After a slight pause in an ambitious schedule, the Mozilla Organization has released Firefox 2 beta 1, code-named Bon Echo. Like the previous Firefox 2 alpha builds, this beta is designed for developers and the technically adventurous. New in beta 1 are antiphishing controls and an automatic session-restore feature, plus some enhancements to features seen in the previous alpha builds. One caveat: While some popular Firefox extensions were tested with this beta build, not all extensions may work properly. For a complete look inside, see our Firefox 2 beta 1 slide show.
New in Firefox 2 beta 1 is a built-in antiphishing control. Like Internet Explorer 7 beta 3, Firefox 2 beta 1 will check a Web site for signs that it is not legitimate. Unlike IE 7, which uses heuristics as well as a blocked list, Firefox 2 currently only uses an internal blocked list. But Firefox 2 goes further than IE 7 by also allowing you to change your antiphishing preference and use, say, Google's instead. As noted, be sure to read Google's privacy notice before continuing.
Like Opera 9, Firefox 2 beta 1 now includes the ability to restore an active browsing session; however, Firefox's feature is automatic. If you're like me and you keep a number of tabs open at any given time, having your system crash or even taking time to reboot after an operating system update can result in lost productivity. Firefox 2 captures all open windows and tabs, the size of each window, and the scroll position, should you happen to be midway down a long document. It also captures the tab histories, cookies, and even typed-in text on individual pages. Upon reboot, Firefox 2 beta 1 gives you the option to restore the saved session or start from scratch.
Also new in his build are tweaks to RSS feed subscriptions, improved inline spell-checking, and enhancements to the built-in search engine manager. Missing are a few features we've either seen in previous builds or heard would be coming, such as Places, microsummaries of bookmarked sites, and the ability to restore a closed tab. For details on these and other features in Firefox 2, see our previous coverage.