Firefox 8 Adds Twitter to the Bar, Available Now
As usual, you can grab the latest version of Firefox from the product servers before it goes live for general consumption. This iteration offers new features, better Twitter integration and improved start-up performance tweaks.

Fire in the Hole

Some websites are getting rather too excited about the new Firefox updates, perhaps forgetting it's on a faster release schedule to keep up with Google Chrome's constant updating. Anyway, you can now download the new version of Firefox 8 now (Windows here, Mac version here) before they hit general availability.

The major feature of the new version is the addition of Twitter search to the Awesomebar search box, so it now sits alongside the likes of Google, Bing and Amazon, allowing users to search the social site instantly. Additional features include:

  • Add-ons installed by third-party programs are now disabled by default
  • Added a one-time add-on selection dialog to manage previously installed add-ons
  • Added a preference to load tabs on demand, improving startup time
  • Improved tab animations when moving, reordering or detaching tabs
  • Improved performance and memory handling when using <audio> and <video> elements
  • Added CORS support for cross-domain textures in WebGL
  • Added support for HTML5 context menus
  • Added support for insertAdjacentHTML
  • Improved CSS hyphen support for many languages
  • Improved WebSocket support
  • Fixed several stability issues

Tabs, Add-ons on Demand

When you first start the new Firefox, it now runs through your add-ons and helps you get rid of old ones or reminds you of others that need updating. Another improvement is the ability to reload particular tabs after Firefox has crashed (does it still do that? I sometimes launch it and it struggles to get going, but I haven't seen it crash in ages). There is also better handling of tabs for those must-have pages you always need.


Firefox checks Add-ons for faster starting

Want Popcorn With That?

Behind the scenes, the Firefox team recently blogged about its new HTML5 Popcorn media toolkit. This was celebrated with a web documentary, which is out now at Wired.

Popcorn allows web filmmakers to improve the level of interactivity around their movies, linking real-time social media, news feeds, data visualizations and other context to online video, pulling the web into the action in real time.If used properly, this could help create some interesting content, or it could just become another sloppy marketing tool.