It took more than two and-a-half years for the final version of Firefox 4 to arrive on your computer screen today, so what is it bringing to the party? What are the new privacy features, and how can you make sure you’re using them all?
Mozilla has released Firefox 4 to the public after 12 public betas, two release candidates, and nearly a year of development.
For Internet users concerned about their online privacy, Firefox 4 may have been well worth the wait.
Among the privacy-related highlights:
- A new do-not-track feature with a header on Web sites to reduce the number of targeted ads you see.
- The AdBlock Plus add-on that will block online ads from a predefined list of ad providers you’ve personalized.
- A long-awaited security fix to the CSS sniffing history attack, in which malicious code can gain access to your browser history by manipulating the appearance and style of links.
- Removal of the “lucky” automatic search results from the bar search functionality to prevent users’ private data from potentially being sent to search engines.
In addition to the privacy features, users will also see several other, major changes in Firefox 4, including: a streamlined interface; browsing speeds up to six times faster than Firefox 3; a Sync tool that lets you sync your bookmarks, passwords, preferences, history, and tabs across your PCs, tablets and phones; restart-less add-ons; “App Tabs” to highlight your favorite sites; and a “Panorama” tab grouping system to drag and drop tabs into separate groups which can be accessed with a single click.
The new browser is available to download now for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in more than 80 languages. Mozilla has promised left-behind Android and Maemo users that Firefox 4 will also be available for their devices soon.
If you’re one of the more than one million users who quickly downloaded Firefox 4 within hours after its release, here are two, quick steps to take to activate the latest privacy upgrades:
- Go to “Tool,” “Options”, and “Advanced.” Under the “General” tab, check “Tell Web sites I do not want to be tracked.”
- Go to “Tool,” “Options”, and “Privacy.” Uncheck “Accept third-party cookies.”
What do you think of the new Firefox? Are you happy with the new privacy features?