Mozilla's Lightspeed could make the web a lot simpler

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 8, 2014
Updated • Aug 8, 2019

Lightspeed is an idea by Philipp Sackl and Michael Verdi of Mozilla that could make the web simpler to use without sacrificing privacy or security in the process.

I don't like simplification when it takes away features or even necessary information. I don't like it when companies strip away features from a product or  give you little to no information, and simplification seems to be a trend in current UX design.

With that said, I do understand that there are users who prefer simple over complex, who do not need to see the protocol or full address of every link, and who do not want to customize the browser interface at all.

Lightspeed exists only in form of a presentation at the moment, no line of code has been written and it is unclear if that will ever be the case.

The main idea behind it is to make things simpler for the user by improving search and doing away with settings. It is a browser for "busy people" and people who do not want to or cannot deal with browser settings and configurations.

The browser is built around search which will be improved significantly over what Firefox and other browsers are offering right now. A click on the search bar displays the search/home tab overlay on the screen displaying top sites, directory tiles, open tabs and more right in the interface.

Search results are displayed inline alongside information such as contextual links at the top and right.

A search displays results at the top highlighting bookmarked sites for greater exposure. It may also feature definitions or other information displayed on the side, similar to how search engines do it these days, results from the user's private web -- email in this case -- and suggestions.


According to the project presentation, there won't be any settings at all. The program does not need them as "everything is built-in with smart defaults".

You can download the PDF presentation from Mozilla's website or watch a YouTube video that offers additional information about it.

My take

As I said earlier, I don't like simple. While I can see use for people who do, not being able to change search providers, customize what is being displayed to me, remove suggestions and links that I'm not interested, or install add-ons or make other modifications is far too limiting to be of any use to me.

It may make sense in a mobile context but even there I'd like to have control over the browsing experience which Lightspeed does not offer at all.

That does not mean that I won't review it here on Ghacks is a prototype is ever created by Mozilla. I'd say however that Mozilla should concentrate on Firefox and give some love to Thunderbird instead of spending time and resources on experiments that from the looks of it may not be successful after all.

Besides what I have mentioned already, publishing a second simpler browser could confuse some users who have to choose between two Mozilla browsers.

This may work as an add-on or by integrating part of the functionality into Firefox natively, but as a standalone product, it has little chance of getting traction. Then again, I may be wrong and this is what the world has been waiting for all along.

Now You: What's your take on Lightspeed?

Mozilla's Lightspeed could make the web a lot simpler and private
Article Name
Mozilla's Lightspeed could make the web a lot simpler and private
Lightspeed aims to simplify the web by introducing an intuitive browsing interface that concentrates on search to the user.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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