Mozilla to remove Tab Groups (Panorama) in Firefox 45
After making it clear that full theme support will be discontinued in Firefox, Mozilla announced that it will remove another feature from the browser.
Tab Groups, formerly known as Panorama, allow the creation of groups of tabs that the user can switch between to limit the number of open tabs in the browser at the same time.
The feature was initially offered as an add-on before it was integrated in Firefox 4 as a native feature.
Used for research among other things, the feature is used by 0,01 percent of all users of the browser according to metrics that Mozilla published recently.
Tab Groups, just like full themes, have been moved to the backseat in Firefox a long time ago and it is likely that the lack of promotion is one reason why the feature is not used by many users of the browser.
It is interesting to note that Mozilla announced the removal of Tab Groups back in 2013 but did not act on it in the following two years.
Reasons for removing the feature are low-use but also the "(very) high costs in terms of maintenance".
So what is Mozilla's plan?
The removal is not trivial considering that Mozilla needs to make sure that users don't lose any of their tabs open in groups that are not active.
The current plan is to copy sites of groups that are not active to the bookmarks, but Mozilla looks into other options such as restoring all background groups to separate windows.
Firefox users will be warned that Panorama is going away when Firefox 44 is released early next year, and the feature will be removed in Firefox 45. Nightly users get the warning message already when they open Tab Groups with the Ctrl-Shift-E shortcut.
The main reason why it is removed in Firefox 45 is that the version is the new base for Firefox ESR.
The organization recommends several alternatives such as using bookmarks in the sidebar, using Pocket, or relying on one of the available add-ons for the Firefox browser (without mentioning one).
There does not seem to be an add-on available for Firefox currently that replicates the functionality however. You do get some add-ons that enable you to save open tabs though.
Mozilla warns users of the browser in advance when it comes to the removal of features. That's definitely the better approach than removing features without any form of warning.
The organization should consider however that feature removals are perceived in a negative way by the majority of users even by those who are not using these features. (via SÃ¶ren Hentzschel)
What? I use panorama a lot to separate different tasks. I sure as hell am not going to use Pocket when I can store my sessions safely in my own local system.
If they want to make Chrome so badly, what reason do we have to use Firefox over Chrome? At this rate, it’ll just be Chrome-that-eats-a-little-less-ram. Therefore, useless.
Between this and removal of addons there’s really no more reasons to use firefox.
“At this rate, it’ll just be Chrome-that-eats-a-little-less-ram.”
Not for long. When Electrolysis (E10) comes, I bet it is same with Firefox, RAM eater -> power users with lots of tabs open have to move to another browser.
I hope eventually Firefox can distribute the cores of the CPU to rendering multiple tabs at once, like Chrome does. Say, restoring 30 tabs, all 4 cores can be active in rendering them, rather than just 1 with the others handling the plugin overhead.
Someone will bundle it into an extension, which is what it should have been to start with.
Chromium based Firefox
W H E N ?
I hope soon. If they are stripping the browser of features anyway, they might as well save us the trouble of having to include moz- in css.
You don’t have to do that already. Firefox is always the first browser to adopt regular standard CSS. For example, Firefox dropped the browser prefix for CSS Animations on October 9, 2012 whereas Google Chrome didn’t drop it until May 19, 2015.
If you want to complain about useless prefixes then complain to Google for Chrome and Apple for Safari. Hell Safari required the webkit prefix for animations until 2 freaking months ago! (September 30, 2015)
Mozilla are not the people to complain to about useless prefixes.
I hope that OneTab(an extension) will work…
OneTab works :)
I’ve never heard of OneTab until now, I actually might like this better so I am going to try this out tomorrow to see if this works better or not. Either way, Firefox is already killing the feature so it doesn’t matter if OneTab is better or not, as long as it solves the issue in general.
Thanks for mentioning this addon. :)
I do not understand. Why do they want to destroy Firefox?
Do they all hope for a job at google?
When XUL is finally gone, FF will have zero advantages over Chrome and just lots of disadvantages.
The Mozilla Foundation earns 100+ millions dollars annually as a “non-profit”, but are more interested in doing less work by removing features left and right, putting Thunderbird in “maintenance mode”, etc. I am not surprised by what they do anymore.
I am still using Firefox but am ready to use Vivaldi if I need to.
I totally agree with you, Dan. Nice name by the way, I’m called Daniel too, but since there’s already a “Daniel” and a “Dan” around on ghacks, i’ve taken to use the Dan82 moniker ;)
When I began to use Firefox in the wake of the shutdown of the traditional Opera browser, it was because the application was so widely customizable. In the past couple of years though, Mozilla has started nipping away bits and pieces of this once great browser and it seems they won’t stop anytime soon. I don’t use Firefox because of the rendering engine Gecko, so I don’t use the browser because I don’t like Webkit/Blink, but because so far all browsers based on the Webkit engine were functional clones of the Google Chrome browser.
While QupZilla are notable exceptions to that, they’re both independently developed and are a long way from being used productively. That’s where Vivaldi comes in, which has a huge potential to be THE best alternative for advanced users who like to set their browser up to their own specifications. The first beta is looking good so far, but there’s some stuff they can improve.
Oh, there’s something missing and I can’t edit the reply for some reason. I wanted to say “While QupZilla and Otter Browser are notable exceptions …”
Vivaldi’s pretty cool. Make sure to give Yandex.Browser a try too.
> I don’t use Firefox because of the rendering engine Gecko
Firefox is replacing Gecko with a new engine called Servo but we don’t know exactly when that will happen. FirefoxOS already has use of it but desktop Firefox doesn’t.
> I don’t use the browser because I don’t like Webkit/Blink, but because so far all browsers based on the Webkit engine were functional clones of the Google Chrome browser.
> That’s where Vivaldi comes in
Vivaldi is directly based on Chromium and thus uses Blink.
So stupids comments Guys…. Why Firefox will use blink/chromium so they develop the revolutionar servo layout engine and shumway and multiprocess and webrender.
Stupid fat hobbit !
Nice job mozilla! I loved this feature. Wait me, PaleMoon!
Pale Moon already removed this feature a year or two ago, so going to Pale Moon probably won’t help you too much…
Tab Groups is available for PaleMoon as a AddOn. Possibly, the same addOn can be used for Firefox (blast stupid code signing, someone will have to sign it). The problem I see is that if they shove all the opened tabs into bookmarks (I have some 200 tabs in various groups) and remove them from the session store, you will have to move all of them back into groups manually (what a pain!).
They have an extension for it, same as Firefox. Though is it built from XUL/XPCOM source code, if it is, there goes your add-on and here comes Pale Moon. The only browser left that follows the moral “Your browser, Your way.”
I find this very sad news. I use Tab Groups often to separate tasks. What a great pity yet another useful feature is being removed! Even worse, with no add-on currently available to restore that functionality!
Just die already
Martin, do you see bright future for Firefox? To many people are joining Chrome because of removal of futures that are unique to Firefox.
TabGroups Helper is great addon that helps me seperate diferent groups of tabs (with Panorama). It seems that we have only hope in Vivaldi :)
I would not say the future is bright but I doubt that it will lose a lot of usage share or regain usage share from Chrome or IE, not with the decisions made currently. They alienate die hard Firefox users with some of the decisions they are making.
Yes. We rely on features, bro. We are POWER USERS.
It’s not because I’m of the 99.99% of Firefoxers who don’t use Panorama that I should be incoherent by stating “Who cares?” or “Good”. Some users care and if we start validating a browser’s functionalities in terms of majority/minority then we’re on the wrong track.
I recall way back when at the University a debate on should tobacco be allowed or not during the courses. In those seventies democracy to the letter and permissiveness to its last extend were the master words, consequently we voted and since most voters smoked the result was “Yes”. Democracy is not perfect and we can imagine circumstances where brains may debate with stats.
Anyway, Mozilla seems to behave like some governments here in Europe (guess which one!) whom say and do one day then deny and undo the other. This is not a mature attitude, but on another hand mistakes do exist and maybe some of the Firefox functionalities removed by Mozilla are worth being forgotten… but why were they installed in the first place? And now, what will be removed tomorrow? I have the feeling Mozilla’s behavior is more of an excitement for chaotic innovation than of calm, intelligent reasoning on what is expected by the users, of what may be profitable on a medium/long term, of what makes a browser a true “better experience”. Mozilla’s think tank could start thinking, IMO. Too much anarchy, lack of a visible plan. What are they up to? Some say the aim is to conciliate the ideal and the facts. If the facts are those of the lobbies then the lobbies are wining at this time. Lack of character, of personality, Mozilla seems to be sliding towards the immensity of universal consensus which would be fine if that consensus was that of the users.
Normally i dont care, but this time: What the FuQ!?! I search heavily one topic. Open 20 tabs. Now have to switch to a different topic and a want keep this 20 tabs to later come back. DafuQ zilla?!
I know someone who relies heavily on Tab Groups (in conjunction with the TabGroups Menu extension) and who is going to be very unhappy with this decision. It’s one of the major reasons he hasn’t switched to Pale Moon, whose Tab Groups extension doesn’t seem to work and play well with with the TabGroups Menu and Session Manager extensions. (The other reason is the lack of Roboform support for Pale Moon.)
I used to use Tab Groups pretty extensively before switching to Pale Moon — it was great for separating different areas of research, decluttering the tab bar, and making specific tabs easier to find — but it’s clumsy without an extension like TabGroups Menu or Tab Groups Helper, and these were a no-go — for me, at least — in Pale Moon. I’m pretty happy with Pale Moon overall, but I sure do miss Tab Groups functionality. Unless someone comes out with a Tab Groups extension for Firefox that is more compatible with related extensions than the one for Pale Moon is, I guess a bunch of Firefox users will soon be sharing my pain. Not much of a consolation, really…
i agree, we need official part of Tab Groups functions for other session managing or session back-up function’s compatibility.
we can realize more lightweight, simmilar functions like Tab Groups. but just remove function is not just right.
all we need is more suggesting tutorials and advice documents about (Multi/Single Window and Bookmark-TabGroups)applied methods for 99.9% users of firefox, not the just cut away TabGroup.
Just die already +1
I don’t understand why people who don’t use Tab Groups would be cheering on its demise. If you don’t use it, it just sits there, hidden away, doing absolutely nothing and (to my knowledge) sucking up no resources. If memory serves, you can even hide the toolbar button that brings up Tab Groups. (Or do you have to proactively choose to display the toolbar button in the first place? I don’t remember.) And judging from how primitive Tab Groups’ native interface is, it doesn’t look as though Mozilla devoted huge resources to the project; a complementary third-party extension is a must to make Tab Groups usable in practice. So why the schadenfreude? I don’t use a heavyweight theme, but you don’t see me rubbing my hands with glee at the prospect of other users having that functionality taken away.
I made the the same comment before him. Don’t know about him but I meant for Firefox itself to die. Not the tab groups feature.
You are really a GENIUS, Martinâ€¼
You explain something very important:
Nobody, who does not want it, HAS to use it!
That’s also the case e.g. with Smartphones (The Note 5 only has 40 % of the Note 3 features!)
If somebody does not want a feature, NOBODY FORCES HIM TO USE IT! It’s available. And who knows, who else still needs such a feature?
But if somebody needs or wants a feature, which is missing, then he CAN NOT use it, because that feature is NOT available.
That’s the difference.
While I used to use Tab Group a lot when it first came out and many years afterwards, I’ve switched to using different browsers or multiple windows of the same browser. This is due to me getting a second monitor and can separate the tasks to different screens.
Ironically, I’ve been debating on using it again for research. Oh well. I’ll still use it while it’s there….
When this goes away, I go away.
“is used by 0,01 percent of all users of the browser according to metrics”
This is exactly the same crap that Adobe did to Lightroom and for same reason:
There are comments that specify correct reason for bad and wrong metrics – advanced users just stop them. Thus metrics are representative only for the most dumb users.
Mozilla, take a lesson from Adobe’s failure and do not repeat it!
Tab grouping is the main reason why I switched from Chrome to Firefox… Well, TabGroups Manager will stop working in FF43, because it will not be verified, FF45 will remove entire feature. Pocket or bookmarks are not the options for me. Time to switch to Vivaldi. Their implementation of tab grouping is not that great yet, but at least it is natively there. As Vivaldi supports Chrome extensions, I could uninstall both, Firefox and Chrome, which I keep only because Evernote Web Clipper on FF sucks.
Although Panorama is a feature that I use to group tabs related to specific topics, I switch between the tab groups ‘very rarely’ (hardly ever), which, to be honest, leads me to procrastinate and neglect them, I can hardly deal with the tabs that I have open in the tab group that I mainly use.
I think this feature should be made into an add-on due to it being used by what I would assume is a very niche group of people who actually need it. I do not think that it is correct for Mozilla to instate features that should be made into add-ons into the browser just because they have the advantage of being the developers of Firefox and because they can, the next time that someone at Mozilla comes up with a useful feature then they should make it as an add-on (just like everybody else) rather than having it integrated as a feature into the browser.
WTF?! I use this feature daily. I’m sick of Mozilla removing powerful features because noob users don’t understand them (guess whose job it was to explain it…). I love Firefox, but Mozilla has seriously lost its way over the past few years.
I think SeaMonkey has something similar to Firefox Tab Groups.
That’s completely correct, bro!
We are the POWER USERS!
We rely on FEATURES!
I have many different projects I have to task switch between, sometimes daily, sometimes weeks and months between. I organize them all with tab groups so I can easily get back to where I was without having to try to maintain bookmarks.
This is also one of the main/only reasons I am using Firefox anymore rather than Chrome for development. Please keep this feature, Mozilla!
Yeah! Please keep it!
Mozilla is not reading this article so if you want to make your voice known, make your comment on the bug report to remove it. – https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1221050 – I commented there as well.
However, I think they have already made up their mind and don’t care what we have to say.
Samsung removed many features from their 2015 Phones. And Opera since Version 15. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Features_of_the_Opera_web_browser )
Now FIREFOX WANTS TO REPEAT THE SAME MISTAKE?
I hate it, if features are removed. Please don’t!
@Captain.Techlord Opera messed up their browser but also most of the people who made Opera great have branched out on their own to make Vivaldi browser so Vivaldi is more “Opera” than the new Opera is.
Just saw the news while opening my Tab groups…
As stated in this article, the lack of promotion for this feature might be sadly the main reason of its disappearance.
First of all, I am generally not the kind of user providing feedbacks or carrying about any software/application changes.
Secondly I do not know where I have to go to be heard nor how to constructively give my opinion to Mozilla dev.
But here is what I want to say: Tab Group has been, for me, one of those features that makes a huge step forward into the web browsing experience. I have been able to structure unbelievably fast not only my tabs but the way I look for and process web information / content. I do not need to go into complex menus nor be worried about storing my information ‘online’ (Pocket feature for instance) to make it happen. It is local, it is there, and it is fast.
Being a daily user of web browsing, I have really believed that the feature could have make Firefox a true precursor/forerunner in the Internet Browsing. The reality is different…
Hopefully another browser will take this opportunity and succeed with this kind of features.
In the meanwhile, could anyone recommend good addon to get something similar?
There’s this, but from my understanding it’s not even available for Firefox under 45.0a1 because it’s a work in progress once Mozilla makes the official decision to remove Tab Groups in Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-groups/. A Ghacks article will explain this better: https://www.ghacks.net/2015/11/22/tab-groups-add-on-for-firefox-resurrects-soon-to-be-removed-panorama-feature/.
Way a head of you. It’s called Pale Moon (an Open Source web browser forked off from the Firefox/Mozilla code that focuses on efficiency and ease of use) and Vivaldi (Adaptive Interface, Spatial Navigation, Email & Notes, Powerful Bookmarks, Web Panels, Tab Stacks and many more customizations back from the old Presto days) These two browsers promise to give back the functions of customization, flexibility and above all, user choice!
it’s back as an Addon, http://www.howtogeek.com/235670/organize-manage-your-firefox-tabs-like-a-pro-with-the-tab-groups-add-on/
But a native feature is more pleasent.
Features MUST NEVER be REMOVED!
There aren’t just ROOKIES in this world.
We are THE POWER USERSâ€¼
@surah: I’m with you, bro!
Not a good move. Among numerous other users, I too use Tab Groups on a daily basis.
don’t panic! it seem there is an add on replacement…
about discontinuing the Tab Groups feature: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/tab-groups-removal
The URL for the tab goups add-on https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/tab-groups-panorama/
Firefox and Opera were known not to be for minimalists or rookies.
Firefox and Opera are for power users who want features!
And feature removals are stupid, because a successor must cover the complete feature range of a predecessor. That’s how Samsung failed in 2015 with their S6 and the Note 5. It’s not only the MicroSD, Removable Battery, USB 2.0, MHL and Waterproofness. Many menu features and costumizabilities and useful gimmicks were removed.
And those ADD-ONS will never be as good as a native feature. Add-Ons are no replacement for a native feature.
Just stop showing off with this stupid add-on! We want this as a native and basic equipment (German: â€žGrundausstattungâ€œ) of Firefox.
Minimalists will always be the enemies of the power users. That’s what happened on the smartphone market. Minimalists were whining about the Note 3, which has â€œToo many featuresâ€. But how can a Smartphone have too many features! Minimalists should shut up and buy an Apple. But Samsung was the brand for power users, until minimalists intimidated them and convinced Samsung to build minimalistic smartphones with vulnerable glass design and 70% removed features in 2015. Firefox must not repeat the suicide attempt of Samsung or Opera.
Why does Mozilla keep screwing up and ‘fixing’ things that weren’t broken to begin with? They’ve become as stupid as Google, which is why I left Google and went across to Mozilla in the first place – I was fed up with Google’s stupidity and dictatorship mentality, but now Mozilla seems to be in ‘copycat’ mode and are following Google’s idiotic example.
Fine. I’ll flush Mozilla, too, and find a browser that has nothing to do with either of them.
I use tab groups every day and dunno where Mozilla took that 0,01% usage stats ((((((((((((((9
Tree Style Tabs anyone? (Firefox addon)
The real problem here is that they are removing a feature which some users like me absolutely depend on. While it seems OK that they are pushing us onto a plug in, the problem comes with the inevitable plug in breaking update down the road. Moving anything out of the core will cause this sooner or later. What happens then? Will I loose 1300+ tabs? I may as well not be saving sessions at all.
Tab Group removal alarmed me also – I cluster related modules/functions/web pages in specific tabs for quick access to desired activity. “Tab Groups 1.0.2” provides that utility. I am a casual user who enjoys FF customization. Tab Groups continues to make surfing fast and convenient.
Late ’09 iMac/OS X 10.11.3/FF 45.0.1/Open Office 4.1.2
Is this the only feature to be removed, or are there more features to be doomed?
Change for no reason. Removal of things for no reason. Rearranging everything for no reason. Adding nonsense for no reason. Breaking familiarity for no reason. Removing options for no reason. Playing with version numbers for no reason. Nightly “releases” for no reason. Not the way to do software.
Software AND other products (like Smartphones) shold always cover the complete feature range of their predecessors, so that you can upgrade without any worry of losing any features.
If you see a feature, you should be sure, that all succcessors have it too. But that was not really the case recnetly.
Example: The Galaxy S6 has a really reduced feature range, so that minimalists are just satisfied. But how about power users?
Hyun Yeul Lee is defenetly no power user. (see: Unpacked2015, Episode 1 (Galaxy S6), Time: 00:17:50) – â€žWe started with a more logical structure, and REDUCED the stuff to the menus and settingsâ€¦we REMOVED everything (that got in the way of you having the best experience with your device)â€œ
What does that mean? A feature can’t be IN THE WAY of the best experience. But missing features can be.
So it’s not worthed to remove any features.
Windows Edge for me once it gets its act together. Firefox and Chrome have gone from smart, speedy browsers to sluggish bloatware crap.
I’ve been using browsers since Netscape and Edge at least looks interesting – better than IE that’s for sure.
I do agree on the part “from past to present”!
I have recently tried to use Vivaldi web browser -developed by the co-founder of Opera using the core of chrome/chromium. And I have to say I am quiet happy so far and recommend to try it to everyone.
On the other hand, Opera has started offering revolutionary features to users such as “unlimited VPN” button (passing through either US/Canada/Germany/Singapore/Netherlands) and few others.
I never saw any warnings…. now sitting with two groups of tab windows in two browser windows and now way to merge them. I was a regular user of this feature and am annoyed it is gone. The replacement plugin is begware.