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Firefox 4 nears 5 million downloads on debut day

The browser wars reached another milestone Wednesday as makers of two free browsers released a slew of new features in the latest updates of their respective products: Google Chrome has released its version 11 beta just as Mozilla 4 approaches 5 million downloads on its first day of release. Mozilla released version 4 of its Firefox browser earlier today, March 23, promising faster browsing and a more streamlined appearance, while supposedly maintaining flexibility with "extensions." As of 4pm (Manila time), less than 24 hours since it was launched, Team Firefox claimed the new version of the browser had been downloaded almost 5 million times. Firefox's latest incarnation takes many cues from Google's Chrome browser, such as putting tabs above the address bar, and allowing the user to pin web pages to the tab bar. It also allows users to sync their bookmarks, preferences and other data on Firefox across more than one computers. Mozilla's browser also has a do-not-track feature, which potentially can tell third-party websites not to follow the user's surfing habits. A page target="_blank">on Mozilla's website guides users through Version 4's newest features. Google Chrome 11 beta Meanwhile, on the same day, search giant Google released a new beta of its Chrome browser —version 11— which supports a potential speech-to-text translation feature. Chrome, which already has many similar features to the new Firefox, also gave its Chrome browser a new, "simpler" icon. Google has promised even faster performance, and now asks users if they want to activate Java for certain websites. "Fresh from the work that we’ve been doing with the HTML Speech Incubator Group, we’ve added support for the HTML5 speech input API. With this API, developers can give web apps the ability to transcribe your voice to text. When a web page uses this feature, you simply click on an icon and then speak into your computer’s microphone. The recorded audio is sent to speech servers for transcription, after which the text is typed out for you," Google said in its Chrome blog. Google said the new beta release also offers a sneak peek of GPU-accelerated 3D CSS, which allows developers to apply slick 3D effects to web page content using CSS. But a test of the speech-to-text feature at a demo website showed the feature still has a long way to go in terms of accuracy. The Google browser's revamped icon, which the company said represents the "Chrome spirit," is emblematic of Google's promise to make the Web "quicker, lighter and easier for all." "Even before this effort, the new version of the Chrome logo was already being conjured up by Googlers and Chrome fans. Numerous creative reinterpretations have organically moved the icon towards simplicity and abstraction, so it felt right to make the icon structure cleaner and easier to recreate," Google said. — TJD, GMA News