Firefox has been quite inspired by Chrome, like Chrome by Firefox… and it will keep doing so

Google celebrated Chrome’s 10-year anniversary by launching Chrome 69, a turning point for the browser. This version had a change the company does not usually make: an interface redesign that suits Chrome very nicely. However, the reference to the unsuccessful Australis design (due to the curvy tabs) that Firefox used from version 29 to version 56 was unavoidable, just like many users pointed out.

We ignore whether Google was inspired by Firefox Australis to redesign Chrome or not.  What is evident is that Google has done a neater and more elegant job. According to ZDNet, the company is getting ready to add some features that Firefox currently has or has had at some point: tab groups and scrollable tabs. Both features have been barely unveiled, so they may arrive in the future, but the way they will do so is not certain yet.

As for the tab groups, the proposal on Chromium has already been made. According to the description, “users can organize tabs into visually distinct groups, e.g. to separate tabs associated with different tasks.” How it will be done is unknown. It could be like Firefox did it. The article’s author says Vivaldi’s tab stacking feature is another possibility, although the browser that first had it was Opera.

In any case, it is worth mentioning that Firefox removed tab groups two years ago. According to Mozilla, RSS support will also be removed in the next version because it was a leftover. The company kept the feature with an extension that did not work with Quantum. However, there are extensions for both Firefox and Chrome enabling the feature, so we do not think this is a major issue that needs fixing.

Let’s talk about scrollable tabs and redefine them because we can already scroll tabs with the mouse wheel in Chrome. The idea now is to have a scrollable tabs bar like Firefox’s, so it makes it easier for us to see them once the tabs have reached their minimum width. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Firefox’s tabs bar is evidently better designed for this. We hope this change, which was confirmed by a Google developer, arrives soon.

Does this mean Firefox is being copied as some are claiming? We also heard at one point about Firefox being “chromized,” and the issue was left unresolved. The unification of the address bar and the search bar by default (it could be done manually for a long time without losing any functionality) and the menu in the tool bar show the browser was clearly inspired by Chrome.

In a nutshell, Opera made tabs and Speed Dial (a new tab showing the bookmarks) popular. Firefox made complements enhancing the browser’s features popular. Chrome popularized multithreading, single-process mode, integrated web apps, and a minimalist trend that was a relief in many senses. One way or another, every browser came up with something.

There is no controversy. Although if there were, it would be OK if the most useful features (where extensions are useless) and the most basic features were copied. For example, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi’s sidebar, Firefox and Vivaldi’s reading mode, Opera and Vivaldi’s option to reopen recently closed tabs, Opera and Vivaldi’s home page and bookmarks…




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