Mozilla releases Firefox 61 with faster tab switching and more

Mozilla has released a new major update to its Firefox browser, following the release of Firefox 60 early last month. Version 61 of the browser includes some changes to make the browsing experience faster and more efficient.

One of the new highlights of the release is the ability to add search engines to the browser's "Search with" list by accessing the page actions menu when visiting a website that provides an OpenSearch plug-in, such as IMDb.

Mozilla is also making tab switching a faster experience and reducing loading screens when switching between tabs by preemptively loading inactive tabs when the user is hovering them, leaving less of the workload to be done after the user has clicked the tab.

The latest version of Firefox also adds tab management support to WebExtensions, which gives users the ability to hide and show specific tabs while keeping them open, or trigger certain reactions when a tab is open or closed. It will be up to extension developers to decide how these capabilities are used, but it's certainly interesting to see support for this being added.

Other improvements in Firefox 61 include parallel CSS parsing and TLS 1.3 support enabled by default. Here's the full changelog from Mozilla:

  • Enhanced performance:

- Faster page rendering with Quantum CSS improvements and the new retained display list feature

- Faster switching between tabs on Windows and Linux

- WebExtensions now run in their own process on MacOS

  • Convenient access to more search engines: You can now add search engines to the address bar “Search with” tool from the page action menu when on a webpage that provides an OpenSearch plugin
  • Share links from Firefox for MacOS more easily: You can now share the URL of an active tab from the page actions menu in the address bar
  • Improved security:

- On-by-default support for the latest draft of the TLS 1.3 specification

- Access to FTP subresources inside http(s) pages has been blocked

  • A more consistent user experience: Improvements for dark theme support across the entire Firefox user interface
  • More customization for tab management: added support to allow WebExtensions to hide tabs
  • Improved bookmark syncing
  • The settings for customizing your homepage and new tab page in Firefox have been added to a new Preferences section that can be accessed from Firefox at about:preferences#home. The settings can also be accessed via the gear icon on the New Tab page.

If you don't have Firefox installed yet, or you'd like to download the latest version as a standalone installer, you can do so here. The update is available through the browser's built-in updater as well.

Source: Mozilla 1, 2, 3

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