Firefox 4 Downloaded 5 Million Times in the First 24 Hours

Firefox 4 has been downloaded more than 5 million times in less than 24 hours since it became available, according to Mozilla’s official download stats page.

Firefox 4, the latest version of Mozilla’s free, open-source Web browser, has been downloaded more than 5 million times in less than 24 hours since it became available, according to Mozilla’s official download stats page.

Firefox may be under fire from Microsoft’s newly competitive browser, IE9, but with more than twice the downloads in its first day, Firefox 4 today soared over its rival by one measurement.

Microsoft, not without reason, boasted that IE9 was downloaded 2.35 million times in the first 24 hours after its release last week. And that is indeed a big number, especially for a browser that tech enthusiasts had scoffed at for years.

But less than 24 hours after its own launch, Firefox 4 cleared 4.7 million, according to the Mozilla Glow site that logs downloads.

That’s a lot less than the 8 million copies of Firefox 3 downloaded in that version’s 24-hour debut in 2008, but that event was a heavily promoted “Download Day,” and it should be noted that Firefox 4’s full day hasn’t finished yet.

Currently, the counter shows 5,895,000 downloads, most of which originated from Europe (2.6 million), followed by North America (1.7 million) and Asia (1 million).

New browsers bring new Web standards, new performance, and often a new auto-update ethos that likely will lead to browsers staying continuously updated. That could simplify lives for Web developers who constantly wrangle with the difficulties of supporting old browsers.

The latest version of Firefox features full support for emerging coding language HTML 5, tabs for apps, a redesigned user interface and a feature that helps users organize tabs for the websites they visit frequently.

It also  features new security and privacy options, faster loading and JavaScript, support for a variety of new standards including WebM video and WebGL 3D graphics, and 3D acceleration that extends even to Windows XP.

It also includes a “do not track” feature, designed to tell sites you visit that you don’t want to be tracked for advertising purposes. The sites still have to comply for it to work.

The browser is available for download in 80 languages on Windows, Mac and Linux and will be available soon on Android and Maemo devices, according to Mozilla.

Mozilla expects that its arrival will lead to an increase in usage. The browser maker said it has 400 million Firefox users and counting, but as a percentage of worldwide browser use it has lost share to Chrome, which now accounts for more than 10 percent of usage worldwide.

Internet Explorer remains the Web’s most popular browser, with about 43 percent of the market, according to analytics site StatCounter.

Firefox is second, and gaining, with about 30 percent. In third place is Google’s Chrome browser, which has about 17 percent. [via CNET and CNN]

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