For the last few weeks I’ve made Firefox 3 nightly releases my primary browser because my extensions all work well with it. I always like to get a sneak peek at what is coming, and there are always so many things that change that it can be hard to keep track of them all. I find that the people who see the new features gradually appear will notice them the most, which is why I want to jump on the Firefox 3 bandwagon early on. I did the same thing with Firefox 2 pre-release versions, and each time a new feature worth noting appeared in the nightly releases I made sure to relay the information onto our readers.

So far I have noticed two new things in Firefox 3 that will probably be overlooked by anyone who just tinkers around with it. Even though these features aren’t anything to die over I thought it might please some people who were afraid that Mozilla has not begun to implement new things in the browser. Actually, Mozilla has been working very hard on implementing Firefox’s graphics engine, called Cairo, that will not only load pages faster but it will also do things like scale images much better. I’m sure this is something a lot of Firefox users will probably take for granted when Firefox 3 is released later this year.

So what are the two new features that I found? Like I said, these aren’t exactly ground-breaking but I like them. First off I noticed a new setting in the Options that will let a user choose whether or not they are notified when a site tries to automatically reload or redirect the user. By default this is disabled, but I’ve now had it enabled for well over a week and I really like it.

Redirect FF3 Option

Then when a site tries to redirect or reload the page Firefox will notify you with a little bar at the top similar to what’s seen when a popup window is blocked:

Redirect FF3

So it is just something small right now, but it does make you notice when you’re being redirected. However, I’m hoping that they will implement a feature similar to the popup blocker where you can permanently allow certain sites. I still have this feature enabled, but it can get annoying if you constantly click on links in emails you receive at a Gmail address…which redirects you each time you click on a link. I’m sure there is a large list of sites this would get annoying at, which is why they need to let users choose which sites to permanently allow.

The other feature that I noticed is when you click in a textbox to enter the path to a file on your computer it will automatically popup with the Open dialog box. Here is an example of how it works when composing a message in Gmail:

Gmail FF3

It kinda sounds like a stupid feature and really simple since you can just click the Browse button, but I like this. Well, I’m not even sure if this is a feature because I couldn’t find any info on it, so for all I know it could be some kind of bug. The reason I’m questioning whether it is a bug or not is because some fields let you enter in either a file on your computer or a URL to an existing file. With this you can’t actually paste in a URL since the Open dialog box opens immediately.

That’s all I’ve found since my last updates on the Firefox 3 graphics engine. I’ll continue to keep you posted as new things get included in the nightly builds. Oh yeah, and according the latest meeting notes for Firefox 3 it looks as though Places will be back in by the next Alpha release planned for the middle of March. It hasn’t made its way back into the nightlies yet, but I expect that it will within the next week or two.