It's Firefox 3 "World Record" Download Day, But I'm Still Waiting

Today’s the big day for the official, no-longer-beta release of the Firefox 3 browser. There is even a campaign to make today, June 17, Download Day and “set a Guinness World record for most downloads in 24 hours.” They are shooting for 5 million. Although, I’m not sure that there was a previous Guinness record to break, so any number might qualify.

But if you are going to go for a world record, even a made up one, in a single day, you might want to give yourself some running room by starting at the beginning of the day. But instead of releasing right after midnight, the new browser won’t be ready for downloading until 1 PM ET. Before then, when you go to the Firefox download page (or here or here), you are still prompted to download Firefox 2.

I can wait another 15 minutes, and I won’t be surprised if Firefox hits its download goal. Already more than 1.7 million people have “pledged” to download the browser today. Firefox 3 has the following features to recommend it:

—Much faster load times
—Fixed memory leak problem in Firefox 2
—An “Awesome Bar” (aka smart location bar) that suggests sites you’ve visited before or bookmarked when you type a URL into the address bar.
—Better security against phishing and malware
—One-click bookmarking
—Offline capabilities
—Built-in spell-check and session restore capabilities (like Firefox 2)
—Cool zoom-in feature
—Looks better on a Mac

Here is a list of all the new and improved features, as well as known issues.

Heavy Firefox users who download it today had just better hope that all of their add-ons work. (They will have 5,000 to choose from, but maybe not their favorite ones).

Firefox is the No. 2 browser with 18 percent market share compared to Internet Explorer’s 75 percent. (Its market share is higher among early adopters, perhaps 39 percent market share). Forget the world record for most downloads in a day. The real record Firefox is going for the most-used browser, period. This release should help it gain some more adherents.

Update 1:11 PM ET: The Firefox download page seems to be inundated right now. I am still waiting for it to load. Those 5 million people are going to have to wait a little longer. Maybe they should have made opened up the download floodgates by timezone at midnight in each country to spread things out.Has anybody been able to download this thing.

Update 1:19 PM: Still waiting. Now the page loads, but it’s the old page with Firefox 2. Come on, Mozilla . There’s a world record at stake here.

Update 2:30 PM: Back from lunch. Still waiting.

Update 4:37 PM: The downloads started about an hour ago, and Mozilla is reporting 14,000 downloads a minute. That is 840,000 per hour if it can keep it up. But access is still spotty. I’m still waiting.

Update 4:43 PM: Someone sent us this “secret” link where you can download Firefox 3 from a different server than the ones on the main site. It is only for Windows. (Download at your own risk). I have a Mac. So I’m still waiting.

Update 6:50 PM: After giving up for a few hours, I am finally downloading Firefox 3.0 :)

Update 6/18: Despite the delays and hiccups, Firefox 3 was downloaded more than 8 million times in the first 24 hours it was available, surpassing its goal by 3 million.