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Firefox experiments with recommended content
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-08-08 22:23:54

With the latest Firefox experiment, Advance, you can explore more of the web efficiently, with real-time recommendations based on your current page and your most recent web history.

With Advance we're taking you back to our Firefox roots and the experience that started everyone surfing the web. That time when the World Wide Web was uncharted territory and we could freely discover new topics and ideas online. The Internet was a different place.

I get what Mozilla is trying to do here, and they obviously have rightfully earned the trust of many over the years, but is this kind of functionality really something people who choose to use Firefox are looking for, or even tolerate? This seems like something that doesn't align with the average Firefox user at all.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-21
By piratepuppy on 2018-08-08 22:52:15
I hate to say it like this but don't do nostalgia unless what you are trying to reproduce is well known and generates demand.

As much as nostalgia might be appealing it also gives me the impression that you've run out of ideas. Instead of looking forward, you go about digging up the past. No thanks.
Permalink - Score: -1
Well if someone has to do it...
By rlees on 2018-08-08 23:02:59
So I don't see myself signing up for this but...

Given that we're seeing increasing disruption to culture and politics due to questionable algorithmically driven news and info curation (ie. keeping you in your box) I can't really complain about someone that I trust taking a swing at how to do this fairly and effectively.

Maybe it will be noticeably better than what you get from Facebook etc. and if nothing else it will punctuate the deficiencies of those sources?
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By Athlander on 2018-08-08 23:06:35
I like that Mozilla have clearly presented what data is being sent to Laserlike. Points there.

Laserlike, though, comes across as the typical tech start up. There's absolutely nothing on their website about what their plans are (other than making the web a better place). Of course, the aim is probably to sell their technology for big money to anyone interested in data mining and search. Or they could share data with "trusted partners", sell data to clients, or insert sponsored results.

As to whether Firefox users would be interested in this feature, I have to wonder. It may be useful to students researching for an essay, but for most people it may appear to be nothing more than a focused Taboola/Outbrain.
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Mozilla walks a fine line
By supercompman on 2018-08-08 23:11:40
Mozilla has to walk a really fine line. You may be right that this isn't functionality that most Firefox users want, but they need to get NEW Firefox users. They need to find a good way to grow their user base and bring features that new users like while not alienating current users. As long as this is functionality that the user can turn off, I don't think this will be a big issue. I like the current versions of Firefox a lot, but Mozilla is trying desperately to show both the development community and users that you can bring modern "features" (site suggestions, ads, etc) to an application while still respecting a user's privacy. The problem that I see is that users don't really seem to care, even when they know that their data is being harvested, so it's a tough sell.

The number one thing that I've seen users care about is speed at which they can do what they want to do. Users want whatever is fastest. The only thing that I've seen users trade for speed is easiness. Not that the users are wrong for wanting these things. Time is valuable, and easiness means you can start making some kind of progress toward your desired goals more quickly.

From what I can see, the only way I see Firefox winning new users in any substantial quantity is by being much faster than the competition or being substantially easier (whatever that means to the user for their context). They have already lost the ease of use - too many people have bought into the Google infrastructure in Android, Google Docs, etc... Chrome is an easy, obvious fit here. The only chance they have is by winning the speed race, but I honestly doubt that will be enough.
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They must be low on money and that’s bad
By Poseidon on 2018-08-09 00:19:12
They’re probably running low on cash, and that’s bad for everyone.

It’s due to them that the web doesn’t suck, and the way google is going, if Mozilla goes down there’s going to be eithervavstagnation on standards or a rise in proprietary standards breaking compatibility in order to maximize revenue via lock in.
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RE: They must be low on money and that�s bad
By kwan_e on 2018-08-09 01:08:28
> They’re probably running low on cash, and that’s bad for everyone.

Maybe they should just replace every unnecessary feature with a "Donate" button. And that opens up a dialog that details exactly, and in real time, the financial and personnel situation (and maybe even a bug report count) of the foundation.
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RE: Mozilla walks a fine line
By laffer1 on 2018-08-09 02:24:35
They could also follow Netscape era rules or old Opera and be portable. Netscape ran on many UNIX operating systems in addition to windows and mac. Since firefox is open source, they could target many systems if only they would chill out on branding and the extreme hoops to get a port in.

Firefox should be available everywhere. They could win that war. Google has no interest in it.

Firefox and Chrome are available on:
windows, mac, linux, android. Firefox has flirted with iOS but missed the mark twice.

Look at all the missing operating systems. There's kinda of support for freebsd and openbsd. Sometimes netbsd. Other systems are out in the cold. Many linux distros are too due to their crazy brand requirements.

The latest version for ArcaOS/Ecomstation/OS/2 is years old. (like esr 32)

Get it working better on Haiku, ReactOS, etc. Push 64bit build where available.

Their insistence on Rust further limits the portability in the future. This is the wrong direction.

Put out official builds for ARM platforms on linux & windows. Put out freebsd binaries like Opera once did. Be open for a change.

Embrace side projects like thunderbird. Make it available on other platforms like android and iOS. Make it sync profiles and configuration with desktops. Due the same for the browser.

Help the seamonkey team get it working on 4k displays properly.

Build GOOD WILL in the open source community instead of pissing us all off. That builds word of mouth.

Many power users dislike that chrome has hidden everything including the settings. Copying that design like Opera has also done isn't working. Balance power and ease of use like they once did. Help extension makers port their stuff to the newer platform.

Fix the syncing problem. They've tried several times and it's never as good as google's implementation.
Permalink - Score: 0
RE[2]: Mozilla walks a fine line
By cb88 on 2018-08-09 03:00:55
This exactly...

ReactOS is stuck at FF 48 (Mostly ReactOS's fault otherwise they'd be at 52 just like XP).
Haiku (which is beta quality) is stick at FF2 ish
FireFox / Sparc arguably a good architecture to maintain as it requires aligned accesses (which bus fault on Sparc but cause minor slowdowns on other platforms). usually 5-10 versions behind and Rust is making it harder yet as it doesn't have as broad of compatibility as C does yet.
Failing that getting Firefox running on RiscV would be a huge plus for open source people.

Currently Firefox's UI is flexible enough again that I'd call it decent.

Personally I also find it quite troubling how many projects are dropping 32bit support without good reason, that's literally one more smoke test you aren't running. Instead of dropping 32bit they should be working toward making it easier to maintain 32bit/64bit compatible software... it should be just a checkbox not a conscious effort on the part of the developer in most cases.

Edited 2018-08-09 03:05 UTC
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Comment by jigzat
By jigzat on 2018-08-09 05:24:42
Fools, corporations will do whats best to their own interest even open source ones, they need money just like any other project or corporation.
Permalink - Score: -1
Comment by grub
By grub on 2018-08-09 07:59:10
What is "average Firefox user"?
Permalink - Score: 1

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