Mozilla may build a Google Now rival for Firefox mobile

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 1, 2014
Updated • Jun 1, 2014

Google Now provides you with information that may be of interest to you. It can display the weather, check Gmail for flight schedules or package information, display relevant places in the vicinity, or help you keep track of your favorite sports teams or stocks that you are invested in.

A recent Mozilla presentation about the future of search in Firefox Mobile suggests that Mozilla plans to integrate a Google Now rival into the Firefox mobile browser.

According to Mozilla's research, mobile users spend about 20% of their time using a mobile browser on their device while more than 90% of adults use search to find information online.

While Firefox is great at providing users with information about where they have been when they start searches, by using the browsing history, bookmark, saved form and visited website information for that, it is not as good as helping users find what they are looking for.

The core idea therefore is to provide users with a better customized search experience when they use the browser , for instance by using the user's location or context.

The core interaction looks the following:

firefox google now

A user swipes up to launch the search and sees recommendations and the history right away and a search form on top. The search queries multiple providers and displays rich results in card form to the user in the end.

Mockups show how this could look like before the user even starts to type.

search mockup


Cards seem to be favored by the designer which looks similar to how Google Now displays contents on first glance. Each card displays relevant information to the user. A location-based card for example may display information about a business -- address and phone number -- as well as ratings and reviews, while a general info card may display information about an athlete taken from a source such as Wikipedia.

One difference between Mozilla's idea and Google Now is that Mozilla plans to use multiple information sources. As you can see on the mockups above, it is using Yelp, Amazon and Wikipedia to display information, while Google seems to rely mostly on company sources to display the initial information to the user.

The next step for the project is to create a working prototype.

The scope of Mozilla's implementation is obviously not as wide as that of Google Now. Google Now may scan your Gmail emails for information to display to you, while Mozilla's next search iteration will concentrate on search predominantly. (via Sören)

Mozilla may build a Google Now rival for Firefox mobile
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Mozilla may build a Google Now rival for Firefox mobile
A new Mozilla presentation shows how the organization envisions search to evolve on Firefox mobile.

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  1. Ray said on June 2, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    This idea is good for Mozilla. However they are going direct against Google now. Is it a wise move to bite the hand that feeds you, given that Google provides most of the revenue for the Mozilla foundation? On another note, if Mozilla does not find alternative revenue sources, it will be in jeopardy

    1. Caspy7 said on June 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

      I think attempting to go after the emerging mobile markets in developing countries with a very low cost phone would be a much greater affront to the great Goog.

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