Every browser developer that seeks to keep their product popular and used by customers should constantly struggle to modernize and reinvigorate their product. The only way big and popular programs such as Chrome, Opera and Firefox manage to remain the most widely used web-browsing options is through ceaseless improvement and frequent updates.
In that regard, in the following article, we will go over the main changes that have been introduced to one of the top browser programs out there – Mozilla Firefox, with its latest version – 56.
The overall focus of Firefox 56 is centered around interface changes to the settings panel as well as the addition of a couple of new features that we will talk about in a minute. In addition, version 56 is said to also add security fixes to Firefox which is always good to hear.
However, with this update, Firefox will not receive much internal optimization and modification. Changes in this department will be left for the next update of the program which is set for a release in the middle of the next month.
One of the more prominent changes that Firefox 56 will add is a utility that would allow the user to take screenshots of from the browser (the whole screen or cropped areas of it). A new button is added to Firefox’s toolbar through which the feature can be accessed.
The tool is reminiscent of Window’s own built-in Snipping tool but is better optimized for browser screenshots. A neat trait of the utility it that it can automatically detect different segments from a page that the user might want to take a screenshot of. For example, text paragraphs or images would get outlined so that a picture of them could be taken with a single click of the mouse.
As a matter of fact, this utility was available with Firefox 55 but the access to it was limited and few users were able to utilize it. Now, it will be publicly available and everyone with the latest stable version of Firefox will be able to use it.
One thing to note here is that such a feature isn’t unprecedented when it comes to web browsers. There are a number of browsing programs that have had a similar built-in screenshot tool before it got added to Chrome. For example, two less popular browsers like Maxthon and Slimjet both have a tool that offers the same functionality as a built-in feature.
Settings panel changes
The next significant alteration introduced with Firefox can be observed within its settings panel. The side panel which used to include eight different buttons now has only four: General, Search, Privacy and Security and Firefox Account. Also, the outlook is a bit different. However, as you might expect, all the settings that Firefox offers can still be accessed via those four buttons.
One neat addition which significantly eases-up navigation throughout the settings panel on Firefox is the addition of a search bar. Now, the user can type the name of the setting that they are looking for in the search bar and they will be displayed the needed setting. This allows for much easier and faster use of the settings panel as the customer wouldn’t need to manually go through all the different menus until they find what they have been looking for.
Here, we should note that once again, Firefox isn’t the first browser to introduce such a settings search feature. Chrome, Opera and a number of other browsers have had this for quite a while now and it was high time that Firefox too had it added to its arsenal of utilities.
Blocking auto-playing media
We have all encountered pages that starts playing video or sound as soon you open them and this can be quite annoying and frustrating, especially if the page has been opened in a background tab. This is likely the reason behind the decision to make new versions of Firefox block auto-playing media on background tabs. Google Chrome, too, is set to have such a change introduced to it but the update which will it happen will not be released before January, 2018.