Mozilla has been looking at different ways to optimize the user’s experience when they open a new tab in Firefox. By default Firefox is set to display a blank page whenever a new tab is opened, and from there the user normally performs a search or navigates to one of their favorite sites. From the sounds of it they’re looking to add something much like what Opera already does with Speed Dial.

Using that idea one developer decided to create an extension called Auto Dial. It grabs information from your browser’s history to determine what your most visited sites are, and it will display them in a format similar to what you see in the screenshot above. The more popular sites are larger and listed towards the top, while the less visited sites are at the bottom and occupy less space. The number of items shown on the screen at a time will change depending on the size of your browser window.

As it stands right now Auto Dial is far from being anything fancy. The only way you can access the Auto Dial page is to visit chrome://autodial/content in Firefox, which you can then set as your homepage. If you want the page to appear whenever you create a new tab you’ll need to use an extension like Tab Mix Plus or New Tab Homepage.

I like some of the ideas Mozilla has for optimizing the new tab page, and it will be interesting to see if any of the improvements will be coming in the early part of 2009 when Firefox 3.1 is due out. Would you like to see a revamped new tab page, or are you content with the blank screen?

Get Auto Dial for Firefox
Thanks Cody!