Mozilla Firefox 3.5 officially released

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After a prolonged beta period, Mozilla has officially released its new version of Firefox.

Version 3.5 contains multiple security enhancements, such as improved anti-phishing and malware and privacy protection, according to Mozilla.

One of the privacy features is called “Private Browsing," which lets users browse the internet without Firefox retaining any data about sites and pages that were visited. No pages are added to the list of sites in the “History” menu, the library window's history list, or the browser's “Smart Location Bar” address list.

“We wanted to make sure that our users had control over the information that was being kept by the browser,” Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla's "human shield," told Tuesday. "Once the private browsing mode is started, all the work up to that point is unaffected. Firefox is reinitialized, brought up fresh, and nothing you do afterward is ever logged to disk -- no downloads, cookies, no cache – so a record is not there even if power is lost during the session.”

Competing browsers' privacy features, such as Microsoft's IE8 InPrivate, Chrome's Incognito and Safari's private browsing mode, do much the same thing, but Firefox handles the operation automatically and more transparently, Nightingale said.

Another Firefox privacy tool is called “Clear Recent History,” which gives a user even more granular control.

“With this tool, users can clear any given time period of browsing record,” Nightingale said.

For even more control, users can erase any record of a particular website with a featured dubbed “Forget About This Site.” This feature can remove all traces of a particular website without disturbing the rest of the browsing history for other sites, Nightingale said.

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 is available now for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X operating systems.

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