Mozilla plans to remove Hello from Firefox 49

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 30, 2016

Firefox Hello, the messaging then screen sharing / video chat feature of Firefox will be removed from Firefox 49 if things go as planned.

Mozilla integrated Firefox Hello in version 34 of the browser. The organization did so natively back in 2014 which meant that Hello was part of the Firefox browser.

The main idea was to introduce an account-free option in the browser to communicate with others. Hello used WebRTC for that and was not restricted only to Firefox but compatible with any WebRTC compatible web browser.

Things changed significantly a year later when Mozilla announced that Hello would be turned into a different kind of service.

Mozilla plans to remove Hello from Firefox 49

Mozilla removed contacts from the communication service and put the focus on tab-sharing instead. This made Firefox Hello more of a quick conversation type of service based on links that you needed to share with participants regularly.

The organization made the decision back then to turn Firefox Hello into a system add-on. So, instead of shipping the communication app with Firefox natively, it would now be provided as the browser's first system add-on.

The main advantage of the separation of Hello from Firefox was that it allowed Mozilla to update Hello separately from the browser.

Now, eight months later, it seems as if the end has come for Firefox Hello. A recent Bugzilla bug listing on the Mozilla website suggests that Mozilla plans to remove Firefox Hello from Firefox 49.

Mozilla will remove Firefox Hello from Nightly 51 and Developer 50 first, and then from Firefox Beta 49. According to the post, this should not happen later than August 1.

The announcement comes as a surprise as Mozilla made no indication that Firefox Hello was up for evaluation or even removal.

The organization published a new update for Firefox Hello this month, and has been working on a bigger update codenamed Akita as well.

Mozilla gives no reason for the removal, at least not on Bugzilla. It seems likely that the organization will announce the removal of Firefox Hello before the release of Firefox 49. The version of the browser will be out on September 13, 2016 if the schedule holds.

One possible explanation for the removal is lack of use. Mozilla did not release information about the popularity -- or lack thereof -- of Firefox Hello. Another possibility could be that the company wants to focus resources on other features, like the recently announced FlyWeb integration. (via Sören)

Now You: What is your take on the Firefox Hello removal?

Mozilla plans to remove Hello from Firefox 49
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Mozilla plans to remove Hello from Firefox 49
Firefox Hello, the messaging then screen sharing / video chat feature of Firefox will be removed from Firefox 49 if things go as planned.
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  1. TechLord entertainment said on August 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    I always hated removed features. But I noted something else too:

    That total add-on-download counter reached the maximum count, which is (2³²)-1=4294967295. This happened around a month ago.

  2. darren said on August 8, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    Im a palemoon user and have been for months and its an excellent alternative to firefox.Palemoon has none of this bloated nonsense and runs better with no telemetry and other silly stuff.

  3. WildcatRay said on August 1, 2016 at 3:08 am

    This like the other so-called system addons should never have been integrated into the browser in the first place. It is probably like I said in post on FlyWeb. Mozilla was afraid they would find out too quickly that users simply do not want such crapware bloating their browser.

  4. Glib said on July 31, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Great news!
    Yeahh Hello – Remove it and make it optional!

    I hope to do the same with NATIVE, EMBEDDED, deeply hard coded internal social support of Facebook and other social CRAP in browser!

    For example I’m not using Facebook why do I need that adware and spyware embedded by default in my web browser – Firefox?

  5. Dave said on July 31, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I never used it and hated it.

  6. Graham said on July 31, 2016 at 5:09 am

    I really don’t understand Mozilla anymore. They introduce new features, only to take them away much later. Why do they even bother?

    1. Bruno said on July 31, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Mozilla is in panic mode, trying to emulate the leader (although that only makes you the second best) or tinkering with details (which clearly don’t have an impact on the market share|. I know this experience first hand.

  7. Earl said on July 31, 2016 at 1:58 am

    I don’t use Firefox much anymore. I never used Hello. More and more, though, Mozilla just looks like the uncool guy in school who kept trying thing after thing after thing to be seen as the “cool guy”. Firefox used to be cool… back when Mozilla just wanted to produce a good browser that its users enjoyed using, for many different things, based on the add-ons that they chose to install… back when users were allowed to control their own environment, before Mozilla decided to become control freaks to prevent users from doing anything that might really be “cool”.

    1. Khidreal said on July 31, 2016 at 3:42 am

      yeah, cool things like allowing flash? mozilla is the only company planning into removing plugin support. yeah, plugins like flash are useful, you can play games with it, but you can also get your browser hijacked and get your computer infected, that’s the power of flash nowadays. if you want security and privacy, use firefox, because that’s what mozilla really wants, if you want to do whatever you want and be less secure, use chrome or some of it’s clones.

      and what do you mean by control their own enviroment?

      1. brandon said on July 31, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        All of the major browsers are moving away from plugins, mozilla is hardly alone in that

  8. XenoSilvano said on July 30, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    What do I think about Mozilla’s decision to remove an integrated function from the Firefox web browser that allows the user to conduct peer to peer video/audio communication with other WebRTC capable browsers(?)

    I think it is a bad idea, these companies that develop browsers should find a way to popularise the WebRTC function within their respective browsers, a good initiative would be to create a common WebRTC/Hello icon just like the Hamburger menu button icon.

    @ Khidreal – I seriously don’t understand all that hate about Firefox hello… you are probably haters that didn’t even used Hello or you never understood it.” – hear hear

    1. khidreal said on July 31, 2016 at 1:16 am

      you do realise that WEBRCT is being used to hack people right? maybe this is also one of the reasons for Mozilla taking it off, and what you are saying is unviable because that would be needing some extra code on the browser to make it native, and I don’t see google doing this on chrome, unless google can profit from it of course, I am already imagining google saying “here, this user made this videos while visiting need for speed webpage, let’s put some advertising about games” hahaha

  9. ASD said on July 30, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    You know what Mozilla should do? Ditch the whole browser and start for scratch.

    1. Kappa said on August 31, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      You have no Idea how a product works, right?

  10. yapadkoi said on July 30, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    @ Khidreal

    “is that Firefox has a certain level of security and privacy”,

    About “certain”, Mozilla and me have absolutely not the same definition about this word. I’m SURE, not “certain”, that this BROWSER always including more and more “features”, new proprietary plugins, social-medias like FlyWeb bypassing DNS, etc, will needs more and more security patchs = paradox or absurdity, i let you choose. I’m SURE, not “certain”, that adding more and more telemetry, soon a spy like Context Graph, etc, will preserve only a “certain level” of privacy, which for me means absolutely nothing, proof the success of the user.js by Pants. They should have said “fluffy level” instead.

    1. khidreal said on July 31, 2016 at 1:11 am

      still, even if you compare firefox to chrome, chrome will always get more user data than firefox even if firefox has telemetry on it, I am sure it will be a thing that will have an option to disable, not like chrome. I am sure also that firefox will never give you a “consumer ID” to put advertisings on your browse and sell the information to third party companies; I am sure that mozilla will never group up with Google to sell your browse history to google and your email to send you emails related to your browsed links. and if mozilla does it, it will certainly have an opt out, being through some menu or config file.

      by the way, definition of certain: convinced, SURE, indubitable, obvious, clear, confident, sure to happen, settled. if you knew the definition of certain you would know that “certain” is synonymous with “sure”. synonymous words are different words that mean the same thing if you don’t know it too.

      1. yapadkoi said on July 31, 2016 at 3:30 pm

        “They care, users are the ones that make the more profit to mozilla” :

        In “The next generation of the web”, making “profit” like you said means collecting users’ datas the most possible, which is contradictory with the open source spirit. My “certain level” of comprehension about Mozilla Corporation.

  11. Tom Hawack said on July 30, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Hello Hello, I don’t know why you say Hello I say good-bye (a remastered Beatles’ hit).

    I’ve never used it, removed it systematically from Firefox’s features folder when it became a system add-on.
    I guess the main reason why Mozilla would plan to remove this gadget is indeed the lack of users. Many “bottom-line” users don’t even know what “Hello” is, partially due maybe to a bad Mozilla communication when the company could announce innovations in a simple and clear way to the masses rather than giving the impression its innovations have been crafted in a dark alchemist cellar known by the initiated only …

  12. Leo said on July 30, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    A browser should be just a browser, barebone app without any system addon or features not all/many people use. Give users choice, like plugins or addons, if they like it, they can install. If majority like them, consider integration. This is why people left firefox for Chrome, the very same reason why firefox took over IE: light, fast, and easy to use software. (I miss firefox 3 and I still have the certificate lol)

    1. Jack said on July 30, 2016 at 10:18 pm


      Otherwise, why not have Photoshop and Excel available as Firefox extensions? The idea of a chat app built into a browser is ludicrous, and the world judged it correctly.

    2. Khidreal said on July 30, 2016 at 7:48 pm

      Firefox is known by it’s privacy and security statements, not by it’s interface or quickness to respond. if you read firefox’s privacy statement and Chrome’s privacy statement, you will see that mozilla has a lot of holes closed while Chrome kept them open. why? chrome profits from that, while Mozilla could do the same, mozilla would just go aggainst it’s own rules.
      user’s and company’s sayings, beliefs or thinkings are below mozilla’s rules, mozilla will always do what it’s best TO THEIR EYES, not to user’s eyes. user’s just want more features, “I want this, I want that”, is everything users want, how many threads you read on your browser’s forum about “the browser should not allow Flash because it can harm the security”? or “why google chrome’s uploading the websites I visit? and worst part: selling them?”
      for mozilla users have no word in terms of privacy and security, 99% of users can ask for feature X, but if feature X makes the browser less stable, or less secure or even less private, mozilla will just ignore those 99% asking for the feature. this is the biggest strength about mozilla. mozilla is sick of saying to it’s users in the past that they will never do anything that harm the user safety, that’s why mozilla now ignores it’s users when they ask for something that will harm their security.

  13. John said on July 30, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    What idiot thought a browser-based chat app was a good idea in 2015? Fire them lots.

    1. Khidreal said on July 30, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      well, that idiot is named mozilla foundation, and hello was put here so that you could for example watch a movie your your GF that lives far from you. it can be used for work too, for example to show your template if you are a web designer, to be used to chat with people and video calling without using for example Skype and be susceptible to receive DDoS attacks, or facebook creating logs of your conversations… and hello is not intended to be a chat app for general things, it’s intended to be a chat app to talk about a specific webpage. this is really useful for a web designer to show it’s work before it’s released. but what kept on the user’s mind was “chat app” to talk with people like facebook messenger. hello made my life better, specially with my GF that lives about 200KM away from me. now I can watch a movie with her for example and we can laugh together, I can also normally chat with someone normally (which is a side effect of the app), show my templates, video call with my brother that barely knows how to install a program LOL; etc. the feature is good, but mozilla should had made it as an extension on the firefox extensions page.

  14. Khidreal said on July 30, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    I like Firefox Hello. I said goody bye to Skype (to video conferencing), message chatting systems… I will miss this feature… I guess I will have to keep an outdated version of firefox running on my system, it’s all advantages with Hello!!

    imagine: you are on facebook, you find a friend you really like to talk with, and you are running firefox…
    just click firefox hello, copy the link, send it to the friend, no matter what browser he has, it’s just about go to the address and click join the conversation. within 5 seconds you are having a video call! simpler than this, I never found! you don’t even need an account to do it! the only problem with Hello is that you can’t put the video in fullscreen.

    I srsly don’t understand all that hate about firefox hello… you are probably haters that didn’t even used Hello or you never understood it.

    1. yapadkoi said on July 30, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Mozilla don’t care if Firefox’s users are haters or faithful. Hello was just one more step to make people receptive to a browser including social-medias. Now we are on the next step, planned long time ago, Mozilla is building clones of Cortana into Firefox. Mozilla/Microsoft same goal > “the next generation of the web”, whether you like it or not. This “next generation” does not include me, I’m too old, whether you like it or not :) Because as TheWindBringeth pointed on wilderssecurity, I’m capable to know what a “fluffy paragraph” means. W10 EULA or a “fluffy paragraph”, for me no difference, it’s just “baratin”. “The next generation of the web”, you know this world where you will never be alone, wherever you go… ;)

      1. Khidreal said on July 30, 2016 at 7:32 pm

        “Mozilla don’t care if Firefox’s users are haters or faithful” –> they care, users are the ones that make the more profit to mozilla, without users mozilla will just have to close it’s doors. but as said once by someone on the forum like 5 or 7 years ago: “we will never do things that will harm the user’s privacy and security, our first priority is that Firefox has a certain level of security and privacy, defined by the mozilla team. this priority will never be put aside in any way.”. this is self explanatory: this is above extensions, plugins, users and companies, it’s their number one priority, so you get the feel that mozilla does not care about users, when everything they do is done thinking about them :)
        (I don’t have the source of the quot above, it was a thread I read about FF’s privacy, but those words I never forgot.)

    2. RichardT said on July 30, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      “imagine: you are on facebook”

      No, sorry I can’t imagine that at all.

    3. Anonymous said on July 30, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      >I srsly don’t understand all that hate about firefox hello

      Because I didn’t ask for it? Also because I have never in my life video chatted with anyone?

      1. Khidreal said on July 30, 2016 at 7:13 pm

        did you asked for the new model of your car? did you asked for the update/upgrade of your phone? did you asked NSA to send another satellite to the space? did you asked your phone company to change the call prices? did you asked your cloths manufacturer to have the tag scratching your neck? did you asked your pants to loose color?

        >”Also because I have never in my life video chatted with anyone?”< – that's your problem. there are a lot of options to do with Hello, since personal things to business things, since showing webpages to watching a movie with your girlfriend that lives 200 miles away… in my opinion Hello should become a add-on and Mozilla should never close it's development.

        besides, Hello has a better video rendering and video quality than Skype, @MdN you can indeed video call on Facebook, but it requires you to install a plugin on both your computer and the person you want to talk to. Hello does not install plugins, the browsers just need to support webrct (meaning all popular: Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Vivaldi, etc) you can use Hello. you just need FF to get the link, but if you save the link, you can probably use it again without Firefox, on other browser to start a call or chat using the link hello gave, since hello works 100% online, you don't need Hello installed.

        @RichardT if you don't use FB it's because you don't need, but I bet you already saw someone's feed at least. if you can't imagine FB, imagine youtube,, Wired, or other popular website you visit.

    4. MdN said on July 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Those who tried said the video call quality was better than Skype, although I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. If they turn it into an add-on, we can still have it.
      As for Facebook, you can do voice and video calls straight from Facebook too, or from I managed to talk from my PC to someone with Facebook Messenger on their phone.

  15. Anonymous said on July 30, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Good. It should’ve never been included anyway.

  16. yapadkoi said on July 30, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    “Another possibility could be that the company wants to focus resources on other features, like the recently announced”… Context Graph.

    “Another possibility could be that the company wants to focus resources on other”… Attrape-Nigauds.

    1. Anonymous said on July 30, 2016 at 3:59 pm

      >By tapping into what and how people are browsing
      >Mozilla hopes to unlock “the next generation of web discovery on the internet.”


  17. Jake said on July 30, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    It was wrong from mozilla to include hello into firefox. Feel free to make it an addon and if people want to use it, they install it. It’s better to focus on the browser itself, speed, tweaks and so on. The best browser on earth.

  18. Mushaf said on July 30, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    This ‘feature’ was unneeded in the first place.

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