The web is fundamental to most of us. If it were unavailable for a day, we’d find it challenging to get our work done. Arguably the most significant tool for using the web is a browser. The big five – Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Opera and Mozilla Firefox – continuously try to outsmart each other by being faster, easier to use and offering more features; the latest browser to release a significant update is Firefox.
Firefox fans have waited a long time for a major update to their favourite browser – it was in January 2010 that version 3.6 appeared. Now in version 4, Mozilla has for the first time created dedicated Firefox browsers ?for Google Android and Maemo (a Nokia platform).
Many of the changes in Firefox 4 reflect our increasing dependency on the web for day-to-day life. Most of us use web-based programs for our communications, either via a webmail client, Twitter or Facebook, but online productivity software such as Google Docs is also becoming increasingly popular with those wanting to get work done from wherever they may be.
Other changes are concerned with managing all our open web pages, handling add-ons, synchronising browsing data between PCs, protecting our privacy and taking advantage of the latest technologies, such as HTML5.
Here, we provide a simple guide to help you find your way around the best of Firefox 4’s new and old features.
Step 1. Head to mozilla.org and click ‘Get Firefox’ to download the browser. Close your web browser, then follow the prompts to install Firefox. Launch the application. The setup procedure will ask whether you want to import Options, Bookmarks, History, Passwords and other data from your default browser.
Step 2. The first thing you’ll notice about the new browser is its uncluttered layout. There’s no menu bar, for instance. Instead, you’ll simply find tabs at the top of the screen, and the Awesome (URL) bar and search field below. Usefully, this layout allows a greater viewing area for web pages.