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It’s been a busy few months for Mozilla, what with agreeing to a deal to switch its default search provider to Yahoo!, launching a custom version of its browser packed full of developer goodies, and launching Firefox OS handsets in new territories.

Today, Mozilla has released Firefox 34 for Windows, Mac and Linux desktops, the first stable release since last month’s security n’ bug fix update.

Headline Feature

Despite the rapid release cycle Mozilla once again manages to deliver some great new features.

Making its first appearance in a stable release is Firefox Hello, Mozilla’s WebRTC feature.

Though not enabled for all (you can manually turn it on via about:config), the feature bring plugin-free video and voice calls to the browser. No Skype, no add-ons, no hassle. You simple click the Firefox Hello icon, send your share link to the recipient to initiate a connection (assuming they’re also using a WebRTC-enabled browser, like Google Chrome or Opera).

The ‘Hello Firefox’ Popup

Signing in with a Firefox account will give you more features, including a contacts book with one-click calling (no need to share links).

Other Changes

Version 34 also makes it easier to switch themes (formerly known as ‘personas’), with live previews and a switcher menu now available on the Customising canvas:

Ad-hoc theme switching
Ad-hoc theme switching

The first major search engine change arrives in this release, with Yandex shipping as default for Belarusian, Kazakh, and Russian locales. Yahoo! will be enabled for US users in the near future. But remember: this does not affect the version of Firefox provided in Ubuntu.

US users get secure HTTPS Wikipedia searching from the search box:

firefox https search for wikipedia
Secure Wikipedia Searches for English US Users

In addition to improved HTML5 support (largely around WebCrypto features) a new WebIDE tool ships in this release, and is packed full of great tools for developers.

From Android connectivity and an in-app editor to support for deploying and testing apps in a Firefox OS simulator. If you haven’t tried Firefox OS in a while, v2.2 (unstable) has plenty to play with including edge swiping, new home screen arranging features, and some new APIs.

firefox webide

Download Firefox 34

Canonical will roll out Firefox 34 to users of Ubuntu 12.04, 14.04 and 14.10 in the next 24 hours or so, so keep an eye out. If you’re super impatient the release can also be downloaded from Mozilla servers directly.

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