Firefox 4 – Screenshots Released. Is it Chrome Inspired?

It was Firefox 3.5 last month and then Firefox 3.7 Screenshots last week and now we get to see Firefox 4 screenshots. Wow, Mozilla is getting more serious to kick out it’s competition. Firefox 3.7 includes a change to the Tools bar and an Embracing Glass design.

But the desperation starts here. The Firefox team is looking even farther in the future, all the way to Firefox 4.0.

They’ve posted mockups of the new Firefox 4.0 design on their wiki. Firefox says that they are just for brainstorming, but they provide the world’s first real glimpse into the next edition of the Firefox browser.

The Firefox Screenshots:

a. Tabs on Top / Bottom

These images, all of Firefox in the Windows OS, reveal that the company is struggling to choose between two primary designs: tabs-on-bottom and tabs-on-top. Tabs on bottom is the current norm in Firefox, while the tabs-on-top looks almost exactly like the Google Chrome browser. Here is the tabs-on-bottom version

Image:Mockup-4-0-Vista-(TabsBottom).png

Possibly add a Bookmarks widget as an upfront replacement for the Bookmarks menu/Bookmarks toolbar (option to turn those on would remain).

Version B – Tabs-on-Top

Image:Mockup-4-0-Vista-(TabsTop)-(LocBarSearch).png

The more contentious Tabs-on-Top concept.

Attached at the end of the location bar.

  • Turns green when you start typing.
  • Blends with the location bar when at rest.
  • Turns blue on hover.
  • Turns red when a page is loading.

In addition, Mozilla summarizes the pros and cons of the two designs very succinctly:

Positives:

– Save Vertical Space

– Efficiency/Remove Visual Complexity – Right now the tabs have to be connected to something. So we are adding an extra visual element for them to connect to.

– Shorter Mouse Distance to Page Controls

Negatives:

– Breaks Consistency/Familiarity – Moving things confuses existing users.

– Title is MIA – With the space removed from the titlebar you only get the truncated version in the tab.

– Longer Mouse Distance to Tabs – Takes longer to mouse to a tab.

– Lost Space – Sandwiched in between the application icon and the window widgets you lose some space.

While we won’t go into detail on the debate, we will say this: if Mozilla can offer the ability to choose between the two designs, it should. Some users need to get to the menu items faster, while others prefer having the tabs in closer proximity.

New Firefox 4.0 Feature: Combo Stop/Refresh/Go Button

Firefox 4.0 incorporates all of the design changes featured in Firefox 3.7 and includes a few new features. The big one is a Combo Stop/Refresh/Go Button.

Instead of separate buttons for each of these functions, they’re all integrated into one button on the right hand side of the address bar. It also changes colors based on your actions. So if you’re typing, it will be a green “Go” button, but if the page is currently loading, a red “Stop” button will take its place. Not a bad way to save space, if we do say so ourselves. Here’s a screenshot of the new feature in action:

Image:Mockup-4-0-Vista-(TabsBottom)-(LocBar).png

That looks just like Chrome isn’t it?

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  • Jordan

    The firefox people display an admirably humility towards Chrome and obviously do not suffer from not-invented-here syndrome. “Use it if it's good.”

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  • Pip31594

    Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Making improvements on a good design is one of the best parts of our humanity. Nice look and some nice innovations. I will use it. It took me a while to get used to Chrome but it is hard to go back, when a better user interface is there in front of you. The only problems I have with Chrome is the lack of support for browser specific apps & games. MSN in particular, having never been an IE fan I use Maxthon2 when IE engine needed. Flock is great for Youtube, FaceBook etc. Safari just sucks, Opera always been a fav but again cant do IE engine cloning. Come on guys at some point in time there has to be a standard that everyone follows. Microsoft in particular, there is no reason why all apps and games can run on all browsers. Then us users can stick to whatever browser we prefer. You know it makes sense!!!!

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  • RK

    Looks more like Opera-inspired, than Chrome or anything else.

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