Services & Software

Mozilla releases Firefox 2 RC1

Next version of the free browser expected to feature a new look, improved security for Web surfing. Video: Firefox 2 RC1

The Mozilla Foundation announced Tuesday the availability of Release Candidate 1 of its Firefox 2 browser, but warned that its free, open-source browser might have a few leftover bugs and suggests only experienced users and developers download the latest version.

Using Firefox 2 is supposed to mean safer surfing. The browser will reportedly detect when a fraudulent site--like a bogus eBay or PayPal--has been accessed and will alert the user with a dialog box and grayed-out window, according to CNET Reviews' initial take on the browser.

Besides stepping up security, the browser also has a new look. The toolbar is see-through until moused over, when it will appear to glow, according to CNET Reviews. The RC1 version of Firefox 2 includes dynamic bookmarks that give personalized or updated titles on the bookmark list--for instance, news Web sites will feature the latest headline instead of the name of the site.

There's also a spell-check-as-you-go feature and the ability to resume the most recent browsing session, including any tabs that were open. (For a video peek at Firefox 2 RC1, .)

Firefox 2 RC 2 is scheduled for release the first week of October and the final version by the end of that month.

Firefox has been steadily gaining ground against market leader Microsoft's Internet Explorer since version 1.0 was officially released in November 2004. On CNET, Firefox has a market share of nearly 30 percent, while IE has 58 percent and Apple Computer's Safari has about 9 percent.

But when considering Web surfing as a whole, 10 percent is done using Firefox and 80 percent with Internet Explorer, according to the Web analysis firm Net Applications.