Thunderbird gets new taskbar, address book and support for Matrix

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Mail client Thunderbird will receive support for the Matrix protocol, link previews and a new address book in the next release. Release 102 is, according to the makers, a major new version of the software with many features that the community asked for.

The changes will appear in Thunderbird 102. That version will be released as a beta at the end of May and as a stable version in June. The creators of the mail client promise some big changes, especially in the UX of the software. For example, the import and export tool is better integrated in the software. It will receive a wizard to easily transfer accounts to a new installation. Similarly, it becomes easier to set up other accounts besides email accounts. For example, users can also use Thunderbird more easily as just a calendar or chat tool. Also, email headers are displayed differently. The header will soon contain more information and make it easier to navigate to relevant buttons, the makers say.

Links are also rendered better in Thunderbird 102. A separate link in the compose emails window will show a preview of the page, including an image, in the future version. That becomes optional; users are asked in advance whether they want to show a preview. They can also disable that pop-up.

The developers of Thunderbird are also changing two important parts of the client. The address book will be completely revamped and will be more compatible with vCard contacts. The information is also better organized into cards that are divided into categories such as addresses, email addresses or custom fields. There will also be a new toolbar in the program that makes it easier for users to switch between chats, calendars and the contact list. Finally, Thunderbird also gets native support for the Matrix chat protocol. This has been in the software since version 91 as beta, but will be finally rolled out and maintained with the new release.

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