Mozilla moves Australis-themed Firefox 29 to beta

Mozilla's has moved its new browser user interface one step closer to a final release.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Mozilla has moved its Firefox 29 desktop and Android browser to beta, bringing with it a new cloud sync feature, customisation mode and an overhauled UI.

The new beta Firefox is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android, and has a host of new features that come with Mozilla's new Australis user interface, which landed in Firefox Nightly in November.

Australis is Mozilla's effort to bring a cleaner look to the browser and includes a new "customisation mode" in the pop-out settings menu, which hosts standard tools and provides a space for third-party add-ons to be installed.

Some of the other design changes that came with Australis included its new curved tab shape, compared to the blockish ones it currently has, as well as faded tabs to de-emphasise the ones that aren't in use.

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Firefox 29 Nightly. Image: Mozilla.

Mozilla also nudged the tabs a little higher in the browser to offer more page real estate. While the changes moved a little closer Google's Chrome, Firefox retains a separate search box in the new UI. And there are tinier tweaks, such as moving the download progress bar to the 'show all downloads' button.

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Image credit: Mozilla.

The browser also ships with some major security and set up improvements to Firefox Sync, which it detailed last month.

The security tweaks include:

  • client-side key stretching, which will help prevent man in the middle attacks, even if SSL credentials are compromised;
  • the introduction of end-to-end encryption;
  • and public key cryptography and the BrowserID protocol — which separates "authentication, authorisation, and data storage servers — minimising the number of servers that handle authentication material, and reducing our attack surface", Mozilla said.

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