Meet Firefox 3.1 new tab preview panel

In preparation for Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, due around mid-November, the Firefox development team is furiously completing and landing important features to the code base.

Today’s nightly features the long ago announced tab preview panel that replaces the All tabs list it used to feature in the far right side.

As you can see it shows your currently open tabs (nine at a time) separated in pages identified by dots at the bottom (a la iPhone/iPod Touch) you can click to change.

The tab search bar (at the top and center), is a great help to get to the tab you need when you have more than 20 tabs or so, specially now that tab searching from the location bar has been phased out of the Firefox 3.1 development cycle. As you type on it, tabs are filtered based on the page title only, no full page or web page address search.

Another thing the thumbnails lack is a close tab button which I see no reason to be missing: Fennec has it, Internet Explorer 7 has it. Even Windows 7 will have it in its new task bar.

I hope it would become a real tab manager with options to organize, reload, pin and copy as well. Most likely, an extension will take on this before too long.

Tab switching (pressing Ctrl + Tab) is also using this larger tab preview panel instead of the single row we saw in Beta 1. Still, you can disable tab switching preview setting browser.ctrlTab.previews to false via about:config.

20 thoughts on “Meet Firefox 3.1 new tab preview panel”

    1. I’m sure I read somewhere about an about:config setting to change the amount of tabs sorted by last used. Can’t seem to find anything about it now though :-/
      Have you tried searching in about:config for relevant keywords? (tabs, ctrltab, lastused, etc.)

  1. Thanks for the info, however I believe there is a minor error in the article; it says “a la iPod/iPhone Touch”. Should probably read “iPhone/iPod Touch” or something to that effect.

  2. I won’t use this feature I consider to be a gadget. I do hope Mozilla is not on its way to the chaos of bloat, in which case many users could switch to Google’s Chrome browser.
    What is this fatality that makes all softwares start smart, compact, and lead towards fat bloated gadget filled coded insanity ? Hundred of examples!

  3. as long as you can close the tabs by middle clicking I dont see a need for the small close tab button, I think that the close button just takes up space, I have removed it from my tabbar as wellIMO it really is easier to close with middle click(unless you are on mac)

  4. The tab preview panel is much slower to use when a lot of tabs are open than the old pull down list and is far more system intensive on slower computers. Is there a way to disable it? Something similar to “browser.ctrlTab.previews” perhaps?

  5. Came on by default in the about:config when I installed on my Windows 7 machine, but when I ctrl + tab, it is still performing the same action as before, no modal ctrl + tab window.

    Got any tips for me?

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