The built-in search box in Firefox’s navigation toolbar has been extended to support Twitter searches. Users can now select Twitter from the drop-down list of available search engines. Mozilla partnered with Twitter earlier this year to release a special build of Firefox that ties into the social network. The search box integration from that custom build is now part of the official Firefox release.
Another noteworthy user-facing feature in Firefox 8 is stricter control over side-loaded add-ons. Mozilla is cracking down on third-party applications that install add-ons in Firefox without the user’s knowledge or permission. Such add-ons have caused serious problems for users in the past like the notoriously buggy Skype toolbar which Mozilla had to remotely disable earlier this year when it caused 33,000 Firefox crashes in one week.
If Firefox 8 detects side loaded add-ons when it starts, it will disable them by default and display a prompt asking the user if they want the add-on to be enabled. This will help protect users from invasive toolbars and other unwanted cruft.
In addition to these new browser features, Firefox 8 also has some improvements under the hood. The browser’s HTML rendering engine has gained support for cross-origin resource sharing, a feature that will allow a website to load WebGL textures from other sites. WebSockets also get a boost in this release with an updated implementation that conforms with the latest draft specifications.
Users can download Firefox 8 from Mozilla’s website.
The new version will also be rolled out to users through the stable update channel.