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Firefox Friday: moving that orange button, beta 11, Firefox 7 (!) and Home Dash updates

It's a rare occurrence indeed when the Google Chrome news is crowded out by Firefox and Internet Explorer headlines -- but given Microsoft's massive investment in Internet Explorer 9, and Mozilla's excellent Firefox 4, perhaps it's not such a big surprise. Chrome isn't the fresh young upstart any more, and with now only a handful of unique features, Google will have to fight a lot harder to feed its hype machine in 2011.

The big news this week, then, was the apparent announcement of Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 before the end of 2011. I say apparent because the roadmap that we posted actually had 'Draft' written in nice big, bold letters across the top. It's amazing how the entire tech blogosphere missed it -- including us! -- but there you go.

Don't be too disheartened, though: it's all but confirmed that Firefox will be moving to a faster 3- or 4- month release cycle, but once you factor in a transitional period, it would be very hard to squeeze in Firefox 7 before the end of the year. We should at least see Firefox 6, however!

Now, about that hideous orange button...
I suppose we should be grateful that Mozilla moved Firefox 4's infamous orange button in line with your tabs when maximized -- but really, it's still a bit of an eyesore, and it's utterly guano-insane that you can't move it with Toolbars > Customize. Seriously, you can move every other part of the UI, but not the BIG ORANGE BUTTON -- someone at Mozilla must really love orange, or something.

Anyway, if you want to move or remove the orange button, grab the aptly named Movable Firefox Button add-on. By default it shrinks the button down to the size of a pinned tab, but you can also move it to the menu bar so that you only see it when you press Alt.

Betas, betas everywhere

Another week, another beta -- this time, beta 11, which means there's only one more until the Release Candidate! Beta 12, incidentally, is due in just a few days.

To be honest, we're a little bit tired of reporting Firefox 4 beta-related news; we just want Firefox 4 to be finished already. On one hand, it's great that an open source project commands so much attention -- but it sometimes feels a bit like being back at school and waiting for your prom date to get ready. Just do it already, Mozilla: release Firefox 4!

Incidentally, beta 11 also includes the Do Not Track feature -- which, one day, hopefully in the not-so-distant future, will prevent advertising companies from tracking you across the Web with its malcontent cookies.

Home Dash updated

To round of this week in Firefox, Mozilla Labs released an update to Home Dash, an add-on that Lee seemed rather intrigued by when he reviewed the previous version last month.

Home Dash is the next in the successful series of Prospector add-ons, which are designed to make browsing both easier and more efficient. Basically, it's yet another way to prevent power users from being completely overwhelmed once 20 or more tabs are in play. Home Dash internally keeps track of how each tab is related -- whether it spawned a child tab, is the child of a parent tab, or was opened around the same time as another tab -- and then only shows you tabs that are closely related.

Like Panorama, the idea is that most groups of tabs can be separated into very distinct tasks -- social tabs, work tabs, searching tabs -- and having other tabs in your face is simply a distraction.

Home Dash definitely takes some getting used to, but give it a go over the weekend and see if you like it!

Tags: browsers, do not track, DoNotTrack, features, ff4b11, firefox, firefox friday, firefox friday five, FirefoxFriday, FirefoxFridayFive, home dash, HomeDash, mozilla, mozilla labs, MozillaLabs, orange button, OrangeButton, prospector