Firefox 3.5 beta was released on Monday by Mozilla, the revamped open-source Web browser is designed to include several new Web programming features: better performance, secure browsing mode among others.

Mozilla has said earlier the fourth beta will the last, with more releases expected before the final version of Firefox 3.5 is released. Mozilla switched to the version 3.5 beta after concluding the changes were more significant than it envisioned, earlier version being 3.1 beta.

Latest changes compared with the current Firefox 3.0.x versions includes, the faster TraceMonkey engine for running Web sites' JavaScript programs; built-in JavaScript Object Notation technology for exchanging data between servers and browsers; the private browsing mode for leaving no traces on your computer while surfing; technology to let permitted applications know the user's location; and support for the Web workers standard for letting a browser perform processing in the background without holding back a Web application's user interface.

Amidst fiercely competitive browser market, Firefox still holds second place in market share to IE. Microsoft has released a significant new version, Internet Explorer 8, while Google has entered the market with Chrome and Apple is trying to secure a Windows foothold for its Safari browser.

Firefox 3.5 Beta Released By Mozilla

This week, Facebook users voted on a new set of terms and conditions, and most users who voted approved of a new set of Facebook Principles and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The documents represent a new Bill of Rights for Facebook users, along with a forthcoming new Privacy Policy. The new changes increase user control and privacy protection while improving account deletion and limiting sublicense and reducing data exchanges between application developers.

Following an earlier revision of the terms of service which upset members and advocacy groups, Facebook members will own and control their own information under the social networking site's new policies.

EPIC, Electronic Privacy Information Center, which had threatened two months ago to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, also praised members who campaigned for increased privacy protections. The group said that the changes reaffirm key privacy principles for Web 2.0 applications. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the EPIC, said in a statement released Friday. "Facebook addressed several privacy problems that the Group had identified."

The move resulted from online discussions among users and the company. It drew immediate praise from users and advocacy groups.

Facebook Principles And Statement of Rights and Responsibilities Reviewed

The next version of the mobile operating system, Android 1.5 - is now available for Developers. Application creators can get an early look at the software developer kit (SDK) for Android 1.5, the next version of the mobile operating system, according to Google. The SDK has application programming interfaces (APIs) for new features, including soft keyboards.

According to Google, the developer tools has been changed, as well as the structure of the SDK so that it includes multiple versions of the Android platform. For example, the new SDK includes Android 1.1 and 1.5. However, Google has in some ways been relatively slow to crack the mobile phone market, and competitors could make things tough for Android.

The 'Cupcake' development branch, a private branch of the Android Open Source Project claims this new preview release of the Android 1.5. Most of the Cupcake source code is already available as open source now, Google spokesperson Carolyn Penner told LinuxInsider.

Future releases of the Android SDK, including 1.5, will include multiple versions of the Android platform, Google said. The latest SDK, for instance, includes both Android 1.1 and 1.5.

This lets developers target different versions of the platform from one SDK so they won't have to develop applications twice. Future Android SDK releases will also let developers install SDK add-on to access extended functionality from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), carriers or other providers, Google said. SDK 1.5 has an add-on which provides support for the Google Maps API. That API was embedded in the core SDK in earlier versions.

Google warns that APIs for Android 1.5 have not been finalized and that some changes could be made before the final release, scheduled for the end of April. It asks developers not to release applications based on this early-look SDK.

Android 1.5 Software Version Development Kit Now Available

According to the Twitter's official blog post on wednesday, the company is getting ready to launch a search engine that would make it possible for users to search for keywords and phrases being used by the people they follow on the popular messaging site.

Biz Stone, Twitter co-founder, stated in the post 'Twitter Search, which would be incorporated into each user's home page, is being tested by a select number of people who have had the feature for the last few weeks.' 'We'll gather a bit more feedback from our test group and then get these features out to everyone as soon as possible,' Stone said.

Clicking on the item lists the results where the short messages, or "tweets"(Tweets are the mini-messages people send over Twitter. The messages have a 140-character limit) of the people a person is following are normally displayed. The same screen is used to display search results. Other features include the ability to save a search keyword or phrase and have it as a link on the home page sidebar.

The sidebar has a trend section that lists words or phrases "being referenced with more frequency suggesting that something interesting might be happening, 'Trends is in beta -- but it has potential.' stated Sone.

The uniqueness would be in that the results would have more immediacy than what's available on more traditional search engines, such as Google. Contents displayed on Google are first posted by a blogger or Web site and then discovered by Google's search engine. Twitter, the information would be available as soon as someone starts sending messages, which means a person can find out what's being said about a particular topic while it's being said.

Twitter Ready To Launch 'Search Biz'

Firefox's global market share meanwhile rose from 21.77% to 22.05% between February stroke March despite the release of Microsoft Internet Explorer 8. Microsoft continues to lose browser market share. The global market share for all versions of Internet Explorer slipped from 67.44% in February to 66.82% in March, according to a report by Net Applications.

Google's Chrome browser and Apple's Safari browser also showed small gains, the former rising from 1.15% to 1.23% and the latter rising from 8.02% to 8.23% from February through March. Internet Explorer 8 has been doing fairly well, having risen from a market share of 1.26% on March 2 to 3.07% on March 31.

Net Application's March statistics continue a longstanding downward trend for Internet Explorer, one that Microsoft presumably hopes to reverse with IE8. Microsoft can expect significant gains for IE8 when Windows 7 finally ships.

Google's Chrome browser to make significant gains, Google will have to engage in more aggressive promotion if it wants to build a significant user base for its browser.

Mozilla's Firefox Rises Ahead Of Internet Explorer 8