There’s been more than just a nod recently towards browsers becoming essentially the desktop, and the content being the interface.
It’s a year now since Aza Raskin spoke on his blog about a new way of interacting with browser tabs called Tab Candy (see the video). He then later made an announcement that it was in FireFox 4 and as Aza said it is known as FireFox Panorama (see announcement video), although the browser itself seems to call them Tab Groups (more functional than funky naming, but there you go).
What is Tab Candy or Panorama?
From the FireFox features page: “Organize your Tabs with Panorama: Too many tabs? Reclaim your browser from tab clutter! Panorama lets you drag and drop your tabs into manageable groups that you can organize, name and arrange in a fun and visual way. To get started with Panorama, simply select the Tab Groups icon when you customize your Navigation Toolbar or right click any tab to Move to Group.”
So this is like a desktop style spatial hierarchical organisation of the areas where you want to spend time doing tasks, whether it’s reading, browsing, purchasing, events, whatever. Group them together – chunk them and manage them.
Did this mean that tabs were destined to no longer be constrained to the single linear dimension that we have been so used to and taken for granted? Time has still yet to tell – we’ve seem some third party extensions for Chrome with TabSense and Tab Sugar (discontinued at last check), but nothing ‘official’ as yet. And yet, this line of ideation has some much to offer the user in terms of organising content and engaging with it in a way that suits the user. Why the delays, we wonder?