April 04, 2013

Firefox 20 FINAL Released, Introduces New Download Manager, Per-Window Private Browsing

It’s been over a month since the last full desktop Firefox release, which brought a built-in, HTML5-driven PDF viewer to the browser. If the Firefox 19 release log seemed a little thin, though, it might be because a lot of significant beta features were being saved for Firefox 20, which was released yesterday.

Indeed, Firefox 20 FINAL for Windows, Mac and Linux sports a handful of significant updates, including per-Windows Private Browsing and a new panel-based download manager, as well as new developer features like the option to view developer tools in a separate Firefox window.

The feature generating the most excitement, though, is definitely the new download manager, which is accessible through a dedicated down arrow button located to the right of the search bar. The manager will also pop up automatically when a new download is initiated. As you might expect, the download manager displays current downloads with progress bars indicating how close each is to completion.

Additionally, right clicking on a download offers additional options, such as pause/resume, cancel, go to download page and open downloads folder.

Clicking "Show All Downloads" offers access to completed downloads in the new Download Manager, which is now part of the Library window with History, Tags and Bookmarks.

The new Private Browsing mode, meanwhile, is accessible by way of the "New Private Window" option in the Firefox/File menu. This feature, a first for Firefox, allows users to mix public and private browsing in a single sessions.

Furthermore, Firefox 20 is able to close hanging plug-ins without crashing the whole browser to do so. Now, should a plug-in hang, Firefox will wait 11 seconds before a box pops up allowing the user to close the plug-in. This might not be the flashiest feature, but it’s sure to ease the frustrations of many Firefox users.

Finally, Firefox 20 introduces the getUserMedia HTML5 control, allowing websites to access users’ camera or microphone with permission.

Edited by Braden Becker


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