The first beta of Firefox 3.1 has arrived after being delayed by about a month. This beta release introduces the ability to switch between tabs using the Ctrl-Tab combination (3d tab switching). The tab-switching feature has been available in form of an extension till now.
Users can also drag and drop tabs between different Firefox windows. The beta release also has geolocation capability – currently available as an add-on - built into it. Geolocation allows users to interact with the web based on their geographic location.
The inbuilt geolocation feature in Firefox 3.1 and Geode – the geolocation extension - are slightly dissimilar. The difference lies in the fact that the former offers users a choice between GPS-based tracking and WiFi-based tracking, whereas Geode only counts on WiFi for tracking the location of a user.
If Firefox loses its marketshare momentum, it won't be because Mozilla's developers are resting on their laurels. On the contrary, programmers are already plugging away on the next version, Firefox 3.1. A recently proposed roadmap points to next month for an alpha debut, with a beta release busting onto the scene in August before finishing up the final code by the end of the year.
In addition to the usual bevy of bug fixes, Firefox 3.1 will incorporate several complimentary features originally pushed to the side in 3.0 due to time constraints. Portions of the Ctrl-Tab extension, such as thumbnail previews of open tabs and tab searching and filtering, are expected to finagle into FF 3.1, along with improved download options, better bookmark tagging, a more powerful location bar, and other goodies.