Firefox Hello: Contacts to be removed, Tab Sharing on by default - gHacks Tech News

Firefox Hello: Contacts to be removed, Tab Sharing on by default

Major changes are coming to Firefox Hello, the built-in video-, audio- and text chat service of the Firefox web browser. Mozilla plans to remove the contacts functionality from Firefox Hello in version 44 of Firefox, and to change the tab-sharing functionality in Firefox 45 significantly by activating it by default.

Firefox Hello is a communication service built directly into the Firefox browser. Its current implementation supports anonymous audio, video or text chat and chat with contacts that users added to the contacts list of Firefox Hello, and options to share tabs or windows on top of that.

The service does not require plugins or extra software that is running on the user device and while that is handy for users who use it, Mozilla has been criticized in the past for integrating the feature directly in Firefox instead of offering it as an add-on.

Firefox Hello Changes

Firefox 44: Contacts are removed from Firefox Hello

firefox hello no contacts

If you run the Developer Edition or the Nightly version of Firefox, you may have noticed already that the contacts feature has been removed from Firefox Hello.

This means, basically, that you can only initiate a chat, regardless of it being audio, video or text, anonymously using links.

This works just like before through the generation of links that you need to provide to your contacts to get started. Options to send the link by email or to copy it to the Clipboard are provided.

The option to set a "do not disturb" status is removed as well because of that in Firefox 44.

Firefox 45: Tab-Sharing focus

tab sharing

One feature of Firefox Hello is the ability to share tabs or windows with the people you chat with. This has been an optional feature until now but plans are underway to make it the default starting with Firefox 45.

This means that tab-sharing is enabled automatically for every conversation that you start using Firefox Hello.

You do get options to pause or stop the tab-sharing, but it is unclear right now if there will be a preference to block this from being enabled in first place.

Closing Words

It is unclear currently why the contacts feature is being removed in Firefox 44, and why tab-sharing is enabled by default in Firefox 45. One plausible explanation would be that contacts was not used by enough users to justify its maintenance.

It is clear however that the changes will change the target audience of Firefox Hello. Personally, I don't think that it is a good idea to enable tab-sharing by default but since we don't know how many are using Firefox Hello, and how many of those use tab-sharing, it is purely based on speculation that the majority of Hello users are probably not using tab-sharing regularly.

It looks to me as if this is something that Mozilla engineers responsible for the product have created for themselves as they find it useful and less for Firefox's user base.

I could be totally off though considering that Mozilla has not revealed any stats concerning Firefox Hello. (via Sören Hentzschel)

Now You: Do you use Firefox Hello?

Summary
Firefox Hello: Contacts to be removed, Tab Sharing on by default
Article Name
Firefox Hello: Contacts to be removed, Tab Sharing on by default
Description
Mozilla plans to change how Firefox Hello works starting with Firefox 44. It plans to remove contacts and make tab-sharing a default.
Author

We need your help

Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.

If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:

Comments

  1. Sören Hentzschel said on December 7, 2015 at 11:29 am
    Reply

    > Do you use Firefox Hello?

    Yes, sometimes. Most recently last month for a video interview. It’s also a nice tool for Firefox support or collaboration because of the tab sharing. ;)

    1. Joker said on December 7, 2015 at 12:57 pm
      Reply
      1. Sören Hentzschel said on December 7, 2015 at 4:55 pm
        Reply

        I don’t know what do you want to say. Yes, I am a volunteer and no, not every volunteer uses Firefox Hello. But *I* use Firefox Hello, I am a Firefox user like every other Firefox user.

        Please read my comment: I said it’sa nice tool for support – I support other Firefox users in my spare time. And I said Hello was used for an interview – it was no my idea to do the interview via Hello. So the question is why do you think your “disclaimer” is important… Your link says NOTHING about my use of Firefox Hello.

      2. Sophist said on December 7, 2015 at 6:22 pm
        Reply

        He is pointing out that you are not impartial.

        He is also pointing out that you did not voluntarily disclose this when giving your opinion.

        He did not question your personal opinion of the product. He is giving all the readers proof that your opinion is potentially biased.

      3. Tom Hawack said on December 7, 2015 at 8:23 pm
        Reply

        You never know anyone but if you read regularly a person’s comments you start getting an idea on that person’s intellectual honesty. I often read Sören Hentzschel’s comments and I’ve come to the conclusion that the guy is called Honesty by Honesty. No problem with that.

      4. Sören Hentzschel said on December 8, 2015 at 12:41 pm
        Reply

        @Mike Harris: What a nonsense… I won’t start every comment on this blog with a biography about me, especially because it has NOTHING to do with my opinion, I am a user like you and everyone else. *eyerolles*

        Such stupid comments are the main reason why it is no fun anymore to do things for other people in the spare time (!)… It’s not even allowed to have a own opinion and say this opinion without stupid comments from other people… You and Sophist don’t know me so you know nothing about me. That’s a fact.

        edit: I clicked the wrong reply button…

    2. Sören Hentzschel said on December 8, 2015 at 12:27 am
      Reply

      @Sophist: Your comment is nonsense. Stop telling lies!

      1. Mike Harris said on December 8, 2015 at 1:54 am
        Reply

        Quit the name-calling, Soren. If you are associated with something, even as a volunteer, it’s just good form to put forward that association when giving an opinion about that something. When people don’t, that’s when we get astroturfing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing).

      2. Sophist said on December 9, 2015 at 4:14 am
        Reply

        I lied? Here are the 4 sentences I originally wrote:
        1) He is pointing out that you are not impartial. [You are a Mozillians volunteer – by definition you are not impartial.]
        2) He is also pointing out that you did not voluntarily disclose this when giving your opinion. [You never mentioned in your original comment that you were a volunteer.]
        3) He did not question your personal opinion of the product. [All he wrote was a link with the word “disclaimer”]
        4) He is giving all the readers proof that your opinion is potentially biased. [you acknowledged yourself that you are a volunteer.]

        Please point to a single I thing I wrote that is a lie.

        I did not say your opinion is invalid. I did not question your right to have an opinion. I did not say you are a bad person, insult you, claim to know you, or any other number of things you seemed to have imagined out of thin air.

        I merely told you why Joker left you a comment because you asked. I quote:
        “I don’t know what do you want to say.” <— you wrote this, so I explained.

        Your near-hysterical over-reaction to everyone's comments here is bizarre.

  2. Dave said on December 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm
    Reply

    I don’t use it because:

    1. I use TeamViewer which works well – unlike every other equivilent I’ve used
    2. I don’t want to encourage Mozilla to bundle should-be-addons by being part of the crowd that uses them when they are integrated.
    3. I don’t believe it will survive and therefore I see little value in getting to grips with it. It reminds me of Opera Unite, and that was actually good.

  3. not_black said on December 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm
    Reply

    >If you run the Developer Edition or the Nightly version of Firefox, you may have noticed already that the contacts feature has been removed from Firefox Hello.
    >implying that I have ever in my life used Hello, yet alone clicked its button

    1. Pants said on December 7, 2015 at 12:39 pm
      Reply

      You can just gained -100 verbal reasoning

      “you may have noticed” .. what part of MAY don’t you understand

    2. Standard said on December 7, 2015 at 3:18 pm
      Reply

      Pro tip: if someone says “if…” they are not implying anything.

      1. Tom Hawack said on December 7, 2015 at 6:23 pm
        Reply

        “If you’re rich I’ll marry you” does imply something :)
        Joke aside, of course you’re right.

  4. Nebulus said on December 7, 2015 at 12:54 pm
    Reply

    No, I didn’t use it (at least not yet). It is an interesting feature to have though.

  5. ozar said on December 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm
    Reply

    No, I never use Hello and it’s extremely unlikely that I ever would. Hopefully, the Mozilla devs will continue to give end users the option to totally disable such things should they choose.

  6. Tom Hawack said on December 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm
    Reply

    Hello and its loop as well as WebRTC totally disabled here, has always been and will always be. Not that I’m opposed to messenger services but not within a browser unless it includes as well a toaster and a coffee machine.

  7. Bill said on December 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm
    Reply

    Used it last night for the first time, worked better for recipient than Skype.

  8. wolfsjunge said on December 7, 2015 at 6:20 pm
    Reply

    Please Mozilla, let it die.

  9. Freeman said on December 7, 2015 at 6:45 pm
    Reply

    Patch WebRTC (the thing Hello uses) to make it require user-consent, then we’ll talk. It’s been broken for 3 years and allows vpns to be circumvented and advertisers to track you by seeing your private network IP.

    Never used it, disabled it and looked for other browsers when I found out about the webrtc hacks, then the ad trackers scandal happened, still nothing changed. Anyone that might want to use it instead of skype will have it turned off anyway.

  10. XenoSilvano said on December 8, 2015 at 2:00 am
    Reply

    As Dave outlined above, when you already have other mainstream options that provide functionality that is similar to what Hello offers it makes me question it’s relevance as an in-browser feature aside from, of course, popularising the WebRTC standard.

    I think that your average person is likely going to prefer using better known clients like Skype or TeamViewer, Firefox Hello is a service (to my knowledge) that seems to be restricted to users that have access to WebRTC in their browsers.

  11. real said on December 8, 2015 at 10:58 am
    Reply

    Never used it, doubt I ever will. How many do use it? There are plenty of messaging tools for both text and video out there that support all major platforms. Hard to see what Hello could add to that, except the niche feature of sharing a browser tab. But if it doesn’t take a lot of developer resources to maintain and helps the Firefox support people help other people then I have nothing against it either.

  12. meifter said on December 8, 2015 at 12:24 pm
    Reply

    Mozilla should make these features easier to disable. Features like these could just be provided as bundled or recommended browser extensions that could then be removed or disabled normally. This will hopefully happen in the future, removing the need to dig into about:config to do this.

    After all, Firefox was originally created as a stripped-down, fast browser to replace the Mozilla Suite, which was overloaded with a variety of other features. The extension system was designed to plug these holes and allow nonessential features to be provided without having to build them directly into the browser itself. Firefox has now seemingly come full circle.

    Been using FF for some years and am bemused by the path they are taking.

    To disable Hello goto about:config Type “loop.enabled” into the filter box at the top of the list of settings. You’ll see a “loop.enabled” preference which is set to “true” by default. Double-click it and it will be set to “false” and restart firefox.

    To disable WebRTC find media.peerconnection.enabled and set the flag to disabled by double click.

  13. Pierre said on December 8, 2015 at 5:04 pm
    Reply

    I don’t use it for the reason that none of my contacts accepts using it.
    My wife complained it opened her webcam without authorization

  14. Schenzman said on December 15, 2015 at 3:49 pm
    Reply

    Well, I plan to use Hello, but I am not completely convinced.
    So, is there another easy way to perform video conferences with more than two users, without registering, and cost-free?
    Thanks in advance.

  15. Loic said on February 9, 2016 at 5:49 pm
    Reply

    I was using it but i dont understand why you take the contacts off. got to use something else now :(

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.