Firefox 3.5: geo-location and ultimate privacy

1 Jul 2009

It has been just over one year since Mozilla released Firefox 3.0, which clocked 150 million downloads in the 24 hours and, 12 months on, 3.5 has many new additions including ‘Private Browsing’ mode and location-aware browsing.

Open-source web browser Firefox 3.5 is a step up from its previous incarnation – it is over two times faster than Firefox 3 and 10 times faster than Firefox 2 on loading complex websites, thanks to tweaks including much-improved JavaScript performance with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.

This allows for near-native speeds for CPU-intensive web apps such as webmail, productivity apps such as Zoho Office and Google Docs, as well as online photo-editing services.

The new location-aware browsing feature is opt-in, so you don’t have to share your information unless you want to.

If you do opt in, Firefox gets information about nearby wireless access points and your computer’s IP address. It then sends the data to the default geolocation service provider, Google Location Services, to get an estimate of your location that is then shared with the chosen websites.

“If you choose to share your location with a website, it can use that information to find nearby points of interest and return additional, useful data such as maps of your area,” Mozilla explained on the Firefox 3.5 FAQ site.

With Private Browsing mode, no data from your web activity will be stored from that moment on during your browsing session.

The new ‘Forget this Site’ feature removes every trace of a site from your browser, but if you only want to remove a certain amount of recent activity you can choose ‘Clear Recent History’.

“So much is happening on the web right now, it’s a great time for browsers. Firefox 3.5 brings together the most innovative web technologies and delivers them in the most complete and powerful modern browser,” said John Lilly, CEO, Mozilla.

By Marie Boran