Firefox 14 brings extra security features, Metro style, other improvements

Mozilla Firefox, the open source browser which has been facing serious threat from Google Chrome and has been trying hard to gain back and/or grow beyond its old days’ user-base which has declined since the coming of Google Chrome, currently has its latest Firefox 14 in Beta; and on July 16, 2012 the final version will be released. Everyone who cares about Internet and web browsers is looking forward to see what new features the browser will be bringing with it.

Here are some of the most interesting features which the new Firefox 14 will be featuring:

1. Improved Security
Firefox 14 will feature improved security. The four default ways to make Google searches, the address bar, the search bar, the contextual option and the homepage search; all now use HTTPS by default. This improves the security of your searches. Mozilla is also planning to add SSL search support for other search engines as soon as they are supported.

Furthermore, the identity block will now display a connection specific icon rather than the favicon (you can see it at the left of the URL bar). It will show a globe icon when the connection is not/partially encrypted, and will show a lock icon when the connection is secure; with the colour of the lock being green when the site uses an Extended Validation (EV) certificate.

2. Windows 8 Metro Style Firefox
Windows 8 as of now consists of two application environments, Classic and Metro. The Classic environment is similar to that of Windows 7 and therefore will integrate completely in both front and back ends with older versions of Firefox. Firefox 14 will bring complete integration of Firefox with the Metro environment. It will run just like other Metro style apps; in full-screen mode, and will bring all it’s capabilities to action. It will also feature an ‘appbar’ as with other Metro style apps.

3. Full-screen Support for Mac OS X Lion
Firefox 14 will enable native full-screen support for Mac OS X Lion. It will behave normally like any other well-integrated application running on the operating system.

4. New Toolbar and Tab Strip Design
Firefox 14 is expected to redesign the toolbar, including the tab strip, based on the Australis theme evolution project. Though the project is meant to be effective in Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, Firefox 14 is expected to modify the design for Windows only. The screenshot below shows the look of the redesigned toolbar and tab strip.

5. URL Auto-complete
Firefox 14 will have the URL auto-complete feature, which is already present in Google Chrome, but with a change in the way it works. For example, consider that you have visited only the page of dotTech. When you type “dott” in the URL bar (or “Awesome bar”), it auto-fills in the bar. That is, the domain gets filled first, and then you can fill in the path (for example, by entering ‘w’ for ‘web’); or just press the the down arrow to select a specific URL.

6. Enhanced Plug-in Functionality
Now, the Flash and Quicktime plug-ins can be set to load contents only after the user clicks on the ‘Play’ button. The option is disabled by default. To enable this, go to about:config using Firefox and then make the value for plugins.click_to_play “True” by double-clicking on the option.

Firefox 14 is currently in Beta. Final version is set to be released on Jule 16, 2012 and will likely be rolled out via the auto-update feature to current Firefox users; but of course you will have the option to manually upgrade, if you are an impatient one. Feel free to share your thoughts on the new changes to Firefox 14 in the comments below.

Note: This article is based on the improvements in the Aurora and Beta channels for Firefox 14, and the proposed changelog of Firefox 14 by some developers. And, some features of Firefox 14 Alpha/Beta, might already be available in the Firefox 13 release; like URL auto-complete, and enhanced plug-in control.

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  • jayesstee


    You said: “MS updates are set to notify me when they are available, then I update at a time convenient for me (sometimes right away, or I wait until I’ve completed what I’m doing then update, just depends on what kind of update it is.)”
    Why can’t you can do this with FF?

    You said: “I’m still going to play the waiting game on FF updates until the general consensus is that it is a good and stable version.”
    FF 13.0.1 seems stable to me. The frequent crashes are a thing of the past.

    Finally: Why not use FF portable? That way, you can revert to 3.6 any time.
    FF portable available from:

  • marebearinjapan

    I was using the beta and liked it until……Adobe Flash Player update came…, I can no longer
    view videos which I follow online using Firefox. I tried cleaning and fine tuning my pc. uninstalling and reinstalling Adobe Flash Player, all to no avail. I reverted to the last release of a stable version but that was to no avail, either. Seems like Firefox has issues with Adobe’s latest version of flash player. I thought Adobe was the problem, but Safari browser has no problems. I had been using Chrome for a long time, but always ran into a lot of troubles watching videos online, so switched back to Firefox after a long period of disuse. Things were going smoothly for a few weeks, then with the latest update….POOF! I reported this issue as a bug to Firefox producers…Mozilla via their bug report link. Adobe had no real way to give feedback about this and I couldn’t figure a way to revert to the previous version of the flash player. Today I tried Safari and no problems there. Mozilla folks work hard. I felt badly about sending my comments but they need to be informed of things like this to help with their developement.

  • Godwin

    @just to be sure: Thanks for the heads up! My bad habit of reading between the lines is to be blamed. ;)
    It will corrected soon after Ashraf comes online. :)

  • Mags

    @jayesstee: For updates on all software I have installed on my pc I have them set to either notify me of updates or do not update (if the notify option isn’t available.) Like you I prefer to wait awhile before updating.

    As for MS and FF updates, that is like comparing apples and oranges, they are two different things.

    MS updates are set to notify me when they are available, then I update at a time convenient for me (sometimes right away, or I wait until I’ve completed what I’m doing then update, just depends on what kind of update it is.)

    As for FF I do update my addons but for the browser I will wait. I did update when version 5 was available, but didn’t like it so went back to 3.6. I had considered updating to version 10 as I’d read it was a stable version, but all I could find were the ESR versions which I don’t really need on my pc. I’m still going to play the waiting game on FF updates until the general consensus is that it is a good and stable version.

    @MikeR: Thx, I’ll check it out.

    BTW, I’m already using Adblock Plus.

  • @Peter: Linux Mint isn’t trying to turn your desktop into a tablet!

  • jayesstee

    @just to be sure:

    I thought you were arguing with my post #11 above. Now realize you are referring to Godwin’s article.
    You are totally right, if a little pernickety. I doubt that too many people know or care about this fine point. Shame because it ever so slightly devalues a powerful, precise language.

  • MikeR


    I’m wondering, in view of your concern about data collecting, have you heard of Ghostery???? If not, then go to

    where all is explained. Hopefully it’ll be of some interest . . . the Ghostery plug-in works superbly in my FF browser along with Adblock Plus.

  • just to be sure

    correct spelling error, please. it is wrong to use it’s instead of its.
    its is ownership of something . it’s is a contraction of it is.
    example it’s chasing its tail
    this is what it says : and/or grow beyond it is old days’ user-base
    why was this spelling error not caught before posting?

  • jayesstee


    Methinks you’ve a long wait, they are committed to frequent updates.

    However, they are now “silent” updates. This means that like, much other software, you can switch off updates altogether, have them advise you and you choose whether to install (or not), or have them installed automatically.
    The sillyness of the FF 4.0 to 11.0 updates is now over (they say).

    They do automatically check and update add-ons/plugins any that aren’t compatible are updated as their developers make available.

    I have chosen the “advise, but not install” route. I wait a week then upgrade, so far all my (too many) add-ons
    have worked. All settings, bookmarks and history survive the upgrades.

    I wouldn’t refuse MS Win updates, so why boycott FF updates?

  • Mags

    Just adding my 2 cents worth of opinion

    Most of you already know my opinion on I.E. ( I h8 it) and only use it when I absolutely have to. As for Chrome, I refuse to even have it on my PC, main reason being is that Google collects data on the users! Enuf said on that. Opera is on my pc, but I don’t really like it much so rarely use it.

    As for FF, I used Netscape back in the day until it was taken over by AOL, so it was natural for me to switch to FF. Right now I’m still using FF 3.6 (yes that’s right) and won’t upgrade until the developers stop putting out new versions every few months or so. And finally come up with a stable version. Sooooooo I’m still waiting to see what the final verdict will be on version 14, or will they come up with version 15 in the next few months.


  • Chump2010

    Am I the only one who finds it amusing, that now that we have bigger than ever monitors, all our applications are deciding we need to use the full screen? Surely this is the era of having two applications side by side and working in both of them. Instead every single application has decided that they want to use the full screen. Seems crazy to me! We needed this full screen craze 10-15 years ago, not now.

  • Godwin

    @Caleb Stein: I was not aware of it yet. Thanks for letting me know.

    @Peter: Tastes vary for different persons. Unity and Metro might be meaning more usability for some other. And, I usually run the Classic environments that come with Ubuntu (GNOMW Classic) or Windows (Basic or Classic). ;)

  • Peter

    Call me old fashioned but these desktop environments and user interfaces written for deficient devices with a spyhole in place of a screen and without keyboards make me sick (unity on Ubuntu, Win8 Metro). Maybe this is a matter of age (I’m 49 years old). I like some eye-candy (Compiz for Linux or Dexpot for Windows) but the usability should remain.

  • @Godwin: Maybe it’s because I’m on Chrome dev, and I’ll admit it’s kind of buried deep in the settings, but my Chrome has an option for click to play (on demand plugins).

  • Godwin

    @Caleb Stein: Actually, there is one new thing. Plug-in control is not present in Chrome which let’s you load Flash content only after tell it to. :)
    And, don’t forget that Firefox ‘still’ has so many features that Chrome doesn’t have (and vice versa).

    @Ashraf: Actually, that’s not so much like Chrome. It has some differences in positioning and look. ;)

    I am a consistent user of both Firefox and Chrome.

  • Mike

    I must say, Firefox may already have lost me to Chrome. I just got sick and tired of Firefox’s constant crashing.

  • Ashraf

    @Caleb Stein: There is a reason why Chrome has become se popular :-)

    @Anon1234: Meh. First Mozilla copies Opera’s interface; now Chrome. Why can’t they be original?

    BTW I use Firefox as my main driver so dont think Im dissing it cause I dont use it.

  • Anon1234

    Awesome. I REALLY like the fact that they are changing their interface. looks a lot like chrome. I think their old interface was great though. only thing they need to improve is speed. everything else is AMAZING.

  • Except for 2 and 3 (which I don’t really know or care about because I’m on Linux), it looks like Chrome already has all the other new features.