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Firefox Devs Working on Tab Hover Previews - OMG! Ubuntu

Tab previews are in the works for Mozilla Firefox.

In current versions of the browser, hovering your mouse over a non-focused browser tab shows a small tooltip that displays the web page title — and that’s it.

While this is handy, especially if you have a ton of open tabs (including many from the same site) and are able to read enough of the tab title to distinguish which tab is for which page, you may be more visually-orientated.

Enter tab previews.

In the latest Firefox 123 beta builds Mozilla devs have added a new flag. When this is enabled it overhauls tab tooltips with a new ‘card’ design that shows a thumbnail preview of the webpage, the website/webpage title, and the page URL.

Top: default tooltips; bottom: tab previews enabled

As this flag/switch is not enabled by default in current Firefox beta builds we shouldn’t expect to find this feature included in Firefox 123 when it’s released later this month.

But the fact Firefox devs are working on tab previews is encouraging.

Other modern web browsers, including Google Chrome, Vivaldi, and Safari (though that’s not available on Linux) already show thumbnail previews when users mouse over non-active browser tabs.

It’s understandable that Firefox would wish to follow suit.

That said, some folks do find tab previews distracting — here’s hoping Mozilla include a user-accessible way to turn them off if — and for now it is still an ‘if’ — they decide to enable them by default for all users.

Enable Tab Previews in Firefox 123 Beta

To try this experimental feature you need to have the latest beta build of Mozilla Firefox.

If you’re on Ubuntu you can install Firefox beta from Mozilla’s APT repo, download a binary from the Firefox website, or use the beta channel in the Snap Store.

Open Firefox Beta and:

  • Go to about:configin a new tab
  • Search for the browser.tabs.cardPreview.enabled flag
  • Double-click on the row to set it to true (or click icon at end of row)

Once enabled, you can use it; you don’t need to restart the browser.

If you don’t wish to see webpage thumbnails in the new tab cards you can disable them by changing the browser.tabs.cardPreview.showThumbnails switch to false.

To control how fast/slow tooltips appear modify browser.tabs.cardPreview.delayMs. This is set to 1000 (milliseconds) by default, meaning tooltips only appear once you’ve hovered over a tab for at least a second.



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