I'm Aza Raskin @aza. I make shiny things. I simplify.

I'm VP at Jawbone, focusing on health.

 

Firefox & Google Chrome New Tabs

A number of folks have pointed me to Scott McCloud’s comic debut of Google Chrome today. Scott is one of my personal sources for inspiration: I often peruse his books, looking for insights into creating awesome user experiences. I’m chuffed (and a bit jealous) that the Chrome team got to work with him.

There was a particular part of the comic that people kept referring me to: page 21, which talks about the experience for opening a new tab.

It’s interesting to see that the Chrome team has been exploring the same thoughts we’re talking about last month here in Mozilla Labs, with Contextual New-Tab Actions, Ambient News, and Auto Dial.

Here’s our video and Alex Faaborg’s mockup:

And here’s the comic page in question for Chrome:

It’s encouraging that there is such a confluence of design—although I felt an odd jolt of déjà vu the first time I read that panel. Let’s hear it for zero-configuration interfaces!

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Antti

You probably are already aware of this, but Opera has had similar feature for a while now (albeit the “favorite sites” have to be user-defined, if my memory serves me right). The feature is called “Speed Dial”.


All the things shown on the comic feel like a déjà vu.

What do you think about put the tabs on top of the brower, before the navigation toolbar? It’s an idea from Opera but I really like it.

BTW, we don’t know if Chrome supports bookmarks, it’s stange, no mention on comic.



Mohit

Aza,

I dropped by to say that the work you guys are doing on context sensitive actions is really amazing. Agree with the comments above that Opera has some features already, but what they do not have is context!

A suggestion/question: Given that context is all about the user – would Firefox now support user profiles? You might even have a web service that stores profiles so we could “sign-in” to a personalized Firefox experience.


@Mohit, your suggestion already exists. It’s called Mozilla Weave and will be able to share _your_ experience between different Firefox soon.


I have been wondering about tabs and having a separate browser process for each.
What are tabs? How are they different (to the user) than windows?
The choice of having separate process per tab seems to imply that starting new tabs would be about the same speed as creating a new window.

Does that mean that there would be no need for tabs if the OS/desktop knew how to handle window opening and switching better?


Chrome will mean different things depending on who/what you are. The one thing it does mean to everyone though is that the Internet is the operating system, and the clouds are moving closer to earh.

You are Apple;

This means that if it were not enough of a conflict of interest (Iphone VS Google’s Android) to have Google CEO Eric Schmidt sit on your board – It is now. Look for Schmidt to resign sometime in the next six months.

If you are Microsoft;

This means that if you ever considered making Internet Explorer open source in the past, now is the time… You can not afford to wait, not even another minute. Expect Microsoft to make Vaporware like noise over the next few months about cloud widgets to give IE closer ties to cloud based initiatives.

If you are Yahoo;

you need to buy Mozilla.

If you are Firefox;

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer…yes continue with your Google revenue deal, but learn how to monetize your Browser outside of a paid search deal. Leverage your large user base to form “spin-off” type “power of the crowd” businesses. Note to Firefox, hey you guys ARE a social network…you just haven’t figured that out yet.

If you are Sun;

Realize that Java is even less relevant every day. First we kicked you out of client side computing because you were a resource hog. Realize that Java will now continue to be less and less relevant on the Server. What a waste of a good company… McNealy must have got hit in the head with one to many hockey pucks.

If you are a social network;

“social networks” would follow along with users in the browser. Truth be told, we thought it would be Facebook, or even more likely Firefox that would lead in this initiative. So if you are a social network, you need to know now Chrome is the first step in a series of moves that will make it unnecessary for your peeeps to ever visit your site (directly) again.

If you are an application developer;

Life used to be simple, eh? You knew that you should be developing applications for Windows, because that is where the 100′s of millions of users were. Fast forward, and now you need to choose what platforms to support, and when. Of course it makes sense to develop for Windows still, but Apple now has a mass of millions of Mac OSx users, and if it a browser based app, write once for Safari, and it should work without much adaptation on the Iphone. There are over a billion cell phones in use world wide, however every phone requires writing to separately (yes even all those different flavors of Java are different phone to phone. Suddenly with Android coming, and a matching desktop browser you need to be here.

Lastly if you are a consumer;

There is always a bottleneck somewhere … Think back 5-10 years ago, before what we now refer to broadband… Dial up was painffulllllyy slow, and when you tried to browse, the bottleneck was in your “last mile” connectivity. Once you got broadband, the lag time in reaching a site was likely in your PC (not enough ram, slow processor, etc). Before either of those issues though it was the software that was not “smart” enough to keep up with the ever faster CPU’s being created.

Look for Chrome to optimize all these new “cloud” based application initiatives like Google Gears, etc. This is just another nail in the coffin for desktop based computing. In 10 years, likely 90%+ of your applications will reside somewhere outside of your home or workplace – but certainly not on your desktop.

http://www.twitter.com/A_F


The comic book guy talks like you, Aza.



Mohit

@Thomas,

Thanks for that info! Weave looks like a great idea too! w00t

I’m staying with Firefox!


I think the Chrome team was really paying attention when you talked at the Google Tech Talks, and they implemented very well some of your thoughts:

‒ Near to zero configuration;

‒ The Browser is almost invisible, and doesn’t get on your way;

‒ You can do almost anything with the “Omnibar” (ex: “w pixies” takes you to the pixies page on wikipedia);

‒ The “contextual new tab actions”, as you mentioned.


I forgot to spellcheck the previous comment… sorry for any error that may appear.


there are so many advantages and features with Chrome, such as it’s speed, for example; now if only they would take care it’s quirky cookie management…



Samuel Saint-Pettersen

Excellent ideas. I probably wouldn’t use the “you normally visit though.” It depends. It wouldn’t hurt to have it though and if I didn’t like it, I could disable it.

Chrome might be very good, but its the ideas the Mozilla team comes up with which make Firefox great.



fasteez

(in firefox 3.1)
`ctrl + t` : opens a new tab and focus the url-bar.

if I type -> it searchs in the history
when ‘Enter’ pressed -> `search on the web`

so the first part is already in place, but most people don’t know this behavior.

the last ideas are really neat, why not make a user stack to accumulate (structured) data… so you can parse | send | use them to fill a form .. i don’t know.

( and in a few times we will rebrand the browser as fire-forth ^^ )



Aashay

as fasteez has said, the first 2 suggestions are already in play in firefox.

Also, while the rest of your suggestions are quite interesting they hit a flaw when being used around someone like me. I have incredibly varied and erratic web browsing patterns and so the probability that the browser can detect anything useful is quite low. This argument will also hold for early-on detection i.e. before the browser has had enough data to recognize anything.
One workaround is to set a threshold amount of data req to recognize patterns before which no suggestions will be displayed.

I like the idea of the browser auto-detecting addresses etc. but the issue here is that it may not always detect the address OR something that is not an address is detected as one.



Karl

I’m a bit curious as to what constitutes “Zero cost” in the minds of firefox developers. I often open an empty new tab because I DO know what I want to do and what I want is a tab opened really really quickly so I can state that intent.
Usually in the form of a search sure, sometimes in the form of an entered url or something pasted. I don’t want firefox to guess blindly which is usually slow and thus costly.

Seeing as firefox regularly passes a couple of hundred megs of ram on my PC I don’t really trust the mozilla programmers to judge what is costly and what’s cheap.

Now if it can be done seamlessly. Sure, why not. If it means that when I open a new tab to go to a page I know I want to go to I still have to wait a few seconds for firefox to connect to del.icio.us just to give me useless information then no thanks. Let me have my blank page.


i like google chrome because it easy


it very cormfortable to all job hardly


    windows chrome is website when emergancy and easy to do all search..suggestion smaller replyer customer without things ….


i really like search with windows chrome


I and family are like to search windows chrome.usally,my broter like to use mozilla,i hope next windows chrome are most comfortable to all whee search…i like whenn it color in windows chrome


You probably are already aware of this, but Opera has had similar feature for a while now (albeit the “favorite sites” have to be user-defined, if my memory serves me right). The feature is called “Speed Dial”.


You probably are already aware of this, but Opera has had similar feature for a while now (albeit the “favorite sites” have to be user-defined, if my memory serves me right). The feature is called “Speed Dial”.



Sex

You probably are already aware of this, but Opera has had similar feature for a while now (albeit the “favorite sites” have to be user-defined, if my memory serves me right). The feature is called “Speed Dial”.


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I think that’s a pretty neat idea. My current watch is a Timex that mimics a chronograph digitally but has both an analog and digital face: I can hide the digital part of it by pressing a button and leave the clean lines of a analog watch (which I prefer). Since I enjoy the benefits of digital for cycling and training and such, it’s nice to have that option.


There was a particular part of the comic that people kept referring me to: page 21, which talks about the experience for opening a new tab.


I forgot to spellcheck the previous comment… sorry for any error that may appear.


When did the show change it’s format to comedy? John and company are cracking me up more than ever without hindering the tech commentary. Highly entertaining!


Your ideas mirror the way I like to work right now. I change the way a search in the address bar works from “feeling lucky” to a normal search, so I almost never call the google page itself. My homepage is a self generated link list with all my most used sites. And with the add-on “quickdrag” I am able to drag marked text aside, which opens a tab with this text as a google search. If this happens to be an address/city, google shows me a link to google maps.
By the way: as a standard routine I install tabmixplus as well and reduce the minimum tab width, so that I see all the tabs at once. Since most have favicons, I don’t lose the orientation. And I let new tabs open next to the current tab, and if closed, return to the left tab. So while doing a web search I drag the links (quickdrag) away to a new tab and if thats not what I want, Ctrl-W gets me back to my search result.
Since this is a very practical way of using tabs, it would be fine if these settings were configurable within firefox so that tabmixplus isn’t necessary anymore.


thnks
gooooood


Thank you. My favorite mozilla…


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