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Firefox 3 Set To Ship On June 17


Chicago (IL) - Mozilla has set June 17 as the official release day for Firefox 3. The introduction of the new browser marks the beginning of a race for the title of the fastest browser on the market. With more than one million people already pledged to download Firefox 3 on the first day of its release, Firefox 3 could set a Guinness World Record as the most downloaded software with the first 24 hours of launch.

Mozilla has set next Tuesday, June 17, as the official release day for the upgraded Firefox 3 browser, following months of beta testing and release candidates that have been publicly available to users over the past few weeks. In a strategy that has turned out to become a very efficient viral marketing campaign, Mozilla urged users to download the browser the on launch day to take Firefox 3 into the book of Guinness World Records as the most downloaded software on the first day of release. The campaign, dubbed Download Day, has attracted the interest of more than one million users so far. Firefox 3 will be shipped for both Mac and Windows on the same day (and no, there won’t be a Linux version on day 1).

Firefox 3 has already won critical acclaim for its reliability and noticeable performance improvements. It Besides code optimization, Firefox 3 brings numerous new features, including one-click bookmarking and tag support in bookmarks, smart location bar, the ability to save and restore browser sessions, smart zoom that enlarges all web page content (not just text) and significantly improved protection against phishing attacks and malware. Mozilla claims that Firefox 3 has 15,000 tweaks and enhancements when compared to Firefox 2.

The official release of Firefox appears to be also launching the beginning the battle for the fastest browser on the market. The JavaScript engine seems to be the primary battlefield for now, as the scripting interpreter optimization directly translates to user-visible speed gains in Web 2.0 sites and Web applications that run faster and show more a responsive user interface. Firefox 3 and Safari 4 are already competing in this discipline with optimized JavaScript implementations. Apple seeded Safari 4 a few days ago at the company’s developer’s conference with an expected ship date around the time when Mac OS X Snow Leopard will become available.

Internet Explorer, currently in its beta 1 phase, will get a second beta in August and see a possible final release in the fourth quarter of this year. So far, we were not able to see any speed gains in Microsoft’s latest browser, but at least Microsoft claims that IE8 beta 1 is more than twice as fast as IE7 in some applications and just slight trails Firefox 3 beta 3 (which did not have the latest JavaScript performance enhancements) and Safari 3.1 in terms of speed.

The most recent Net Applications survey puts Firefox’ market share at 18.41%, followed by Safari, which captured 6.2%. Both browsers increased market share at the expense of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer which is still the dominant software on the market but appears to be caught in a slow but steady decline. IE is currently estimated to hold a 73.75% share.