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Originally planned for Firefox 3.0 and 3.5 but finally backed out in both development cycles, tab preview is available again in Firefox 3.6 alpha 1 nightlies to provide visual tab switching: you press Ctrl + Tab to get previews of the current along with the five most recently used tabs, plus an option to show all tabs’ thumbnails.

firefox tab preview

The all tabs preview includes a search bar to look for keywords among tab titles and tab close buttons for some housekeeping.

tabs preview search bar firefox

To enable it in Firefox 3.6 alpha 1 nightly, type about:config in the address bar, search for browser.ctrlTab.previews and change the value to true.

There is also a new behavior in tab previews, instead of moving to the next tab in the tab bar, you can also move to the previously used tab. To enable this new behavior, search for browser.ctrlTab.mostRecentlyUsed and change the value to true.

It definitely looks good and modern (it still has to undergo Windows and Linux theming), but I’m still not convinced on how much it will improve tab switching for heavy tab users like myself (usually 20+ tabs) and also users having less than 5 tabs, but at the very least, I find more helpful than the current combination of tab bar scroll bars and a list.

If you would like to test Firefox 3.6 alpha 1 in Ubuntu Linux, you can add the same PPA repository as for Firefox 3.5 and then:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install firefox-3.6

[via mozilla links]