Mozilla is scrambling to build a private browsing feature for the upcoming Firefox 3.1 beta release, according to developers' notes posted on mozilla.org.
The notes -- uncovered just a short time ago by Computerworld -- indicate the "privacy mode" is on-track to meet the beta cut-off date. It'll include the same sorts of functions introduced by Safari and Internet Explorer, and more recently Chrome: the ability to turn off cookie gathering, history collection, password saving, and download history during any specified session.
Mozilla's developers haven't been secretive of the fact that all the publicity surrounding the competition's inclusion of the feature has influenced their priority reshuffle. Private browsing was originally slated to be a part of the 3.0 Firefox release, interestingly, but was put on the backburner as other higher priority features took precedence. Plus, as Firefox's director has previously said, the Stealthier add-on accomplishes the same thing.
Evidently, though, all the press has been enough to make it worth including as part of the program itself. Here's hoping Mozilla also considers a separate tab environment configuration such as the one Chrome created. It's the only significant thing really left on my personal wishlist. Add that onto the rest of the 3.1 features and performance capabilities already in the works, and Firefox becomes an impossible browser to beat.