Firefox 19 will be officially released tomorrow, but it’s available for download right away for those eager to try it out ASAP. Most end users will have little or nothing to look forward to with this update, with the only noteworthy change being you no longer need the PDF.js extension developed by Mozilla installed in Firefox to natively open PDFs. The native PDF viewer has been greatly improved, and you can now view PDF files in the browser without having to rely on any add-on for the purpose. Apart from that, Firefox comes with a new about:telemetry page that allows you to see the the performance data collected by the browser. The feature to collect this data was introduced in Firefox 7, and now after twelve versions, Mozilla has given it a dedicated page. An add-on is also available now to replicate this page on older versions. Apart from these, there are the usual bug fixes, security updates and a Browser Debugger tool for add-on and browser developers.
Native PDF Viewer
The PDF viewer is pretty much the same as the one in Firefox 18, with the only difference being you won’t have to install a separate extension to get it. Chrome’s been allowing its users to natively view PDFs for quite a while, and this feature was in the works for a considerably long time before debuting on Firefox. The wait was worth it though.
Firefox 7 gave users the option to collect performance data. To turn the feature on, head over to Options > Advanced > General and select the Submit performance data option. To view the data that’s been collected, Firefox 19 comes with a brand new page accessible by typing about:telemetry in the URL bar.
The page is divided into sections for the type of data that’s collected. You must have Telemetry enabled in order to see anything here. You can turn it on and return after a while to see the collected information.
Browser Debugger Tool
As always, Mozilla has also added something for developers in Firefox 19. A new tool has been added to aid add-on and browser developers. The feature is experimental at present though, and you will need to enable developer tools to use it.
Apart from this, there are the usual bug fixes and a small improvement to speed up startup. This update can be considered rather disappointing from the perspective of most end users. A lot of great features were expected to arrive in this version like protection against irresponsive plug-ins and search engines hijacking apps, and the Australis UI. We can now hope that some of these features make it to Firefox 20.