So I have been using Firefox 4 Beta 1 on my friend’s laptop (Macbook pro running OS X), and I can say it’s a move in the right direction! The first thing I noticed was it launches faster than before, this might be because he doesn’t have so many extensions. The next thing I noticed was the Site Identity button and fav icon have become part of the address bar, which makes things aesthetically nicer. Also aesthetically it looks more boxy, which makes me feel its leaner and faster. Finally on the aesthetics, the addons now open in a tab instead of a window, which I find neat (you can access it by typing in about:addons in the address bar). Next they added a progress indicator that loads a pie chart on each tab that is still loading, this allows you to see how much of the page is left to load. Finally it loads pages faster, more like chrome. Below are comparison shots of the site identity buttons from Firefox 3 and 4, and a snapshot of the pie chart progress indicator.
To conclude the 1st beta of Firefox 4 shows a real step forward and has been really stable with no crashes in the couple of days that I have used it. If you haven’t downloaded it yet you can get it for all three major Operating Systems (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) here.
Progress Pie Chart