New Firefox beta enhances security and tablet viewing

Security tweaks to make Firefox safer join memory management improvements and Android enhancements in the latest browser beta from Mozilla.

The latest Firefox beta jumps to version 6 and lands with improvements made to security, tablet appearance, memory management, and Android fixes. Download for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android, Firefox 6 beta comes with a laundry list of changes made to both desktop and mobile platforms.

Some of the changes were included in the developer's Aurora release of Firefox 6, such as the built-in verification tool for plug-ins like Adobe Flash, better memory management for the Panorama grouping feature, a Chrome-style Scratchpad for testing out JavaScript snippets, and a new window for fine-tuning Web site permissions.

Other changes are new. One minor tweak, called domain highlighting, will help you read the domain of the Web site you're on more easily. This is a small but important change that people can use to visually verify that they are at the correct URL--for online banking, for example--as opposed to a spoofed one that's likely to be malicious.

In the new Firefox for Android beta, version 6 debuts numerous changes that appear to function well with no crashing during light testing. Mozilla said in a blog post that these include faster start times; less memory usage; less pixelation on image scaling; form tweaks; IndexedDB support for storing offline data; and Touch Events for better Web page interaction. However, favicons still appeared to be pixelated, for the most part.

There's also a new animation that quickly shows you the hidden tab bar on the left and options menu on the right when you launch the browser for the first time. Again, it's a minor change that ought to nevertheless improve the browser's usability for first-timers. Mozilla said that the browser has received a new look for Android 2.3 Gingerbread, although it was difficult to discern just what had changed from the previous version.