Firefox 14 is now in the Aurora channel, to be expected since Firefox 12 landed in the stable channel and Firefox 13 was upgraded to beta. There are some interesting features in Firefox 14, nothing revolutionary, but important updates.
SSL Google Search by default
Firefox 14, as anticipated, makes the switch SSL Google Search by default. What this means is that any search done via the Firefox UI will be directed to the HTTPS version of the site rather than to the regular version as before.
Google rolled out the HTTPS search site for most users a few months ago and it was deemed usable and scalable enough for Firefox to make the switch.
Any search started from the search box, the AwesomeBar, the context menu (right-click on a text selection) or the homepage will use SSL Google making searches safer and a lot more private.
No favicons in the address bar
Firefox no longer displays favicons
in the AwesomeBar/address bar. The change was made to prevent spoofing of HTTPS sites by displaying a padlock favicon similar or identical to the one Firefox used in the address bar to indicate that a site is secure.
This could lead users to think that they are browsing over an HTTPS connection when in fact they are browsing via a regular, unencrypted one. Note that the favicons will still be visible in the tabs and everywhere else they were until now.
Yet another interesting feature is the ability to load plugins on demand
, click-to-play as Google Chrome calls it. A Flash player won't be loaded until you click on the video element and enable it.
This means that plugins will use up less resources and will also be harder to exploit since users will have to approve any element that uses them.
The feature is not enabled by default and is not even accessible by default. You have to go to about:config, search for "plugins.click_to_play" and set it to "true." Note that this is a feature better suited for advanced users as websites may behave strange with it enabled or refuse to load elements that aren't visible to the user.