Firefox Top Sites to be renamed to Shortcuts. New Design launches in Nightly

Mozilla confirmed some time ago that it is working on an interface refresh of the Firefox web browser under the codename Proton (not to be confused with Photon, a previous design refresh codename).

First non-final bits of Proton landed in Firefox Nightly in January 2021. The first change altered the design of tabs in the browser, including a new display and controls for media playing tabs. The change is hidden behind a preference currently, and it will take some time before it is finalized and lands in Firefox Stable.

firefox new tab shortcuts

The most recent version of Firefox Nightly, as of February 4, 2021, includes another design refresh; this time, it is the new tab page that received an overhaul. More precisely, it is the Top Sites feature of Firefox.

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Top Sites are displayed above the fold on the New Tab page of the browser; they include a selection of preset sites and sponsored sites by default, but will be filled with sites visited by the user. Users have options to remove preset and sponsored entries, and pin their favorites for fast access.

Top Sites are no longer called that in the latest Firefox Nightly as Mozilla decided to rename them to Shortcuts. A click on the Personalize button on the browser's New Tab page displays the new name, an option to set the number of rows to a value of 1 to 4, and to disable sponsored shortcuts.

firefox sponsored shortcuts

The name change is just a small part of the change as shortcuts are displayed using a new design on Firefox's New Tab page. The site's icon is centered in a square with rounded corners, and there is whitespace all around it.

Previous versions of Firefox displayed a snapshot of the site's design and the icon, or just the icon. For sites represented by icons, the whitespace was minimal, and for sites with snapshots, there was no whitespace at all.

The new design has a cleaner more consistent look to it.

Nightly users who want to check it out need to set the preference browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.newNewtabExperience.enabled on about:config to TRUE in the latest version of the browser.

Now You: What is your first impression of the new design?

Summary
Firefox Top Sites to be renamed to Shortcuts. New Design launches in Nightly
Article Name
Firefox Top Sites to be renamed to Shortcuts. New Design launches in Nightly
Description
A first look at the new design of the Top Sites, soon to be renamed to Shortcuts, feature of the Firefox web browser.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Bobby Phoenix said on February 4, 2021 at 6:24 pm
    Reply

    PSA – No negative comments about Firefox, commenters, or anything really. You can give constructive comments, but keep things positive.

    1. John C. said on February 5, 2021 at 6:03 am
      Reply

      You have no power here and this isn’t a group or forum on a Mozilla server. Take your moderating elsewhere.

      1. Iron Heart said on February 5, 2021 at 8:37 am
        Reply

        @John C.

        A range of people mistakes gHacks – a general tech blog – for a blog of Firefox fandom.

        Anyone should use what meets his or her expectations and can be vocal about it, but that does not give anyone the right to silence other voices. Fact.

      2. Iron Fan said on February 5, 2021 at 10:32 am
        Reply

        You’re the best Iron Heart! Your tireless and countless comments here, schooling Firefox users and developers with a daily dose, or more, of Iron Truths is really working. People all over the world are waking up and are coming around and listening to YOU. Instead of being an echo chamber of a single perspective the comments here is a a healthy, thriving mix of perspectives where everyone feels welcome and no one put down – thanks mostly to just you and your many, important and extensive comments. Some say that the Ghacks comment section under Firefox related posts is THE prime example of learned discourse in all of human civilization. We are all humbled to be in your midst.

      3. Iron Heart said on February 5, 2021 at 11:12 am
        Reply

        * [Editor: removed, assumption]
        Your sad attempt at sarcasm doesn’t change the truthful content of my reply to @John C.

        * [Editor: removed, please don’t tell Ghacks visitors to use a different site]

      4. Iron Fan said on February 5, 2021 at 1:10 pm
        Reply

        Others might mistake your reply for harshness but I see it as an outpour of your direct access to Truth. You are the best Iron Heart!

      5. Iron Heart said on February 5, 2021 at 1:33 pm
        Reply

        @ “Iron Fan”

        The mod heroically threw himself in your way to perfect bliss and happiness – I wanted to point you to a place where your expectations will be met to the fullest extent. There are places online like *beep*, where the Firefox diehards gather and where other opinions will be either deleted and / or downvoted to hell.

        Again, I wanted to point you to Firefox diehard heaven, but the mod wouldn’t allow it. Shame.

      6. Mike J said on February 5, 2021 at 2:08 pm
        Reply

        Your comments are unnecessary and puerile.

      7. T J said on February 5, 2021 at 12:25 pm
        Reply

        @ John C

        In case you didn’t read the article, it is about Firefox.
        IF you have a problem with FF then explain what is wrong with the browser. Do not troll in the hope of starting a Flame War.
        ALSO, please inform us what browser you use and why.
        Chrome, Edge, Opera, a fork of Chromium ??.

        “You have no power here and this isn’t a group or forum on a Mozilla server. Take your moderating elsewhere.”

        Neither do you. Martin Brinkmann is the Moderator and can remove your comments any time.
        Check Martin’s article on FF 85 when he removed many of the comments.

        https://www.ghacks.net/2021/01/26/here-is-what-is-new-and-changed-in-firefox-85-0/

    2. binocry said on February 5, 2021 at 7:17 am
      Reply

      Go back to your pathetic Firefox forum LMAO, you can censor hate posts as much as you want

      1. T J said on February 5, 2021 at 12:45 pm
        Reply

        @ binocry

        “you can censor hate posts as much as you want”

        So you admit that you are deliberately posting hate comments,. which means that you confirm you are an anti Firefox Troll.

    3. Allwynd said on February 5, 2021 at 9:50 am
      Reply

      @Bobby,

      So when there are negative comments about Chrome or other browsers it’s OK for you, but when it’s about your precious Firesux, your feelings get hurt and it’s suddenly not OK, is that how it is?

      Get over yourself, no browser is perfect, especially not Firesux, which only keeps losing market share by the minute.

  2. TacoT said on February 4, 2021 at 7:51 pm
    Reply

    Mozilla Fedge

  3. Tom said on February 4, 2021 at 8:50 pm
    Reply

    > Mozilla confirmed some time ago that it is working on an interface refresh of the Firefox web browser under the codename Photon (not to be confused with Proton, a previous design refresh codename).

    And you even said “not to be confused”… Photon was Firefox 57, Proton is the new one. ;-)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 5, 2021 at 6:27 am
      Reply

      Thank you :)

    2. Greg said on February 6, 2021 at 2:31 am
      Reply

      there gonna call it ” Fartom ” next after this release

  4. Greg said on February 4, 2021 at 10:38 pm
    Reply

    why Mozilla just couldnt leave it named ” Top Sites ” is beyond me.

    1. lolrepeatlol said on February 6, 2021 at 4:39 am
      Reply

      It’s not even that big of a deal… chill

    2. James said on February 7, 2021 at 7:14 am
      Reply

      They have to show they are doing some ‘great’ redesign work after all!

  5. Paul(us) said on February 4, 2021 at 11:38 pm
    Reply

    This gives me not such a good feeling because in main opinion its too few short-cuts from left to right (width ) and rows from the top to below (Rows underneath each other).

    Why O why give the people with wide screens from 24 inch or more, more possibility’s?
    I have now already eight short-cuts side by side and five rows below each other.

    What I really need is 16 short-cuts from left to right and 12 rows below each other.

    Please think quality big Mozilla Firefox.

  6. binocry said on February 5, 2021 at 12:19 am
    Reply

    Dying browser do dying things

    1. Iron Heart said on February 5, 2021 at 8:39 am
      Reply

      @binocry

      Pretty much yeah:

      http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html

      Their solution to the problem is more lipstick on the pig, instead of reverting to focus on good privacy standards and features that people actually want.

      1. binocry said on February 5, 2021 at 9:44 am
        Reply

        @Iron Heart

        Yep. All they can do is redesign & redesign again as their browser doesn’t have any progress to be proud of

      2. m3city said on February 5, 2021 at 2:38 pm
        Reply

        @bionocry,
        well, I would argue. In 2020 Firefox did progress in few areas. Password management, PIP, enchanced tracking prot, facebook container, annoying notifications blocking, global zoom levels, high contrast improvement, startup and javascript speedup, https only, antifingerprint/redirect tracking prot., searching from address bar improvements. Not everyone will like some of them, nor everyone would use it. Seems much more than redesign for me. Same things happen in other browsers as well – whether it’s Chrome, Vivaldi or Palemoon. Even otter-browser changes! ;)

      3. Allwynd said on February 5, 2021 at 9:52 am
        Reply

        My wish is for Firefox to finally shut down, it will make me so happy.

      4. Marco said on February 5, 2021 at 6:51 pm
        Reply

        Imagine being “so happy” because a browser shuts down. Are you 12?

      5. lolrepeatlol said on February 6, 2021 at 4:41 am
        Reply

        lmao what. you want the only browser engine to be made by an advertising company that basically started the tracking epidemic? i don’t think you have thought this through…

      6. Iron Heart said on February 6, 2021 at 8:24 am
        Reply

        @lolrepeatlol

        Mozilla is a Google vassal:

        >>Mozilla’s long-term plan is to build its own revenue streams from subscription-based services and reduce its dependence on the Google search deal, which has historically accounted for between 75% and 95% of the organization’s entire yearly budget as far back as 2006 when the two companies began collaborating (with a hiatus between 2014 and 2017, when Mozilla signed a similar agreement with Yahoo).<<

        source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/sources-mozilla-extends-its-google-search-deal/

        By default, that is without advanced about:config configuration and without any add-ons, Firefox does not do much to protect you from tracking.

      7. MarkyB said on February 5, 2021 at 4:56 pm
        Reply

        @ Iron Heart

        Amazing slump tbh. Down from 31%+ in 2010. I recently abandoned Mozilla after a quarter century of near enough non-stop use. Their overt political stance in the US was the final straw.

  7. Herman Cost said on February 5, 2021 at 1:21 am
    Reply

    My impression is that I don’t care what they do with Top Sites and/or Sponsored Sites as long as I can hide them and keep them hidden. All I want on my home page and my new tab page is a search bar. No top sites, widgets, pocket recommendations, recently visited pages, bookmarks, or anything else. Just a search bar.

    In general, I see no reason to change the layout in any case, but Mozilla has a lot of people sitting around, and I guess they have to do something to pass the time besides attending woke seminars.

    1. James said on February 7, 2021 at 7:18 am
      Reply

      Agree 100% with you. In fact I go further – no need of a stinkin’ search bar either! :)

      I search via the address bar, so about:blank is enough for me. Real shame I need to use extensions to achieve such a simple thing in the other major browsers.

  8. VioletMoon said on February 5, 2021 at 2:26 am
    Reply

    “Recommended by Pocket” is/was fine with me; good curation by some AI I suppose.

    Would rather see the setup the same w/ Pocket recommendations and a StartPage like Opera; then, a setting to chose which in Options.

  9. asd said on February 5, 2021 at 10:23 am
    Reply

    > interface refresh
    Oh god no.

  10. shirek said on February 5, 2021 at 11:08 am
    Reply

    ugly tab

  11. firefanfox said on February 5, 2021 at 12:57 pm
    Reply

    STOP BEING FUCKING MEAN!!!!

    And also, how do you enable this thing?

    1. Mic said on February 5, 2021 at 1:29 pm
      Reply

      “Nightly users who want to check it out need to set the preference browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.newNewtabExperience.enabled on about:config to TRUE in the latest version of the browser.”

      This is how.

    2. James said on February 7, 2021 at 7:21 am
      Reply

      > STOP BEING FUCKING MEAN!!!!

      Mommy, some random stranger on the internet wrote a mean comment about my favorite browser. Waah!!!

  12. Mic said on February 5, 2021 at 1:29 pm
    Reply

    “Nightly users who want to check it out need to set the preference browser.newtabpage.activity-stream.newNewtabExperience.enabled on about:config to TRUE in the latest version of the browser.”

    This is how.

  13. PinkFreued said on February 5, 2021 at 5:07 pm
    Reply

    @M3city

    Agreed. Mozilla isn’t so bad. Some users treat browsers like they’re some kind of ex-girlfriend that scorned them. ‘bitch you lied to meee’ .

    Mozilla is just moving on and good for them.

  14. Anonymous said on February 5, 2021 at 11:28 pm
    Reply

    “Sponsored shortcuts”, also known as, ads.

    And not just ads, ads with tracking:

    https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/privacy/firefox/

    “Firefox sends us […] basic data about your interactions with Firefox’s suggested content. This includes the number of times suggested content is displayed or clicked.”

    “When you click the Amazon.com Top Site tile on New Tab, we share your country and the time you clicked with Amazon and AdMarketplace (a third-party referral platform) to verify you navigated to Amazon.”

    Then their brainwashing team repeats tirelessly on less legally binding places, “why are you angry about our consentless data collection ? It’s only stuff to help improve the browser and solve bugs… You’re all conspiracy theorists. There, let me remove your posts anyway.”

    From the same source, for a good laugh:

    “At Mozilla, we believe that privacy is fundamental to a healthy internet.”

  15. Sara said on February 6, 2021 at 1:28 pm
    Reply

    Firefox for android is very fast, is it faster than chrome on the same os? I think duckduckgo browser is based on chrome, and it’s faster than vivaldi and opera.

    1. Yuliya said on February 7, 2021 at 10:57 pm
      Reply

      Chromium itself and Chrome (and any other Chromium based browsers) are demonstrably 2x as fast as Firefox on Android.
      On Desktop there is less discrepancy in terms of performance, Chromium is “only” about 1,5x faster than Firefox.

      Here’s an older comment of mine, copy/paste:
      _____________________________________

      latest
      chromium v86 vs firefox v82 https://i.imgur.com/fhrYHHh.png

      older
      chromium v85 vs firefox v79 https://i.imgur.com/ALtPljT.png
      chromium v83 vs firefox v77 https://i.imgur.com/ycL1Mn0.png
      chromium v81 vs firefox v73 https://i.imgur.com/yyVwYmJ.png

      Mobile versions, ran off an Exynos Note 10+ (SM-N975F)
      firefox v82 https://i.imgur.com/rQYaw69.png
      chromium v85 https://i.imgur.com/g9uTgha.png

      firefox v84 https://i.imgur.com/Jf6rI5o.png

      Within the margin of error compared to previous versions; Exynos S10 (SM-G973F)
      chromium 83 v64-bit; chrome v83; firefox v80 https://i.imgur.com/9ABMANH.png
      _____________________________________

      1. TruthIsPower said on February 8, 2021 at 7:06 am
        Reply

        on noes .. anecdotal evidence vs scientific fact based real world examples

        https://arewefastyet.com/
        https://hacks.mozilla.org/2020/11/warp-improved-js-performance-in-firefox-83/

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