Firefox 3.2: A Sneak Peek Ahead

With Firefox 3.1 creeping closer to its release, Mozilla is starting to look ahead to the browser’s next major update. Ready for a sneak peek at what’s in store for Firefox 3.2?

Meet Firefox 3.2

Several new features are being planned for Firefox 3.2, Mozilla engineer Mike Connor revealed in an interview this morning. Among them:

• Integration of Mozilla’s Ubiquity Labs project. Ubiquity lets you enter “natural language” phrases directly into the browser — phrases like “share-on-delicious” to bookmark a page on Delicious, for example. (Demo video here.) The Labs version of Ubiquity, once installed, requires you to hit Ctrl-Space to input the commands. Mozilla wants to build the functionality directly into Firefox’s “Awesome Bar” for the 3.2 release, Connor says.

Firefox 3.2 - Ubiquity

• Integration of Mozilla’s Prism Labs project. Prism offers the Chrome-like ability to “split Web applications” out of your browser and have them function as standalone desktop utilities. Say you wanted to be able to run Google Calendar like a regular program. With Prism, you can give it its own environment that’ll look and act more like an application than a browser window.

Firefox 3.2 - Prism

• Addition of “lightweight theming.” That’ll mean you can customize your browser’s look without having to download individual themes or add-ons.

Other features under development in Mozilla Labs may make their way into future versions of Firefox, too. “We’re looking for more pure innovation than just incrementally getting better,” Connor tells PC Pro. “All the stuff we set out to do in the beginning is already done. What next? Make it faster? That’s not really a great answer for us.”

Firefox 3.2 could come by the end of the year, Connor indicates. It may also end up being pushed back until next spring.

In the meantime, Mozilla is beginning its final testing on Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 this week. New details about the timeline for the beta’s release are here.