Called 'Tab Candy', the new idea is to place tabs inside the browser window, grouping them according to particular associations. The effect is rather like viewing thumbnails, which allows users to keep track of much larger thematic groups using a convenient visual cue.
The best way to understand the concept is to view it. Mozilla design guru Aza Raskin (as it happens the son of the late Apple design guru, Jef Raskin) has released a video that steps through the new interface.
Other advantages are subtle but interesting, such as being able to load large numbers of tabs at the top of a browser window simply by clicking on that Candy thumbnail.
In the current Firefox browser -- or any browser for that matter - the user would need to open these from bookmarks, one by one. It's like having a map of what is important, which makes losing track of important sites harder.
"Often, it's easier to open a new tab than to try to find the open tab you already have. Worse, how many of us keep tabs open as reminders of something we want to do or read later? We're all suffering from infoguilt," comments Raskin by way of explaining the need for a new form of visual cue.
Raskin's team has made available an Alpha download of Tab Candy for anyone who is willing to accept the limitations of running such early software. Be warned, however - at this stage the release is aimed at developers. Timescales for incorporation of Tab Candy are still vague.