Mozilla updated Firefox on Tuesday to version 89, launching a new look that the company says is “designed to win you back” to the open source browser.
Organization engineers also fixed nine vulnerabilities, two of those labeled “High”, Firefox’s second most serious label. Three of the nine were only found in the Android edition of the browser, while another was only in the code for the Windows edition. None were marked “Critical”, the most serious category of defects.
Firefox 89 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from Mozilla website. Since Firefox updates in the background, most users can relaunch the browser to install the latest version. To update manually on Windows, scroll down the menu under the three horizontal bars at the top right, then click the help icon (the question mark in a circle). Choose “About Firefox”. (On macOS, “About Firefox” is under the “Firefox” menu.) The resulting page or pop-up indicates that the browser is already up to date or shows the upgrade process.
(Note: Firefox’s new background update process, which Mozilla described in mid-April and was slated to appear in version 89, was not enabled in the Stable version released on June 1. At this point it looks like the change is now planned for Firefox 90.)
The big news in Firefox 89 is the new look, a seriously modified user interface (UI) which was codenamed “Proton”. Mozilla touted it as a significant overhaul of the browser “face” that users see when they launch the app.
“We have redesigned and modernized the base experience to be cleaner, more inviting and easier to use,” Mozilla said in Release Notes 89. In a lot more detailed explanation on Proton changes, MJ Kelly, a member of the Mozilla marketing team, said the redesign is the result of studying “how people interact with the browser,” listening to comments and listening to comments. collecting “ideas from ordinary people who just want to have an easier experience on the web.”
The most noticeable difference in Proton’s user interface is the tab bar, where open tabs are displayed. Mozilla opted for a “floating” tab bar which is visually disconnected from the rendered page due to two changes: First, the tab bar has moved above the browser frame so that the tab bar has moved above the browser frame. address comes in, and second, there are no visual separators – say, a vertical line – to mark where one tab ends and another begins. Only when a tab is active – it has been selected by the user – does it appear in the background of the tab bar. The result is a significant departure from traditional browser tab user interfaces, 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, deviates so far from the usual.)
Some reviewers have swept the new UI tab in Firefox; there is no doubt that this will shock many. But once accepted – and it may be instantaneous for some – it seems, “feels” if you like, more streamlined, more up-to-date, more logical even.
Mozilla has also alleviated the toolbar containing the address field by getting rid of some of the clutter that has accumulated over the years; rearranged and condensed some menus, including the main menu with three horizontal lines on the far right; and suppressed some notifications and reduced the screen size of others, the latter in the hope of “less jarring interruptions”.
Private browsing benefits from total cookie protection
The other substantial change in Firefox 89 was more to set a default value than to create something out of everything. “The popular Total Cookie Protection is moving from a strict optional setting to always private browsing,” Mozilla’s Kelly wrote in her June 1 post.
Total Cookie Protection, which Mozilla rolled out in February as part of Firefox 86, confines cookies to the site where they were created, preventing tracking companies from using these cookies to track a user’s browsing fingerprints. one site to another, then to others. . Anti-tracking technology was available starting with Firefox 86, but only when users set the browser’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) to “Strict”. (ETP is the umbrella label for all Firefox protections.)
With Firefox 89, Mozilla extended full cookie protection by default to all private browsing windows, the do not save browsing history mode triggered manually from the main menu (select “New private window”).
Mozilla was proud, not necessarily of the one-time addition of Total Cookie Protection, but of everything its privacy mode took away. “With the addition of full cookie protection, Firefox’s private browsing windows have the most advanced privacy protections of all major browsers’ private browsing modes,” said Arthur Edelstein, senior product manager for Firefox privacy and security, in a statement. Tuesday Message to the Mozilla Security Blog.
Elsewhere in the browser, the “Take a screenshot” feature has been added to context menus – those that appear after right-clicking the mouse or trackpad – for easier access. Taking a screenshot can also be added to the toolbar as an icon.
Shane, come back!
Mozilla couldn’t have said it more clearly: Firefox 89 has been redesigned in the hope of bringing deserters back to the browser.
“We’re always excited about the launch of a new Firefox, and when it comes to this major overhaul, we’re even more excited to have you experience it,” she wrote. “If you’ve ditched Firefox at some point, this modern approach … is designed to win 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, continued to decline. (Although Net Applications announced last year that it was halting its browser and operating system activity metrics, it continued to publish data.) At the end of May, Firefox’s share was 6. 3%, down one percentage point from the same period. Year before. If this trend continues, Firefox could slide into the 5% range as early as August.
The decline in Firefox’s browser share has been Mozilla’s most annoying problem in years. Other attempts to turn the tide, including the 2017 renovation released as Firefox 57 and dubbed “Quantum,” failed to stop the share’s decline. Mozilla had been bullish on Quantum – and its new Photon UI – too, with one executive saying, “This is by far the biggest update we’ve had since Firefox 1.0 launched in 2004, that’s all. just better in every way. “
At this point – November 2017 – Firefox’s usage share was 11.4%, just under 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.