Firefox 23: Deeper Social Site Integration and Security Upgrades
Image Credit: @SorensonAdv via Twitter

Firefox 23: Deeper Social Site Integration and Security Upgrades


Mozilla’s popular Firefox web browser received a desktop makeover yesterday. The new Firefox 23, which has also been given a slightly more simplified desktop icon, will feature a share button that allows for more streamlined integration with social websites like Facebook and Mixi. Security has also been boosted with the inclusion of a mixed content blocker that can prevent non-secure content from being compromised on seemingly secure webpages. An early-Web annoyance, the “blink tag,” has also been removed.

The added social networking button will expand on Firefox’s previous sidebar approach.  Rather than opening a persistent sidebar to toggle sharing options, as was the case in the last iteration of Firefox, users will now have the added convenience of a toolbar button. The sharing feature will also be compatible with in-browser messengers, like Facebook Messenger for Firefox and Cliqz.

Firefox said that the new button will allow users to “post an interesting article to your profile, share a recipe with your friends, or send an idea for a gift in a private message or email, all without leaving the Web page you are visiting.”

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Currently, Firefox 23’s share button supports Facebook, Mixi, Cliqz, and msnNOW – but other social sites will be integrated down the road. According to TechCrunch, “Mozilla expects to launch more services that will support the share button soon, and the organization says it expects other sites to start supporting its social API soon, too.”

Following in the footsteps of Chrome and Internet Explorer, the new Firefox 23 will boast increased security by blocking mixed use content. This is done by blocking non-secure HTTP content from appearing on secure HTTPS websites.

ArsTechnica explains: “Previously, a page loaded over HTTPS in Firefox could freely load JavaScript, CSS, images, and other content from HTTP URLs. This meant that although the page's HTML was secured, its other features, including the scripts it ran, were not. This in turn left users susceptible to attacks that undermined the security that HTTPS should provide.”

When Firefox blocks content, a gray shield will appear in the address bar. Clicking the shield will display information about what has been blocked, why it was blocked, and how to unblock it if the user wishes to do so. The shield icon is a more subtle approach than the pop-up alerts used by Internet Explorer.

A final improvement to the web browser is the elimination of the “blink tag.” The blink tag is a throwback from the old Internet, when sites like GeoCities and MySpace allowed text to flash – a function that was annoying to many, but potentially harmful for sufferers of epileptic seizures.

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