Just three months after the hugely successful release of Firefox 4, Mozilla has released the newest version of its browser, Firefox 5. There’s little fanfare today, unlike with the previous releases of Mozilla’s browser. That’s because much like the rapid release cycle of Google’s Chrome browser, Mozilla has moved to a faster development cycle for Firefox.

This latest version boasts over one thousand improvements to the browser’s security and performance, but the changes – at least to most users – probably won’t be that noticeable. It also includes a number of updates to make it easier for developers to build Firefox add-ons and Web apps.

Browser-Based Privacy

But one of the most interesting additions to this version of Firefox is that now the Do Not Track feature is available across multiple platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux and now Android.

The Do Not Track feature was developed by Mozilla as a response to FTC inquiries about consumers’ privacy online. This feature will let users set a preference, broadcasting their desire to opt out of ad-based tracking. It will be signaled via a Do Not Track HTTP header with every page view or click they make. According to Global Privacy and Public Policy Leader at Mozilla, Alex Fowler, “We believe the header-based approach has the potential to be better for the web in the long run because it is a clearer and more universal opt-out mechanism than cookies or blacklists.”

Firefox isn’t the only browser that’s working to address consumers’ concerns about their privacy, as all the major browsers are all examining how best to handle this. But Firefox says it’s the first to make sure this feature works across platforms. It’s also moved the opt-out button to the Preferences tab, making it easier for users to find.

Web Development Tools

Mozilla says that Firefox 5 has better support for HTML5 standards (although as PC World points out, the browser performs no better than version 5 on HTML5test.com. )

Mozilla has also released a new Firefox Add-on SDK for Windows, Mac and Linux as well as a Firefox Add-on Builder Beta – both tools aiming to help developers build Firefox add-ons that work across platforms. The new browser also supports the CSS Animations standards and addresses some of the recently security concerns about WebGL.

The Browser Battles Rage On

The browser battles continue as analysts eye whose market share is rising and whose is falling: Chrome, IE, Firefox, Safari. Although (like it or not) Internet Explorer remains the most popular browser, Firefox is at risk of losing its spot as the number two browser to Chrome.

Previous Firefox releases have been flashy events, and the recent Firefox 4 has already become the most popular version of the Firefox browser in usage (in other words, unlike IE users, Firefox folks actually update to the latest version). There’s little buzz this time around, although it isn’t clear if that will do much to hinder (or help) Firefox adoption.