Mozilla Firefox 2 review
Initially, we were a little disappointed with Firefox 2: there are no dramatic cosmetic changes, only subtle tweaks to make option windows simpler. In the privacy section, for example, choices have been reduced to a simple set of checkboxes, and all data being cleared from a single Clear Private Data dialog (a separate security options tab has been added to include the new anti-phishing controls). This simplification is threaded throughout Firefox 2, with theme and extension management now merged into a single interface.
Firefox’s phishing protection uses either a downloadable blacklist or a live one powered by Google. The latter is more effective and on a par with IE7, but it demands you allow Google to log your URLs, which we don’t much care for. What we do care for, and where IE7 can’t compete, is innovative features. The live bookmarks, which bring web feeds into the bookmarks folder, now get live titles as well. These add live micro-summaries to previously static bookmark titles, which can show the latest news headlines or blog posts, for example.
Like many of the new features, session restore used to be available as a third-party extension but is now built in. This enables the browser to restore all current tabs should the browser shut down abnormally – a lifesaver with multisite browsing and sadly missing from IE7. As is the integrated inline spellchecking that works in a similar, squiggly underline fashion as Word but is active in web forms, forums and blog posts. Tab handling has improved in Firefox 2, with all labels now having a minimum size to ensure descriptions are readable no matter how many are open, before becoming scrollable when the screen is full. Also, if you close a tab by accident, you can now restore it with a single click.
This release still doesn’t pass the Acid2 test for standards compatibility, but Mozilla has stated it’s working towards full compliance. It has also worked hard to improve memory handling, which shows when lots of tabs are open. With a better attitude towards development, security vulnerabilities fixed in days rather than months, and more pleasurable day-to-day use, there are many reasons to make Firefox 2 your browser.