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The official release of the first beta version of Firefox 2.0 has arrived. The new browser is a highly anticipated update that many say will steal the thunder from Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft's next-generation browser that is slated to be released later this summer.
Mozilla released the Firefox 2.0 beta on Wednesday. Although several test builds of Firefox 2.0 were posted online earlier in the week, Mozilla said those releases are similar, but not identical to, the final official release.

Firefox 2.0 Features

One prominent new feature of Firefox 2.0 is built-in phishing protection that is designed to warn people of suspected identity-stealing Web sites. The feature, which is turned on by default, checks sites that users visit against a list of known phishing sites and issues a warning if there is a suspected match.

Mozilla noted that although the list is currently limited -- in order to test the core phishing framework -- it is expected to grow as users report new scam sites.

The test version of Firefox 2.0 also features improved support for previewing and subscribing to Web feeds, a search plug-in manager for removing and reordering search-engine preferences, and a new built-in spell checker that provides the ability to quickly check the spelling of text entered into Web text fields without using another application.

In addition, there is a microsummaries feature that can provide brief information on certain Web sites. For example, the feature can provide an auction abstract of the most important and useful eBay information, such as an item name, current highest bid, and time remaining.

Mozilla said the beta is not designed to go into full use by regular users at this point, because it is still being tested by the developer community. But the organization expects that the beta will be distributed more widely than any of the pre-Firefox 2.0 builds made available until this point.

Mozilla recommends that current users of Firefox 1.x should not update to 2.0 just yet.

Browser Competition

Firefox 2 is considered to be a direct competitor to Microsoft's upcoming Internet Explorer 7. Amsterdam-based OneStat, a company that monitors Internet statistics, released a report on Sunday revealing that Firefox has a total global usage share of 12.93 percent, a figure that increased by 1.14 points since May.

By way of comparison, the total global usage share of Internet Explorer is 83.05 percent, which represents a 2.21 percent decrease since May. OneStat's report found that, in the U.S., the most popular browsers as of July are: Microsoft Internet Explorer at 79.78 percent, Firefox at 15.82 percent, Apple's Safari at 3.28 percent, Opera at 0.81 percent, and Netscape at 0.20 percent.

Laura DiDio, an analyst at Yankee Group, said Firefox is a "good alternative" to Internet Explorer. "If you've had and liked Firefox, you're probably going to still like it," DiDio said. What will shake Internet Explorer's share of the browser market is if there are more security problems with it, she noted, saying that the same principle applies to Firefox.

"We'll see what happens as the industry morphs and the browser becomes its own OS," she said.

Download Firefox 2.0 Beta

Article submitted by: BigJim
Last Update: 07-14-2006
Category: Technology

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Re: Firefox 2.0 Beta available.

By: floppydrivez @ 23:32:22 : 07-14-2006

I gotta give this a shot.

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