What browser tabs you have open right now?

Are you the type of person who always has a lot of browser tabs open? Or are you more of an old fashioned and you prefer to look at one thing at a time. I noticed that older folks and less experienced users tend to browse the web that way. They left click on links, read whatever interests them and then either close the page or hit the back button to return to where they were. Me? I middle click everything. I also hardly ever bookmark things these days. Before we had browser sessions I used to bookmark things I didn’t have time to read, but wanted to save for later. Nowadays I usually just leave the pages open, and just move them to the middle of my tabs.

Here is how I do things: on the left I have bunch of “permanent” tabs that I always want to have open. Stuff like email, Google reader, Terminally Incoherent dashboard, etc… I use the Faviconize Tab extension to make these tabs small and unobtrusive.

On the right side I have my “current” browser tabs – the stuff I’m reading or working on right now. For example, at this precise minute my rightmost tab is the Faviconize Tab extension page which I just looked up and didn’t bother closing. Right behind it is the Terminally Incoherent tab in which I’m typing this very post.

My Firefox is configured to always open new tabs at he far right. So as I work my tab load expands to the right. When I find something I want to save for later I usually just grab the tab and slide it to the left so that it is “in front of” my current workload but “behind” my permanent tabs. I can’t stand the way Chrome clusters related tabs so when Firefox introduced this feature few versions ago, I immediately changed it back to the old behavior.

Just to give you and idea of my tab space here is what I have currently open from left to right:

  1. Google Reader
  2. Google Calendar
  3. Gmail
  4. Twitter
  5. Terminally Incoherent: Drafts page
  6. Terminally Incoherent: Scheduled posts page
  7. Blackberry API for Java page
  8. PHP documentation
  9. 3 Redit threads with book and/or movie recommendations from a while ago – I have yet to sift through these
  10. Isaac Asimov’s SF Magazine – at some point i was considering subscribing to it
  11. WoW AddOn list I was looking at few days ago
  12. My Amazon.com wish list which is more of my “to buy later” list
  13. 2 Newegg tabs with crap I was thinking about buying but I probably don’t need
  14. This list – I have not finished reading it yet but it makes me giggle and reminisce about the good old days when I regularly played pen and paper RPG’s
  15. Reddit front page
  16. Some random reddit thread I was reading then abandoned
  17. This backlogged episode of Spoiler Warning which I’m going to watch after I finish typing this post
  18. Zero Punctuation video page
  19. This tab – the one I’m using to type this post
  20. The Faviconize Tab extension page I mentioned above

So yeah, I have 20 tabs open right now. Granted, everything above tab 15 will get closed out before I go to sleep today, and several of the tabs between 6 and 15 will probably get closed or replaced by different stuff. But most of the time I do have between 10 and 20 tabs open at home.

At work I usually have about twice that number due to the fact that I have two monitors and therefore two Firefox windows open. The left window is for my permatabs, API pages and refference sheets I want to have at hand. The right window is for current reading and my lunch-time reddit browsing type thing.

How about you? How many tabs do you have open right now? Do you have a method of organizing them like I do? Do you prefer the Chrome style clustering of related tabs or like me prefer your new tabs appear on the far right?

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26 Responses to What browser tabs you have open right now?

  1. Karthik UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    1. Fortran 90 reference pages ( 3 tabs )
    2. Numerical recipes page (with links to postscript files)
    3. How to do what you love (An essay by Paul Graham)
    4. Some blog post about adding Instapaper functionality to Conkeror
    5. GMail
    6. Google Reader
    7. Penny-Arcade
    8. This page

    That’s 10 in total. I’m at work, so I have Reddit and Hacker news blocked by Leechblock.
    Clustering tabs definitely makes more sense to my brain, but the idea of a tab itself is very limited. It doesn’t scale. I much prefer Emacs’ Buffers, and by extension, Conkeror. (If only Firefox plugins worked seamlessly in Conkeror.)

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  2. Ronnie UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    Normally way to many, (in the hundreds, things that I will look at soon, but dont) conkeror fuzzy matching works well in that state thou.

    Mind chucking me the links for reddit book threads?

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  3. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    1. Gmail
    2. Google Calendar
    3. A google doc organizing my job search
    4, 5, & 6. 3 tabs with information on various jobs
    7, 8, & 9. 2 slashdot tabs and a reddit tab I was reading but left
    10. Bankruptcy class notes in a tiddlywiki
    11. Wikipedia tab on a case I didn’t read for class
    12. Google search results for a technical problem I have
    13. Google groups discussion of that technical problem
    14. Half.com tab where I marked a textbook as shipped
    15. Google reader
    16. Terminally incoherent

    That’s 16, but I also have Epiphany open with a few more tabs covering fixing a firefox problem, so I could have the instructions up while FF was closed.

    I prefer tab clustering. I used to open tabs to the far right, but I found that I opened far more, and read a lower percent, because sometimes I’d forgotten why I opened the tab before I got to it.

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  4. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    I don’t know if this counts, but with long-form essays, I copy them, put them in a text file, and keep it open in a gedit tab until I read the. So I’ve also got two more tabs – a Vanity Fair article on Greek bonds and a New Yorker article about Ahmadinejad. That way I have some offline reading if I get stuck somewhere without internet or I just want some quick reading on hand. It is also nice because I’m building a searchable archive of good articles.

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  5. kuzux TURKEY Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux says:

    I currently have 118 tabs open(and firefox is consuming 655mb of ram), and most are stuff i started to read and then abandoned. I “clean up” the tabs every once in a while, closing 100+ tabs. If I can find a way to copy the text from vimperator :ls command, i’ll post the list of tabs

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  6. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    1: Laptop I’m thinking I might get if my current one continues dying at its current rate. Should probably bookmark/close this at some point since there actually seems to be a fair bit of life left in the old thing.

    2: A review of a game I was considering playing but now you force me to think about it… that’s not going to happen *tab closed*

    2-6: Bank/money stuff. Looking at various options for what to do with the payout from a 1 year fixed term thing.

    7: Newsfox

    8: FaviconiseTab extension page I opened just now when I was reading the article (it sounded useful).

    Normally I’d have more things open than this; forums, Facebook, random things that Stumbleupon opened but then took a while to load… but not right now. A large part of my browsing ends up encapsulated inside of the Newsfox tab though.

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  7. I follow a similar process to yours, with more permanent pages on the left and short-lived tabs on the right. I work right to left closing tabs as I consume them. When I use Google Reader I quickly knock out all the unread posts into new tabs and view them that way.

    I’ve been using Firefox Vimperator for over a year now, which has reduced my need of permanent tabs for things like webmail and rss. I just assign them “quickmarks” and can pop them up effortlessly whenever they are needed.

    For the consume right to left pattern I have Vimperator set up to use w and e to move left and right between tabs and d for delete. So for casual browsing my left hand middle finger sits on w, index on d, and thumb on the space bar (scroll down a page). That’s all I need for long periods of time as I read and consume tabs. Pages that need more interaction, like those containing videos, I pass over and revisit all at once later on.

    One concern is that d is so easy to hit by mistake, but if I accidentally close a tab I just hit u (undo close tab) to get it back.

    Thanks to not needing permanent tabs I also have Firefox in paranoid mode. :-) When I close Firefox it completely wipes out all cookies, cache, history, etc. When I open Firefox I’m getting a clean slate.

    If I notice a particular tab is lingering for a long period, probably because it’s got a hefty amount of info and requires an extended period of attention, I’ll toss it into Diigo, mark it as “read later,” and close the tab.

    So to answer the main question, it’s lunchtime and my tabs are, left to right,

    * 2 reddit pages from yesterday that I didn’t get to yet
    * YouTube video I still need to get to
    * Java reference page
    * 2 more reddit pages (from today)
    * 4 different blogs with posts from today
    * This page

    Before I finish lunch only the reference page should be the only one left.

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  8. bishop GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    before Google once again redesigned its pages and the Google Redesigned extension worked I used to have only one protected tab which had gmail, reader, news and calendar united in it. Now I have the reader and news tab permanently open. (thank you btw for the favicon extension, it’s really handy!) The rest is most of the time empty, I like it clean. But the thing is that i’m working with vimperator so I kinda have the whole internet at my fingertips ;). I have some important stuff quickmarked, pages that I often visit but do not need all the time in my eyesight. Searching for stuff is also easy thanks to the keyword searches and I have “s” mapped to open Stumbleupon so I can always hit it if I’m bored. You really should check it out as a geek (;

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  9. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    I’m with Chris Wellons on both Google Reader and not using permanent tabs.

    I also don’t use webmail, I prefer console based email clients, so I don’t need anything “resident” to alert me.
    In fact, I hate notifications – I like to concentrate on each task and process them in a batch way, instead of interruption-driven :)

    I have now 32 tabs open, between PHPMyAdmin, Trac & its documentation, Web functional testing tools, and a mix of Slashdot, HackADay, TheDailyWTF and your blog from Google Reader.

    Sometimes I still bookmark some site I find interesting and that I may want to revisit some time in the far future. http://suckless.org/ is an example.

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  10. Jereme Kramer UNITED STATES Google Chrome Linux says:

    My tab use varies greatly depending on what I’ve got going on. Usually my browsing sessions start with just a few pages that I know I want to look at. I then open up various links from those sites into tabs until I have roughly 30, at which point I start looking through them all. Since my tabs tend to spawn from a collection of unrelated sites, I like the way Chrome clusters them so that there’s some semblance of flow when I go through them.

    I usually end up closing out all of my tabs by the time I’m done. The exception is when I’ve got a big research paper to work on and want to keep all of my sources open, or if I’ve decided to search for scholarships/internships. However, if anything is ever open for about a week, it gets pushed into bookmarks.

    I don’t have any permanent tabs, things I visit frequently are on the speed dial page that opens with a new tab.

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  11. Eric GERMANY Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Right now, just 2 tabs. I open all blogs and forums from my bookmarks folder and close them one by one. Within the Blogs this is the second last, so just this window and another one open.

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  12. Tino UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    This is a fun exercise. Lets see. First Firefox:
    1. Blog post about integrity
    2. Google maps voter info (http://maps.google.com/vote) (I didn’t know about this address and had to test it)
    3. Massachusetts election info (trial click in map on tab 2)
    4. List of latest posts in a forum I follow
    5 – 11. Department of Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, 404 page, and a host of other pages trying to track down a scientific software package that had gone missing.
    12. IEEEXplore page, leftover from opening a paper.
    13-16. Discussions and search results of effective mass in solid state physics
    17. A political blog
    18. Swedish newspaper about the Assange case.

    Chrome open on other desktop:
    1. Google Calendar
    2-4. More tabs used for tracking down the missing software package. I.e. various caches and the Firefox ‘Resurrect Pages’ plugin. (It was when I got to this page I switched over to Firefox.)
    5. Ubuntu blueprints for ARM Tool Chain Selection
    6,7. YouTube videos of Ubuntu 10.10 features
    8. Forum discussion about mounting NFS
    9. Ubuntu brainstorm with page about that Nautilus copy should preserve modtime.
    10. Ubuntu bug tracker: bug about that ‘open’ should be an alias to ‘xdg-open’.

    And that is it. I think you caught me on a day with unusually few tabs.

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  13. Nate UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Normally on my desktop, Firefox will have (very) roughly ~200 tabs open, organized throughout half a dozen to a dozen windows. I’ve been trying to cut back though, and I think right now I have <100 open, spread amongst 7 windows.

    I, too, use sessions the way I used to use bookmarks. I've even had tabs several sessions deep– the first tab in a session was a session restore, and the first tab in that session was another session restore, and so on. I've also recently learned how to back up sessions, and am doing so liberally.

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  14. Douglas AUSTRALIA Google Chrome Windows says:

    I’m very lazy with my tabs. I just open them and never close them until I notice that they are there and close them. This is usually when there are so many that I can’t see the Favicons, let alone the loading whirligig on other loading tabs.

    At the moment, nineteen tabs are open.

    1. Google
    2. A ZDNet article.
    3. My personal blog’s WordPress Dashboard.
    4. My forum’s wordpress dashboard.
    5. Twitter, not updating because the connection was broken after it was loaded.
    6. Angus and Robertson’s eBooks Page (looking for info on the Sony Readers, no such luck unfortunately :()
    7. The Delimiter Archives.
    8. A Delimiter News Article
    9. A Google Search
    10. A NYT Article
    11. A Twitpic Photo
    12. An Engadget Article
    13. An Uncyclopedia Article.
    14. Another Uncyclopedia Article
    15. PC Authority
    16. A PC Authority Article
    17. The PC Authority Subscription Page
    18. The BASS Website
    19. This website.

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  15. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Um…two right now…at the most, I might have 3 or 4. Right now, Gmail, and this one.

    If you’ve read an article, I cannot fathom why in hell you would need to leave the tab open. That doesn’t seem to be a “young vs old” thing, I think it’s more a disorganized vs organized (or in my case, semi-organized) person.

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  16. Zeke Innovia UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows says:

    google, for some reason, this, and xkcd.com. normally im filled wiht clutter however. just loads of wikipedia and various wiki’s or games, or stuff for classes i have open cause im a cronic procarastinator, and a cronic multitasker of the wost kind.

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  17. mcai8sh4 UNITED KINGDOM Google Chrome Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    I’m quite a lightweight tab user. Currently I only have 8 tabs open. I don’t tend to use sessions (although occasionally I will if I have to leave the computer without finishing what I’m doing. If there are only a few things I want to read/remember temp I put a bookmark in a temp folder, then when I get time just pull things up as I need them.

    My usual browsing habits are routinley opening bookmarked pages (depending on the day) skimming through the crap, then leaving open the bits I want to read. I do this every day. I USUALLY managed to read/bookmark what I whant before I leave the computer, so all tabs are closed before bed!

    Current tabs :

    0. Gmail
    1. This one
    2. SMBC
    3. Hackurls
    4. cannonmat blog (rereading an old post)
    5. TV guide (so I can see what I’ll not be watching tonight)
    6. Nerdkits forums (MCU geeks – worth looking at)
    7. My buisness site (redesigning it – checking for problems)

    Interestingly enough, I was having a similar conversation in the Pub the other night about what people usually have open in their browser – I was the only one who didn’t say porn!

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  18. Rob UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    I guess I don’t really like having a lot of tabs open, but there are times when I’ve opened quite a few things up. Right now though, it’s a pretty short list:

    1. Gmail
    2. Detnews.com article I was reading
    3. Ubuntu.com (I was downloading a new ISO to reinstall on my laptop)
    4. Facebook
    5. Terminally Incoherent

    Usually I have Google Reader open too, but I just cleared out all the new stuff so I shut the tab down. I guess Gmail is the one that I ALWAYS leave open. Everything else sort of ebbs and flows.

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  19. David UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    The new firefox beta (4.0a/b I think) has a pretty nifty feature.
    http://vimeo.com/13560319

    Reply  |  Quote
  20. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Ronnie:

    Will do once I get home if I don’t forget. :)

    @ Chris Wellons:

    I actually considered using vimperator at one point, but I’m just so used to Firefox way of doing things, I would have a hard time re-adjusting. For text editor making that leap makes sense because you get all the additional power. I’m not sure if it is worth the time and effort to re-learn my web browsing habits though. :P

    @ David:

    I love this feature. I want it now.

    Actually, I want to be able to create a bookmark to a tab group that I could pin to my bookmarks toolbar giving me instant access to my most commonly used groups without needing to zoom out.

    Other than that, amazing feature.

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  21. IceBrain PORTUGAL Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    Steve wrote:

    If you’ve read an article, I cannot fathom why in hell you would need to leave the tab open. That doesn’t seem to be a “young vs old” thing, I think it’s more a disorganized vs organized (or in my case, semi-organized) person.

    I don’t think it’s about reading the article and leaving it open – it’s about opening multiple articles at once, and then reading them one by one.

    Instead of Open Article1 -> Read -> Close -> Open Article2 -> Read -> Close, etc
    I tend to do Open Article1 -> Open Article2 -> Read Article1 -> Close Article1 -> Read Article2 -> Close Article2.

    So Article2 sits in “limbo” while I read Article1. If I have plenty of articles/pages to read, the tab list gets really big :)

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  22. STop DENMARK Google Chrome Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Using mostly Chromium. I have whichever tabs left open from the previous session.
    I have no permanent tabs: my “New Tab” page holds everything I need: Gmail, Google Reader, Facebook, Terminally Incoherent, a couple of CMS backends, etc.
    My “gateways” are Reader and Diigo.

    @ David:
    If you’re on Chrome/Chromium, try Tab Sugar (!)

    Reply  |  Quote
  23. k00pa FINLAND Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    I currently have 2 windows. I dont usually do this, but now I watch video so it is better. (Video is on second screen)

    1) window
    # gmail
    # greader
    # twitter
    # reddit
    # this post
    2)
    # youtube day9 daily

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  24. Jake UNITED STATES Opera Linux says:

    I have very few right now actually as I haven’t been surfing too long. I always keep the same browser session and tend to accumulate tabs like they’re going to go. Right now not too many though..

    1. Last fm profile
    2. A forum
    3. Tumblr dashboard
    4. iGoogle
    5. Facebook
    6. GMail (on my domain)
    7. Blog post to read
    8. This blog post

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  25. Lily UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Until I did some serious clean-up, I had 247 tabs on Firefox. And it barely effected performance. I love my little Firefox. Chrome crashes on me whenever I go over 40 or so.

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  26. Andrew Zimmerman UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    I currently work at intel now. And as sad as it is, my current job is going really slow so, no I don’t have much to do (That’s why I’m here!).
    Anyway I only have one tab open Luke and that’s for this blog. Oh yes.

    All the intel links require IE unfortunately, but they allow Chrome so I just keep both browsers open. And the other has a PGP site open. Confidential you know…

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