Following several test versions and on the very last day of its self imposed deadline, Mozilla has finally released Firefox 3.5 to the world. Originally dubbed 3.1, the new version brings a private browsing mode, support for emerging HTML 5 standards, location-aware browsing, a reduced memory footprint, updated anti-malware and anti-phishing features, improved tabs and more. The most notable new feature, however, is the TraceMonkey JavaScript engine which offers substantial speed improvements over previous releases.

In fact, Mozilla claims Firefox 3.5 is twice as fast as 3.0 and more than ten times as fast as 2.0. Exaggeration or not, recent benchmarks show the browser's JavaScript performance is indeed faster, but still behind Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari. Firefox does have some advantages of its own that will keep people from switching away to rival browsers. Namely, a wide range of add-ons to expand its functionality and enough market share to make developers test their sites for Firefox compatibility.

The latest version comes little over a year after the much-publicized release of Firefox 3.0, which broke the world record for most downloads in a single day after 8,002,530 people downloaded the software. Users can download Firefox 3.5 here (7.7 MB), or head to Mozilla's site to read the official release notes.