Review: Firefox 1.5

December 1, 2005
Firefox logo

Who says free software is worthless? Last year the developers at Mozilla took on the aging Internet standard, Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and had an instant hit on their hands with Firefox 1.0. A large reason for this success was their implementation of tabbed browsing.

While the release of Firefox 1.5 doesn't set any new standards or implement groundbreaking new features -- like last year's tabbed browsing -- what you do notice with 1.5 is how amazingly fast it is. Pages load at a blazing speed. Speed was always one of the major drawbacks to using Firefox over Internet Explorer; now it feels like it's on par, if not faster than Internet Explorer. You barely get your mouse away from a browser click before the page comes up. Other new features included are ho-hum at best and provide cause for concern at worst.

The new Automatic Update feature will, supposedly, make it easy to get the latest security and feature updates to Firefox. The browser automatically downloads these small updates in the background and prompts you when they are ready to be installed. If you are new to the Web this feature will make keeping your browser up to date easy, but like Microsoft's own "Windows Live Update" this could get out of control and eventually become an irritant to the point where you'll want to deactivate it. Since the browser is so new, we don't know how often the browser will update itself or what types of prompts will be provided.

Firefox 1.5 makes it easier to clear your Internet tracks with the new Clear Private Data tool. With a single click you can delete all personal data, including browsing history, cookies, Web form entries and passwords. There's a new addition called Live Bookmark that I'm not quite sure what the point of is.

With Live Bookmark your bookmarks are automatically updated whenever new content is made available. So theoretically if you visit a news site like Google News, if you use Live Bookmark, your bookmark will automatically update itself whenever the bookmarked pages are updated. But by its very nature, when you click to view a Web site, doesn't the Web site automatically load the latest version, anyway? Live Bookmark sounds more like something added for marketing lingo than being a truly useful feature. To further help organize your bookmarks, there's a new "group all" button that allows you to group all your open tabs into a single bookmarked folder. Again, I'm not quite sure what the point of this is. It'll save you a step or two, from the manual way of adding bookmarks to your folders.

The developers focused a lot of their efforts on "under the hood" improvements -- beyond making the browser super fast, it features much stronger security, a tweaked built-in pop-up blocker to recognize even more sites and controls and several new search sites including Creative Commons, eBay, and built into the search bar, and it now supports DHTML.

Firefox 1.5 is available for free download at and

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Mozilla Firefox browser 'Fennec' available for Android and Nokia N900

Related Stories

Web browser enters a golden age

July 1, 2009

It's been a long time coming, but the humble Web browser is finally entering a golden age. Some 20 years after creation of the World Wide Web and more than 10 years after Microsoft crushed Netscape, the browser market has ...

Chrome 4.0 beta web browser launched

November 4, 2009

( -- Google has released its latest beta version of its Chrome browser for Windows, which promises faster browsing, bookmark synchronization and more.

Recommended for you

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

A blue, neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world ...

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.