No, Mozilla is not going to diagnose your sinus infection, but it plans to help with the health of your Firefox web browser. It is not currently in the stable build, but the company is testing this new feature for future builds.
The Firefox Health Report is a new system Mozilla has built to log basic health information about your browser (time to start up, total running time, number of crashes, etc.). The company claims “the initial report is pretty simple, but it will evolve and grow in the coming months. You’ll be able to use it as a window into many aspects of your browser’s performance and health, both in absolute terms, as well as in comparison to the global Firefox user base”.
The health report is enabled by default in Firefox but, if you don’t want your browser health information added to the pool then you can disable data sending either from the report itself, or from the Firefox preferences window.
The browser already blocks insecure and unstable plugins, restores tabs and content after crashes and detects phishing and malware sites before they can attack. This new feature just takes the service to the next level.
If you are using the Firefox 4 Beta edition then you may have noticed a couple days ago that Beta 7 became available. You may even have received it automatically. If you didn’t then go ahead and download it. I have been using it for a couple of days and I like what I have found so far.
The first thing you will notice is the speed. It’s faster than any previous version of Firefox. This is relative of course – all modern browsers are pretty quick. Chrome is generally considered the fastest at the moment, but I think Beta 7 can, at least, match it. According to Mozilla this is due to new graphics acceleration and the compiler, JagerMonkey.
There also seems to better support of Add-ons, which has always lacked in past Beta versions. I only use a handful of add-ons, but all of them now work except Evernote Web Clipper.
As for graphical changes, I have only noticed one. It’s minor, but I will mention it anyway. And honestly I think it does provide a better look than Beta 6. It’s the “loading” signal in the tabs. I can’t really describe the prior animation, but here’s what the new one looks like.
But, I saved the best part for last. and I need to temper it by pointing out that this version has only been available, and in use by me, for two days. However, if you were using Beta 6 and experienced occasional problems with Flash crashing and web sites freezing then, at this moment, I can say those issues appear to have been resolved. The problem wasn’t rampant either. An occasional web page would show the Lego blocks in place of Flash and every once in a while, usually in Google Reader, the browser would freeze and I would have to open Task Manger to close it and then restart it. For the past two days I have had neither of these problems though.
The bottom line is, if you’re using the latest stable release of Firefox 3 then upgrade if you are adventurous and a little bit tech savvy. If you are using Beta 6 then upgrade ASAP.