Firefox 5 Now Available – Top 6 New Features

Firefox 5Firefox 4, we barely knew ye.

Firefox 5 is now available on Mozilla’s Web Site for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android only three months after the release of Firefox 4. The latest version of the popular web browser adds a few interface tweaks, security enhancements, and revamped add-on updating to smooth things out. Firefox 5 keeps a lot of the new interface enhancements from the last version. Most of the changes seem to be either bug fixes or minor changes. The Mozilla Blog claims that the new version introduces over “1,000 improvements and performance enhancements,” but I’m not sure I could find them all. There is some Foxy goodness under the hood though. Here’s six features that drew my attention:

1. Site Specific Menus

You are now able to add menus specific to web sites in the top menu bar. This makes it easier to jump around to specific areas of your favorite websites. For instance, if you have a menu for Facebook, you can have shortcuts to the Wall, Photos, Farmville, etc. This allows you to go directly to the page you want to see without having to use website navigation.

2. Sync

Logging into your account in Firefox will allow you to sync you bookmarks, passwords, history, and other personalized features across multiple computers and your smartphone. This has been a feature of Chrome for some time and I can’t live without it.

3. File Upload Tracking

Uploading files to a website now gives status information. I tend to upload a lot of files, so it’s nice to know what’s going on.

4. Built-in PDF viewer and MP3 player

Like Chrome, Firefox now supports PDF viewing natively. MP3 support has also been added, but I’m not sure how useful that will be — most people either listen to streaming music or already have their own players. I find Windows Media Center does a fine job, and it’s already included with Windows.

5. Add-On Updates

One of the things that makes Firefox so popular is its add-on support. But updates for add-ons has always been shaky at best. Updates now have a new interface and give more information on what is updating.

6. Improved Search

Tabs are now color coded (similar to Internet Explorer 9) to show what search engine is used. This allows for convenient tab groupings to keep things organized.

Overall, it seems Mozilla has deemed Firefox 5 a souped-up version of 4. Firefox 4.1 seems like it would have been a more apt title.

What web browser are you using these days and why? I’d be interested to know.