The browser wars continue as the Mozilla Foundation, also known as the Rebel Alliance, releases the second beta of the upcoming 3.0 version of Firefox.
No longer considered an upstart competitor to Internet Explorer, the open source web browser has enjoyed steadily increasing market share and continues to be the browser of choice for those web workers fortunate enough to not be trapped behind a corporate firewall.
User Interface improvements in the beta include:
* Improved security with an upgraded Password Manager, automatic version checking of plugins and extensions, anti-virus integration with Download Manager, and the new Effective Top-Level Domain (eTLD) service designed to improve user privacy.
* Enhanced functionality with an upgraded Download Manager, improved rendering of international characters, full page zooming, and an animated tab strip.
* New personalization features with organized browsing using Places, a new organizer for managing history and bookmarks, plus an upgraded location bar.
Beneath the UI, there are two enhancements of particular interest:
# Implementation of a cycle collector for better memory management. Firefox is known to devour memory a gigabyte at a time. Therefore, any improvement in memory management will be most welcome.
# Support for offline browsing and web-based protocol handlers. Does this version of Firefox coupled with rich internet applications like Google Apps and Zoho Office Suite finally challenge Microsoft's supreme dominance in desktop productivity arena?
Stay tuned and find out.