Feeds

Mozilla plans multi-engine search results, native iOS browser

Proclaims intention to disrupt again, dares rivals to follow, may kill Trillian

High performance access to file storage

Mozilla wants to resume its role as a disruptor in the browser world and has started work on a trio of projects it hopes can help it regain market share.

The plans are revealed in a new video* in which Mozilla reveals it has created a Product Design and Strategy team to “identify where we can be the first or the best”.

The new team is led by Alex Limi, who says it has been formed because “We need to look ahead more than silicon valley who, at max, can look six months ahead. If anyone is going to disrupt Mozilla it has to be Mozilla, and we got disrupted by a product called Google Chrome or depending on how you look at it, iOS or Android.”

That disruption led Limi to ask “What is the reason you would pick Firefox over Chrome?” Right now, Limi says, “I cannot answer that question.” One reason he's stumped is that browser experiences have become homegenous.

Mozilla's answer is to ease browser customisation, so users can tailor Firefox to meet their specific needs.

It also has some other tricks up its sleeve, including a new feature called “Search Tabs” that reflects Lini's belief that search boxes will disappear from browsers. Mozilla's answer is to place a vertical row of search engine and social network icons down the left of the screen after users conduct a search. The tabs can be removed, but users will need to rummage around to do so.

Mozilla's proposed search tabs feature

Clicking on the search engine or social network icons at left produces search results from that site

The thinking behind Search Tabs is that users rarely changed the default search engine in Firefox. Single-click access to other engines will, it is hoped, improve the user experience by making it easier to find a wide range of results. Limi gleefully points It's hard to imagine either Google or Microsoft doing likewise, given their vested interests in Chrome and IE. He also feels Apple will not chose to do something similar in Safari.

A second innovation is “Junior” a browser for iPad. Limi says Mozilla wants to be on iOS, even though it can't use its rendering engine and has to use WebKit. “We have no vehicle on one of the biggest consumer markets in the world right now,” he says.

Mozilla's response is a full-screen browser. A new navigation tool offers bookmarks-as-buttons and snapshots of recently-visited pages, plus integrated web search. The navigation tool is accessible with a gesture and replaces tabs. Indeed, the browser eschews any top-of-screen navigation whatsoever and has even rejected a fallback tabbed mode.

Mozilla's Junior iOS native browser

The top row of icons represent recently-visited sites, the smaller buttons are bookmarked favorites

“Presence” is another planned product, and aggregates communications services like email and social networks. Limi says Mozilla can do this far better than multi-network messaging clients like Trillian and a demo shows the organisation has created a chat window that floats at bottom right on PC screens. Firefox logs in to all the communication services users want and then allows messages from all to be sent to and from its new chat window.

Mozilla's planned presence feature

The chat window at bottom right is Mozilla's planned multi-site presence and chat client

Mozilla has not offered any timeframe for final delivery of these features. ®

* Mozilla has not provided screen grabs for the new features and the video of the talk is low resolution. We've tried our utmost to produce indicative screen grabs from the video.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
Microsoft: Windows version you probably haven't upgraded to yet is ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of Windows 8.1 will no longer support patches
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.