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October 25, 2006

The battle is joined: Firefox 2.0 released

Posted by David Hunter at 9:57 AM ET.

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 just a week ago and yesterday Mozilla fired back with the release of Firefox 2.0:

Mozilla officially released Firefox 2 on Tuesday afternoon, adding security features and a new interface.

Firefox 2 was made available for free download at 2:15 p.m. PDT. Mozilla has set up two download sites for the update, which it said it has optimized for the expected high volume of traffic, at and

The revamped Firefox includes a new interface theme and more security protection such as built-in phishing protection. It also has session memory, which, when the browser is re-opened, brings back the set of Web pages that were in use when it was last closed. Changes have also been made in the technology to import RSS feeds, which now offers a feed list view with title and first lines. (Click here for the CNET Review.)

The camp in favor of having a “close” button on each tab has won over the majority who argued against them, Beltzner said. Previously, there was one “close” button at the right of the bar. Clicking on this closed only the one last viewed–but it could be difficult to work out which one this was.

“Google did usability studies with eye-tracking tools and determined that people actually look to the tab first, and it would take longer to determine if they had the right tab and were ready to close it,” Beltzner said. “NASA Ames recently did cognitive modeling for us on tabs. Not only was the ‘close’ button on a tab quicker, but people would be more accurate. They also gave us good data on how wide tabs had to be before people clicked on the wrong one.”

I guess it helps to have friends in high places. The CNET review linked in the quote concludes that Firefox 2 beats IE7 as does the PC World review, while Paul Thurrott dyspeptically calls Firefox 2.0 a “dud.”

Practically, Internet Explorer got back in the browser game with a radically updated IE7 while the changes in Firefox 2.0 were more modest, but neither is going to knock the other out and webmasters will get to deal with users of each for the foreseeable future. Here at, I’m already getting 12% Firefox 2 users and 26% IE7 users.

Filed under Coopetition, Firefox, Google, IE7, Internet Explorer, Microsoft, Mozilla Foundation, Open Source

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