Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Firefox 5 to get PDF reader, identity management, new interface

Mozilla seems to have pretty big plans for the next Firefox, even though they are on a fast release cycle now. Unlike Chrome, the next Firefox will have another UI redesign, even though it is not coming out very long after Firefox 4.

And we have plenty of details of Mozilla's plans for the next-gen browser. Jump the break for more.
Here, I have summarized and explained the major new features, as reported by ConceivablyTech and other websites. Also note that though most of these features are planned for Firefox 5, some off them might slip to Firefox 6 or 7.

Site-Specific Features
Many websites, including Right Now In Tech reported earlier that the next version of Firefox might get site-specific features. There may be buttons in the title bar (or somewhere else) that give you quick access to the various features and sections of the site you are currently browsing.

For example, if you're on Facebook, clicking that button may present you with a menu that has quick links to your friends, messages, profile, notifications and more.

Home Tab and New Tab Pages
Firefox is also getting a dedicated 'home' app tab. It might have your favorite websites, RSS and more, even.

I believe that the Home Dash experiment might soon become a feature in Firefox. If you don't know, the Home Dash project is trying to get rid of the interface of the browser completely, so that when you're out there surfing the web, the browser will show up only as relevant parts of the UI when you need it. Currently, Home Dash is an add-on that feels very uncomfortable to use (in my opinion). Ideas from Home Dash might turn up in the Home Tab UI.

Firefox may also get a new tab page, like the one in Chrome. There are no public mockups as the time of this writing. I'm assuming that it will have the standard recent pages, top sites stuff. Maybe even Private Browsing options and more.

Identity Management
It appears that the password manager will be promoted too. Firefox will manage your online identity. You will not only be able to store your usernames and passwords so that you don't have to type them in all the time, but also be able to manage multiple accounts for the same websites.

Clicking an icon in the left of the location bar will allow you to switch accounts at a single click.

Social Integration
When Firefox 5 will be here, no one needs Flock or RockMelt. If you've been following the development of and using Mozilla F1, you'll know what I mean to say.

Social features will be built directly into the browser. At least sharing a web page won't be a pain at all. I know that it is hard to find a website that doesn't give you the option to share the page itself. But the Mozilla F1 add-on is something really handy to have. A click gives you the option to post a link to the page on your favorite social network, or via email.

Firefox will very soon get this feature too.

In-Browser Previews
For some reason, many people don't know this, but Chrome plays MP3 and other popular audio formats in the browser. It's a feature. And now, it also got a PDF viewer that loads the PDF really fast for a quick preview before you save it. You can also copy the PDFs to your desktop that the Adobe plug-in doesn't allow you to.

Firefox will be getting similar features too. No need to download and open the PDFs in your email anymore (after Firefox 5's here).