Want to get a look at the future of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser for PCs? The developers of the open source web browser have been working on a dramatic overhaul of the user interface, and you can now check it out by downloading a nightly build of Firefox for Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Mozilla calls the new UI Australis, and if you’ve used Firefox on an Android phone or tablet recently, some of the elements should look familiar. Part of the goal is to provide a more unified experience across devices.
But the desktop version of Firefox maintains support for a wide range of plugins and gains a number of new customization options that helps set it apart from Firefox Mobile… or Google Chrome, for that matter.
On the one hand, Firefox has been looking more and more like Chrome over the last few years, with the disappearance of a dedicated menu bar and a move toward icons over text menus.
But even with the new Australis UI, Firefox is much more customizable than Chrome. For instance, when you first run the browser you’ll notice that most of the menu items you don’t use very often are hiding behind a settings icon in the far right corner. But you can drag and drop any of those items onto the toolbar if you’d rather have them always available.
Under the hood, Mozilla says Australis also has a more extensible interface model which will help when it’s time to add new features while continuing to support browser add-ons and themes.