Chicago (IL) – Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox captured the browser headlines this week, igniting a new discussion about performance increases and possible new features that are likely to drive a new round of innovations. Here is our list of the ten features - five for Chrome, five for Firefox - which we would like to see in the next versions.
1. Browser add-ons: No browser is perfect, particularly Chrome. We want compatibility with Firefox add-ons in Chrome. Better yet, connect Google gadgets to Chrome and you have an instant add-on-galore and a powerful open-source add-on platform that extends beyond the iGoogle home page.
2. Themes: We would want o see an SDK to enable the development of themes that will make it easy to change the UI. Allow users to connect themes with custom add-ons (see previous bullet) and make it easy to apply themes with a single click and you have a winner.
3. Online repository: What about an App Store for Chrome? What about an online content repository for all things Chrome: Themes, add-ons, plugins, etc. Integrate it neatly into Chrome UI, like Apple did with the iTunes Store for the iPhone. Such a feature could also extend to saving user settings, bookmarks and history in the cloud - like Weave for Firefox.
4. Security and privacy: No need to re-invent the wheel here. Google should just copy Firefox 3's options against malware and phishing and IE8's excellent privacy settings and we won't complain. We wouldn’t mind to get highly granular security and privacy settings and on a per-site basis make provide clear warnings when malware is encountered.
5. Put Chrome in Android: Chrome is based on the WebKit rendering engine, which is easily deployed across various form-factors, so it shouldn't be difficult to get Chrome into Android. Chrome and Android sounds like a winning combination to us.
1. Code overhaul: We know, every application gets heavier with each revision, but Mozilla seriously needs to think about overhauling its base code. Take Chrome's kernel, especially the memory and process management and make it oversee everything that's happening. Isolate each tab in its own process, protect tabs from affecting each other and assign UI high priority so that it's always responsive.
2. Email client: Can we get a lightweight Thunderbird as part of the package? Think Opera, which comes with an integrated email client. And what about an option during the install to choose between browser only or browser + email client integration?
3. Omnibar: No need for a separate address and search bars anymore, those days are gone. We would like to see Chrome's Omnibar feature and control over what is sent to the chose search provider - we don't want the browser to become a keylogger for search engines.
4. Firefox for mobile phones: Why is this taking so long? 20% of online users bothered to replace their default browser with Firefox, but we're not using our desktop all the time. Can we get Firefox for Windows Mobile, the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry?
5. Re-think tabs: Microsoft had a fantastic idea when it decided to group tabs, Firefox should get this feature as well. Give each tab a thumbnail and make them fluid like in Chrome. Multi-thread the tabs provide an option to create a special page when a new tab is opened – which could include page thumbnails, search engine fields, quick access to the browsing history and downloads.