Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Firefox 3

I'm not much a techie guy, but one good choice I made years ago was to drop Internet Explorer as a web browser and to switch to Firefox.

Michael Buchmore of PCMag has a review of Firefox 3, just released:
Three years in development, over 15,000 bug fixes and feature improvements, a new page rendering engine, remarkable performance gains, multiple OS integration — you could say the several hundred engineers working on Firefox have been busy. And their work has paid off.

Speedy performance, thrifty memory usage, and, in particular, the address bar that now predicts where you want to go when you start typing (what Mozilla insiders refer to as the Awesome Bar) firmly plant Firefox at the top of the Web browser hill, flying the flag of our Editors' Choice for browsers.

In particular:
The top new feature has to be the address bar, what Mozilla types call "The Awesome Bar," but which the development team has officially dubbed the location bar. As you type into it, a list of suggested Web destinations based on your browsing history pops up.

It uses what Mozilla's phenomenologist Mike Beltzner has coined "frecency" — a combination of frequency and recentness — to determine the best suggestions. And, as icing on the cake, the search bar is now resizable, so you can divvy the space between the location and search bars to your taste.

When I tried it, the location bar's first suggestion was right on the money most of the time. Knowing that hitting the down arrow and Enter will usually get you where you want to go — not to mention save you untold keystrokes and time — will change your browsing habits.

You can download it for free here.