Mozilla to Firefox: 'Browser, heal thyself'
Upgrade to Firefox 21 patches 15 security bugs, adds 'Firefox Health Report' tool
Computerworld - Mozilla on Tuesday released Firefox 21, adding more social media connections, tweaking the Do Not Track privacy setting and rolling out a new tool that long term, aims to create a self-healing browser.
The open-source developer also patched 15 vulnerabilities in the upgrade. Nine of those were rated "critical" by the company's security team.
Mozilla highlighted the new social media connections now built into Firefox in a blog post. The company debuted its Social API (application programming interface) last November with Firefox 17, which added a sidebar to show Facebook chat sessions and updates, including new comments, in the browser.
Firefox 21 now also supports the Cliqz, Mixi and msnNOW services with similar sidebars. Cliqz is a German-based news aggregator which already offers iOS and Android apps; Mixi is a Japanese social media network with an estimated 22 million users; and msnNOW is a Microsoft-owned news aggregator that claims approximately 13 million unique visitors monthly.
Although the developer preview of Firefox -- dubbed "Nightly" to note how often they're updated -- has also used the Social API to support the Chinese micro-blogging service Weibo since early April, Weibo did not make the final cut for Firefox 21.
According to a Mozilla spokeswoman, Weibo remains in testing.
Also new to the browser is a minor modification to the Do Not Track (DNT) privacy setting that expanded the choices to a trio. Where previously Firefox offered options that told compliant websites whether the user wanted to be tracked for advertising purposes, a third has been added that states, "Do not tell sites anything about my tracking preferences."
The third option is the new default setting for Firefox.
Mozilla also added a feature called "Firefox Health Report" (FHR) to the browser. FHR collects information -- speed of startup, number of crashes, number of add-ons and plug-ins -- and then displays the data to give users a better understanding of Firefox's performance, and provide tools to solve problems.
FHR is in its early stages, Mozilla cautioned, but it has plans for the tool, including using the reported data -- by default, the statistics are automatically sent to Mozilla -- to craft support documents.
Mozilla has even bigger ambitions for FHR. "In many cases, we will be able to detect these problems before they get out of hand, and your browser can start healing itself," said Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla's vice president of Firefox engineering, in a blog post.
Users can disable the data reporting from the FHR display, which can be called up by selecting "Firefox Health Report" from the browser's Help menu.
- IE6: Retired but not dead yet
- Chrome users won't give up, keep pressing Google to restore old-style new tab page
- Google quashes 31 vulnerabilities, restores Metro mode 'steppers' with Chrome 34
- Firefox's UI face-lift on track for April debut
- Ex-Mozilla engineer blames Microsoft's rules for Metro Firefox's death
- Mozilla patches 20 Firefox flaws, plugs Pwn2Own holes
- Google reverses field, promises to restore Chrome's scrollbar arrows
- Update: Google ships Chrome 33, patches 28 bugs
- Mozilla's top exec defends in-Firefox ads, revenue search
- Mozilla taps in-Firefox ads as it searches for more revenue
- Six Ways Your Small Business Can Save with Internet Phone Service Traditional phone systems present two main problems for businesses: limited features and high costs. As a result, small businesses are migrating to Internet...
- Face Time Anytime Real-time communications facilitates team collaboration from nearly anywhere in the world. With facts and figures you can use to justify an investment
- Now is the time to implement a video conference solution Video conferencing is getting a lot of buzz lately due to the recent cost decrease, making it tangible for many law firms. It's...
- Video drives engagement Achieving maximum results means building a solid platform and network infrastructure. As digital age unfolds, it's clear that the ability to communicate effectively...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users? All Web Apps White Papers | Webcasts