Firefox Suggest: Mozilla is testing custom search and sponsored suggestions in the United States
Firefox Suggest is a new custom search and sponsored suggestions feature of Mozilla's Firefox web browser. The feature is being tested on a limited number of Firefox installations in the United States currently.
Firefox Suggest displays suggestions when users type in the Firefox address bar. The feature may look like search suggestions on first glance, a feature that Firefox supported for a long while. Search suggestions use data retrieved from the search engine that is used to suggest queries to users. If you type wiki, suggestions may include wikipedia and wikileaks among others.
Suggestions from Firefox Suggest are not offered by the search engine that is used, but by Mozilla's Firefox browser. These suggestions are divided into non-commercial and sponsored suggestions. Mozilla's support page does not provide much insight on the feature:
[..] find information easily and get to where you want to go quicker
It is not clear, for instance, how suggestions are picked. It is possible that Mozilla's Pocket service is used as the data pool for suggestions, but Pocket is not mentioned once on the support page.
Mozilla reveals additional information about the sponsored suggestions of Firefox Suggest. These come from adMarketplace according to the support page. When users click on results, data is send through a proxy before it is shared with the partner. Only technical data is send.
When you see or click on a Firefox suggestion, Firefox sends technical data to our partner through a Mozilla-owned proxy service. This data does not include any personally identifying information and is only shared when you see or click on a Firefox suggestion.
Firefox sends us data such as the position, size and placement of content we suggest, as well as basic data about your interactions with Firefox’s suggested content. This includes the number of times suggested content is displayed or clicked.
How to disable Firefox Suggest
You will spot Firefox Suggest results in the address bar immediately, as they are labeled as such. Firefox includes an option to turn the feature off (or on), but only if it is available.
Since it is experimental, there is a chance that the feature won't find its way into stable versions of Firefox for all users, regardless of region. To disable Firefox Suggest, do the following:
- Load about:preferences#search in the Firefox address bar; this opens the Search preferences.
- Scroll down to the section Search Suggestions.
- Check (to enable) or uncheck (to disable) Show Firefox Suggest in the address bar (suggested and sponsored results).
If you uncheck the box, Firefox Suggest suggestions won't be displayed anymore in the address bar.
It is too early to judge the quality of suggestions displayed by Firefox Suggest. Some Firefox users may like that the suggestions come from a difference source, but ultimately, it depends on the quality of suggestions. Others may dislike the feature because it includes sponsored results. Firefox Suggest can be disabled in the settings to turn it off.
Mozilla continues to test new revenue sources, both inside Firefox and outside, to reduce the reliance on search engine deals. Firefox may display sponsored top tiles on the new tab page. Plans to launch the commercial offering Mozilla Privacy Pack leaked this week as well.
Now You: what is your take on suggestions, sponsored or not, in the address bar? (via Techdows)Advertisement