Mozilla releases Firefox 2.0 beta

The Mozilla Foundation has released the first beta 1 version of Firefox 2. It’s intended for web application developers and Firefox’s testing community only.

The feature-packed software includes a host of improvements, including built-in phishing protection and the capacity to read RSS feeds through Firefox or another RSS reader. My Yahoo!, Bloglines and Google Reader come pre-loaded as web service options, but users can add any web service that handles RSS feeds.

A new built-in spell checker lets users check the spelling of text entered into web text fields without having to use another application. If your browser crashes, Firefox will now launch back to the point the crash happened. This ‘Session Restore’ feature also opens any windows or tabs which may have been open at the time of the crash.

Bookmark management has taken a positive twist with the introduction of Microsummaries. The organization describes these as: “Regularly updated, succinct compilations of the most important information on webpages. Compact enough to fit in the space available to a bookmark label, they provide more useful information about pages than static page titles, and are regularly updated as new information becomes available.”

Links that would open new browser windows now open in tabs by default. Individual tabs now include a ‘close tab’ button. Users can now quickly view, add and edit installed search engines, which are then accessible from the integrated search bar in Firefox 2 Beta 1.

The management of third-party software plug-ins have also been improved. The release also supports JavaScript 1.7, search engine plug-ins and SVG text.

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