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Firefox Friday - Panorama tab search, auto-updating and add-on sync (sort of)

Greetings, fearless Firefox fans! I'm your fill-in host for Firefox Friday this week, because Sebastian is in San Francisco meeting with Mozilla! He should have some juicy Firefox tidbits for you when he gets back, but for right now, let's round up the awesome Firefox news that popped up over the past week.

IE9 got all the hype, but Mozilla's testing some new stuff for Firefox that's simply awesome: bug fixes, tab seach in Panorama and Firefox autoupdates (finally!) are all just around the corner.

Join me as we explore a great week in Firefox!

Releasing the Kraken: Mozilla tries a new JavaScript benchmark

Mozilla has decided to change the way it tests browser speeds by introducing a new JavaScript benchmark called Kraken. What does that mean for the average Firefox user? Well, Kraken's performance tests are focused on the way we really use web apps. That means Mozilla will now be more focused on speeding up forward-looking web applications that don't run as fast as they should in Firefox . The first tests of Kraken show that FF4 is 2.5 times faster than 3.6!

Quick fixes on FF4 Beta bugs

Make sure you've got the latest Firefox 4 Beta, because it includes two important quick fixes. The Windows update gets a stability fix, while the Mac update resolves a plug-in issue that prevented users from typing into text fields on web pages.

Panorama tab search is coming

Mozilla is experiment with a super-slick tab search in Panorama (formerly Tab Candy), that finds and highlights matching tabs as you type, even in hidden Panorama groups. Erez has the specifics for you, including a video, in his post from earlier this week. I'm sure Sebastian will have plenty to ask Aza Raskin and the Firefox team about this awesome new feature.

Firefox auto-updating is almost here

After some snags involving a startup crash bug in FF 3.6.8 and 3.5.11, Mozilla is finally off to the races with automatic Firefox updates. To start getting automatic updates to Firefox right away, you can download FF 3.6.9 or FF 3.5.12. The fix only took Mozilla 1 day! Lee's got the whole story in this earlier post.

Check out Siphon for syncing extensions across multiple Firefox installations

If you have to set up new Firefox installations all the time, and you're tired of manually downloading your favorite add-ons again, then try downloading just one add-on: Siphon. Siphon lists your add-ons, and allows you to decide which ones sync and which ones are specific to the local installation of Firefox. It will be awesome when Mozilla adds its own built-in extension sync, but Siphon fills the gap for now. [via Lifehacker]

Well, that's what I've got for you this Friday. Check back soon for the return of your much more charming regular Firefox columnist, Sebastian Anthony. I hope he's out there pumping Aza Raskin and the team for some exclusives on upcoming Firefox features!

Tags: add-ons, auto-update, autoupdate, features, firefox, firefox friday, FirefoxFriday, mozilla, panorama, tab search, TabSearch