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gnome 3.4

GNOME 3.4 has been released today, bringing many important changes such as video calling for Empathy, smarter pop-ups and message tray, a much improved Epiphany browser, a new menu for some GNOME applications, new scrollbars and more.

GNOME applications

GNOME Documents, Web (Epiphany) and Contacts have a new look in GNOME 3.4 and have gained some new features:

- Epiphany has been renamed to "Web" and is comes with a beautiful new interface which is consistent with the rest of GNOME 3.4 applications. The application also got a redesigned toolbar, a new progress bar and a new "super menu":

GNOME 3.4 epiphany

- Documents: besides an improved interface, the latest GNOME Documents gained an option to create collections of documents and printing support

GNOME Documents 3.4

- Contacts got an improved layout, inline linking suggestions and a new avatar selector:

gnome contacts 3.4

- Empathy got a new audio and video calling interface which is fully integrated into GNOME Shell as well as Windows Live Messaging and Facebook chat support:

empathy video chat gnome 3.4

Also, Empathy now integrates better with Contacts app - for instance, it displays linking suggestions.

- There's also a new GNOME application called "Boxes" which is used to easily connect to remote machines or use virtual machines:

gnome boxes

Application menus

gnome 3.4 new menu

Some GNOME applications which include Documents, Contacts and Web now use a new menu which is displayed on the top GNOME Shell bar and which contains items that affect the whole application. In the future, more applications will make use of this new menu.

Also, as you can see in the screenshot above, some GNOME applications no longer use a titlebar when maximized, increasing the screen real estate.


Other smaller, but still significant changes include:

- Smaller scrollbars:

gnome 3.4 scrollbar

- The Activities Overview now supports searching for documents:

gnome shell document search

- GNOME 3.4 uses an animated background which becomes lighter / darker, depending on the time of day:

gnome 3.4 wallpaper

Other changes:
  • Refreshed Adwaita theme
  • Better, smoother videos for the built-in GNOME screen recorder (to use it, press CTRL + ALT + Shift + r)
  • The notification popups are smater and also, the message tray is displayed if you haven't interacted with your computer for a while
  • Smooth scrolling
  • Undo functionality for Nautilus
  • GTK 3.4 got basic support for touch events
  • Better Wayland support
  • Improved system settings: prettier power settings, the network panel allows you to forget the configuration of individual networks, enhanced Wacom graphics tablet support, easier navigation

At the time I'm writing this post, the GNOME 3.4 live images are not ready yet, but if you want to give the latest GNOME 3.4 a try, check out http://www.gnome.org/getting-gnome/ later on to download a live GNOME 3.4 ISO.

Update: GNOME 3.4 is now available in the Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin repositories (well, most of it; for instance Boxes is not available).