I’ve used Firefox for years now and have always reverted back to it even when swayed slightly by Google Chrome or the latest IE. Obviously as a developer I always test in as many browsers as I can, but for my own personal browsing Firefox is the one I hover that pointer over and double click on the most.
Although I feel Firefox has always led in terms of new features which is down to the amazing efforts of an open-source community, for me it boils down to speed and put simply I have always found Firefox that bit faster.
That said, Google Chrome does give it a damn good run for its money which is why I do find myself now and again using Chrome.
The one feature that pulled in the punters for Firefox and set it apart was tabbed browsing. When Firefox introduced this feature way-back-when in 2002 it introduced an easy tabbed interface that helped users browse multiple pages quicker. It wasn’t until IE7 in 2006 Microsoft caught up. For me that’s a long time to react to such a good feature. Safari reacted much faster incorporating tabs in 2003.
Google Chrome launched much later in 2008 and has therefore never known a life without tabs.
So what’s the next big feature in terms of web browsing. Well, un-surprisingly it’s based on the feature that made Firefox one of the worlds favourite browsers… tabs.
The feature was code named Tab Candy, but will be incorporated into the official new release of Firefox as Panorama.
Firefox Panorama allows the user to group tabs together. This is done through the thumbnail tab view and by simply dragging one page over another to group them. You can drag just one page or as many as you want into a new group space and then name the group for easy access later.
If the window’s not big enough for all the pages your compiling together, Firefox cleverly stacks them together and you can select the stack to view the page thumbnails.
Being an iPhone owner I can see the process of dragging one thumbnail over another to make a group isn’t a totally new concept. This is after-all how the new “folder” feature in the new ios4 works to allow users to group apps together. I’m not a big fan of lifting ideas off others (see my last blog post) but this is only part of how Panorama works.
Enabling this grouping will mean you can easily have groups of pages for projects you’re working on or interests you have.
A simple concept, but amazingly powerful. For me though, it builds on a feature that meant quicker more efficient web browsing and that’s what makes me choose a particular browser.
This new feature will be available in Firefox 4 and is already in the Beta release if you want to take a look.
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