Mozilla has announced the release of its FireFox 3 internet browser beta.

According to Mozilla’s official developer center, the new release contains the following additions and improvements:

  • Improved security features such as: better presentation of website identity and security including support for Extended Validation (EV) SSL certificates, malware protection, stricter SSL error pages, anti-virus integration in the download manager.
  • Improved ease of use through: easier add-on discovery and installation, improved download manager search and progress indication in the status bar, resumable downloading, full page zoom, and better integration with Windows Vista, Mac OS X and Linux.
  • Richer personalization through: one-click bookmarking, smart bookmark folders, location bar that uses an algorithm based on site visit recency and frequency (called “frecency”) to provide better matches against your history and bookmarks for URLs and page titles, ability to register web applications as protocol handlers, and better customization of download actions for file types.
  • Improved platform features such as: new graphics and font rendering architecture, JavaScript 1.8, major changes to the HTML rendering engine to provide better CSS, float-, and table layout support, native web page form controls, colour profile management, and offline application support.
  • Performance improvements such as: better data reliability for user profiles, architectural improvements to speed up page rendering, over 350 memory leak fixes, a new XPCOM cycle collector to reduce entire classes of leaks, and reductions in the memory footprint.

According to Arstechnica, which has given the new beta a full review, the new version is heading in the right direction and it won’t be long before a full alpha release is ready.

Arstechnica single out the bookmarking feature as being much improved and easier to manage. Tabbed browsing is also improved with support for moving tabs between windows. Download progress notifications can also be viewed in the browser bar, even when the download manager window is closed. The new themes also provide a visual refresh to the overall look of the browser.