Yandex.Browser: the interface of the future is now in beta

    Today we are ready to announce that the version of Yandex.Browser that we are working on as part of the Cousteau project is being poured into its main beta . We know that many people use it here, and now you will have the opportunity to switch between the new mode and the traditional interface. At the end of November last year, our team first presented to the public its vision of what Yandex.Browser will become in the future. Honestly, we did not expect so many public reviews. For comparison: the flow of offers and bug reports sent from Cousteau turned out to be even greater than after the release of the very first version of Yandex.Browser in 2012. It is not surprising that throughout December we were actively engaged in the analysis of your messages, which largely determined our scope of work for the coming months.





    We want Yandex.Browser beta testing participants to be comfortable tracking changes in the Cousteau project and not have to use two different builds for this. And now I will talk about the results of our work on a new browser over the past month.

    Disabling tab grouping

    One of the most popular topics that our users commented on was the location of the tabs. In the beta version, they will still remain below, but we are working on different options and continue to experiment. We want to talk about them separately. And today I would like to touch on the issue of tab grouping. Moreover, many support requests were dedicated to her and allowed us to create a list of priority corrections.

    The ideological rationale for the grouping of tabs was described in detail last time. Now let's share with you the statistics that pushed our team to work on this opportunity.



    Contrary to popular belief, most users do not have two or three tabs for everyday life on the network. Moreover, about 10% of us open more than ten tabs for their tasks. And almost 3% use more than 20. For example, for me this is a normal working condition. Can you imagine what two or three dozen open tabs are in a browser? I know colleagues who have hundreds of tabs open.

    It would be wrong to simply count the number of open tabs and enter a force grouping based on these data. Based on the basic idea that sites are applications, we initially focused on grouping by domain, but it was impossible to make a decision without verification. In particular, it might have happened by chance that users with 20 tabs have 20 different sites open, and there is no question of any benefit in this case. And here is what we calculated:



    The results showed that more than ten sites are open at 4% of users against 10% for tabs. What is this talking about? The fact that grouping really makes sense for many users, but not for everyone. From the very beginning, we understood that there is a risk of complicating the life of those who have only a few tabs open. And your calls after the launch of alpha confirmed the fears.

    The simplest solution would be an option in the settings, allowing you to enable / disable grouping. But the question remains: should grouping work by default? Should we focus on those who simultaneously work with two or three sites? And where is that line beyond which the grouping is definitely needed? Similar questions spur our future work. Among several options, for example, we consider an algorithm in which a grouping would be offered to users who have crossed the threshold of N simultaneously open domains.

    There is no final solution in the first beta yet, but for now you can use the browser flag : // flags / # disable-custo-tab-grouping to disable grouping. And share your ideas with us.

    Background tabs

    Another problem that has been confirmed thanks to support calls concerns opening tabs in the background - when you select "Open in a new tab" through the context menu of the link (or click with the middle mouse button). In our alpha, such pages sometimes opened inside inactive groups, and it was completely unclear where to look for it now.



    To solve this problem, it was necessary to somehow select the tabs open in the background among all the others. And at the same time highlight the inactive group in which such a tab appeared. I absolutely did not want to invent a bicycle (because we really wanted to correct this situation already in the first update), so we used the known method - now on each background tab there are labels in the form of a circle. Recall that in a similar way we mark those search tips that are formed on the basis of the history of visits.





    It would seem that the background tabs have been successfully selected; it’s easy to find them. We decided to assemble the assembly and test our solution on volunteers. There were no problems with the circle. Background tabs have become visually more noticeable. The problem lurked on the other hand, and for the time being, it was successfully masked by the inconvenience of finding tabs. It consists in this. If the background tab opens in an inactive group, you need to make two clicks to get to the content. This is a whole click more than we are used to.

    The only reasonable option that we did not add clicks that we came up with is to temporarily disable grouping for such tabs. You open the background tab, but it does not fall into the group, but is located next to it until the group is viewed or expanded.



    The procedure for activating tabs

    Another area for us is working on the procedure for opening tabs. Recall that at the moment, after closing the active tab, the focus switches to the tab on the right (standard logic in Chromium). Not the most ideal mechanics, we agree. But she did not cause any particular problems until the moment when the group appeared. Now, users are faced with a situation when, after closing the rightmost tab, the tab from a completely different group became active in the group. Perceived it is not so easy.

    Therefore, in the beta version, we implemented a new, experimental logic, well familiar to many users of the old Opera. It’s not the tab on the right that becomes active, but the one that was used before. This is not the final version, but it would be interesting to know the opinion of the community now.

    Just in case, we added the ability to choose the logic in the settings.



    Optimization for weak computers

    The graphic effects used in the new Yandex.Browser work quite well (we will make a discount on the fact that yesterday it was alpha) work on computers with modern video accelerators (conventionally marked as HD). However, there is equipment that, unlike us, is completely not happy with the smooth blurring and other graphic refinements in the browser. We do not want to close our eyes to this, therefore we are constantly looking for ways to optimize.

    At the first stage (that is, already in the current beta), Yandex.Browser will turn off the bluetooth and replace it with a white fill with opacity 0.9 for devices with weak video cards (GMA). Compromise option. Not too impressive, but you can already work.
    There is a third category. These are the most problematic video cards that can even be banned at the Chromium level, or the browser does not have access to work with such devices. Such equipment will not cope even with the simplest opacity, so in this case we will use a simple white substrate.

    This is what we already managed to do for the first beta. In future releases, we will try to talk about our other plans aimed at increasing productivity.

    Bookmarks

    From the very beginning, we did not hide that we did not plan to cut bookmarks from the browser. However, they did not begin to simply copy them from the current traditional interface to the new one. The usual bookmarks bar, located under the address bar, does not fit into the new interface at all. And it's not about the design. There is no big problem in making it translucent (although such a solution would lead to difficulties in working with transparency in some situations). And not even that we don’t have a classic address bar in this place. Another line in the header is, again, the path to piling up the panels and the “banding” of the browser.

    In current versions of Yandex.Browser there is a fairly popular option among users, which allows you to display bookmarks only by clicking in the address bar. Thus, bookmarks are just a click away and do not take up space when they are not needed. It was this experience that we applied in the new interface, moving the bookmarks to the Inside and a new tab.



    Switching between Cousteau and the traditional interface

    As it was said at the very beginning, the new beta version of Yandex.Browser allows everyone to choose the interface in which they are comfortable working. The corresponding item can be found in the main menu.



    We do not get tired of repeating that the bug reports sent to us (or just comments on the Habré) matter. We listen and respond. Sometimes it’s not as lightning fast as we all would like, but it really works.

    Something else. Cousteau’s appearance in the beta channel doesn’t mean that after six weeks all Yandex.Browser users will suddenly update and get a new interface. Do not be afraid of this. Work on the new browser will continue as part of the beta. We will experiment with ideas and listen to community reactions. A stable version of Yandex.Browser will evolve gradually, without unexpected shocks. Some ideas from Cousteau may appear there earlier than others. And with your help, this process will become even smoother.

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