SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has released Firefox 29 for beta testing, and it is available to download now on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.
This edition sees the arrival of the new browser syncing feature we reported earlier in the year, which uses encrypted user names and passwords, replacing the previous synchronisation key system that could lose your data forever if you lost your key.
In addition, a new Customisation Mode adds the ability to manipulate modules, add-ons and extensions anywhere in the browser according to user preferences, as well as pinning extensions to the customisation menu for easy access.
Mozilla has tweaked the user interface (UI) with tabs tucked out of the heading and reshaped, with inactive tabs greyed out, the aim being to reduce clutter and let users focus on web content. It also made a few other nips and tucks in the UI, and moved the bookmark manager next to the bookmark star to keep everything together.
Mozilla said in a blog post on Thursday, "We redesigned the overall look and feel of Firefox to help you access your Web content quickly. We’ve changed the tab structure and functionality in Firefox to enable you to focus on your Web content. Tabs have a more fluid and streamlined shape, sit higher up in the browser and tabs that are not in use have been visually de-emphasized.
"We’ve also moved the bookmark manager next to the bookmark star in your Firefox toolbar to make it easy to save your favorite sites for one click access."
This beta release comes in the same week that Mozilla abandoned the much delayed Firefox Modern version for Windows 8.x. The firm cited lack of interest from potential beta testers after revealing that less than 1,000 people were using the pre-release version, compared to "millions" using the standard desktop edition of Firefox.
According to the most recent figures from Net Applications, the open source web browser dipped in popularity during February, falling from 18.35 percent to 18.08 percent market share as fierce competition from Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer continued. µ