Mozilla’s rapid release train for the open source Firefox web browser has once again delivered a release on time. Firefox 14 is now available, a mere six weeks after Firefox 13 debuted.
Among the key areas of improvement in Firefox 14 is security by way of a number of new features. At the top of the list for Firefox 14 security features is secured Google search. Now by default, Firefox will access Google search by way of an SSL encrypted HTTPS connection.
“Enabling HTTPS for these searches shields our users from network infrastructure that may be gathering data about the users or modifying/censoring their search results,” Sid Stamm, lead privacy engineer at Mozilla wrote in a blog post earlier this year.
Also on the subject of SSL, Firefox 14 includes an improved Site Identity Indicator. With the new indicator, Mozilla is aiming to make it easier for users to know if a site is using SSL or not. The lock indicator that has long been used to identify a regular SSL site is still there but is now complement with a green lock icon for Extended Validation SSL certificates (EV-SSL). EV-SSL certificates provide an additional layer of site identity authentication over regular SSL certificates. The other change is that a grey triangle will now identify sites that mix both secured HTTPS content with regular HTTP content.
The Site Identity Indicator sits on the left side of the Firefox address bar, which is also getting a boost. With Firefox 14, Mozilla is now introducing a URL auto-complete feature, so web site addresses will be automatically filled by users as they are typed.
On the developer front, Firefox 14 introduces a new Pointer Lock API. The Pointer Lock API is a W3C specification in HTML5 that is led by Google.
“The Pointer Lock API provides for input methods of applications based on the movement of the mouse, not just the absolute position of a cursor,” the W3C abstract on Pointer Lock states. “A popular example is that of first person movement controls in three dimensional graphics applications such as games. Movement of the mouse is interpreted for rotation of the view-port, there is no limit to how far movement can go, and no mouse cursor is displayed.”
With Firefox 14 now officially available, the focus at Mozilla shifts to Firefox 15, set to debut in August. Firefox 15 is expected to include new performance improvements that speed up browser startup time.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.