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Mozilla updates to Firefox 8, disables add-ons

New browser adds Twitter search for desktops

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Mozilla has released the new build of its Firefox browser and, as promised, it’s cracking down on third-party add-ons.

The new build, which comes six weeks after Firefox 7, will switch off third-party add-ons by default and display a start screen after loading to ask users to enable or disable the features they want. The move was promised in August and trialed in the Firefox Aurora pre-beta before being rolled out further.

“Sometimes you download third-party software and are surprised to discover that an add-on has also installed itself in your browser without asking permission,” the company said on its blog. "At Mozilla, we think you should be in control."

One third-party function has, however, been more tightly integrated into Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux: Twitter support. English, Portuguese, Slovenian, and Japanese versions of the browser will be able to search Twitter user names and hashtags via the browser’s search engine box, with more languages coming shortly.

Other changes in the browser include support for Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) within WebGL, letting users download approved textures for manipulation within the browser. HTML5 support has also been boosted to allow menus to be easily customized with markup language.

Android users have also got an update, albeit a much smaller one. The biggest add-on is the Firefox Master Password, which stores all login details securely – or creates a single point of failure depending on your viewpoint. Support for HTML5 web applications has also been improved.

Mozilla is obviously hoping the new build will counter the growing threat from Google's Chrome, and the add-on block may go some way towards solving persistent reports of slow loading and memory problems, as well as issues with third parties putting out buggy code. ®

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