After several beta releases and a planned bid for the Guinness Book of World Records, Firefox 3.0 has arrived. As of 1pm EDT Tuesday, users can download the latest version of the open-source browser, which includes an improved book marking system and drop-down search returns in the URL bar, among other features. Aesthetically, the browser is not drastically different from its predecessor. The forward and back buttons have been altered, while the browser buttons and window frames have also been redesigned to conform to the look of a user’s operating system, but not much else has changed. On the features front, the drop-down URL bar—dubbed the Awesome Bar—offers suggestions of possible Web sites as you type your search query.
Version three offers a three-tier bookmarking system: bookmark stars allow for one-click favorites; bookmark tags allow you to add details to your favorites; and bookmark folders are saved searches that update when you add new items matching that search to your bookmarks, according to Mozilla. Download manager has also been revamped and now includes the ability to pause and resume downloads, search through downloaded files, obtain more detailed file information, and revisit the original download page. Firefox 3.0 also boasts improved color profiles, font and text rendering, and zooming capabilities, as well as malware and phishing protection, Mozilla said.
Version 3.0 is three years in the making. Mozilla released the first beta version of Firefox 3.0 in November 2007, with version two debuting a month later. Beta 3.0 version 3 arrived in February with major code rewrites of the page layout, graphics, and font engines and over 350 plugged memory leaks. Most recently, Mozilla on June 5 unveiled the second release candidate for Firefox 3 with several localization updates. That came a little over two weeks after RC1 was made available. When the download goes live on Tuesday, the clock will start ticking on Mozilla’s bid to break a Guinness world record for most downloads in a single day. Mozilla said last week on its blog that it has already received at least one million pledges from users who say they will download Firefox 3 on release day.
Update: the final version of Firefox 3 is out now for more than 20 minutes, but it’s basically impossible to get it at the moment – all download servers are overloaded with thousands of requests and the official website for Download day times out for few hours already. We will bring you first mirrors in comments when they’re available, feel free to check 10 Reasons why you should update in the meantime.