Photo: via Venture Beat
With Firefox 4 only a few weeks old, we’re already beginning to catch wind of what Mozilla is planning for its follow-up.Firefox 5 will sport integrated social sharing, taskbar web apps, identity management, as well as a slew of features already found in Google’s Chrome browser, according to Mozilla’s Firefox User Experience priorities page.
That we’re beginning to hear about the next major version of Firefox so soon is a good sign that Mozilla is working to speed up its development time.
Firefox 3 was first released in June 2008, and in the time between that release and Firefox 4’s a few weeks ago, Google came out of nowhere to steal away many of Mozilla’s tech-savvy users.
Conceivably Tech, which first reported the news, is also hearing that Mozilla is planning to have around three major browser releases every year.
Mozilla has also listed faster releases as one of its priorities for this year on its Firefox Roadmap, and the company has previously discussed moving to a 16 week release cycle for major releases.
Previously, the company struggled to get a single major browser release annually.
None of the new Firefox 5 features sound revolutionary, but it’s definitely good to see Mozilla still innovating. The browser will let you share any web page directly from the location bar — so you won’t have to hunt for Twitter buttons or extensions to share a site with friends.
There will also be an integrated identity manager that will keep you signed into websites, as well as allow you to login to websites with multiple accounts.
Firefox 5 will also allow web apps to take advantage of its task bar. For example, Facebook will be able to implement a drop down menu with links to your news feed, messages, events and friends right next to the Firefox menu in the task bar.
Other Firefox 5 features aren’t too different from what Chrome already features: Mozilla plans to implement in-browser previews of PDFs (and potentially other file formats like MP3 in the future), a dedicated new tab page, as well as the ability to select and move multiple tabs at once (a feature which is in test builds of Chrome at the moment).
Given Mozilla’s new 16 week cycle, the company could release Firefox 5 as soon as late June. More realistically, I think the June release may end up being a major revamp of Firefox 4 (perhaps a Firefox 4.5 release), while Firefox 5 proper won’t land until the end of the year.