The development of Firefox 3 has been bubbling away nicely for some time now, and this week marked the next milestone in the development process. Firefox 3 Beta 3 provides a pretty good picture of what the final release version might end up looking like and introduces some nice improvements over previous beta versions. For a start Beta 3 now plays nicely with Mac and Linux operating systems by integrating more effectively with default styles. For example, icons, menu styles and buttons in Linux now adopt the native GTK theme. The download manager and auto-complete bar also get an overhaul, with Firefox now making use of you history and bookmarks to try and guess which site you are looking for. Particularly neat is the one-click site info feature, which as suggested gives you quick access to site security information via the address bar favicon (that little icon next to your current url).
What a lot of you will be interested in are any speed improvements, and the news is good here as well. Beta 3 introduces some major architectural changes under the hood that increase page drawing speeds. There have also been significant improvements to memory performance, with patches to leaks and the introduction of an XPCOM cycle collector to eliminate more. Hopefully the changes will prove effective, as memory usage is something that Firefox has known to have had problems with in its lifetime. You can click the read link for a full list of changes, or you can download it and try it for yourself here.