Firefox may finally be getting a revamped download dialog. Mozilla has been experimenting with a panel-based download manager for close to a year now, but it is now enabled by default in Firefox 14.
It's only available in the Nightly builds, Firefox 14, but it looks like the feature is here to stay, so it should make it all the way to the stable channel and onto millions of computers in a few months. But we've been down this road before and nothing happened.
It doesn't look like much has changed since the feature first showed up. There's a button at the end of the main toolbar, after the home and bookmarks button, if you haven't modified the default layout.
When a download is active, the button will show a timer, in minutes, indicating how long the download is going to take and showing a progress bar below it. Clicking on the button will open up the download panel that will list all current and recent downloads.
The panel means that Firefox can finally ditch the old dialog-based download manager, which has had plenty of critics and for good reason.
However, just because it's getting a new look doesn't mean that the Firefox download manager is changing all that much, the goal is only to have it better integrated with the UI, the functionality will remain largely the same.
Removing the need for a dialog is a step forward, Firefox wants to have configuration pages live inside tabs rather than their own windows, eventually. The panel also enables the download history to be integrated into the regular browsing history manager.