All has been quiet on the new tab front for the last couple of weeks. We’ve been up to two things in the process of getting the new tab ready for potential uplift into Firefox. The first is we’ve been working on an overview of how the add-on was designed including performance and security. If you’ve ever wanted to get a guided tour of how something like the new tab is implemented, check it out. The second thing we’ve been working on is finding a visual style that blends in with Firefox.
Inspired by the horizontal styling of the thumbnails in Chris Stone’s answer to the call for participation, we’ve got some new designs that incorporate the learnings from the last 36 revisions while finally making it feel much more Firefox-y. Unfortunately, we haven’t implemented the new style yet so for the time being, it’s see only.
By using a horizontal thumbnail clipped from the top of a page, we are capturing the site’s logo and masthead — the most visually distinctive aspect of a web page. By default only the top two visited sites get a visual treatment (to remove visual clutter), but more can be turned on by clicking the little edit icon. We’ve gone to a two-column format to better use the available space. If you have an extra wide monitor, you may get more columns.
All of the features from before are there, like in-line search and automatic RSS. It’s just all cleaned up.
— Edi Lee, Sean Martell, and Aza Raskin from the New Tabs Team.