Firefox 3 beta 3 was released as expected on Tuesday with more than 1300 improvements since beta 2.
Most of the changes are improvements and enhancements to the user interface, ease-of-use, performance and security aspects of the browser, the Mozilla foundation announced on Tuesday night.
As promised, beta 3 sports a more Vista-like look-and feel with new icons and themes, and a more native look-and-feel for Mac OSX and Linux as well. For example, Firefox menus now display using Vista’s native theme. Running on Vista, users can access a combined back-forward button and star icon that allows users to add a bookmark with a single click.
Beta 3 also features a new Download Manager that makes it easier to locate files that are downloaded and the source of the download. Additionally, podcasts and videocasts are supported by the media playback tools, according to the Mozilla release.
As part of the Smart Location feature, beta 3 also now features an improved search algorithm that “calculates the recency and frequency” of site visits in order to yield the most relevant search results. Users can now also associate keywords with bookmarks to sort them by topic.
On the security side, beta 3 provides one click site info to determine who owns the site and whether or not the connection is shielded from eavesdropping. The browser also alerts users when they arrive on sites that are known to install malware. Additionally, beta 3 also supports Vista’s parental controls feature. Beta 3 also offers significant performance improvements and 50 improvements to memory use since beta 2 was released late last year.
Firefox 3 is expected to be released in early 2008 but developers have not specified an exact release date.