Firefox 17 has been quietly released right on schedule and this time around we have got a handful of features on the bouquet along with the regular truck load of bug fixes. It must also be noted that Firefox 17 is also Mozilla’s second ESR (Extended Support Release) after Firefox 10, which means it will get security updates for 42 weeks, making it apt for large scale deployments in businesses, schools etc.
Ohkayy.. What is new?
Yeah we know that you would not be anticipating a hammering of changes, but still there a quite a few notable ones in this release.
Social API integration Facebook Messenger Preview
This is a biggie. Humbly following their roadmap, Mozilla has taken few baby steps to integrate Social Media in the browser more directly. If you have used Facebook Messenger for desktop, you would get a hint of what I am talking about. Of course, Mozilla’s Social API based Facebook Messenger integration feels a lot snappier, apart from giving you quick access to Facebook Inbox, Notifications and Ticker right while you are on any website in your browser.
Now I am a fan of this for two reasons, unlike on the desktop, Facebook Messenger throughout a browser just feels right. Add to that you also get snappy Facebook Notifications, Messages and Ticker Feeds. Definitely cool.
As usual, Mozilla likes turning off some features by default. To enable Social API based messenger in Firefox, just head over to about:config and set social.enabled to true.
Click To Play
Originally introduced in Firefox 14, click-to-play feature display’s halts the content if the plugin is too dated. Worry not, this has been implemented only for out dated plugin versions of Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight for now and more plugins will be coming up in future releases
More Fixes and Improvements
Along with improvements to the Web Console, Debugger and Developer toolbars, over twenty performance improvements have been included in the latest release. A notable fix is the page scrolling on sites with fixed headers. Also the awesome bar icons have been enlarged.
Leopard No Longer Supported
Lastly, Mozilla is pulling the plug on Mac OS X Leopard with Firefox 17, making Firefox 16 the latest browser available for all those unlucky PC’s chugging along with Leopard being stuck.
While definitely Firefox 17 for Android was the centre of attention due to the addition of support for lot of new devices, Firefox 17 for the Desktop definitely is a nice update to have especially with the Social API enabled, the Click to Play feature for added security and ofcourse the boatload of fixes and improvements.
Download: Firefox 17 [18.5 MB]