Thunderbird upgrade is released

Second version of Mozilla's email client offers a number of improvements, including enhanced search and message tagging

Version 2.0 of Mozilla's open-source email client, Thunderbird, has been released.

The updated application, available for download only a week after the version's first release candidate became available, now offers better integration of webmail services, such as Google Mail, message tagging and enhanced mail-search functionality, and it is more customisable than before.

Scott MacGregor, Mozilla's lead engineer for Thunderbird, claimed the new version had "proven security" and would offer an improved experience to users. "In Thunderbird 2, we incorporated the proven benefits of tagging to email," MacGregor said on Thursday, explaining that tagging "initially gained popularity on blogs, photo and link-sharing sites as an intuitive way to organise online information so users could easily find desired content". The email client offers default tags, such as "Important" and "Personal", but also allows customised tags.

Thunderbird is built on the same development model as Firefox, Mozilla's open-source browser, which is increasingly taking market share from Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Thunderbird 2 even incorporates a similar method of history navigation to that used in Firefox. It also incorporates a "find-as-you-type" pane and the ability to store searches as folders.

The application still does not support ActiveSync, which would let it synchronise content with Windows Mobile handsets, but a multitude of third-party add-ons are available to perform this and other functions.

Thunderbird does not include a calendar function, unlike its chief rival Outlook. Mozilla does, however, have an add-on called "Lightning", which integrates some of that functionality into Thunderbird.