Updated Firefox Is 'Less Susceptible to Freezing'

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We've all been there. You're writing an email, scrolling through a website, or watching a video when your browser slows to a crawl, freezes, or fails entirely. It's a small price to pay for having the Internet at your fingertips, but infuriating nonetheless.

With Firefox 48, Mozilla wants to cut down on these interruptions. The latest version of its browser includes what is known as multi-process—dubbed Electrolysis or e10s—which is a fancy way of saying Firefox will split up various browser tasks into different processes, so one hiccup won't derail the entire browsing experience.

"Users should experience a Firefox that is less susceptible to freezing and is generally more responsive to input, while retaining the experiences and features [they] love," product strategist Nick Nguyen wrote in a blog post.

The feature has been in beta for some time, and Mozilla started ramping up for a full release about six weeks ago. Now, E10s will roll out slowly, first to 1 percent of a group of users "that our testing shows it works well for" before expanding to that entire group, which is about half of Firefox 48 users.

To check whether your browser has already enabled e10s, type "about:support" into the URL bar. If the update is active, you'll see "1/1 (Enabled by default)" next to Multiprocess Windows.

The update also makes "the awesome bar even more awesome," Nguyen said. Now when you enter a query, you'll see more suggestions in a wider view across the screen. Users can also keep an eye out for more security improvements.

"This is a huge project that will take several more releases to complete, but we've got a great foundation in place with the first phase shipping to end users now," Mozilla's Asa Dotzler and Brad Lassey wrote in a separate blog post. "We'll build on that foundation to bring even more responsiveness and security to Firefox over the coming months without sacrificing the memory usage advantage we have over our competitors."

Just days after upgrading its iOS app, Mozilla this week enhanced the Firefox for Android app, merging Readings Lists with Bookmarks and Synced tabs with the History Panel, making more content available across all devices. Also look for auto-pause video playback during an incoming phone call and a toolbar to manage audio controls.

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