Read CNET senior editor Rob Vamosi's extended review of Firefox 3.
No longer a fledgling upstart, Firefox 3 is full-featured, lightning fast, and an able Internet Explorer foe. Previous versions have seen Mozilla's approach to features such as tabbed browsing and extensions become extremely popular. Even though Firefox 3 lacks a killer feature, it offers significant improvements not to be missed.
Version 3 introduces a multitude of safety and usability features. The location bar drop-down menu now includes URLs from both your browsing history and your bookmarks. A new Add-Ons manager includes a built-in plug-in search engine, saving you the previous trip to the Mozilla Web site. Single-click the star icon on the right of the location bar to bookmark the current page, or double-click on it to simultaneously add and edit the bookmark entry. You can tag bookmarks, too. Other impressive new features include password confirmation before adding it to the saved passwords list, the ability to pause and resume downloads, and merged forward and backward history lists.
Firefox 3 now runs faster and, according to Mozilla, is less susceptible to hacks and other vulnerabilities. The browser now warns your system's antivirus program when you download a file, and anti-malware and anti-phishing utilities now throw up a warning page before allowing Firefox to load risky sites. The favicon reveals Web sites' ownership details and displays the security level of your connection to that site.
Developers will appreciate that Firefox 3's new graphics and text rendering code provide rendering improvements in CSS and SVG as well as improved display of fonts and complex scripts. Firefox 3--still open-source, as ever--is a browser that all users should consider making their default Web-surfing tool.