When we talked about Firefox’s upcoming tab management feature it was still known by its code name TabCandy. Earlier available as an add-on for beta / nightly versions of Firefox, it has now been integrated into the Firefox to be available as a core feature in the final release. While remaining essentially the same, the feature will now be called Panorama, a much more acceptable name for a release feature.
Panorama allows you to easily group your tabs according to the tasks you are performing, or otherwise. With a simple rich drag-drop interface you can visually arrange your tabs in multiple spaces according to their purpose, and then focus on one group at a time. So if you have you can have your personal email, chat and social networking all in one group, and your work email and other work related tasks in another group. When you open a tab from a particular group, only tabs from that group are visible, and all other tabs are hidden away. You can even name tab groups.
Firefox’s Panorama feature is reminiscent of virtual desktops which are available on many operating systems. For many people Panorama can serve the same purpose that browser windows now do, which is to segregate tabs so you can focus on a set at a time. For a look at how Panorama works and how to use it, check out his video by Mozilla:
Firefox Panorama: How To from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.
Panorama is not the only feature to be upgraded from an add-on to a core feature. Firefox Sync (earlier known as Weave) is now also a par of Firefox. When you install Firefox 4 beta 4 you will instantly find a “Set up Sync...” option in the “Tools” menu (which is hidden by default, but easily accessed by pressing Alt). Firefox Sync lets you synchronize your bookmarks, saved passwords, and even your browsing history across multiple computers. All these details are synchronized to your Mozilla account where they are stored encrypted using a key of your choice (different from your password).
While Mozilla has been offering the Sync feature through an add-on from a long time, it is in Firefox 4 that this feature will come as part of the browser itself. Google Chrome and Opera also offer syncing abilities although not as powerful as Firefox, however with version 6, Google Chrome will also support syncing extensions, something which is not applicable to Opera and still not available in Sync.
These are probably the most visible changes in beta 4, but not the extent of the changes. Beta 4 also adds an experimental animation API and support for the buffered property in HTML5 video. You can get a more thorough list of new feature here.
You can download Firefox 4 from Mozilla Firefox beta website.