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Finally after a series of betas and a candidate release, the official release of Mozilla’s Firefox 8 is now available for download.

The two main features of this latest release are Twitter Search as well as heightened security with increased add-on control.

Allowing consumers to be fully in control of the browsing experience has long-since been a fundamental part of Mozilla’s mission statement, and Firefox 8 takes it to the next level it would appear. Previously, third party vendors could be added to extend the capabilities of Firefox. Now, though, such add-ons are disabled.

Now of course, the browser can opt to enable add-ons, but as Mozilla programmer Justin Scott blogged, add-ons are not always beneficial to those browsing the Web.

“These add-ons installed by third parties present a number of problems: they can slow down Firefox start-up and page loading time,”

“They clutter the interface with toolbars that often go unused, they lag behind on compatibility and security updates, and most importantly, they take the user out of control of their add-ons.”

Firefox 8 is – as has always been the case – pre-loaded with add-ons, but this time around, users will be able to see from the onset which ones they particularly want / need, rather than unwittingly persevering with a slower browsing experience cluttered with unwanted extensions. When Firefox 8 is installed, a dialog box is fashioned, which lists add-ons, and asks which to enable and which to disable.

With Mozilla’s regular release schedule, it’s hard enough for us to keep up with the versions, and apparently developers behind add-ons also experience such troubles, leaving many bereft of updates through new versions and suffering compatibility issues. Smooth? I think not!

In addition to the add-on controls, Twitter Search integration will make it a lot easier for Tweeters to discover new topics, #hashtags and @usernames, although is initially limited to the English, Portuguese, Slovenian, and Japanese releases of Firefox 8. According to Mozilla’s official blog page, though, more languages will be rolling out during the course of the next few weeks.

Here are the download links for those of you wishing to update to the box-fresh browser.

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