Skip to main content

Firefox Test Pilot introduces smart ‘Advance’ extension to help you explore the web

Mozilla’s Firefox web browser announced today a new experimental extension called Advance that uses machine learning to help users more contextually and intuitively surf the web. This extension is part of Firefox’s ongoing Test Pilot program (which users can opt into anytime) and is powered by the machine learning backbone of the startup Laserlike to better understand a user’s browsing habits.

Here’s how it works: Once enabled through the Test Pilot app, you can browse as normal, and Advance will start taking notes and learning about the kind of sites you browse. From what it’s learned, the extension will recommend pages you might want to “Read Next” that complement your current browsing (say you’re searching for a new local hangout) or pages that it thinks you might just like in the “For You” section of the sidebar. But if Advance gets it wrong, users can flag recommendations as boring, off-topic or spam and help fine-tune the extension to their preferences.

This feature is part of the company’s Context Graph initiative that aims to enable the “next generation of web discovery on the internet” and allow users to explore different corners of the web than those they trek daily (read: keep users on the application longer). The first effort in this arena, a new functionality called Activity Stream that helps users more intuitively interact with their history and bookmarks, graduated from Test Pilot and shipped out with the new Firefox Quantum browser in November of this past year.

The introduction of Advance also fills a gap recently left behind by the site StumbleUpon when it closed up shop this May after 16 years of helping users get lost in cyberspace. While Advance offers a smarter option (StumbleUpon had more chance built in to its one-click site generation functionality) the spirit of the workplace internet wanderer continues.

But, as is the issue with all life-easing machine learning technologies, in order to help you browse the internet, Advance and, in turn, Laserlike, need to know a lot about your browser history. While this is necessary for the technology to learn, Mozilla acknowledges that fears of misused and manipulated personal data are at a high these days following breaches of privacy and trust by companies like Facebook and Equifax among others in recent months.

To account for this unease, Advance allows users the option to pause the collection of browser history, view it and request Laserlike delete it.



from TechCrunch https://ift.tt/2M0dMUi

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Android blatantly copies the iPhone X navigation gestures

Google unveiled some of the new features in the next version of Android at its developer conference. One feature looked particularly familiar. Android P will get new navigation gestures to switch between apps. And it works just like the iPhone X.“As part of Android P, we’re introducing a new system navigation that we’ve been working on for more than a year now,” VP of Android Engineering Dave Burke said. “And the new design makes Android multitasking more approachable and easier to understand.”While Google has probably been working on a new multitasking screen for a year, it’s hard to believe that the company didn’t copy Apple. The iPhone X was unveiled in September 2017.On Android P, the traditional home, back and multitasking buttons are gone. There’s a single pill-shaped button at the center of the screen. If you swipe up from this button, you get a new multitasking view with your most recent apps. You can swipe left and right and select the app you’re looking for.If you swipe up o…

Square launches restaurant point-of-sale platform

Square, which has already made its way into retail stores and service-based businesses (think hair salons, massage therapists, etc), is officially getting into the restaurant business with the launch of Square for Restaurants. Square for Restaurants is a point-of-sale system that handles everything from menu updates, floor layouts, employee scheduling, performance tracking to tip splitting.Usually, restaurants have “some old legacy thing or something else,” Square Seller Lead Alyssa Henry told me.“Historically, we’ve not served this customer segment very well,” Henry said. “With Square for Restaurants, we’re excited to finally be able to serve this customer segment and deliver on a couple of key things that are core to Square but also highly valued by sellers of all types.”This new product is designed to be fast, self-serve, elegant and cohesive, Henry said. It also integrates seamlessly into Square’s existing ecosystem that includes Payroll, Capital and more. Given Square’s ownership…

Recapping the TechCrunch China Shenzhen 2018 event

This year we returned to Shenzhen, the Chinese city known as the world’s ‘Silicon Valley for hardware,’ for an event that was packed full of future-looking discussions, innovative startups, experienced founders, VCs and more.We love Shenzhen. Sure, Beijing has Zhongguancun and Shanghai has its international and diverse entrepreneurial community. But Shenzhen has a certain je ne sais quoi, an energy that pervades the entire city. Maybe it’s the great weather or maybe its youth of the place — both the residents and the age of the city itself — but every time we come to this southern city, we’re amazed by the people, projects, and companies thriving here.#Shenzhen, not Beijing or Shanghai, is the forerunner of Chinese innovation, says @ganglu, founder and CEO of TechNode #tcshenzhen@technodechina#reshapinginnovationpic.twitter.com/7ZX2o2Cpg1— TechNode (@technodechina) November 19, 2018 This year was no different. From blockchain smartphones to battling robots, from hackathons to VC speed …