Firefox 5 to get major social media, UI and tab upgrades


With the paint still wet on Firefox 4, new details have emerged about Mozilla’s next browser creation, Firefox 5. More tightly constricted in its user interface design, and deeper in its features, the next generation software will arrive in far less time than Mozilla took to get to the latest Firefox update — according to ConceivablyTech, it’ll be only a matter of weeks.

Said to go into its second stage of development in the middle of this month, Firefox 5 gets further features to expand upon the tab-centric usability of the current Firefox build, like muti-select abilities, which enable users to have more than one tab open in the same screen at the same time. A new tab page is also said to be in development.

One major potential change could be the deletion of the “home” button altogether. Developers may decide to simply turn the “home” button into a permanent app tab (which, if you ask us, is exactly the same as any other dedicated home button) The ConceivablyTech report makes it sound as though this feature is still very much up in the air, and on the minds at Mozilla.

Renovated sharing functionality appears to take a leading role in Firefox 5, with a new address bar icon (shaped like a paper plane) that provides social networking update capabilities straight to the address bar. The feature works for sites like Facebook and Twitter, and possibly supports other popular social media sites, like Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon.

The next most significant change for Firefox 5 is that each tab can have its own fully customizable menu. This will turn teach tab in your browser into a shortcut for exploring the site.

So if, for instance, you use Facebook regularly, you can create a customized menu for the Facebook tab. This will enable you to more quickly access whichever pages of the site you choose to represent in your menu, from messages to photos to privacy settings.

The last large addition to Firefox 5: increased identity management capabilities, which will allow sign-in from multiple accounts at once, and keep you signed in with an integrated identity manager.

Like Google’s Chrome browser, the next Firefox is said to get an integrated PDF viewer, and other file format support is purportedly on its way. And further changes came to Add-Ons in the form of much-needed support standardization. On top of all this, a file upload indicator will be added.

In an attempt to stay true to its word, Mozilla is sticking tightly to a 16 to 18 week release schedule for final versions of new browsers, which would mean at least three new releases this year. It’s better than the year-long wait for Firefox 4 — but still not fast enough to beat Google’s cheetah-like 6-week turnaround for Chrome.

Check out our review of Firefox 4 here.