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Firefox 4 Beta With Faster Graphics and New Audio Capabilities for the Web

September 7th, 2010

The latest update to Firefox 4 Beta brings super fast graphics and incredible new audio capabilities to the Web. Firefox 4 Beta now leverages hardware acceleration to improve graphics performance for Windows users and also allows, for the first time, the visualization of audio data within the browser. If you haven’t already, you should download it for free, today!

Visualizing Sound
Until now, people haven’t had the ability to interact with sound on the Web in all the creative ways that video and images allow. Firefox 4 Beta introduces a new audio API to expose the raw audio data housed within the <video> and <audio> elements in HTML5 to redefine how people experience sound on the Web. With this new API, developers can read and write raw audio data within the browser, presenting audio information in completely new ways that could allow, for example, for people to visually experience a speech or a song through Firefox. Professor and Mozilla Developer Dave Humphrey has a more detailed blog post, and offers this demonstration to illustrate the power of this new API:

Enjoy Faster Graphics
Firefox 4 Beta now takes advantage of the built-in graphics hardware in Windows computers with DirectX 10 to improve graphics performance. On supported hardware, Firefox will use Direct2D by default to speed up the display of content on graphically intensive websites, giving more power to the Web. To learn more, read Bas Schouten’s blog post or Paul Rouget’s blog post and check out this demo

More Secure Connections
HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is a new security protocol in Firefox 4 Beta that allows websites to insist that Firefox always use secured connections. Firefox 4 Beta now remembers what sites use the HSTS protocol and will only connect to those sites using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) in the future, helping to prevent “man in the middle” attacks. For more details, please read this blog post from Sid Stamm of the Mozilla Security team.

The Feedback program we launched in our first beta continues to be an incredible tool that allows our users to help us understand what they are liking most about the upcoming Firefox 4. We wouldn’t be able to make the progress we have without this vital feedback from the community of beta testers. Check out the Input page to see what people are experiencing in Firefox 4 Beta.

As always, Firefox 4 Beta testers will continue to receive automatic updates, so stay tuned for the next release in the coming weeks.