Today (11/18/2008) we released Firefox China Edition, which can be downloaded at g-fox.cn and other popular download sites. Based on the tremendously successful Firefox 3, the China Edition is a super-charged version that provides a whole range of benefits to Internet users in China.
1. The China edition (literally) creates more browsing space by providing Live Margins, a sidebar to the right of the main browsing window. Live Margins provides additional search results, relevant information, music, video, and much more, all at the same time allowing the user to continue normal browsing activities in other tabs. This is a unique solution to the longstanding problem of tab browsing where only one tab is visible at any time. Live Margins gather information from multiple sources (such as typical search engines but also Wikipedia and other more vertical and focused information websites such as financial sites and weather forecast) and provide a comprehensive information feed that is more 360 degree (and not just a flat list of web links).
2. The China edition provides a number of convenience features. For example, it has a built-in button to let users easily choose the display fonts (among those available on the user’s particular system) and change their sizes. It has another one-button access to desktop functions such as Calculator and to browser shortcuts. It also enables a number of tab operations that are favored by local Chinese users, such as double click to close a tab (instead of having to bring that tab to the front and then find the little x to click on).
I strongly encourage you to try this out at g-fox.cn and also provide feedback at the discussion forum there. Note there are both a Chinese version and an English version, and we provide downloads that run on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The English version also has the same services targeted at users in China, so it may not bring up the liquor store in your neighborhood strip mall. Personally, I have been using this drag function as an online dictionary — try it and you will like it, no more need to open a dictionary site and type in the word.
This release reaffirms our long-held belief that our mission is to keep the internet open and freely accessible, and the best way to achieve that is to provide viable choices for people to get online and have a personalizable user experience. And the best way to achieve viability is to continue to innovate.
Moreover, one of our unique strength is our willingness, and ability, to partner and collaborate. In this release, we specifically partnered with a number leading content providers in the local market. So now you can monitor that Youku video (the Chinese Youtube) in Live Margins while keeping an eye on your regular work; you can listen to background music off the hits list provided by Sina Music. You can simply highlight a word and with a little drag motion, you can view, via Live Margins, restaurant reviews provided by Dianping (the Chinese Yelp), artist info and songs from Yobo (the Chinese Pandora), and of course search results from Baidu. You can also access Chinese books online (provided by 17K), shop online (360Buy), and see maps and a ton of other information at your finger tips. We have had Linkool Labs as our technology partner in developing Live Margins. They have separately developed Juice, a Firefox addon in English and targetd at western (North American) users, which is based on the same basic concepts but with different UI elements and linked to a different set of web services.
The release of the Firefox China Edition is an ambitious experiment on the part of the Mozilla world. We would very much like to hear your views and experiences with this experiment. Do let us know!
Posted by: lgong