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June 6, 2018

Firefox lets you test new features for side-by-side views and customizing colors

by John_A

For the last couple of years, Mozilla has offered its useful Test Pilot program that lets anyone try out new features it’s thinking about incorporating into its Firefox web browser.

A couple more landed on Tuesday. The first should delight avid multitaskers, while the other will be useful for those who’ve ever felt the need to jazz up the look of their Firefox browser.

Side View lets you open two websites in a single window. This allows you to monitor one page while using another, for example, keeping an eye on a social media feed while watching a YouTube video. Alternatively, you could use it to more easily compare content from two different web pages instead of having to constantly switch between them.

The only way to do this at the current time is to open two separate windows and align them on your display, but Side View offers a quicker and less cumbersome solution. However, at the current time, it offers less control than the old-style method as you can’t drag the second window across to take up more than half of the screen. The original page can be dragged across the screen to obscure part of the second page, but even then, you can’t move the second page around to display the specific part that you want to view.

To launch the feature, you simply click on the Side View button at the top right of your browser and select from a list showing your open websites or ones you were looking at earlier.

Next up is Firefox Colors, which offers the perfect opportunity for a period of serious procrastination before you embark on your web browsing session.

If the current choice of Firefox themes just don’t cut it, Colors may be the answer. It lets you inject a range of colors and background textures into almost any part of your browser — think toolbars, tabs, icons, search bars, and more. Once you’re done, you can save your creation and, if you’re particularly proud of it, share it with others. A range of presets are also available if you’d like a faster route to a new-look Firefox.

To take Side View and Colors for a spin, you’ll need to sign up to Mozilla’s free Test Pilot program. You can do so by hitting this page, entering your email address, and then responding to Mozilla’s email. You’ll then be directed to the Test Pilot hub where you can grab the add-on.

There’s no guarantee Side View and Colors will make it into a future version of Firefox, but any feedback you can offer the team will help it to refine the features, giving them a better chance of making it into an upcoming release.

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