Firefox 118 release brings new web translation feature and end of Firefox ESR 102
Firefox 118’s and Firefox ESR 115.3’s official release date is September 26, 2023. The new Firefox releases mark the end of Firefox ESR 102, which is no longer supported. Firefox installations that are still on version 102.x will be upgraded to version 115.3 automatically.
The new web translations feature is also being introduced in Firefox 118. It is a local translation service that does not need Internet servers to translate content.
Mozilla’s work on improving fingerprinting protections continues in the release. Firefox users from the United States may furthermore see add-on suggestions in the browser’s address bar based on keywords.
All developer editions of Firefox are updated this week as well. Firefox Beta and Developer move to version 119 and Firefox Nightly is upgraded to version 120. Firefox for Android follows the stable channel’s versioning.
- Firefox ESR 102 is no longer supported, the only supported ESR version is 115.x.
- Firefox 118 gets native translation functionality.
- Firefox users from the U.S. may see add-on suggestions.
- Firefox 118 addresses security issues and improves fingerprinting protections
Firefox 118.0 download and update
Firefox 118’s official release date is September 26, 2023. The browser may not yet be available, if you are reading this on September 26, as we publish the release information early.
Later, Firefox 118 will become available via the browser’s built-in automatic updates system and also as a direct download from Mozilla’s website.
Firefox users may select Menu > Help > About Firefox to display the installed version. Opening the menu item runs a check for updates as well.
Here are the official download locations:
- Firefox Stable download
- Firefox Beta download
- Nightly download
- Firefox ESR download
- Firefox for Android on Google Play
Firefox 118.0 new features and improvements
Firefox 118 is the first stable version of the web browser that ships with a native translation feature. Mozilla worked several years on translations and a lot has been achieved in that time. With that said, the to-do list is still long.
Firefox Translations is a local feature, unlike Google Translate, Microsoft Translate and most other translation features of web browsers. This means that Firefox users may translate content without having to connect to third-party servers. Native translations are excellent for privacy, as they do not reveal information about the visited website to third parties.
Firefox Translations provides similar functionality to its cloud-based counterparts. When users visit a site that is in a foreign language, one not integrated in Firefox, Firefox suggests translating it. It is necessary to download a language pack for the language on first run, but this happens automatically. The language data does not ship with Firefox, as it would increase the size of the browser significantly.
Once downloaded, Firefox will use the local language pack for translations. Updates may happen, but these are smaller.
Options are accessible via the small cogwheel icon. There, Firefox users find options to enable the following ones:
- Always offer to translate.
- Always translate language.
- Never translate language.
- Never translate this site.
- Manage languages.
The main downside at this point is that language support is severely limited. Less than a dozen languages are supported. While these include widely spoken languages such as English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, other widely spoken languages, including Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Arabic or Hindi are not supported at this time.
Tip: an option to install some or all supported language packs is available in the settings.
Fingerprinting protection enhancements
Firefox 118 includes two enhancements to the browser’s fingerprinting protection. The first improvement limits the fonts that website may see to system fonts and language pack fonts; this limits fonts for fingerprinting, as custom installed fonts are no longer visible.
Fingerprinting relies on uniqueness and fonts helped with that, especially if custom or rare fonts were installed on devices.
Firefox is switching to using FDLIBM math library on all systems, which improves anonymity according to Mozilla when it comes to fingerprinting.
Other changes and fixes
- Google Meet video effects and background blur are now available in Firefox. Mozilla has backported this back to Firefox 115, likely to include it in Firefox ESR 115.x as well.
- Some Firefox users from the United States may get add-on suggestions in the browser’s address bar. The suggestions are based on certain keywords, according to Mozilla.
- Firefox supports the search element now. It is a group element that “serves to contain all the elements used in a search or filtering operation.
- The mathml.legacy_maction_and_semantics_implementations.disabled preference is no longer available.
- Mozilla added support for multiple math functions: abs(), sign(), round(), mod(), rem(), pow(), sqrt(), hypot(), log(), and exp().
- New from-font keyword in the CSS property font-size-adjust.
- The HTTP Permissions-Policy header's publickey-credentials-get directive is now supported.
- Windows-key and Command-key return a value of Meta now.
- The RTCRtpTransceiver.currentDirection and RTCRtpTransceiver.direction properties now support the "stopped" value.
- The array returned by RTCPeerConnection.getTransceivers() now omits stopped transceivers.
- The TextMetrics.emHeightDescent and TextMetrics.emHeightAscent properties are now supported.
- CSSStyleRule now inherits from CSSGroupingRule instead of directly from CSSRule.
- Support for browser_style in the manifest keys action, options_ui, page_action, and sidebar_action for Manifest V3 extensions has been removed.
- Locking the Firefox Relay preference via policy did not disable it in the user interface in the Settings. This has been fixed.
- New browser.download.force_save_internally_handled_attachments preference is available, which forces the download if “the value attachment or download of the HTTP header Content-Disposition is specified on the link”.
- New Firefox Suggest policy to allow admins to manage Firefox Suggest (US only).
- The Preferences policy has been updated to allow setting the preferences security.ssl.require_safe_negotiation and xpinstall.whitelist.required.
Security updates / fixes
Firefox 118 fixes 9 different security issues. The severity rating of the patch is high, there are no critical issues and there does not seem to be exploits in the wild targeting these vulnerabilities.
Mozilla plans to release Firefox 119 and Firefox ESR 115.4 on October 24, 2023. We don't know much about the releases at this point, only that Mozilla plans to hide HTTPS by default and display HTTP instead in the address bar.
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