Yesterday, we reported that Mozilla is working on a Metro-fied version of Firefox for Windows 8. Today, we are going to take a look at some of the other major stuff Mozilla has in store for Firefox fans in 2012. The Firefox roadmap, which was published yesterday, offers a pretty detailed look at all the major new features that are planned for Firefox. Here are the features that appealed to us the most.
- Chrome Migration: Firefox can already import user data (such as cookies, history, and bookmarks) from Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari. The only notable exception is Chrome, which is currently the most popular browser after Internet Explorer. However, this will be fixed soon with the addition of support for data migration from Chrome.
- Add-ons Sync: Firefox Sync (previously Weave) is a perfectly capable sync tool; however, it has one major limitation. It can’t sync add-ons. Again, this will also be fixed soon.
- New Tab Page: Opera’s speed dial has really really caught on, and almost all major browsers have already implemented it in some form. The only one that is yet to properly utilize the default tab page is Firefox. There are quite a few extensions that do a great job of plugging this shortcoming, but Mozilla will baking in speed dial like visual bookmarks soon.
- Home Tab: In addition to adding a new tab page, Firefox will also get a new “Home” tab that will essentially behave like a pinned tab. It will be a locally hosted, highly personalized and customizable page that will provide quick access to websites, downloads, and apps.
- Panel Based Download Manager: Currently Firefox’s Download Manager exists as a separate window. Most other browsers like Chrome and Opera offer a much more integrated experience. In the future, Firefox will allow management of downloads from any existing tab, through a panel.
- Firefox Share: Social media is now mainstream, and millions of users regularly share and discover content through services like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest. Although extensions and bookmarklets are available for sharing content on various social media websites; Mozilla hopes that offering a single, integrated location for sharing and commenting on links will improve user experience.
- Log into Firefox: An evolved version of the Firefox Account Manager feature that we had first seen a couple of years back will finally make it into Firefox. Users will be able to automagically sign into various connected accounts by simply logging into Firefox Sync.
- Integrated Translation: Firefox will be taking a leaf out of Chrome’s book, and automatically translate foreign language websites.
- Add-on Performance Indicator: Faulty add-ons have long been a cause of headache for users, as one bad add-on can bring Firefox on its knees. Mozilla wants to empower users by providing stats on the performance impact of each add-on. We imagine that this will be similar to what Internet Explorer 10 does.
- Firefox Focus: Users will be able to manually trigger a special “Focus” mode that will strip away advertisements and redundant formatting from webpages, and present the actual content in an easy to read format. This feature will be similar to Instapaper or Safari Reader.
Head over to the roadmap webpage for the full list of planned new features, as we have only covered the more exciting ones. One thing that is clear is that there’s plenty in store for Firefox in 2012. However, a rather disappointing aspect is that most of the new features planned for Firefox are simply stuff that we have already seen in other browsers. If Mozilla really wants to turn the tides and outsmart Chrome, it will probably have to be more innovative.