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Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 Lets You Browse Privately

If you’re wondering what happened to beta versions 1 through 3, they were labeled as Firefox 3.1, but Mozilla decided that the jump in features from 3.0.x were significant enough to make the numbers a bit further apart.

Although the latest versions of Chrome and Safari feature private browsing modes, Firefox 3.5 brings the most fully-featured implementation of it thus far.

The private browsing mode, enabled under the Tools menu, will not store any trace of pages visited, form or search entries, passwords, download lists (though downloads stored on the hard drive will remain), cookies and cache.

Clearly the first use for this mode is for those to feel less paranoid when browsing <ahem> more adult-oriented sites, but it can also be used for secretly shopping for gifts on shared computers.

Firefox 3.5 also adds geo-location support. The completely optional feature, which Mozilla promises is designed with the utmost care for the user’s privacy, uses IP addresses, wireless access points and GPS data (sent over SSL) to provide web services with location-specific information. A search for pizza will show results closest to you first, and mapping software will determine your starting point automatically.

The newest Firefox also incorporates support for new web technologies such as HTML5 <video> and <audio> elements, downloadable fonts and other new CSS properties, JavaScript query selectors, HTML5 offline data storage for applications, and SVG transforms.

Even if the new features don’t interest you, general browsing speed is improved with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine and improved Gecko layout engine, which includes speculative parsing for faster content rendering.

Download Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 here, though as with all beta software we recommend it only for experienced and adventurous users.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Dave_69
    Nice URL, guys! Hey, at least you have no shame in actually saying what most people do with "incognito" mode! The other review websites I read don't dare go there.
    Reply
  • Will firefox 3.5 be compatible with Windows Me?
    Reply
  • SirCrono
    I'm typing this using InPrivate, IE8, just for the lulz.

    And I wish this feature would've existed 2 years ago when my gf found out her bday present due to the f*ing autocomplete feature (which i will never enable again)
    Reply
  • the_one111
    SirCronoI wish this feature would've existed 2 years ago when my gf found out her bday present due to the f*ing autocomplete feature (which i will never enable again)Haha.

    Nice.

    But honestly, I find it both amusing and depressing that this feature is being added to all the internet browsers... Sure, you COULD use it for gift shopping, but c'mon we all know what it is REALLY for.
    Reply
  • jsloan
    SirCronoI'm typing this using InPrivate, IE8, just for the lulz.And I wish this feature would've existed 2 years ago when my gf found out her bday present due to the f*ing autocomplete feature (which i will never enable again)
    did you know that Microsoft InPrivate Browsing is a joke, the browser creates files in the file system as it normally does, then they delete them when the InPrivate Browsing session is done. So anyone can go back with an undelete tool and get back the deleted files. Also, if the system does a shadow copy while you are InPrivate Browsing those files are copies to the shadow copy and remain, even after your InPrivate Browsing session is done. If Muckersoft wanted to do it right they would have done the whole thing in memory and not written anything to the file system or the swap file, but they wanted a checkbox next to the feature and didn't worry about the implementation...
    Reply
  • neodude007
    Firefox has been a huge POS for me recently. It just stops loading webpages right in the middle of them, and this is on TWO different Vista x64 installations. It just sits theres pretending its loading th rest of the page and NEVER does. I gotta hit reload page like 4 times or it does nothing. I take that exact same link while Firefox is frozen and put it in my IE7 or w/e Vista comes with and BOOM the page loads... GG
    Reply
  • FlayerSlayer
    Ahem, "Pornmode", yes. But also could be used for surfing while at work (though the network could still record where you went), for hiding game sites from parents, for going to 4chan, or really anything you don't want to have to worry about. Even just going to GMail and afraid you might forget to log off.

    That said, all I want out of FF is to get two things:
    1) Increase the stability. I am sick of Vista / GMail / FF crashing. I am sick of Flash crashing. I am sick of Adobe in a browser crashing. I am sick of random crashes on opening new tabs.
    2) Let one tab crash without taking down all my tabs in multiple windows.
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    NeoDude007Firefox has been a huge POS for me recently. It just stops loading webpages right in the middle of them, and this is on TWO different Vista x64 installations. It just sits theres pretending its loading th rest of the page and NEVER does. I gotta hit reload page like 4 times or it does nothing. I take that exact same link while Firefox is frozen and put it in my IE7 or w/e Vista comes with and BOOM the page loads... GG
    Another reason why I switched back to IE8!
    Reply
  • SirCrono
    jsloandid you know that Microsoft InPrivate Browsing is a joke, the browser creates files in the file system as it normally does, then they delete them when the InPrivate Browsing session is done. So anyone can go back with an undelete tool and get back the deleted files. Also, if the system does a shadow copy while you are InPrivate Browsing those files are copies to the shadow copy and remain, even after your InPrivate Browsing session is done. If Muckersoft wanted to do it right they would have done the whole thing in memory and not written anything to the file system or the swap file, but they wanted a checkbox next to the feature and didn't worry about the implementation...I know that, I also know that since I browse like there's no tomorrow (no swine flu joke intended) the files get overwritten and thus useless in a few seconds, I also know that no one can install a data recovery utility in my machine (or run it from a flash drive) without my permission and finally, let's face it, if IE8 InPrivate stored all those contents in memory you'd be whining about how a resource hog IE8 is, all in all InPrivate does a good job and IE8 is aeons from IE7 and is finally starting to cacth up to firefox, which is nice, that brings competition (and thus innovation and the whatnots)

    Regards
    Reply
  • rooket
    FlayerSlayerAhem, "Pornmode", yes. But also could be used for surfing while at work (though the network could still record where you went), for hiding game sites from parents, for going to 4chan, or really anything you don't want to have to worry about. Even just going to GMail and afraid you might forget to log off.That said, all I want out of FF is to get two things:1) Increase the stability. I am sick of Vista / GMail / FF crashing. I am sick of Flash crashing. I am sick of Adobe in a browser crashing. I am sick of random crashes on opening new tabs.2) Let one tab crash without taking down all my tabs in multiple windows.
    I agree, I'd feel very ashamed of myself if anyone caught me going to that crummy site called 4chan which I avoid like the plague.

    I thought firefox already had these features built in. Or do they mean it doesn't initially store the content at all? I have had mine set to automatically clear the data for several months already. What's the difference?
    Reply