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Simpler Design, More Privacy For Firefox 4

May 13, 2010

Firefox plans to release a new version of its Web browser by the end of the year that will get a simpler look, but will offer Web surfers more control over privacy.

Firefox 4 promises that users will be able to have more control over their relationships with websites by describing in simpler ways what information is gathered by cookies, which are files that store data on website visits.

The current version of Firefox has a more complex system of menus and submenus for determining which websites are looking into users’ Internet habits. The change will allow users to see what information is being gathered with a single menu. Users will ultimately be able to choose which cookies to allow and which to disable.

The new Web browser will take away some user controls, however, which browser creator Mozilla says will give the new version a sleeker look. The controls being removed are buttons and menus that Mozilla says few people use anyway. The changes will not just make websites load faster, it will make them feel faster, said Mozilla.

Mozilla said the new browser will be more stable, by requiring fewer add-on programs for additional functionality. The browser will use the new Web programming language, HTML5, which will allow videos and other multimedia content to play without requiring companion software such as Adobe’s Flash player.

Firefox is second to Microsoft’s dominant Internet Explorer Web browser in terms of usage. Microsoft plans to release a new browser as well — Internet Explorer 9 — which will also support HTML5. An early version of IE9 is already out for testing.

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