Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Firefox 3.6 and Chrome 4: Browser Update Bonanza!

firefox-chrome-safariEveryone likes browsers! Well, at least, everyone uses browsers, and not one but two major browsers have received major updates in the last week.

Last Thursday saw Mozilla release version 3.6 of Firefox, a modest release with little in the way of exciting user-facing features. Built-in support for personas make it so you can skin your browser with some truly abhorrent themes and there are some reported speed increases, but nothing that Firefox 3.5 users are likely to notice.

The most significant change to Firefox in the 3.6 release is not in the browser itself, but in its development process – starting now, point updates to Firefox (3.6.1, 3.6.2, etc.) will include new features as well as the normal security updates and fixes.

Also of note was today’s release of Google Chrome 4, which introduces the customary speed bump as well as support for third-party plugins and extensions. Such extensions have long been a key advantage to using Firefox, so it’ll be interesting to see if Chrome can gain some more usage share at Firefox’s expense. This update only applies to Windows - Mac and Linux versions of the browser are still in beta. Chrome recently overtook Apple’s Safari as the third most-used browser on the Internet.

Apple has yet to announce information on upcoming Safari versions. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is typically updated less frequently than its competition – as such, IE version 9 is little more than a cloud of rumors, hearsay and tech demos at this point. You should argue about the browser you use (and why!) in our comments section.