Mozilla updated Firefox to version 89 on Tuesday, debuting with a new look the company says is “designed to win back” the open source browser.
The organization’s engineers also patched nine vulnerabilities, two of those labeled “High”, Firefox’s second most serious label. Three of the nine were found only in the Android edition of the browser, while another was only in the code of the Windows edition. None were marked as “Critical”, the category of most serious failures.
Firefox 89 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS, and Linux from Mozilla’s site. Because Firefox updates in the background, most users can restart the browser to install the latest version. To update manually in Windows, open the menu under the three horizontal bars in the upper right, then click the help icon (the question mark within a circle). Choose “About Firefox”. (On macOS, “About Firefox” can be found in the “Firefox” menu). The resulting page or pop-up window shows that the browser is already updated or shows the update process.
(Note: Firefox’s new background update process, which Mozilla described in mid-April and was scheduled to appear in version 89, has not been enabled in the stable version released on June 1. It seems the change is now scheduled for Firefox 90.)
The big news in Firefox 89 is the new look, a heavily modified user interface (UI) that had been codenamed “Proton.” Mozilla touted it as a significant overhaul of the “face” of the browser that users see when they launch the application.
“We have redesigned and modernized the core experience to be cleaner, more engaging, and easier to use,” Mozilla said at 89 Release Notes. In much more detailed explainer On the Proton changes, MJ Kelly, a member of Mozilla’s marketing team, said the refurbishment is the result of studying “how people interact with the browser,” listening to feedback, and gathering “ideas from ordinary people who just want to have an easier experience. On the net. “
The most noticeable difference in the Proton user interface is the tab bar, where open tabs are displayed. Mozilla chose a “floating” tab bar that is visually disconnected from the rendered page by virtue of two changes: first, the tab bar has been moved to the top of the browser frame for the address bar to intervene, and second , there are no visual dividers – say, a vertical line – to mark where one tab ends and another begins. Only when a tab is active, has it been selected by the user, does it appear at the bottom of the tab bar. The result is a significant departure from traditional browser tab UIs, such as those seen in Google’s Chrome or even Apple’s Safari. (Only Microsoft’s Edge, which relies on a vertical display of tabs on the left side of the browser frame, is such a huge departure from the usual.)
Some commenters have looked at the new tab user interface in Firefox; there is no doubt that it will shake many. But once accepted, and that may be instantaneous for some, it seems, it “feels” if you like, more agile, more up-to-date, even more logical.
Mozilla also dimmed the toolbar containing the address field by getting rid of some of the clutter built up over the years; rearranged and condensed some menus, including the main menu with three horizontal lines on the far right; and removed some notifications and reduced the screen size of others, the latter in the hope of “less jarring interruptions.”
Private browsing gets full cookie protection
The other substantial change in Firefox 89 was more to set a default than to create something from the fabric. “The popular Total Cookie Protection goes from optional strict setting to always on for private browsing,” Mozilla’s Kelly wrote in her June 1 post.
Total Cookie Protection, which Mozilla implemented in February as part of Firefox 86, limits cookies to the site where they were created, preventing tracking companies from using these cookies to follow a user’s browsing footprints from one site to another and then to another. others. . Anti-tracking technology was available from Firefox 86 onwards, but only when users set the browser’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) to “Strict”. (ETP is the general label for Alles Firefox protections).
With Firefox 89, Mozilla has extended the Total Protection against cookies by default to all private browsing windows, the mode of not recording browsing history is activated manually from the main menu (select “New private window”).
Mozilla was proud, not necessarily of the only opportunity to add Total Cookie Protection, but of everything that overridden its privacy mode. “With the addition of Total Cookie Protection, Firefox’s Private Browsing windows have the most advanced privacy protections of any major browser’s private browsing mode,” said Arthur Edelstein, Senior Product Manager for Privacy and Security, Firefox, in a Tuesday post to the Mozilla security blog.
In other parts of the browser, the “Take screenshot” function has been added to context menus, the ones that appear after clicking the right mouse button or the touchpad, for easier access. Take screenshot can also be added to the toolbar as an icon.
Shane, come back!
Mozilla couldn’t have said it more clearly: Firefox 89 was redesigned in the hopes of convincing defectors to return to the browser.
“We are always excited when a new Firefox is released, and when it comes to this major redesign, we are even more excited for you to experience it,” he wrote. “If you ever left Firefox behind, this modern approach … is designed to get you back and make it your browser of choice.”
Firefox could use a boost.
The browser’s share of the overall market, as measured by US analytics firm Net Applications, has continued to decline. (Although Net Applications announced last year that it was stopping its measurements of browser and operating system activity, it has continued to publish data.) At the end of May, Firefox’s share was 6.3%, one percentage point less than at the same time in the previous year. If that trend continues, Firefox may fall into the 5% range as early as August.
Firefox’s decline in browser sharing has been Mozilla’s most troublesome problem for years. Other attempts to reverse the trend, including the 2017 renewal issued as Firefox 57 and dubbed “Quantum”, have failed to halt the decline in share. Mozilla had also been optimistic about Quantum, and its then-new Photon UI, with one executive saying, “It’s by far the biggest update we’ve had since we released Firefox 1.0 in 2004, it’s just better in every way. . “
At the time, November 2017, the Firefox usage ratio was 11.4%, just slightly less than double what it was at the end of May 2021.
The next version of Mozilla’s browser, Firefox 90, will be released on June 29.