Hands-On with Firefox 3 Beta 5

Firefox 3 Beta 5 is out in the wild, and with it comes over 750 changes designed to improve overall stability. Despite the fact that the browser crashed three times while we were giving it the once-over (ouch!), we liked the feature list even though it isn’t radically different than previous betas. Here are some of our favorite features:

  • firefoxid.jpgStar Button. In the address bar is a Star Button, which can be used to swiftly bookmark pages. When we bookmarked our homepage, it appeared under the Smart Bookmarks tab under Recently Bookmarked.
  • One-Click Site Info. Clicking the favicon in the address bar lets you instantly see who owns the site to prevent fraud. When we visited PayPal, we were met by a bright green notification; clicking it gave us the site’s ID. Unfortunately, many sites, including numerous financial institutions, don’t supply identity information.

  • Improved Integration with Operating Systems. Firefox 3 Beta 5 now has icons that closely match your Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows interface but are essentially overhyped tweaks (check the comparison pictures below). What we did like, however, is that Firefox 3 Beta 5 for Mac supports integration with Growl for notifications of completed downloads and updates.



  • Tags. When you bookmark a page, you’re given the option to tag them, which makes it a breeze to sort your favorite site by topic. When we bookmarked Amazon.com and Newegg.com, we labeled each with the “e-tailer” tag. When we went under the Smart Bookmarks, Recent Tags, we saw an e-tailer label in which there were links to Amazon and Newegg.
  • Resumable Downloads. If you’re in the middle of a download and for some reason have to close out Firefox, the download will automatically resume when you launch the browser again. We tested this by downloading the Firefox 3 Beta 5 file again, closing and then relaunching the browser. As promised, the download automatically resumed.

If Mozilla manages to work out the bugs, Firefox 3 is going to be the browser to beat (check out our full review of Firefox 3 Beta 2) Have you downloaded Firefox 3 Beta 5? If so, what are your thoughts?

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  1. mEaN.kLoNe Says:

    I like it a lot. It’s a shame most of my add-ons don’t support it yet. I’m stuck with beta 4 for now.

  2. Fred W Says:

    getting extension developers to update is going to be the deal-breaker for FF3
    development for my favorite RSS-reader (sage) seems to have ceased and I can’t upgrade to FF3 until I find a comparable feed-reader. It’s a shame that they broke the extension API!

  3. SteveMcBill Says:

    I agree – the speed increases, memory usage improvements and sheer performance are great. The facilities are, in the main, excellent.

    However, I would like to see a faster start-up time (or at least a small ‘splash’ window to show it had started loading; and, the ability,as an option, to turn off the drop-down site index on the URL/Location bar when typing in a website URL.



  4. deralaand Says:

    the download resume feature seems ok but doesn’t seem to pick up where you left off in the download if you have to “cancel” the download.

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