Mozilla has announced that the latest beta version of Firefox is now available to download. Firefox 3.0 Beta 2, the second beta of the Firefox 3 open source browser, is accessible to anyone and is deemed stable enough for mass distribution..

New features in this Beta 2 release include improvements to security, stability, compatibility and performance based in part on feedback from the first beta release. And also a new "effective top-level domain" (eTLD) service to better protect your privacy on the internet.

This second beta release comes hot on the heels of the first beta, which Mozilla released to the masses on 20 November.

New features

Since Firefox 2, the Gecko web page rendering engine has also been much improved, and there have also been some sensible usability tweaks plus more support for Windows Vista's parental controls.

The old password manager function has been replaced with a new interface that sits at the top of the page, similar to a pop-up blocking dialogue box.

The first Beta was originally due back in the Summer when various alpha versions were released in its stead. The beta was delayed due to ongoing development work which has resulted in the final release date slipping back into 2008.

The new browser will seek to improve on Mozilla's position in the browser market. Stats from the W3 organisation suggest Firefox now has as much as a 27 per cent share, and over 400 million downloads of Firefox have now been made.

Mozilla warns that the new browser is still in development, so should be used for testing only.