What Is Speed Dial?
Speed Dial is a concept, introduced with Opera 9.2, where several (usually nine) thumbnail shots of preselected websites are presented in a grid. The user can easily choose from these items.
The really handy thing about Speed Dial is that it extends the concept of a browser’s home page. Instead of new pages or tabs always opening to Yahoo or a feed reader or the Drudge Report, you now have several options. When you open your browser, you aren’t always doing the same thing, so multiple starting points is a good thing.
Opera First, Of Course
Opera was first browser to implement tabbed browsing, mouse gestures, integrated and custom search, a password manager, URL nicknames, session restore, tab previews, and other innovative features. Now they’re first with Speed Dial. To date, Opera is the only browser to implement this feature.
Firefox Add-ons Catch Up
Just as you can trust Opera to innovate, you can trust the Firefox community to crank out an Add-on that catches up. Much like mouse gestures and tab previews, there’s an Add-on for Speed Dial.
Firefox Speed Dial is still in the Sandbox, so you’ll need to register and sign in, but once you do you can add Speed Dial to Firefox.
To setup the Firefox Speed Dial Add-on, sign into the Mozilla Sandbox, download and install the Add-on, then restart Firefox. You then need to add the Speed Dial button to the navigation toolbar. Open an empty tab or window, click the Speed Dial button, and start assigning slots in the grid to websites.
At the moment, the integrated Opera Speed Dial feels and looks much cleaner. Given that you have to dig Firefox Speed Dial out of the Mozilla Sandbox, that’s not terribly unexpected. Hopefully the Add-on will improve and Firefox users can enjoy it as much as Opera users are. On the flip side, the Firefox Add-on gives you a little more control.
Bonus: Tab Preview
In the screenshots above you can see that a thumbnail preview of the third tab is visible. This feature also comes standard with Opera, and it is also an Add-on for Firefox.