The Washington Post

Firefox 5 offers small improvements, Do Not Track

Mozilla, running on an accelerated update schedule, released Firefox 5 on Tuesday. As might be expected, the updates to the new browser are limited, with no changes on the scale of what users saw between Firefox 3 and Firefox 4.

That update included the implementation of a lot of new features and a redesigned user interface. This one brings the Do Not Track privacy features to all platforms and is now — more intuitively — accessible from the “Privacy” menu instead of buried in the “Advanced” options. Baking the privacy feature into Firefox for Android, the browser becomes the first to offer Do Not Track on multiple platforms.

The update also has a slew of enhanced background features such as support for CSS animations.

Mozilla is also releasing a software developers kit for Windows, Mac and Linux and a beta Add-on Builder for those interested in making add-ons for the browser.

ZDNet’s Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said that this update hasn’t earned the right to be called Firefox 5.0, and his speed and compatibility test results showed Mozilla’s latest falling behind Google’s Chrome browser in speed and performance.

“Firefox 5 is, at best, Firefox 4.02, and with Chrome getting ... faster and better and even IE 9 showing there’s life in Microsoft’s developers after all, this new Firefox just doesn’t cut the mustard,” he wrote in his review of the browser.

I only ran into a few problems with my upgrade — mostly add-ons that aren’t yet supported in the new browser — to Firefox 5, though overall I barely noticed a difference. I didn’t run into the performance issues Vaughan-Nichols highlights, but I wasn’t wowed either.

Have you tried Firefox 5? What are your impressions?

Related stories:

Firefox 4 released

Internet Explorer, Firefox updates offer speed, privacy upgrades

Firefox tops 7 million downloads

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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