Mozilla has officially released the first of what will be many betas for Firefox 4. The organization published the Firefox 4 Beta 1 candidate build just last week, so if you are already running that version, this probably won't bring any significant changes. Anyone running the current stable build (3.6.6) is in for a surprise, though. Here are some of Firefox 4's highlights:

  • New Add-Ons Manager: gives you more space to manage your Add-Ons, Themes and Plugins. Customizing your browser has never been easier!
  • HD Video: Watch hardware-accelerated, super-smooth, HD-quality HTML5 video on YouTube using the new WebM format.
  • Privacy improvements: Mozilla always puts privacy first, and this latest beta fixes flaws in some Web standards that could expose your browser history.
  • Crash Protection: Experience uninterrupted browsing (now available on all platforms) – when a plugin crashes or freezes, you can resume browsing by simply refreshing the page.
  • Performance: We know that performance is important. In this version, we focused on improving responsiveness at start-up and during page loads. This is just the beginning for performance improvements in Firefox 4.

For a more in-depth rundown of the latest build, have a look at the online release notes – or just download it now and see the changes firsthand. Oh, and be sure to share your thoughts in the comments. Like us, we know many of you are pulling for Firefox 4's success, because things just haven't been right performance-wise since version 3.5.