Download of the Week: Mozilla Thunderbird 3

By on December 10, 2009, 6:30 PM
Mozilla Messaging, the mail focused branch of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, this week removed the beta tags from its Thunderbird client and made the final version available for download. This long-overdue update to the popular Microsoft Outlook alternative brings several handy new features and much needed improvements, including a revamped search system and support for tabs in the user interface.


Having played around with it for the last day I've been particularly impressed with the level of control the new search feature offers. Once you enter something into the search bar, which is dominant at the top of the interface, results are ranked by relevance and displayed along a graph for a visual time line of when messages arrive. Users can then filter results using a series of parameters and save the search as a virtual folder.

It works really fast and is much more comprehensive than Outlook's native search feature -- though in all fairness Xobni has been offering a similar experience for some time via a free plug-in. I didn't care much for the tabbed user interface at first, but have come to appreciate the ability to open several messages in one fell swoop to check on later, all without cluttering the desktop with multiple Windows. Numerous available add-ons can also be displayed as tabs so you could load Google Calendar or Wave right within Thunderbird, for example.


The program's account configuration wizard also received a critical usability enhancement to simplify the initial setup process -- no more asking users for their POP/IMAP, SMTP and SSL/TLS settings. All in all, I came out very impressed with what Mozilla Messaging has done here, and might actually end up switching back to Thunderbird after using Microsoft Outlook for more than 2 years.

If you rely on a desktop client for managing your email you shouldn't hesitate to at least give Thunderbird 3 a try. Mozilla has the full release notes here and the program is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems.




User Comments: 9

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Souljacker Souljacker said:

Woohoo, new Thunderbird... Looks good - haven't tried many of the features yet. Don't like the smart folders though.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Been using Thunderbird for a while now and always liked it. Smart folders is gonna take a bit getting used to, but so far Thunderbird 3 is rather nice .

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

i'm still stuck with TB vers 1.5 i think, i will check out this one for sure.

cheers!

guyver1 said:

since moving all my email accounts over to googlemail online I've not needed a software 'client'.

with gmail i can send and receive email as any of my email accounts and i dont have to worry about backing up email files or folders if something happens to my windwos install and i need a clean install.

I'm very very impressed with googlemail, i wont be using an email client ever again.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

guyver1 said:

since moving all my email accounts over to googlemail online I've not needed a software 'client'.

with gmail i can send and receive email as any of my email accounts and i dont have to worry about backing up email files or folders if something happens to my windwos install and i need a clean install.

I'm very very impressed with googlemail, i wont be using an email client ever again.

Actually before opening the link to download I gave a thought over this, and then read the comments.

I was thinking into giving thunderbird a chance, although I read this and I too use googlemail with links to other accounts and with the offline option it's like software client.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm using TB 2, I really like it as an alternate to Outlook. I'll wait a little while before upgrading to 3.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Looks nice, especially for people who don't have a quality online email account. I don't think i am going to bother with it though as Gmail (especially with their new offline support) has pretty much everything i need. Maybe if they released thunderbird for my ipod touch ;-) to replace the email client i use there.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Been using 2 for a while (since I left SeaMonkey), and downloaded 3 but haven't installed it yet. Since Jose seems to be impressed with it, maybe it's time I installed it.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

guyver1 said:

since moving all my email accounts over to googlemail online I've not needed a software 'client'.

Gmail is precisely what I use Thunderbird FOR.

There are a number of reasons, but if you use your Gmail for more than just personal stuff, it's really useful to have a software client.. Be it Thunderbird or not.

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