Any Chance Tab Groups Will Ever Come?

Yeah for sure, the more “core” like features that can be directly integrated the better IMO. But I’m even more weary with something that has access to all tabs and browser data.

The available extensions do NOT offer the correct functionality, and nobody seems to have any answers about why they haven’t implemented it yet. It seems like a simple UI addition, no? Firefox’s UI is already very modular, so I am confused on what the issue is.

No, it doesn’t seem like a simple UI addition to me. The basics seem relatively simple, but to get everything to work correctly in every situation requires a huge amount of integration and testing – and then maintaining the feature.

(A co-worker and I once implemented a “simple” new feature in three days just to prove it could be done and would be useful. (This wasn’t a Mozilla project.) It took several people three months to get it fully implemented in the code base, with high quality code, looking correct instead of hacked-in, with appropriate documentation, and with automated tests. Simple to describe doesn’t mean simple to make product quality.)

The simple reason for why it hasn’t been implemented is that no one has been willing to put in the resources to implement it fully and correctly.

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Yeah I think you’re right here, it’s still something that keeps me from being willing to use it as my primary browser though. I just worry, Firefox has been losing market share and continues to fall behind other options when it comes to features, things like no tab groups, removal of the SSB (PWA support), etc…

Oh, but that’s not true. I can explain it simply:
Mozilla have killed all the API calls required to implement tab groups.

It’s simple as that. With the (web)API change they have killed about 90% of the relevant extensions (which actually made Firefox different from other browsers) on the altar or Stability And Simplicity™. Some open bugs are there since before even the API went public and still unresolved, most others were closed years ago by the developers as “we don’t care”, “sounds nice but no”.

If you check the extensions you’ll find many “tab groups” ones and you will quickly realise that none of them can actually do squat about tabs, they all try to sort them into windows, menus, tree lists and whatever, display or hide them, trying to use the half-baked API collection what there is.

I got tired asking about this, and extremely important stuff like password management, because issues were closed, pushed into oblivion or put into stasis. For years now, and counting.

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Dear Mrs @Laura_Chambers,

Mozilla Firefox is our beloved browser :orange_heart:. Community members (Mozillians) like us have been using and promoting it for more than a decade and only want it to succeed in its mission to offer a privacy-respecting alternative in a Chromium-dominated browser landscape (for many years to come).

In this blog post (https://blog.mozilla.org/en/mozilla/a-new-chapter-for-mozilla-laura-chambers-expanded-role/), written right after your appointment as the new CEO of Mozilla Corporation, we could read the following:

2. Outstanding Execution: Focus, Processes, Capabilities: Doubling down on our core products, like Firefox, and building out our capabilities and innovation pipeline to bring new compelling products to market.

:pray: May I suggest to let the Firefox development team focus on Tab Grouping functionality and that you assign enough resources (UI designers, engineers and testers) to this crucial feature? Other browsers (Chrome, Edge, Vivaldi …) already offer this functionality. It is essential for modern day browsing in which people have tens or hundreds of tabs opened at the same time. On the Mozilla Connect portal, it is the no. 1 most requested feature: https://connect.mozilla.org/t5/ideas/native-tab-grouping-more-customizable-tab-bar/idi-p/303.

Please let Firefox grow by providing useful features like these, not (only) by inserting AI into the browser. Community will love this and will help boost Firefox’s adoption numbers.

Thank you for taking this into consideration.

PS. I invite others to spread this message through social media :loudspeaker:. Please refrain from impolite responses.

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Hello! Thanks for reaching out. I have some good news! I checked in with the team, and they have prioritized the work and have a people assigned to work on it.

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This is great news, so cool seeing the CEO reply here too, love it!

Thanks for the update, absolutely stoked!

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This is great news! :orange_heart:

And the fact that Mozilla’s CEO takes the time to get in touch with the community is even more amazing. Thank you so much. This inspires confidence for the future of Firefox.

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Love having you here Laura!

I’m afraid to point out, though, that Mozilla has not only blatantly ignored the issue for years, but also didn’t give any feedback to the many users asking for it to be solved.

You did it, so thank you.

However I fear many many more users have been disappointed by Mozilla’s dullness and I believe you, as the CEO, should dig a bit deeper to understand the root cause of this unacceptable behaviour, and also release some kind of official communication (if not changing completely Mozilla’s marketing strategy, very different story though).

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Thanks for inviting me in to the conversation! I’d love any advice as I ramp up - good communities / discussions to join, things I should work with the teams to prioritize, etc etc. Thanks!

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How a great news. Little trivia: Firefox was the first browser to implement tab groups -Panorama- landed in 2011*; now we won’t be the last to have it either.

* https://wiki.mozilla.org/Panorama

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Please don’t copy Google Chrome blindly, I feel Mozilla is operated like a big Cooperation these days.

By default default it should work like Google Chrome to attract new users, but have advance features, hence, I want to see Workspaces (Like how it used to be on Firefox before addon architect changed) in addition to Tab-Gouping like Google Chrome. I moved to Firefox because of advance features and now other browsers like Vivaldi and others are tempting me.

Also, bring back Bookmark comments, and Better bookmark management features. it is crucial

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I hope you will bring a breath of fresh air and try to do what the previous people did not, evolve Firefox.
Let’s hope that within 2024 we will see the missing features other browsers have for years now, and make Firefox relevant again.
Also something needs to be done for the engine as well. Gecko/Quantum does not seem to cut it anymore at its current state.
In general please do some meetings with the teams. I understand that Mozilla is a company and the board and shareholders are financially invested, but the browser is used by normal users and these are the people that eventually keep the company afloat in presence.
Try to take some risks. eg. for the engine, change to servo, or work with Apple on webkit or whatever makes sense if continue developing the current one is not efficient.

Looking forward to see your work in action. All the best!!

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Incredible, thanks for letting us know the status of tab grouping @Laura_Chambers

The big three to me would be

  • Tab grouping
  • Native sidebar tabs without needing an extension
  • Two finger swiping through containers in the sidebar tabs to switch containers/workspaces

Arc is an up and coming browser and the number one complaint I see from their users is that they should have built it on Firefox’s base instead of Chromium. Firefox can take these users back with a good modern design and implementing those key Arc features.

Either way, just happy to see tab grouping and love seeing a CEO that actually cares and is engaging with the community!

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Finally! It will work on Android? It will work as good as Chrome? Like, when you click an hyperlink it will automatically open and create a tab group? That would be nice.

@Laura_Chambers

I have been a longtime user of Firefox, which became my primary browser from its first release. At that time, it was a breath of fresh air after IE, which was slow, did not block pop-ups, and lacked tabs.

Firefox was the one to show how convenient it is to use tabs.

:pray: May I suggest to let the Firefox development team focus on Tab Grouping functionality and that you assign enough resources (UI designers, engineers, and testers) to this crucial feature? Other browsers (Chrome, Edge, Vivaldi…) already offer this functionality. It is essential for modern-day browsing in which people have tens or hundreds of tabs opened at the same time. On the Mozilla Connect portal, it is the no.

I have tried tab grouping in Chrome and Safari and can confidently say that Firefox, with the Sidebery extension, is capable of handling not just tens or hundreds, but thousands of tabs. Right now, I have 553 tabs open in my home browser and 300+ in my work browser. Yes, I use two browsers (Firefox and Firefox Developer Edition) to separate personal and work activities simply because I use multiple monitors, and this seemed more reliable than using multiple windows in Firefox.

  1. Groups in Chrome or Safari are not a separate container (in the terms of Firefox container). This means they do not solve the problem of accessing one site, like I have a site that does not support user switching, and I would have to constantly log out and log in to switch “context,” all open tabs can potentially “break,” for example, redirect to a 403 because the work user does not have access to the home user’s data. So, grouping in Chrome does not solve the problem of multiple accounts by itself.

  2. Pin tabs in Chrome are the same for all tab groups. In Safari and Sidebery, you can have separate pin tabs for each group.

  3. Vertical tabs are much better when you need to have hundreds of open tabs. They allow you to adjust the sidebar’s width for personal customization between the amount of visible characters and space used. Eye scanning with vertical scrolling is easier, as vertical scrolling is more natural, most of the time we scroll vertically!

  4. Groups of groups? When I created several groups in Chrome for testing, I found that they take up space by tabs, in Safari or Sidebery I can create hundreds of groups, in Chrome after 5–10 groups I need groups for groups.

Overall, I see that groups in Chrome are a solution for very basic grouping tasks up to about 100 tabs, and after that, they cease to be useful.

At the same time, opening tasks in Sidebery immediately gives me groups, as tabs automatically fall into the parent group (any tab can be group by itself), so I don’t need to make additional efforts to get a group with the research that spawned 30 tabs opened from the initial page.

Why I think Firefox Panorama failed, as did Groups in Chrome – they require explicit creation and management of groups.

Therefore, I do not see why Firefox needs “groups like in Chrome”, if you want groups, copy Safari, they are done much better there. And even better, copy Sidebery, it’s genuinely the best way to work with many tabs.

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Thanks for this! I’m sending over to the team working on the feature details so they can review it (and … that’s a lot of tabs!!)

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Did a quick test with Sideberry, and the feature set is impressive indeed!
Personally, I use the Simple Tab Groups extension which follows a different paradigm but works fine for me.

The Chrome implementation has the advantage that most browser users are used to a horizontal tab strip and want to group tabs within this horizontal tab strip by drag&drop in a visual way. The Vivaldi browser allows Workspaces on top of that. That being said, vertical tabs offer other advantages, so it would be great if Firefox would allow for hiding the horizontal tab strip and replacing it with a vertical tab strip (like Edge does).

I hope that extensions offering different flavours of tab grouping (Simple Tab Groups, Sideberry …) can be built more efficiently on top of a Firefox TabGroup API in the future. And Firefox tab groups should complement, not replace Containers.

This makes for a heavy requirements set, but I am confident that the Firefox team can do it.

PS. Let’s not mention Mrs Chambers (CEO) in every post on this thread to avoid spamming her with requirements that are directed towards the development team. Thanks everybody :slight_smile:

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I used Tree Style Tab first for several months as it is very lightweight. Later I wanted to try out Sideberry as well and am impressed how good it is.
I definitely prefer the vertical tab grouping, as it is possible to create trees this way. But a friend of mine is annoyed from the idea of having vertical tabs.
He would love to see it similar to how Chrome has handled that (expanding folders, horizontally).
So I think it would be optimal to give the user the choice to use one (or both) of those options.

Since you are using two browsers to separate personal and work activities: have you tried using two different profiles instead? I myself use about:profiles sometimes to open a different environment for various purposes like testing which add-ons or settings conflict with a website. Plus, it saves two different sets of tabs/settings etc. It is probably similar to what you achieve, but within one browser and with unlimited different set-ups.

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