Here's my take:
You are greeted with the 'fasten your seatbelts' notice for a reason. Firefox 4 is almost complete, and this beta is a near-complete version of this browser. What I noticed is that this browser is really noticeably fast. Pages actually load up faster than before and graphics lag no more for me. The scrolling is smooth. I had choppy scrolling because of my low-end graphics card. Now it's all fixed.
Quite surprisingly, Firefox 4 beta 7 has a revamped look. It has a different feel altogether. I wasn't expecting this. And this was what threw me off my feet.
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The interface now looks sleeker and smoother. It has glowing, fading animations all over. Moreover, the color of all the toolbars has changed. From the bland whitish, it has become a slight tint of blue. It looks freshly painted.
Unlike the standard in all browsers, links and bookmarks moused over appear in the Location Bar, as seen in the photo there. That too, fades in and out, making it beautiful, and even forcing you to go over links again and again, one after the other.
|The beautiful new green rings|
The add-ons page has changed a little. Now there are 'Remove' buttons instead of the little crosses. I like this because it used to make me think: Why can't I uninstall this extension? The crosses were not visible properly.
Panorama is one more noticeable thing. Formerly known as Tab Candy, this is one feature I have found really useful in organizing tabs. The page is now different compared to before, with a color revamp, and a new search feature, it's better than ever. When you click the search button, the screen becomes dark, and when you search for open tabs, the relevant ones light up. Also, after you close a tab group, it offers to undo it for you, which is very useful too.
Note: The Panorama keyboard shortcut has changed from Ctrl+Space to Ctrl+E.
There are many more minor changes, like the new refresh/stop button, which look like these mockups. Looks like all the browsers are slowly dirfting to the refresh buttons hidden in a longer address bar. You need to get used to it, though.
When Firefox doesn't have focus, the orange Firefox button changes to the color of the title bar, blending in. First I thought it's a bug, but then I understood that it's the way it's meant to be.
Overal, I'm really happy with this new version of Firefox. I will be eagerly waiting for the final release, which is apparently coming next year. With the beta 7 already out, that could possibly change. And obviously, that will be a lot faster than this. How better can it get now?
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