Mozilla launches Firefox Test Pilot

Martin Brinkmann
May 10, 2016
Updated • Feb 1, 2017

Mozilla launched Firefox Test Pilot a moment ago. It is a new server that lets users test ideas and features that may one day be integrated into the Firefox web browser.

Firefox users can install features they are interested in, and provide Mozilla with feedback.

Mozilla uses the feature to get early feedback for potentially new features that it may one day integrate into the Firefox web browser.

Users help Mozilla eliminate bugs and issues, and may also be vocal about design decisions, and propose changes that improve a feature's usability or usefulness.

Firefox Test Pilot

firefox test pilot

Everything is handled via the redesigned Test Pilot extension that users can install in Firefox.

Anyone interested in participating in the program needs to sign up using a Firefox Account first before downloads become available. Obviously, the option to do so becomes only available if Firefox is used to connect to the site.

The extension adds an icon to Firefox's main toolbar that controls access to all experiments. A click on the icon reveals a list of available experiments, and clicks on individual experiments opens their profile page on the Firefox Test Pilot site.

The profile page reveals information about the experiment, information about developers who contributed so far, version and changelog information, links to the source code on Github, and an option to leave feedback.

A click on the enable button activates the experiment in Firefox. A tour explains the basics of the experiments (can be skipped).

Firefox Test Pilot offers three experiments currently:

Activity Stream

activity stream

Activity Stream opens when you click on its icon in the Firefox toolbar. There you find a different layout and design for the browsing history and bookmarks.

The history lists highlights at the top and below that a chronological list of visited sites and pages, and bookmarks displays a chronological list of sites added to the browser's bookmarks.

It is unclear why something is listed as an highlight.

The New Tab Page has been redesigned as well. It features a search, below that small icons of six top sites, then highlights, and below that the browsing history again.

firefox new tab page

You can hover over entries to remove them from history or set them to "never show up".  The other two icons that are displayed when you hover have no function yet. One looks like a download icon, the other a "more" link.

Tab Center

tab center

Tab Center is the second experiment that you can install currently. It moves tabs to the site where only the site's favicon and the first one or two letters are displayed.

Full names are revealed when you hover the mouse over the area, and tabs get out of sight again when you move the mouse out of the area.

A close icon is displayed for each tab when you hover over it, and a right-click displays the default tab control options.

You may pin full display of tabs instead if you prefer that, and can spawn new tabs from there as well.

Universal Search

universal search

The third and final experiment adds search recommendations to the address bar search. Basically, what it does is recommend a site or Wikipedia article once you start to type the first couple of letters in the address bar.

Closing Words

Whenever you disable an experiment, you get a feedback prompt. Leaving feedback is optional though and you can simply close if.

Considering that your feedback may help improve the feature or may even help Mozilla in the decision making process whether to add it to Firefox or not, it is usually a good idea to leave feedback after tests.

Firefox Test Pilot's usefulness depends largely on user feedback.  The new feature could improve the decision making process in regards to new features of Firefox, and also help Mozilla improve features before they land in the browser (and irritate part of the user base). (via Sören)

Mozilla launches Firefox Test Pilot
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Mozilla launches Firefox Test Pilot
Mozilla launched Firefox Test Pilot a moment ago. It is a new server that lets users test ideas and features that may one day be integrated into the Firefox web browser.
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  1. ok said on June 19, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    i have idea they should make a add on about where you can decide witch videos play through your headphone and your device speaker simultaneously

  2. Dresandreal Sprinklehorn said on May 14, 2016 at 7:55 am

    Too bad Firefox doesn’t have a Flag page like Chrome.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 14, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Firefox has something even better, it is accessible via about:config.

  3. Sukhen said on May 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Among Chromium, you have plenty of choice … why chrome only? There are chromium, superbird, yandex – I personally find superbird free and the fastest chromium engine. No NSA integration.

    1. Lestat said on May 12, 2016 at 11:35 pm

      The only Chromium browsers which are actually acceptable are Vivaldi , Slimjet, Centbrowser and Brave. All others are most of the time just feature less annoyances like Google Chrome is too.

  4. High Ranked ******* said on May 11, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Everyone is free: Even Google Chrome users are FREE to get monitored and followed everywhere with the unique ID inot their fast and NSA-Friendly Browser.

  5. Dot said on May 11, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    Anohana is right. Being the most popular doesn’t mean it is the best. Every fking thing in the universe is like this, so stop trolling, or try to be less stupid.

  6. Dot said on May 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Here’s an idea for you to try: stop trolling and get a life.

  7. Dot said on May 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Hurr durr, so go to the palemoon forums and stop babyraging and trolling on Firefox news.

  8. unyk said on May 11, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Mark, Is this a paid Firefox blog or what? Why you never discuss anything from chrome, which is the #1 browser worldwide? Still discussing a browser who’s heyday’s are way past & who’s market share fell below 10% last month. It’s like a cult around here.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 11, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      If something interesting happens in the Chrome world, which seems rare, I write about it.

      You can tip me about news that you think are worth writing about that I may have missed though.

      1. High Ranked ******* said on May 11, 2016 at 9:36 pm

        AD POPULUM: By agreeing with the majority of Google Chrome users you can ultimately reign supreme on the IT Market (hahahahahahahaha… cough …ha)

    2. Pants said on May 11, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      Get your facts straight
      1. .. around 800+ articles on chrome

      Market share means nothing
      2. So what if FF fell below 10%. It’s still hundreds of millions of users. Just because Chrome uses dodgy tactics and bundling (not tot mention services and task schedules in Windows) to force itself and maintain itself on most user’s computers is worth mentioning. Most people I see with chrome have no idea how they got it. The fact that 10% of users went OUT of their way to install it says something.
      3. So, based on your argument, we should dismiss looking at emerging technologies or applications – even the very best ones that get most of it right.

      There is no moratorium on what to report on
      4. also, Martin is not a paid shill like Ed “upgrade me” Bott

      Pointless question, but what has Chrome done recently? They don’t give a shit about your privacy and are diametrically opposed to you blocking tracking and advertising. They do care about your security though, I’ll give them that. Their extensions/app store is a disaster. They have no morals. They kill two puppies and sacrifice a goat before breakfast every morning.

      This is a tech blog and most readers, at least most commenters, are tech driven and knowledgeable about privacy and security. The fact FF is still far more customizable and powerful (in terms of extension scope, privacy etc) than Chrome shows that. It’s to be expected that FF topics outweigh Chrome.

    3. anohana said on May 11, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Anything is better than Chrome (except IE). The fact that a lot of people use that shit means nothing, except that users are brainless.

  9. R7 said on May 11, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    The Tab Center experiment is very similar to the custom css modified system that i use since FF4. Tho mine displays static bookmarks and not tabs. Also mine completely hides from view when you move the mouse away. I made a small video a while back (excuse the presentation):

  10. Don Gately said on May 11, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    What do i see? Side tabs experiment? Does Mozilla rethink their stance towards customization a bit after their quite long time of Google Chrome UI drooling?

    Perhaps a slight effect of Brave and Vivaldi, which offer something unusual instead the usual more of the same. Even Opera is back-paddling more and more. Still, so far no reason why i should switch back to Firefox from Vivaldi.

    Granted, the way Vivaldi is created is utterly bad, but it still offers me features which neither Firefox or Opera do offer me these days nor any other one of the big browsers, but in case that Mozilla would add again a heavy feature set for power users, perhaps a switch back could be considered at some point in the future. Until then, i stay with Brave and Vivaldi.

  11. ItsWithSadness said on May 11, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Testing 123
    No File | Edit | View | History | Bookmarks |Tools | Help
    Test complete.
    seriously back to pale moon it is.

  12. Graham said on May 11, 2016 at 4:40 am

    Here’s an idea for Mozilla to implement: Let the user customize the browser.

  13. Daniel said on May 11, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Have been trying to install for over an hour.
    “addon could not be downloaded for a connection failure” my eye!
    Either there were too many avid Firefox users (still around) to try it or… ha! ha! ha!

  14. Palemoon said on May 11, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Palemoon is less bloated.

    1. Nebulus said on May 11, 2016 at 10:37 pm

      Nah bruh, palemoon is shit tier, and made by a furfag no less.

      1. Lestat said on May 12, 2016 at 7:41 am

        And Firefox is made by Google Chrome fanboys. Now what?

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