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Saturday, February 04, 2012
Firefox 11 Gets Add-on sync, Background Updates

Mozilla released today updates to its Aurora and Beta versions that introduce some changes for the Firefox on PCs.

Firefox 11 will feature add-on sync. Users will now be able to mirror the same add-on installations and settings across multiple desktops - a feature already available in Google's Chrome web browser. In addition, a new update installation method allows Firefox to install an update while the browser is running. This means that the update can be installed immediately after it is downloaded. A restart of the browser will still be required to apply the update but, using the new method, the application of the update will happen very quickly. Mozilla says that the new version of Firefox will then launch with no delay as the update procedure has already taken place.

Background updates are currently planned to be delivered in the next couple of releases. This means that updates for subsequent Firefox releases should no longer display a progress dialog after restarting the browser.

Most Firefox updates include security fixes. Firefox must be restarted in order to apply an update. In order to facilitate the installation of an update, if Firefox has not been restarted within 12 hours of the download of the update users will be prompted to restart with a dialog. Mozilla said that around only 1 percent of users will ever see this dialog Window, as they will have probably restarted their browsers earlier.

In addition, the new Firefox will not require users to grant permission to the updater each time it needs to install an update one of these versions of Windows. In order to work with User Account Control (UAC) security that doesn?t prompt users for each installation, a new update service will land on Firefox Aurora shortly. This service runs as a background process and installs updates when they become available. After users grant permission to the Firefox update service they will not be prompted with a UAC dialog when installing updates for subsequent releases.

The new beta also includes support for Google's SPDY protocol for faster and safer site loading, a 3D view for the Page Inspector developer's tool, a live update option for changing CSS code on the fly, and support for importing data from Chrome.

Firefox 11 for all platforms is due in March.

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