Not everyone gets by with the default browser on their computer, and when it comes to picking an alternative, Firefox is one of the most popular out there, having clawed back support from upstart rivals like Google Chrome and Opera in recent years by switching to a rapid release cycle, ensuring major new versions of the browser are released every six weeks.
It’s true to say that individual updates often fail to deliver anything substantial, but cumulatively they roll together to produce a web browser that is radically different to the one – version 4 – that marked the start of a new era back in 2011.
Some of the landmark new features we’ve seen include a per-site Permissions Manager, enhanced Sync options, tabs on demand, silent updates and add-on enhancements. We also saw the launch of specific development branches including UX, which has led to the new Australis user interface, which sees a streamlined tab, revamped menu and customisation features.
And underpinning this all are a constantly evolving set of performance improvements, standards support (HTML5 and CSS3 are constantly being added to, for instance) and bug fixes.
Firefox 49 is now in the stable channel. Improvements/changes include:
- Updated Firefox Login Manager to allow HTTPS pages to used saved HTTP logins.
- Added features to Reader Mode that make it easier on the eyes and the ears
- Improved video performance for users on systems that support SSSE3 without hardware acceleration
- Added context menu controls to HTML5 audio and video that let users loops files or play files at 1.25x speed
- Improved performance on OS X systems without hardware acceleration
- Improved appearance of anti-aliased OS X fonts
- Improvements in about:memory reports for tracking font memory usage
- Improve performance on Windows systems without hardware acceleration