Sunday, July 16, 2006

Firefox 2.0 with Google Toolbar

The new version of Firefox, namely Firefox 2.0 Beta 1, takes most of its new features from Google Toolbar. And that's no surprise as the lead Firefox engineer, Ben Goodger, works at Google.

Let's see:

* Google Suggest in the search box. The Firefox implementation doesn't include your bookmarks and the results from the search history, but it's basically the same feature.

* Anti-phishing protection. Although not enabled by default, Firefox uses the same Google Safe Browsing technology from Google Toolbar. Previously that was a standalone extension. "By combining advanced algorithms with reports about misleading pages from a number of sources, Safe Browsing is often able to automatically warn you when you encounter a page that's trying to trick you into disclosing personal information."

* Subscribe to feeds. Like in Google Toolbar, you can subscribe to feeds using Live Bookmarks or a feed reader like Bloglines.

* Spell checking. The differences between Google Toolbar's SpellCheck and Firefox's new feature are that in Firefox every misspelled word is underlined automatically and Firefox uses a local dictionary, while Google queries their server. Google's dictionary is much more comprehensive and it's dynamically updated, but Firefox makes the feature more useful by integrating it in the normal use.
To test Firefox 2.0 Beta 1:

* you don't have to uninstall your current version of Firefox. The application installs itself in a different directory and you won't lose the stable version.

* most extensions will be incompatible with the new build, so you have to add Nightly Tools Extension after installing Firefox 2.0 Beta 1. Restart the browser, go to Tools / Add-ons and click on "Make all extensions compatible". Restart again. (Too many restarts, but that's how Firefox works.)

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Here are the direct links for download:
Windows (5.4MB) | Mac (17MB) | Linux (8.9MB) | Non-English