Mozilla gets personal with Firefox 3.6

Mozilla has launched a new version of its popular Firefox browser, which offers customizable browser themes (Personas), improved JavaScript performance and a Plugin updater.

According to Mozilla, Firefox 3.6 is 20 percent faster than 3.5 and includes “extensive, under the hood work” that improves performance for Web tasks such as email, uploading photos and social networking activities.

“3.6 introduces cutting-edge features, support for a wide variety of Web standards, and access to more than 6,000 free add-ons that allow users to customize their browser to their liking,” Mozilla explained in an official statement.

“3.6 [also] significantly decreases crashes caused by third party software [and offers] the world’s best implementation of HTML 5 audio and video support. Video can now be displayed full screen and supports poster frames.”

Meanwhile, Scott Fulton of BetaNews opined that Mozilla’s new Personas feature successfully “addressed” one of the few gaps between Firefox and the blazingly fast Google Chrome.

“[Chrome] is a browser that, besides being the fastest stable Windows Web browser in the field, is relatively bare-bones compared to Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer,” wrote Fulton.

“Bringing back one of the more popular features attached to Netscape Navigator back in the ’90s, Firefox 3.6 offers users a way to paste an image in the background of the browser frame.”

However, Fulton warned that the Personas feature could theoretically present a problem for developers working on future iterations of the browser.

“Both [3.7 and 4.0] are expected to introduce progressively more streamlined window frames, enabling minimalism on a par with Google Chrome. 

“Narrower space could mean less surface area to deploy Personas and other customizations – a real estate problem that Mozilla contributors will now have to face head-on,” added Fulton.