There are more than 450 million people around the world who use Mozilla Firefox to browse online. That figure has given this particular browser bragging rights of being the number three most popular in the world. Being free and open source, with approximately 40 percent of the code written by volunteers, this is a pretty impressive feat. (Source)

Firefox 18

If that is not enough as a Christmas present for Firefox users, here’s even better information: Firefox 18 is out, albeit the beta version!

The final release will not be till next year, January 7 to be precise, but the beta version of Firefox 18 is available for download, giving us something to play with while we wait for next year.

What’s new?

For Mac users, the main thing to look forward to is the added support for Retina Display on OS X 10.7 and up. Of course, this does not mean much if you do not have a Retina-enabled device, but for those who do, the eye candy factor will be hard to resist.

For non-Retina users, there is no need to pout. There is an even better improvement made in Firefox 18, something that every user will enjoy: IonMonkey. Also known as the new JavaScript JIT compiler, IonMonkey has cool implications. That is, Firefox 18 can render complex JavaScript much faster. Online gamers will certainly appreciate this step up!

More significantly, security measures have been ramped up as well. With the feature allowing users to disable insecure content, Mozilla has addressed serious issues users face. What is nice about this feature is that it is actually almost 12 years in the making. Apparently the work on this feature began even before Firefox 1.0 came into the picture! That does up the ante quite a bit, doesn’t it?

Get it!

If you have been using earlier betas, you will automatically have the new updates. If you’re using a different browser or a different version of Firefox, you can easily download Firefox 18 beta here.

Let us know your experience!

[Image via Mozilla]