firefox 3.5 also supports location-aware browsing: if you’re willing to to share your location with Web sites, they may be able to use that information to provide localized pages and information.

Firefox 3.5 is available now for free for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in more than 70 languages. Some third-party plug-ins and add-ons may need to be updated for compatibility with Firefox 3.5