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Firefox's massive overhaul moves to beta

Barring unforeseen events, big changes for Mozilla Firefox will be airborne in about six weeks.

Thursday's update moves Firefox 29 to beta, the final testing grounds where Mozilla can make stability and feature changes to the overhaul before it pushes it out to the public at large.

The new version of Firefox comes with a new interface, an easier way to customize Firefox, and an upgraded Firefox Sync that requires all current users to create new accounts and resynchronize their browsers, in exchange for getting simple user accounts with their end-to-end encryption. The new interface gives the browser a … Read more

Firefox 28 aims for easier media playback

Firefox 28 debuts with an emphasis on under-the-hood improvements to keep the browser in line with the latest plug-in-free media playback tools.

VP9 decoding and Opus support in WebM keeps Firefox current with the royalty-free codecs that power media playback in HTML5.

They're not exactly another nail in the coffin for Flash, since Firefox already offers broad HTML5 media playback support, but they do signal that plug-in-free codecs are maturing into broad usability.

Firefox 28 for desktops also gets a new volume control for HTML5 audio and video, and Mac OS X users get Notification Center support for Web … Read more

Unity's new weapon for devs: Porting games to Firefox

Mozilla has teamed up with Unity to run its games on the Web without plugins -- but with an add-on.

Announced at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the extension will ship later this year with the anticipated Unity 5.0. Powered by the Web graphics library WebGL and the JavaScript subset asm.js, the add-on update says more about game developers' faith in Firefox than anything else.

"We believe WebGL and asm.js will be driving the future of gaming on the Web. We're happy to see the platform mature and look forward to helping to … Read more

Mozilla scraps Metro version of Firefox, citing low interest

After more than two years of work, Mozilla has scrapped its effort to build a Metro-specific version of Firefox for Windows 8, saying that users have shown almost no interest.

Microsoft designed what it previously called the Metro interface for touch-screen devices like tablets and introduced it with Windows 8 along with a version of Internet Explorer designed to run on it. Two years ago, after winning a debate with Microsoft over whether it even could be possible to bring a modern third-party browser to Metro, Mozilla embarked on its Firefox for Metro journey.

But it's over for now, … Read more

Mozilla levels up its browser gaming plan

Mozilla says that thanks to the upcoming Unreal Engine 4 from Epic, the Web is significantly closer to the goal of Web-based games that rock at the speed of native code.

Just in time for the annual Game Developers Conference to be held in San Francisco next week, the joint Mozilla and Epic project demonstrates Unreal Engine 4 running on the Web in Firefox without plugins. Unveiled Wednesday, the demos of Epic's Soul and Ninja Swing games running plugin-free in the browser at near-native code speeds reveal remarkable growth in 12 months.

Originally announced last year, the faster browser … Read more

How to open iCloud tabs in Chrome, Firefox on a Mac

One of the issues with using Safari on an iOS device and using Chrome or Firefox on a Mac is the inability to sync open browser tabs. Safari uses iCloud to keep track of open tabs on all of your Apple devices, but those tabs aren't accessible in third-party browsers. And of course you can't access third-party tabs in Safari. So what's a person supposed to do?

Well, as MacStories points out, a person should download a free OS X app called CloudyTabs.

With CloudyTabs installed, you can now access your iCloud tabs on a Mac and … Read more

Drag to resize YouTube videos with Youtube Resize

When you visit YouTube and hit play on a video, the video player offers Small, Medium, and Large size options. You can select either the small or large player, or go full-screen. With the Youtube Resize extension for Chrome or Firefox, you can drag to resize the video player to any size you'd like. It's helpful if you have a particular video player size preference for your particular display that falls outside of YouTube's three options.

You'll notice that with the extension enabled, when you mouse over YouTube's video player, the cursor turns into a … Read more

Open links and search text faster in Firefox with Super Drag

There are keyboard shortcut people, and there are mouse and touch-pad people. If the latter describes you and you use Firefox to browse the Web, the Super Drag extension might be of interest. It lets you drag and drop links, text, and images you encounter online to open them in a new tab.

Super Drag installs and does not require you to restart Firefox. With the extension enabled, it lets you drag a link, text, or an image and opens a small menu panel where you can choose how to open whatever it is you are dragging. For a link, … Read more

Clean up the look of Gmail with Gmelius

Gmail is just about the perfect e-mail client. Quite frankly, I can't imagine my life without it. (Well, I can but don't want to because it involves my old Hotmail account.) As time goes by, however, Google tweaks the look and feel of Gmail, adding new features while removing or changing others. If you'd like to have some say about how your Gmail experience goes, Gmelius is a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera which lets you customize what elements show up on Gmail and where.

Gmelius has been around for a couple of years, but … Read more

Improve Firefox tab behavior with Tab Deque

Firefox's new tab behavior is a bit inconsistent. Right-click on a link and choose Open Link in New Tab and the new tab opens directly to the right of your current tab. In contrast, if you open a new tab, it opens to the right of all of your open tabs.

Firefox add-on Tab Deque changes this behavior. After installing the add-on and restarting Firefox, new tabs will open next to your current tab. This change alone will keep me using Tab Deque, but it boasts another useful feature that makes it easy to toggle between two tabs. If … Read more