Mozilla updates Firefox with FLAC audio support, WebGL 2 and warning for HTTP sites

Edward Hudson By: Edward Hudson
2 minute read

Mozilla recently unveiled Firefox version 51 for Windows and other platforms such as Linux, Mac, and Android. Firefox 51 now warns users about websites that do not implement the HTTPS protocol but collects user passwords. The update also introduces WebGL 2 support for enhanced 3D graphics and lossless FLAC audio support to the browser.

The updated browser now displays a grey lock icon with a red strike-through on the address bar to alert users to password-collecting websites that still use the HTTP, a less secure version of the HTTPS protocol that’s used to secure your connection to the internet. HTTPS serves to ward off eavesdropping attempts, man-in-the-middle attacks, and other threats. More specifically, Firefox 51 will say your “Connection is not secure” or “Logins entered on this page could be compromised” once you click the “I” icon for websites using HTTP.

Another notable addition to Firefox 51 is the support for FLAC files along with added support for WebGL 2, making it the first browser to embrace this new standard for rendering interactive 3D computer graphics and 2D graphics without the need for plugins. WebGL, or Web Graphics Library, is a JavaScript API which permits GPU-accelerated usage of image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas.

With WebGL 2, you can use modern accelerated rendering features including expanded texturing functionality, transform feedback, and multisampled rendering support. It’s worth pointing out, though, that WebGL 2 is not backwards compatible with WebGL 1 despite what appears to be a bumped-up version of the standard.

The Firefox 51 changelog states:

  • Added support for FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) playback
  • Improved reliability of browser data sync
  • An even faster E10s! Tab Switching is better!
  • Added Georgian (ka) and Kabyle (kab) locales
  • A warning is displayed when a login page does not have a secure connection
  • Added support for WebGL 2, with advanced graphics rendering features like transform feedback, improved texturing capabilities, and a new sophisticated shading language
  • Firefox will save passwords even in forms that do not have “submit” events
  • Improved video performance for users without GPU acceleration for less CPU usage and a better full screen experience
  • Added a zoom button in the URL bar:
    • Displays percent above or below 100 percent when a user has changed the page zoom setting from the default
    • Lets users return to the default setting by clicking on the button
  • Users can view passwords in the save password prompt before saving them
  • Remove Belarusian (be) locale

Firefox 51 is available to download from the Firefox website. Mozilla also automatically rolls out the update to all existing users.

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