Do you use Firefox, gerbils? You don’t have to answer—we already know a significant portion of you do. The latest Firefox update is called Quantum like its predecessor, but it brings the app’s version number to 59. Big changes this time around include improvements to page load time, enhanced security in private browsing mode, and added features to the screenshot editor.
Mozilla says that Firefox 59 should load websites and the Firefox home page faster. The company doesn’t explain exactly where the improvements originated, but does say that the app will load content from both local and network caches. Mac users are also getting the benefits of Off-Main-Thread Painting for faster graphics, an improvement that came to the Windows version in the previous Firefox release.
Another big change this version has to do with the handling of HTTP referers in private browsing mode. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an internet privacy advocacy group, discovered that some websites like HealthCare.gov were leaking personally-identifiable information to ad-serving networks through HTTP referers—a bit of data containing information about the site you came from when you’re redirected or click a link. Disabling referers altogether would break many websites, so the Firefox team is now stripping website paths and sending only the domain names when in private mode. There’s a blog post here that has more details on this topic.
Firefox’s screenshot capture ability saw some improvements, too. Users can now annotate and crop saved screenshots without opening an external image editor. Finally, Mozilla says that there are also “various security fixes” in this update.
The new version is available for desktop computers running Windows and macOS, as well as Android and iOS devices. You can read the full release notes, hit Mozilla’s website to grab it for your PC, or open up the appropriate app store to grab it on your mobile device.
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