Mozilla has released Firefox 29, the most significant overhaul of its Web browser since 2011. The latest version of Firefox incorporates a sleeker design and several features that have already been a part of other Web browsers. In many ways, Firefox 29 plays catch up to Chrome, a rival made by Google.
Fortunately for Mozilla, Firefox 29 arrives at a perfect time. Microsoft this week issued a warning to users of Internet Explorer, letting them know of a major bug that will not be patched until May 13.
Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac users can download the latest version of Firefox today. Below are the most significant new features of the new browser.
1. Sleek, curved tabs
The look of Firefox has shifted away from a straight-edged, blocky design to one that more highly incorporates the use of curves. This is most noticeable within Firefox 29's tabs, which now strongly resemble those of Google Chrome.
But unlike Chrome, Firefox makes an effort to highlight the tab users are currently viewing and fade away all others to eliminate distractions.
2. Firefox Menu
Mozilla has added a new "Firefox Menu" that is designed to make it easier for users to find some of the key features of Firefox, including the new window, new private window, preferences and several other options. Previously, these features were a little more tucked away.
Within the Firefox Menu, users will find a "Customize" option. Clicking that will allow users to pick and choose what features they want in the menu as well as other parts of the browser. Users can change the features they include in the navigation bar and they can flip flop the URL field with the search field. Users can also eliminate the search field altogether and make Firefox 29 look even more like Google Chrome.
4. Firefox Sync
Mozilla has also introduced what it calls Enhanced Firefox Sync service. This feature makes it possible for users to easily transfer their Firefox features -- including their settings, their history, their bookmarks and more -- from one device to another. By creating a Firefox account, users can transfer their features from computer to computer or to the mobile, Android version of Firefox.
Previous versions of Firefox Sync have existed, but this version makes the process much easier to use. This is another feature already found on Chrome as well as Apple's Safari browser.
5. Easy-to-find bookmarks
In Firefox 29, Mozilla has made it easier for users to manage and find their bookmarks. A bookmark manager icon is now found within the navigation bar, next to the star icon that is used to bookmark pages. The new icon highlights users' bookmarks more prominently.
Bonus Easter Egg
When customizing, users will find a special Easter Egg by removing every single feature from the Firefox Menu. The Easter Egg is a silly unicorn that bounces around the completely cleared Firefox Menu.
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Posted: 2014-05-13 @ 4:59pm PT
Let's put this upgrade of Firefox in the fail column. Contrary to Salvador Rodriquez's claim that Firefox 29 offers "more customizability", the user actually has less ability to customize the UI than in previous versions. For starters, the user no longer has the option to put the tabs on the bottom. Retaining that ability would have resulted in a washk, but removing it literally gives the user less "customizability". Second, users have lost the ability to add or remove several buttons/functions from the tool bar. For example, in previous versions I was able to add a reload and stop loading button to the toolbar. They were nice, large icons that facilitated efficient work flow. Now both buttons are much smaller, and located in the address bar, which is far larger than it would be if I had the ability to customize it. Previous versions offered a plethora of buttons that could be chosen and positioned where the user wanted. Some I used, others I didn't but I was able to build toolbars that did what they were supposed to--fit my needs and make me more efficient. Again, this sounds like less "customizability" to me. A good upgrade would have left the ability to customize in the hands of the user. Provided functionality remains intact, there is absolutely no reason to take these options away from the user. Yeah, there is an add-on that can take care of some of this, but users shouldn't have to download 3rd party add-ons to do the job Mozilla developers should be doing. If someone wants the Australis UI, fine. They should be able to customize Firefox, too. But there is no reason to take this ability away from other users, many of whom use their browser for research, work and other big boy tasks. Firefox can do whatever they want for upgrades, but they shouldn't take away the ability of users to customize their experience, especially from a company that claims to be for the user and not in the business of data mining or herding users into a chute like cattle.
Posted: 2014-05-13 @ 10:39am PT
Terrible UI/aesthetic changes. I've been resisting Chrome. Combined with Mozilla's recent action against free speech and traditional beliefs, it might be time to move to Chrome.
Posted: 2014-05-13 @ 10:33am PT
If I wanted to use Chrome then I would have had .. all this FF29 did for me as a 10yr FF user is look at other browsers for the first time in 10 yrs. I don't like it, wont use it, or will ever move from 28 until i find a new browser.
Posted: 2014-05-13 @ 4:37am PT
Are you trying to be a google chrome? Give us back the old orange menu on the left corner!
Posted: 2014-05-12 @ 12:41am PT
"Sleek curved tabs"? THAT'S the reason you endorse this dungheap of an "upgrade"? *Sheesh!* Videos crashing. Half the navigation buttons (including history and bookmarks) have been removed or no longer function. Other buttons fixed and immovable. "Customization" my . Version 29 is garbage.
Enrique Peña Nieto:
Posted: 2014-05-11 @ 9:12pm PT
Firefox 29 sucks!!! the interface is disgraceful
Posted: 2014-05-11 @ 5:51pm PT
The bookmarks controls are horrible. I am longer able to search my bookmarks using keywords. If this doesn't improve I will ditch Firefox.
Posted: 2014-05-11 @ 9:00am PT
I actually love this new design! Everything is so much easier to find when it's almost all just in the Firefox Menu. I also like the unicorn :)
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 11:32pm PT
Firefox 29 simply sucks. I lost my "bookmark this page" and using "edit bookmark" does NOTHING.
Why oh why change things which are not broken? Just to break them???
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 9:46pm PT
After reading these comments, no 29 for me. Thanks guys.
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 2:18pm PT
I really do NOT like the "Sleek, curved tabs", thank goodness I found the add-on to restore the classic look. I can't figure out why sites try to achieve a "softer" look to something that's inherently hard, which is computer screens! The "faded away" tabs were MORE of a distraction IMO because it took more concentration to find and select them. Glad FF gave us options.
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 1:27pm PT
@ Charles, yes, because what a ceo did 8 years prior to being ceo and with his own money is a issue. Bunch of bs, I'm sorry he has things he believes in that DON'T affect the company at all. Can't believe we live in a country that allows ourselves to get bullied by gays.
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 7:58am PT
I'm not a fan of the new look and some of my beloved addons do not function with Firefox 29. So, I went back to Firefox 28 and I think I will keep using it.
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 5:37am PT
Re "For those who like the old tabs or customizability in general, there's an add-on for that. " - unfortunately there isn't. There isn't (yet) a way to restore a proper menu bar, and significant areas of the UI that were configurable previously are no longer (see the MozillaZine forums for chapter and verse on this).
Personally, I've not gone far - switched to Mozilla Seamonkey and have been impressed by how much faster than Firefox it is.
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 5:34am PT
Firefox updated to 29 - my Internet Explorer stopped accepting E Mails as it is no longer able to access the passwords and keeps flashing up boxes asking me to enter the password for each E Mail address. I am using Windows XP SP3
Posted: 2014-05-10 @ 4:49am PT
Why is everything googlizing (if that is a word). I hate google. You have no privacy with them and these changes make me suspicious that Mozilla is adopting their business model. Man Mozilla.
Posted: 2014-05-09 @ 11:03pm PT
If you are a Firefox (and PC) user who has been sickened by the oozing, rotting abortion that is Firefox 29, with its completely reconfigured "Australis" interface, I encourage you to consider the 32-bit Pale Moon 24.5, downloadable at http://www.palemoon.org.
Pale Moon offers a very similar experience to "the old" Firefox, but--by Vox Day's estimation--"about 10-15 percent faster than Firefox, which has become increasingly crufty over the last few years and was offering new beta updates literally every week."
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Moon_%28web_browser%29
Posted: 2014-05-09 @ 10:46pm PT
If I wanted Firefox to look like Chrome I would use Chrome. I hate the new Firefox and immediately went back to 28. Once I can get whatever the current version is to look the way I want then I'll update.
Posted: 2014-05-09 @ 9:49pm PT
To Charles, RE: Prop 8
I don't let politics interfere with my decision to download software. I could care less what proposition the CEO supports. Give me a good web browser and I'm satisfied. That's how it works pal. Nice try though.
Posted: 2014-05-09 @ 9:44pm PT
Firefox 29 is having problems loading images and certain features of webpages. Having this problem on 6 separate machines.
Posted: 2014-05-09 @ 3:00pm PT
To Shaun: So you're OK with Mozilla having had a CEO who supported California's Prop 8? You know, straight people aren't the only ones who use Firefox. If anything, the guy himself injected politics by supporting that biased law, by supporting what would have essentially been a legal form of discrimination against gays.
And, since you implied that you don't even use Firefox, you NEVER should have commented in the first place.
Posted: 2014-05-08 @ 5:35am PT
Can't say I am completely happy with Chrome, and Chromium doesn't work on everything so that's a pain. Opera is nice, but the people at Opera are always a few steps behind.
Firefox would be a good choice, but I can't get over what they did to their CEO, I would prefer if they kept the politics out of web browsing.
I've been using Konqueror a bit lately, so we'll see how that goes..
Posted: 2014-05-07 @ 8:40pm PT
This update makes Chrome pointless since Firefox can do everything chrome can do but better.
Posted: 2014-05-07 @ 12:13pm PT
The new UI looks pretty good. I've been keeping any eye on memory usage and it looks better than before (and better than Chrome). I haven't noticed any real browsing speed or startup speed differences between FF or chrome.
Posted: 2014-05-07 @ 8:10am PT
Indeed, until Firefox fixes its startup problem (60 seconds), why bother with shiny new tabs and such?
Posted: 2014-05-06 @ 7:04am PT
I think Opera and Chrome are the best... That's without having to try and test the 60 plus browsers that are available online!
Posted: 2014-05-05 @ 4:16pm PT
For those Chrome fanboys: Firefox 29's UI is light years ahead of Chrome in terms of customizability. I hated having to click, move mouse a long way, move again, then click again just to open "Extensions" in Chrome. In Firefox, it's all customizable. Drag Addons icon to toolbar, one click is all you need.
Posted: 2014-05-05 @ 3:11pm PT
I think I will keep using Firefox 28.
Posted: 2014-05-05 @ 8:04am PT
For those who like the old tabs or customizability in general, there's an add-on for that.
Posted: 2014-05-04 @ 9:01am PT
Sounds like mostly cosmetic changes, and no reason to switch back to Firefox from Chrome