This morning when I woke up I noticed that I had more than 20 tabs open in Firefox that I still needed to sort through and read. Most of them were articles that I found the previous day, but never got around to reading. Despite having a 24” monitor I still find that having 20 tabs open takes up a lot of room, and what I really needed was a folder-like structure for my tabs.

Some of you might be thinking that I should just bookmark the items into a temporary folder to read later on. That’s not a bad idea, but I’ve tried that before and I typically forget about reading them. So I did what every Firefox user does…went and searched Mozilla’s Firefox Extension page for something that would fulfill my needs.

I was pretty disappointed that I didn’t find anything. I then turned to Google trying to see if I could find something that would do what I was looking for. After about 30–minutes I came across an extension called Tab Groups that was just released three weeks ago. My initial thought was “why didn’t I see this on the Firefox Extension page?” which I later found out was because the developer has not yet submitted this to Mozilla.

Firefox Tab Groups

It sounded like exactly what I needed so I went ahead and installed it. As you can see in the screenshot above it creates a new toolbar that essentially adds tabs to your tabs. Here are features it currently offers:

  • Tab Groups: Grouping of tabs into groups with a tab bar to manage groups, only the browser tabs in the currently selected group are shown.
  • New tabs are opened in current group
  • Drag And Drop of tabs between groups
  • Renaming of groups
  • Support for Session Store (Firefox 2 built in session storage) and undo-close tab (again only the one built into FF2). In other words tab groups will be restored along with tabs with restored tabs being placed in the correct group.

This extension is only for Firefox 2 users which makes sense since it uses the built-in session restore to remember tab groupings. There are some known bugs that you should also consider before getting cozy with the extension, such as a lack of “group overflow” management. That means if you have too many groupings they will extend beyond the edge of your Firefox window and simply run off of the screen without allowing you to scroll and see them.

I also began thinking about some features that would be pretty cool to see in this extension, such as bookmarking a whole group of tabs. Then I noticed the Planned Features section for the extension which says that particular feature should be in version 0.05 which is currently three releases away (it’s currently at 0.02). Looking at the Planned Features page will make you realize that the developer has a lot of things he/she would like to do with the extension, and I can’t wait.

I’m currently using this on a Firefox 3 nightly and it is running great, except for a small gap between the grouping tabs and the Tabbar (pictured above), but that is something I can live with. I’m actually not sure if that problem is with Firefox 3 or if it is the visual properties of Vista that’s causing the problem…either way it doesn’t detract from the value that the extension adds.

Tab Groups Homepage
Here is a mirror of Tab Groups 0.2 (I recommend downloading from the homepage since it will probably be frequently updated).