Firefox Copying Chrome but Prepares for Windows 8

Mozilla released the latest version of their browser, Firefox 10.2, this week and critics aren’t really impressed, saying nothing much has changed.  The only addition worth noting is its ability to sync add-ons among multiple systems and to import bookmarks, history lists and other data from Chrome.  Firefox 10.2 is now available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Android.

Chrome Copycat

But aside from syncing data from Chrome, there are other things that Mozilla is taking from its Google rival.  They’re lifting transparent versioning and silent updating from Chrome’s playbook.

Robert Nyman, technical evangelist for Mozilla stated that:

“Version numbers will play a lesser and lesser role for users, but they will still matter to web developers, IT administrators and similar. The reason for having major version number bumps (e.g. version 6 to 7, 7 to 8, etc) is that new versions have had cases of non-backward compatible APIs, and the version number have been there to signal that it is not a minor release or maintenance update.”

“To cater to update fatigue, updates will now be downloaded and installed silently in the background. It means that startup and shutdown of the web browser won’t be affected by installation routines. Additionally, the What’s New page displayed after an update can now be displayed depending if there is important information needed to be displayed to the end user. Silent updates are currently planned to land in Firefox 13.”

Firefox For Windows 8

Mozilla, Google and Opera Software are all developing a Metro-style version of their browsers.  They need to catch up to Microsoft which has a five-month lead in developing Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8.

Mozilla’s Metro-style version project started last year, but it was quite impossible to do until Microsoft provided documentation that described how to construct a crossbreed browser, first published at the February 29 Windows Consumer Preview launch.

Firefox for Metro is slated to ship alongside Firefox 14 which, targeted for a July 17 launch date.  Asa Dotzler, director of Firefox, stated that he does not expect Mozilla to ship a final version of a Metro style-enabled Firefox in time to make the launch of Windows 8, which will probably launch sometime in the fourth quarter.