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 57 is now in the stable channel. Improvements/changes include:
- NEW. Completely new browsing engine, designed to take full advantage of the processing power in modern devices
- NEW. Redesigned interface with a clean, modern appearance, consistent visual elements, and responsive gestures
- NEW. An enhanced address bar that integrates navigation and search functionality, including suggested history, search suggestions, and one-click search
- NEW. Revamped new tab page that includes top visited sites, recently visited pages, and recommendations from Pocket (in the US, Canada, and Germany)
- NEW. An updated product tour to orient new and returning Firefox users
- NEW. AMD VP9 hardware video decoder support for improved video playback with lower power consumption
- NEW. An expanded section in preferences to manage all website permissions
- Plus, lots of fixes and changes!