A new beta release of the desktop email client Thunderbird has been released with feature improvements despite Mozilla's announcement that it has moved Thunderbird to the bottom of Mozilla's project priority list.Existing users of the email client will automatically notice the user interface changes that can all be attributed to the new Australis interface with its rounded corners, toolbar button designs and quick filter toolbar styling.
It is likely that part of the email program's user base will object the style change with its rounded corners and toolbars that somehow look a bit larger in height than before. I can't really say if this is the case or if the design changes are making me think it looks larger.
The Australis theme is without doubt the major change in Thunderbird 15, but there are more that have been added to the beta version of the application.
Probably the biggest besides the interface changes is that the chat module is now integrated in the global search option of Thunderbird. The email client supports Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk in this regard, and conversations are now included in search results.
Chat accounts can be created under Tools > Chat Status > Show Accounts. Supported are the previously mentioned Twitter, Google Talk and Facebook, and also IRC and XMPP accounts. A click on the chat button in the main toolbar opens the chat interface where you see information about all connected accounts.
The developers have integrated the do not track feature into Thunderbird which has been a feature in Firefox for some time now and also been implemented into other browsers like Internet Explorer and Opera. For email it works in a similar fashion by informing marketing companies that the user of the email client does not want to be tracked. As with the browser feature, it is still up to each company if do not track users get tracked or not.
Thunderbird users need to enable do not track in the beta as it is not enabled by default. This is done with a click on Tools > Options, a switch to Security > Web Content in the options window, and checking the tell web sites I do not want to be tracked preference there.
A new storage provider has been added to Thunderbird's FileLink feature in the beta. Ubuntu One is now available for selection. The feature allows Thunderbird users to upload large email attachments to file hosting services instead, so that only download links are added to the email. This is beneficial in several ways:
Storage providers are configured under Tools > Options > Attachments > Outgoing.
Lastly, the beta changelog lists various fixes and performance improvements. The latest beta can be downloaded from the future release page.
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