"The Firefox of today is significantly better than the Firefox of a year ago in every way," wrote Mozilla vice president of engineering Johnathan Nightingale in a recent blog post. There are good cases to be made for that statement, including the browser's better security, faster startup, a social network API, and more efficient memory use.
The Android version of Firefox has also been updated with search suggestions and new protections against phishing and malware.
The new version also adds preliminary support for WebRTC, which among other things, allows web pages to access a computer's webcam and microphone without the need for plugins such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft SilverLight. Other performance improvements and new standards support show up in Firefox 18, including support for W3C touch events — very useful on tablets. According to Mozilla's release notes, startup time has been improved by "smart handling of signed extension certificates."
For more on Firefox 18, you can read the Mozilla blog post, "Firefox Makes Web Games and Apps Speedier." You can also download it and try it out for yourself at www.firefox.com.