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Having made the transition from concept to reality, Mozilla’s long awaited first beta for Firefox 4 has been made public.

The upgrade includes an updated Windows interface that’s said to be sleeker and easier to use with a new ‘tabs on top’ feature to make it easier to focus on web content, as well as control the tools in the web browser.

Apart from the facelift on the Windows interface, additional features include a new Add-Ons Manager, hardware-accelerated HD Video, Crash Protection which enables uninterrupted browsing by simply refreshing the page, and improved performance.

Web developers can also benefit from enhanced HTML support, WebSockets and IndexedDB which enables using structured storage in web applications to speed up or provide offline support.

New beta versions are expected to be released every two to three weeks, and Mac and Linux users will also benefit from the features currently incorporated on the Windows interface.

According to a report from StatCounter, Firefox has been losing some of its market share to Google Chrome in recent months. Globally, Microsoft’s Explorer holds the lead in terms of worldwide usage with 53 per cent of the global market share, followed by Firefox on 31 per cent, while Chrome has grown to 9.4 per cent.

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