The release version of Firefox 13 is now available to download for desktop Windows, Mac and Linux machines, bringing with it a redesigned home screen and a switch to the new, faster SPDY protocol by default.
Firefox 13 has a new home screen that provides quick access to frequently used features. Image credit: Ben Woods
Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client announced availability of the new version on its blog on Tuesday.
Among the headline features of the new build are a redesigned home screen (pictured above), which gives quick access to things like your history, bookmarks, add-ons, downloads and settings. It can be accessed by typing 'about:home' in the address bar.
The revamped browser also brings the SPDY protocol, the successor to HTTP, as the default protocol. Mozilla said that SPDY offers security improvements and results in faster page load times on websites that support it, such as Google and Twitter.
Mozilla has also overhauled the new tab screen so that when you open a new tab, the screen displays thumbnails of either manually chosen favourite sites or pages or an automatically generated list of your most visited sites.
The company has also made manual reloading of tabs from previously closed session the default behaviour, where it had previously been an option. It has done this to prevent excessive start-up times when recovering from a crash or unplanned closure of a browsing session, which can often result in sluggish response when reloading multiple tabs at once. With the behaviour enabled by default, users now need to just switch to the tab for it to reload when restarting a session.
In addition to launching Firefox 13 on Wednesday, Mozilla also released its email client Thunderbird 13, which brings a new feature called FileLink that allows users to upload large files to a cloud service and send the URL to recipients, letting them download the sizable attachment at their leisure. The feature is currently only configured to work with YouSendIt.