Firefox Test Pilot: Snooze Tabs and Pulse experiments
Mozilla launched the two new Firefox Test Pilot experiments Snooze Tabs and Pulse recently for all recent versions of the Firefox web browser.
Firefox Test Pilot is a relatively new system that Mozilla uses to gather information about ideas and features that may one day be integrated in the Firefox web browser.
The main idea behind each experiment is feedback and demand gathering. Firefox users may install any public experiment to try new features before they may land in Firefox.
Not all experiments may make it in the browser however. While those who liked the experiment may dislike that a particular feature is not added to Firefox, it is a better approach than pushing out new features without gathering user feedback at all.
Snooze Tabs is the first of the new experiments. It enables you to put tabs to sleep so that it is removed from the Firefox tab bar until it is scheduled to come back.
The feature is really simply. Click on the snooze tabs icon when a tab is active that you want to hide for a time period.
This opens the scheduler which offers several preset time periods that include “later today”, “tomorrow”, and “next month”. While you may pick one of the periods and be done with the configuration, you may also select to load the tab on the next browser start, or a custom period by selecting a date and time manually.
Snooze Tabs displays a confirmation prompt in the Firefox UI that you need to interact with before the tab is removed from the tab bar. You may also cancel the operation at this stage to keep it listed in the tab bar of the browser.
What if you want to restore a tab earlier? The manage snoozed tabs button provides you with that functionality. It opens a list of all tabs that are hidden currently, giving you options to restore them right away, or to send them to the trash instead.
If you click on a tab there it is opened again, but the snoozed tab remains as well. That’s probably what the trash icon is for, as it will remove that site from the managed tabs again.
Snooze Tabs offers several interesting options. You may snooze articles that you encounter during a work day until the evening, may snooze a tab like the perfect anniversary gift until shortly before the anniversary, or simply get tabs out of the way that you don’t work with all the time while Firefox is open.
Snoozed Tabs are restored automatically at the selected date and time. Firefox displays a notification about that, and indicates this as well by changing the icon of the tab for a short period of time.
Firefox Pulse gives users of the browser options to report how well — or not — a site works in the web browser.
Simply click on the Pulse icon — you find it in the address bar, not next to the other extension icons in the main toolbar — rate the experience on the site and hit submit. You may leave a comment, and pick one entry from the “this page is” menu which lets you report the page as fast or broken for instance.
The core idea behind Pulse is to make Firefox better. Users may report broken sites, sites that don’t display correctly in Firefox, or sites that are not fast, and Mozilla may take the data to improve the user experience on these sites by making changes to Firefox.
Snooze Tabs and Pulse add useful features to the browser. While I like Snooze Tabs better, the main reason for that is that I barely encounter sites that work badly or not at all in Firefox. The option to report broken pages or services to Mozilla is great, as it may provide Mozilla with a list of sites that don’t work well in Firefox that the organization might not be aware of at all otherwise.
It remains to be seen whether these two features will find their way into Firefox in this form or another.