Mozilla has issued a new beta build of its Firefox browser, enabling users to sync add-ons across different computers. The organisation also detailed changes it is planning to the way browser updates are delivered.
The latest build extends the Firefox Sync feature so that users can now synchronise add-ons across all their different computers, giving them the same set of add-ons on each one.
Introduced last year, Firefox Sync makes use of Mozilla's servers to allow users to synchronise bookmarks, history and passwords between copies of Firefox on all the devices they own.
Also new in this release is the ability to migrate bookmarks, history, and cookies from Google's Chrome browser, as well as the existing support for Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari.
For web developers, the new Firefox Beta introduces Page Inspector 3D, a WebGL-based web site visualisation tool that displays a 3D overview of their site's structure.
Also new is support for SPDY, a web protocol that is being developed to offer more efficient web page loading than the current HTTP. SPDY, a contraction of "speedy", is currently implemented by some Google services.
Meanwhile, Mozilla has detailed changes it is planning to make to the way Firefox updates itself, including background updates that install while the browser is running and require less user intervention.
Currently, Firefox periodically checks for updates, downloading these and waiting for a restart before applying the changes.
A new update method coming in the next couple of releases will allow Firefox to install an update while the browser is running. A restart will still be required to apply the update, but this should be so quick that the user will probably not notice, according to Mozilla.
"This means that updates for subsequent Firefox releases should no longer display a progress dialog after restarting the browser," said Firefox engineering programme manager, Lawrence Mandel.
Mozilla said it is making the changes because it is important for users to install the latest updates as quickly as possible, for security reasons.
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