\"Firefox\"Finally, after waiting over 2 years and 9 months… Firefox 4 is finally released.  It feels like Chrome in most aspects but I can still sense the uniqueness of Firefox with version 4.

It is the faster Firefox released yet. The performance boost is up to 6 times faster with improved start-up and page load times, fast javascript engine and hardware accelerated graphics. There is also crash protection from buggy plugins.

For the first time it feels like Firefox 4 is less bloated than Chrome because it uses less memory with several add-ons already installed. You can check the latest browser speed test comparing Firefox 4, Internet Explorer 9, Chrome 10 and Opera 11 here.

Aesthetically, Firefox 4 received several facelifts. It looks more sleek thanks to tabs on top similar to Chrome as well as single Firefox menu button similar to Opera. There\’s also \”Switch to Tab\” which helps you check and see if you already have a particular site open while on the Awesome bar. If you do, you’ll be directed to the existing tab so you don’t open a duplicate. Then there\’s also Panorama that lets you drag and drop tabs into manageable groups for better organization.

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Security is also one areas that Firefox 4 improved a lot because Mozilla believed in keeping users in control over their personal information. Site Identity Button serves as instant web ID that gives you more information about the sites you visit. Then there is \”Do Not Track\” option that users can enable to opt-out of tracking used for behavioral advertising. Firefox also added HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS): which automatically establishes secure connections to stop “man in the middle” attacks and keep sensitive data safe from interception during the log-in process, as well as Content Security Policy (CSP) to prevent cross-scripting attacks. Twitter just implemented CSP on mobile.twitter.com, giving extra security for mobile users.

With regards to customization, Firefox is still the best customizable browser out there. Chrome can\’t still show a side bar and you cannot really control the toolbar location. Firefox still gives you complete freedom where to place your buttons and customizing toolbar has never been easier. The new add-ons manager will give users better ways to discover new add-ons, personas, and more. Lucky that my favorite add-ons did not break when I upgraded. If you have add-ons not compatible with Firefox 4, give it some time until developers catch up on the new Firefox API.

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There are more exciting features in Firefox 4, I just highlighted a few. Everyone is recommended to upgrade to Firefox 4 as soon as possible to take advantage of the new features. If you\’re new to Firefox, you may visit Getting Started with Firefox or just watch the video below for a 60-second video highlighting what\’s new in Firefox 4.

Show your support to Firefox by joining Firefox 4 Twitter party.

You can also monitor the download stats here.

Meanwhile, as we enjoy Firefox 4 release, Mozilla is already busy designing Firefox 5 mock-ups.

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