Firefox experiment recommends articles based on your browsing - gHacks Tech News

Firefox experiment recommends articles based on your browsing

Mozilla launched a new Test Pilot project for Firefox today called Advance that provides article recommendations based on your browsing.

The new experiment is a cooperation between Mozilla and Laserlike. Laserlike is a startup that built a recommendation platform and the experiment taps into the data to provide recommendations.

firefox advance

A new sidebar with content opens after installation of the experiment. Whenever you open a new page in any tab, recommended content based on the page is shown in the sidebar.

The recommendations should get better over time but are not closely related most of the time. The Thunderbird article that you see on the screenshot above had a link to the official Thunderbird blog which was dead on, but three other recommendations that had nothing to do with Thunderbird.

Advance, the name of the experiment, displays a "for you" section after a while that is based on your browsing. These stories are recommendations that may or may not match suggested content based on the page that is active in the browser.

It is probable that recommendations get better the more you browse the Internet but the experiment is too fresh to verify that.

Advance displayed recommendations from the "usual" assortment of recommended sites such as The Verge, Ars Techica, or ZDnet for the most part. If you want recommendations that are not mainstream you may be out of luck for the most part.

One strong factor in suggesting content seems to be time-based. Opening old articles, e.g. this Firefox 55 release overview one here on Ghacks, displayed pretty much the same suggestions displayed for the Thunderbird article, and all of them were published in the past 24 hour period.

You can click on the Advance icon in the main toolbar to show and hide the sidebar, and also use the Alt-key > View > Sidebar listing to show and hide sidebars using it.

firefox experiment advance

A click on the settings icon in the sidebar displays several interaction. You can switch from the default compact mode layout one that shows bigger thumbnails, pause the experiment, set the Firefox homepage to show recommendations based on the browsing, and provide Laserlike with an email address to get a digest of stories sent to it.

A click on account settings displays options to download a copy of the browsing history and of other data from Laserlike, to sign in to an account, and to permanently delete the browsing history and other data stored by Laserlike related to you.

Test Pilot projects are designed to gather data about features that might one day land in Firefox natively or be offered as standalone applications. All Test Pilot project collect a set of data and individual projects may collect more data.

Here is the additional data that is collected and submitted after installation of the Advanced experiment:

  • Browsing history is sent to Laserlike. Data won't be sent when in private browsing mode, when the experiment expires, when you pause it, or uninstall it.
  • Laserlike receives the IP address, dates and timestamps, and time spent on webpages as well.
  • Click-through rates, time spent on recommended content, interaction data with sidebar content and the experiment in general, and technical data about the operating system, browser, and locale is shared with Mozilla and Laserlike.

Closing Words

Recommendations based on the browsing of users seems to be the next big thing. Google experiments with it and Mozilla has its hands not only on the Laserlike experiment but also access to Pocket which is already integrated in Firefox.

I have no idea why Mozilla decided to cooperate with Laserlike instead of building something using Pocket as it feels like the natural choice.

If you ask me, I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan of recommendation services even if you take privacy concerns aside. The recommendation engines seem to play it safe all the time by focusing on a handful of publications that you find referenced everywhere. I don't need this; it would be different if the recommendations would be spot on but they are not for the most part.

I would love to find a recommendation service that would help me discover new publications that I did not know about before; suggesting to read articles on ZDnet or The Verge is just not good enough in my opinion as I get links to those articles on social media sites and others already.

You can read Mozilla's blog post on the official Mozilla blog for additional information.

Now You: What is your take on recommendation services?

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Firefox experiment recommends articles based on your browsing
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Firefox experiment recommends articles based on your browsing
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Mozilla launched a new Test Pilot project for Firefox today called Advance that provides article recommendations based on your browsing.
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Comments

  1. John Fenderson said on August 7, 2018 at 4:32 pm
    Reply

    “I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of recommendation services even if you take privacy concerns aside”

    I’m in this camp. I’ve yet to find recommendation services anywhere that are actually good at recommending things that I’m interested in and that I’m not already aware of.

  2. Yuliya said on August 7, 2018 at 4:33 pm
    Reply

    There is one bug in Firefox, since v57 was launched, where upon startup there is a 50% chance your extenion’s data is being wiped (or corrupted). uBlockOrigin often loses all its filter db and I constantly have to open it and force an update right after I start Fx, otherwise it filters nothing. I’ve heared from other people too using other extensions, mainly one of those *monkey extensions (Greasemonkey, Tampermonkey, Violentmonkey, etc) facing similar issues.

    I’m glad to see mozilla is doing everything they can to fix this issue. <>

    (I tested all sorts of installations, portable versions, new clean profile, stable, nightly, etc; all sorts of settings including for uB0, nothing, Firefox for Windows is simply broken)

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 5:24 pm
      Reply

      @Yuliya, this is known to happen with a Firefox profile located on a RAMdisk. Is this your case per a (lack of) chance?

      1. Yuliya said on August 7, 2018 at 5:30 pm
        Reply

        No, my profile is located in “C:\Users\Yuliya\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\”.

      2. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 5:38 pm
        Reply

        OK then. No idea of the cause of the issues you encounter. Must be really bothering.

      3. Jesus said on August 7, 2018 at 7:49 pm
        Reply

        *bothersome

      4. Sophie said on August 8, 2018 at 2:21 pm
        Reply

        Tom is French! I think his use of language is exemplary. We always have to be careful, being the grammar police! :)

      5. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm
        Reply

        Merci Sophie :=)

      6. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm
        Reply

        @Jesus, “bothersome” and not as i wrote it “bothering”, OK and thanks!

        Wouldn’t have been Sophie’s comment hereafter that I wouldn’t have related your comment to mine. I had read it and remember wondering in what “bothersome” was pertinent, was it in regard to the article, to Mozilla’s project? … nops!

    2. P said on August 7, 2018 at 6:52 pm
      Reply

      I’ve noticed when using a cleaning utility such as ccleaner some enhanced settings, when using winapp2 filter list, will cause extensions to break. Example ‘html5 storage’ would delete my custom adblock filters.

      1. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 7:27 pm
        Reply

        Good to know and, frankly, I pain to consider a Firefox57+ bug as the explanation of Yuliya’s issue.

    3. angelotti said on August 7, 2018 at 7:26 pm
      Reply

      That sounds like cleaning applications interference. Apps with winapp2.ini integration and WiseDiskCleaner are two that i know of. In WDC, it’s the ‘cookies’ section that deletes stylus database (in FF and Chrome). That sounds wrong, but it’s verifiable. As for uBo, winapp2.ini used to delete the ‘storage’ folder content.., several months ago (I customize my list, so i don’t remember which section was responsible)

      My point being, you should investigate things on your end. If it was a firefox bug, both the extension and FF devs would have known about it by now…

      1. Yuliya said on August 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm
        Reply

        Nope, no cleaning programs, not even Windows’ own cleaner. No a/v programs, nothing runs in background but 30-some processes which are necessary for Windows to run. It’s a clean Windows installation with barely anything installed. Even now if I were to close Fx and then start it again there is a chance I’ll lose uB0’s filter db. Happened already twice today.

      2. John Fenderson said on August 8, 2018 at 10:08 pm
        Reply

        @angelotti: “If it was a firefox bug, both the extension and FF devs would have known about it by now…”

        That’s far from a safe assumption to make. It is quite common that there are bugs that only present when a very specific combination of platform, hardware, and other installed software is present, and no software producer can test every possible combination of these.

    4. johnp said on August 8, 2018 at 8:53 am
      Reply

      Could you share a link to the Bugzilla report? It’d be interesting to see if the JSON files under `browser-extension-data` in your profile somehow get corrupted.

      In any case, the currently rolling out switch of the extension storage backend from JSON files to the more proven and performant IndexedDB [1] may fix your issue.

      [1] https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2018/08/03/new-backend-for-storage-local-api/

      1. Yuliya said on August 8, 2018 at 5:04 pm
        Reply

        I read about that. I hope this change will fix this issue.

  3. George P. Burdell said on August 7, 2018 at 4:35 pm
    Reply

    This idea is the product of sick minds.

    Whoever wants to take advantage of people that might benefit from having a common well-known site recommended to them is preying on the mentally handicapped.

    The (mostly) thinking audience of Ghacks does not need these simple minded suggestions. The non-thinking masses don’t need another party gathering a list of the sites they visit.

    The whole idea stinks, and I mean that in the kindest, friendliest way possible.

    1. Recommended Lobotomy said on August 8, 2018 at 3:34 am
      Reply

      “This idea is the product of sick minds.”

      Well it has turned out that most of the tech industry is actually owned and controlled by megalomaniacal criminal psychopaths. These people are not tech geeks, they’re the same “businessmen” that own the oil companies, military contractors, telecom, and big pharma. Shouldn’t really be surprising, who else would dedicate so much effort to spy on people, manipulate their thoughts, build AI death drones, and control trade/business? Democracy is an illusion. The “progressive” geeks working for them are clueless about how they are being exploited for the profit and empowerment of the “right wing conservatives”. Besides their nefarious intentions it is also simply about $$$.

      1. Darren said on August 8, 2018 at 11:11 am
        Reply

        Haha. Geeze man.

  4. jern said on August 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm
    Reply

    I thought this was what search engines were for. Did all of us just become too lazy and dumb to run a search? I have about 50 news websites and writers bookmarked. I chose them for their intelligence and insight. I don’t let people I’ve never met and don’t know anything about choose them for me.

    Mozilla is increasingly treating us like a bunch of newbies. I’d like to see Mozilla’s profile of prospective users for these services. Adding dumb features will not create a smart browser.

  5. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 5:22 pm
    Reply

    If there’s one thing I have never been able to endure on the web it is those suggestions, recommendations which flourish everywhere. Of course they are one of the components which legitimate the fact of “following users” but above all I perceive it as intrusive and presumptuous and never as a service. I don’t want to be told what, logically, according to my navigation on the Web is likely to interest me. Humans are not equations, they follow paths built on numerous parameters and sometimes even on none : inductive and deductive thoughts lead sometimes to behaviors accordingly, we may spend an hour, a day, years on a topic and the hour/day/year later switch towards other horizons.

    Recommendations here are systematically neglected.

  6. S K Lewicki said on August 7, 2018 at 5:29 pm
    Reply

    I don’t like & don’t want recommendations from my browser. I’ll look for the stuff I want myself, thanks. No recommendation service has ever suggested anything interesting to me. And Opera Mini on iOS is now unusable because of all the dross it suggests…

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 5:43 pm
      Reply

      @S K Lewicki, “No recommendation service has ever suggested anything interesting to me.”

      But if it had would you reconsider your position regarding recommendations? Because IMO this is the real problematic when we face novelty : are we against it because it doesn’t fit our expectations or are we against the very concept? If the answer is (1) then good luck trackers, keep up and enhance the good work, it’s a matter of time before you gather us all in the planetary sheep field.

      1. Sophie said on August 8, 2018 at 2:26 pm
        Reply

        I am against the very concept. I don’t like recommendations at all, the sense that data is gathered and crunched to produce what [they] think I might like.

        Brave does this on my tablet, and I found no way to turn if off. I don’t like type-ahead suggestions, adverts, nothing……..

        I just want to make a search, and that’s the end of the story. As long as all this sort of stuff can be turned off, then I guess….so be it. It’s always got to be an option, and in my view, its always got to be opted-out by default.

        Ultimately, too much trust has been lost……too much data, too much tracking, spying, following and watching.

        The days of innocence are not really there any more, with things like this. Making too big a thing of it? Maybe, but that’s how I feel.

      2. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 2:52 pm
        Reply

        @Sophie, you write “[…]trust is so fundamentally broken down, that “everything seems already unacceptable”, from the very very start.” I agree and that’s the problem. I remember the story of this guy who lent money to a traveler in great difficulty and never got paid back and I imagine this very guy never lending again should it be to an honest person in maybe greater need. From there on I admit companies’ responsibility in this general suspicion but at the same time I think the guy should lend again if his brains and heart lead him to, and that users — all of us – get nothing from suspicion, the worst as the best.

        I’m also afraid that the Web is filled with individuals who are deeply unhappy in life as well as users who are inclined by nature to bite given the slightest blood appears : wolves don’t fear the whip when starved. Those would bite and smoke whatever a company’s previous mistakes.

      3. John Fenderson said on August 8, 2018 at 10:15 pm
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack: ” I remember the story of this guy who lent money to a traveler in great difficulty and never got paid back”

        That guy should adopt my philosophy about loaning anything, including money — I don’t loan anything that I would be upset about if it were never returned.

        A traveler in need? I would straight up give him the money. I’d probably call it a “loan” out loud, in case he’d be embarrassed by accepting charity, but in my mind it’s really a gift.

      4. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 10:35 pm
        Reply

        @John Fenderson you will have understood that I was only aiming to describe by a simple example how users who have been disappointed by an application may then have their trust fundamentally broken down and become systematically suspicious. To stick on the example and your answer I don’t think we ever give when it comes to applications’ privacy and security : we expect a fair deal. Nevertheless, if I do practice caution I always feel that there’s something wrong with suspicion, something which is more emotional than rational.

      5. John Fenderson said on August 9, 2018 at 5:43 pm
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack

        Oh, I know. I didn’t mean to detract from your point. I was just rambling.

        “Nevertheless, if I do practice caution I always feel that there’s something wrong with suspicion, something which is more emotional than rational.”

        It can be, but it can also be entirely rational. Take the state of the industry, for instance. I think that a high level of suspicion is entirely rational, since the industry players have been telling us that they’re doing nefarious things and they have all been caught doing nefarious things repeatedly, it’s not irrational to expect that they’re continuing to do nefarious things.

        It’s bad for those companies who actually operate in a good way (and avoid doing business with companies that don’t), but they are objectively a minority in the software industry these days, so it remains rational to have a high degree of suspicion anyway.

      6. John Fenderson said on August 8, 2018 at 10:12 pm
        Reply

        @Sophie: ” I don’t like type-ahead suggestions, adverts, nothing……..”

        I wholeheartedly agree. Even more so now that I view any amount of automatic “personalization” as a big red flag indicating that I’m using spyware.

    2. ShintoPlasm said on August 7, 2018 at 5:56 pm
      Reply

      I’m an Opera user and I avoid Opera on iOS like the plague – just save https://sync.opera.com into your Safari Favourites if you want access to your bookmarks.

  7. pHROZEN gHOST said on August 7, 2018 at 5:41 pm
    Reply

    Someone somewhere knows what you are looking at. I find that a bit creepy.

    There’s lots of oportunity to make a lot of money from interested third parties.
    I can see Laserlike selling this info or the right to have their site be suggested to you.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 5:49 pm
      Reply

      @pHROZEN gHOST, yes! absolutely! We’re being followed by applications which aim to deliver us the best according to their 24/7/365 intrusions! You even have a mass of extensions which never (or hardly never) explicitly explain if their intervention starts once you click on their extension’s toolbar button or if every site you visit informs their servers. Amazing!

      Is it possible to navigate amid the Web without being followed more than we are already tracked? For crying out loud.

  8. Anonymous said on August 7, 2018 at 5:49 pm
    Reply

    Mozilla now at the first place “suggesting to read articles on ZDnet” mouhaha! I suggest to future unemployed developers at Mozilla to suggest articles on Ghacks instead. Quantum, definitively a one-sided browser not for me.

  9. user17843 said on August 7, 2018 at 6:58 pm
    Reply

    Well, it perfectly represents the corporate culture in Silicon Valley.

    Put lots of money and time into uncertain project, take everything away that could even be slightly controversial or interesting, favor left-leaning sources (probably) and then add a lack of privacy, and voila, you have created a couple of new problems while solving zero.

    In this case it’s a bit more absurd, because Mozilla already has a working solution.

    As a cynic I think the mozilla management is just looking for clever ways to kill time and reduce user numbers. Maybe they have an internal competition who can anger the users the most.

  10. Dave said on August 7, 2018 at 7:02 pm
    Reply

    If I want crap shoved in my face I don’t want to see and didn’t ask for, I’ll log on to face book /facepalm

  11. Thorky said on August 7, 2018 at 7:15 pm
    Reply

    Seems to be just another brainfart by Mozilla. Stuff no one needs, but thirdparties benefit from, collecting personalized data. I detest it.

  12. AnorKneeMerce said on August 7, 2018 at 7:24 pm
    Reply

    Seems, Mozilla Corp is selling Firefox users’ browsing data to Laserlike, in order for Laserlike to display her website recommendations on new tabs. In turn, Laserlike gets ad revenue from interested advertisers who want to drive traffic to their websites.

    Super greedy of Mozilla.?

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 7:39 pm
      Reply

      “Seems like”? I may and I do disagree on this ‘Advance’ Test Pilot project I see nothing up to now which would authorize such a quick conclusion, relevant of the birth of a gossip, unless you have the information I lack.

      1. Stan said on August 7, 2018 at 8:30 pm
        Reply

        Really! How about this ?

        https://laserlike.com/privacy

      2. Tom Hawack said on August 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm
        Reply

        Yeah, I already read Laserlike’s Privacy Policy but that concerns Laserlike not Mozilla, anyway not at this time and with available information, not enough to initiate fake news such as “Seems, Mozilla Corp is selling Firefox users’ browsing data to Laserlike”. The stage is experimental and we ignore what would be the exact conditions should the project become substantial. Why not consider what we know when we know it without getting excited and mistaking our imagination, our fantasies often built on systematic anti-this anti-that with the realities of facts now and not tomorrow. We often mention fake news and this is an example of how we may build them. Gosh, people are so excited, a lot of frustration, hatred, closer to pathology than to a placid analysis of the facts.

      3. Anonymous said on August 7, 2018 at 10:04 pm
        Reply

        @Tom Hawack

        “Browsing history is sent to Laserlike.”

        The very fact that they are experimenting on this is already unacceptable.

        I feel sorry for you that you chose the side of pro-being screwed by Mozilla.

      4. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 9:07 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous, I always try to choose the side of not being screwed as you say by either an attacker or a defender. You write that “The very fact that they are experimenting on this is already unacceptable.” with which I disagree to the extent of considering such a case making as fundamentally arbitrary. I take my positions and claim them on facts, not on projects.

      5. Sophie said on August 8, 2018 at 2:31 pm
        Reply

        The problem though Tom, is that trust is seriously very lost. Sure….many don’t think about it and don’t care much. But for those that do (Ghacks readers and others), trust is so fundamentally broken down, that “everything seems already unacceptable”, from the very very start.

        Just too many abuses have taken place, and continue to. Just look at everlasting cookies, re-spawning….need I go on?

        Our defenses are up straight away, and I understand those who sometimes let their imaginations run away with them.

      6. AnoreKneeMerce said on August 7, 2018 at 10:48 pm
        Reply

        @ Tom Hawack

        https://blog.laserlike.com/a-background-on-laserlike-product-and-tech-58b61053cdfa

        Seems, Laserlike is an ad-based startup company and a Google-Search wannabe. That is why Laserlike wants to get her hands on the browsing data/history of Firefox users because she could not get the same from Google-Chrome and M$-IE users.

      7. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 9:01 am
        Reply

        @AnoreKneeMerce, Laserlike, a company and a company’s policy I’ve already investigated on, is IMO not worth attention and worth being avoided. That’s not the point, that wasn’t my point. What I tried to explicitly explain is that correlating two companies in a same plea is more relevant of imagination than of facts. We’ll see but right now if I do perceive a hostile horizon I have no evidence of collusion for the time being. Not more complicated than that. Several Test Pilot projects have never taken shape, let’s wait and see how things turn out, if the project is carried out, if it is in what terms… right now users seem to dribble as they do whenever the opportunity, apparently as if every opportunity was worth a thoughtless aggregation of accusations.

      8. AnoreKneeMerce said on August 8, 2018 at 1:36 pm
        Reply

        @ Tom Hawack

        Mozilla Corp’s previous business deals with Yahoo-Search and Google-Search as the default search engine box in Firefox did not involve Mozilla selling Firefox users’ browsing history/data to Yahoo or Google, unlike this Mozilla’s potential deal with Laserlike.

        My point is that a Red Line may be crossed if this business deal of Mozilla Corp with Laserlike goes through.

      9. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 2:05 pm
        Reply

        @AnoreKneeMerce, I entirely agree with your point provided the “method” used by Mozilla would confirm an unacceptable tie with Laserlike. I have in mind Mozilla quoted by noemata hereafter :

        “We’re interested in seeing how our users respond to their browsers having a more active role in helping them explore the web, and we’ll experiment with different methods of providing these recommendations if we see enough interest.”

        So we have 1- What method and 2- Will the project be carried out

        That’s two conditions which seem to me sufficient to avoid getting hysterical about meany Mozilla and to have reacted on your first comment above which was :

        “Seems, Mozilla Corp is selling Firefox users’ browsing data to Laserlike”

        I admit you did add “seems” which means you’re not hysterical :=) but I would have preferred :

        “Seems, Mozilla Corp would be selling Firefox users’ browsing data to Laserlike given the method and given of course the project’s carrying out”

        That’s all. Words, wording are important (not the style, the very content) and being precise avoids a comment moving from one to another with each time a change. Imagine anyone pasting your comment after having removed “Seems, “.

        Anyway, I guess by now we’ve all understood the topic, most of us dislike the project’s concept, and some of us grant Mozilla of uncertainty at this time. Should ‘Advance’ become a service add-on such as ‘Pocket’, with opt-out and built in conformity with Laserlike that — then — I’ll condemn, but not before.

        :=)

  13. Anonymous said on August 7, 2018 at 9:50 pm
    Reply

    This is Mozilla selling browsing history for targeted advertising, to call things by their name, although those terms are sadly missing in this article.

    They are already doing this but they did pretend that it was ok because they cooked an algorithm to sell your private life without sending the data to advertisers. As usual, weak minds agreed that it was acceptable.

    Now apparently they aren’t even faking caring about privacy. They plan to send the data to advertisers.

    Mozilla is getting more evil every month. I’m not even sure Chrome is being worse at this time.

    Glad I’m using Waterfox.

  14. Steve said on August 7, 2018 at 10:51 pm
    Reply

    One word – Spying

  15. RogerMann said on August 8, 2018 at 3:38 am
    Reply

    “You’ve opted out of Laserlike Inc.’s behavioral advertising

    If your browser accepts third-party cookies, then you have successfully opted out of Laserlike’s behavioral targeting. You can look for the LaserlikeCookieOptout=1 cookie in your browser if you wish to be certain that you are opted out.

    To opt back into Laserlike Inc.’s behavioral advertising and view advertising more relevant to you based on your historical browsing behavior, please click here.
    https://laserlike.com/optout

    Is this a ‘fantasy’ Mr Hawack?

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 8, 2018 at 8:47 am
      Reply

      @RogerMann, interpreting incorrectly what hasn’t been written is undoubtedly a fantasist attitude : I’ve never defended Laserlike but I have pointed out the attitude which is to correlate a possible future partner’s policy, that of Laserlike, to Mozilla *given what we know and ignore — now — of what would be the partnership should the Test Pilot project lead to an extension*, and I reiterate that this attitude is fantasist.

      I have no doubt you perceive what is more than a subtle nuance.

    2. John Fenderson said on August 8, 2018 at 10:20 pm
      Reply

      @RogerMann

      Cookie-based opt-outs are pitifully inadequate and don’t, in my opinion, mitigate any of the problems.

  16. noemata said on August 8, 2018 at 10:50 am
    Reply

    quote from https://blog.mozilla.org/press/2018/08/firefox-offers-recommendations-with-latest-test-pilot-experiment-advance/ : “We’re interested in seeing how our users respond to their browsers having a more active role in helping them explore the web, and we’ll experiment with different methods of providing these recommendations if we see enough interest.” .. i am curious about these different methods, if it comes to that. but right now, nope.

  17. Ann said on August 8, 2018 at 11:16 am
    Reply

    Bad development of the part of Mozilla.

    FF was brought out as a browser that has privacy in mind.
    but this is just the opposite direction.

  18. dark said on August 8, 2018 at 11:18 am
    Reply

    Recommending articles or anything really based on browsing data or any data collection means it will keep recommending you similar articles therefore narrowing your mind. It can be used to keep you away from whatever​they don’t want you to know about or if it’s something they can’t profit from. It’s a form of information/knowledge control nonetheless.

  19. Xmou5e said on August 8, 2018 at 11:54 am
    Reply

    Spinning on some of the more dystopic comments above in this thread one can add the “g0 0g Ie brain rot” phenomenon which is, when served bland rubbish browsing suggestions and results, the user becomes increasingly passified and looses ones own creative ability, sort of deep psychology conditioning creating lame zombified citizens, yes, fits in with the OWG panopticon system. :)

  20. Farid Le Fleur said on August 8, 2018 at 12:02 pm
    Reply

    What do you expect from a browser developer who abandoned all power users for Chrome users – killing all advanced UI customization and advanced add-on customization abilities no other browser had.

    Mozilla already abandoned their old users and switched target user groups, they are running behind Chrome and try as much as they can to be like this browser so they can absorb as much Chrome users as possible.

    This is just another step you can only expect from a company who has abandoned all their old morality and principles.

    Mozilla is playing in the same league like “Opera” is doing now.

    2 once leading and trendsetting browser developers now self-degraded to cheerleaders of another company!

    1. Anonymous said on August 8, 2018 at 5:29 pm
      Reply

      What’s hilarious is that Firefox’s marketshare continues to fall despite their attempts to bring in Chrome users as it’s very clear those users are never going to be weaned off. Pissing off and alienating long time Mozilla enthusiasts who adopted Firefox because of the fact that it wasn’t like Chrome only hastens FF’s decline. It’s a lose-lose situation.

      1. Farid Le Fleur said on August 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm
        Reply

        @Anonymous Every other reasonable company would have by now reversed a part of their self-inflicting-wounds delivering concept and would have gone back a couple of steps and admit they made something wrong.

        Mozilla and Opera… do the exact opposite of the logical result. They go forward and hurt themselves even more.

        And why? Most likely they are too ashamed to admit they did something not entirely right – something which has done in the end more wrong than right to them.

        Pride is not entirely bad, only if you allow it to dominate all your actions.

  21. owl said on August 8, 2018 at 12:02 pm
    Reply

    Now you: What is your recommendation service?
    That is “ghacks.net”.

    You can benefit from various information services via the Internet.
    But what about the actual situation?
    There are few jewels. Most of them are “pebbles” and they are useless. There is also “alternative facts (fake news)” information.
    It is a waste of time to subscribe to them. Sometimes I misunderstand the essence (the truth).
    There is no reliable thing in “SNS”.
    Moreover, personal information is collected in return for “getting the information”.
    From the experience, I limited the mass media (BBC News, mainichi.jp), National Geographic, effectors, “ghacks.net” to information sources.

    Thanks to you, I can think of TOPIC ‘s “Recommended articles based on your browsing in Firefox experiment”.
    I got information about “Laserlike”. This was very useful.
    https://blog.laserlike.com/a-background-on-laserlike-product-and-tech-58b61053cdfa
    https://laserlike.com/privacy
    https://laserlike.com/optout
    “ghacks.net” & Post (Comment), I can gain knowledge and experience.
    The recommended information source is “ghacks.net”.

  22. Gerard said on August 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm
    Reply

    Looks like Mozilla wants to be more like Facebook, Google and numerous other companies with a business model that is (largely) based on harvesting and (mis)using personal data and invading people’s privacy. A very good reason to dump Firefox.
    Besides, thinking and discerning individuals don’t need and don’t want such “recommendations”.

  23. Outfoxed said on August 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm
    Reply

    The people behind such data gathering companies should be behind bars.

  24. Henk said on August 8, 2018 at 1:41 pm
    Reply

    Even less privacy than before, and even more people pushed into their own limited pre-defined filter bubble. Wonderful, what else might we wish for?

    In line with this I suggest a new Firefox service that simply preselects everything you’re supposed to like, and then keeps forcing all that (and nothing else) onto your screen. Oh wait, this already exists. It’s called Facebook.

    Maybe Mozilla and Facebook should merge: Firebook. Or Facefox. Just an idea.

  25. Jerzy said on August 8, 2018 at 3:25 pm
    Reply

    It is nothing new under the sun – Chrome has got Google Similar Pages extension for many years, there is also Similar Sites extension.

  26. More4less said on August 11, 2018 at 8:54 pm
    Reply

    There’s a concerted effort to steer people back to the establishment narrative. This will be something like Youtube reccomendations which *help* to correct your doubts about global warming etc.. A wrongthink detector.

  27. John said on August 17, 2018 at 9:28 pm
    Reply

    Mozilla is selling out; still, privacy isn’t dead… yet.

  28. dxtxrx said on August 17, 2018 at 10:05 pm
    Reply

    Well… lets see… If I were to suspect that Microsoft and Google are major forces pushing end-user development of Firefox (from the playbook on how to defeat FOSS). I am certain Firefox is responding in a way that will reduce popularity of the browser. Eventually, one less competitor. This is not new news.

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