Firefox 3 moves into second beta

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Mozilla has released the second beta of its Firefox 3 open source internet browser.

The release comes just a month after the first beta version following 27 months of development.

The second beta includes a wide range of new features, and improvements to security, stability, compatibility and performance.

A major new feature is an enhanced location bar which matches against page titles and addresses from a user's local history, bookmarks and tags.

Security features include a new security UI with easy to understand messages, including site identity verification and support for Extended Validation SSL certificates.

Firefox 3 beta 2 will also automatically check the version of plug-ins, extensions and Java, with auto-disabling if insecure versions are installed, and features antivirus integration with the new download manager.

Furthermore, a new 'effective top-level domain' service makes sure that cookies and other web content are only visible within a single domain, better protecting a user's privacy.

The new download manager can also pause and resume downloads across sessions, as well as see where downloads originated.

From a user interface perspective, there is now an animated tab strip to make it easier to find tabs, and custom search bar width, tabs saving on exit and site-specific preferences.

There has also been work done behind the scenes to provide better text and graphics rendering, a cycle collector for better memory management, support for offline browsing and platform-specific enhancements, such as native widgets on Mac and Linux.

As before the company is keen to stress that the beta releases are "geared toward web developers and Mozilla's testing community in order to gain feedback before advancing to the next stage in the release process".
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