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Firefox 8 Features Integrated Twitter Search

Thu, Nov 17th 2011 11:00 am

Firefox 8 Features Integrated Twitter Search

A little less than two weeks ago, Mozilla released Firefox 8, an update to Firefox for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. According to the Mozilla blog, "this update includes new features that make Web browsing easier and give users and developers more control over how they customize their Web experience."

If  you're not up-to-date on recent browser releases, you may find yourself wondering how Firefox got from version 4 to 8 in just eight short months. The answer is Mozilla's recently adopted rapid release schedule, which promises a new release of Firefox every six weeks. At first glance, a new release every month and a half may seem excessive or impossible, but so far Mozilla has delivered on their promise, with one more update (Firefox 9) scheduled for release before the end of the year.

What's New in Firefox 8?

The most talked about feature of Firefox 8 is the integration of Twitter into the search bar, which makes it possible to search for and discover topics, #hashtags and @usernames (without even having to log in to a Twitter account). To use the new search option, simply click on the drop down menu arrow in the search bar and choose Twitter from the list of available search engines. According to the release details, Twitter search is currently available in English, Portuguese, Slovenian and Japanese versions of Firefox, with more languages slated to come in future releases.

Another new feature is that third-party installed add-ons are now disabled by default, which means if Firefox starts and finds that another program has installed an add-on, Firefox will disable the add-on until you have opted-in to use the application. If you decide that you want the functionality provided by the third-party add-on, you can choose to allow the installation, if not, just cancel or ignore the prompt.

In addition to the disabling of third-party add-ons, users upgrading to Firefox 8 will be presented with a one-time dialog to select the add-ons they wish to keep installed. By default, Firefox will keep all of the add-ons you have chosen to install, but add-ons installed by another application will be disabled unless you explicitly choose to keep them. Regardless of where they came from, you'll want to disable add-ons you aren't using to improve your browser's performance.

Why Should I Upgrade?

Even if you're not interested in the latest features like Twitter search, each new Firefox release includes lesser-known updates and enhancements that generally don't make the headlines. These updates include bug patches, security updates, upgrades to audio and visual components, and most importantly, fixes for stability and security issues. This isn't to say that you MUST upgrade your browser every time there is a new release (though, Mozilla definitely recommends it), but if you find that you're more than a release or two behind, it might be time to download the latest version. Can't remember the last time you upgraded? Get Firefox 8 here.