Aurora was designed with the intent of creating what the Web of the future will look like. Featuring an integrated Web and desktop environment, Aurora functions in three dimensions on the desktop.
The Aurora concept browser is part of the recently launched Mozilla Labs initiative. Keeping to its open-source roots, Mozilla is throwing open the doors for contributors to work with their teams to help shape the direction of the Web.
"Today we're calling on industry, higher education and people from around the world to get involved and share their ideas and expertise as we collectively explore and design future directions for the Web," states the Mozilla Labs blog.
"Our goal is to bring even more people to the table and provoke thought, facilitate discussion, and inspire future design directions for Firefox, the Mozilla project, and the Web as a whole."
In a video released on the Mozilla Labs blog, the Aurora concept Web browser is demonstrated in the interactions between two people working in separate offices who are surfing the Web at the same time. At first, Aurora seems to be a normal browser as Jill looks for the latest Cubs score. Alan, in a different location, sends Jill a text message and the two of them begin discussing rainfall for their farms.
Then things really start to look different.
The Aurora concept browser is separated from current Web browsers in its integration with the desktop. When looking at a Web page, the page is framed by four distinct elements that make a browsing experience easier and more intuitive.
On the top of the screen, called the Shelf, users have access to frequently used objects. The History Stack, on the left of the screen, gives users a reverse chronological set of recently used objects. The User Stack, on the right of the screen, is a reverse chronological temporary storage space for things users want to keep on hand. The Wheel, at the bottom of the screen, gives users a visual reference for all the objects they are actively connected to.
Next, Aurora gives us the Spatial View, which organizes things on the Web as objects and stores them as they were the last time Jill accessed them. As Jill moves along the Z axis—going back in time through her history—she finds the weather report from the last time she accessed the page. After refreshing the page, the Aurora browser allows Jill to grab data from a Web page and send it to Alan.
In the Spatial View, the power of the Wheel becomes apparent. All the information that passes through the Aurora browser is analyzed and semantic similarities are noted. These similarities then form the basis for the content clusters in the browser.
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