Mozilla has brought a new experimental browser extension for Firefox that recommends new websites and articles based on what you're currently browsing and your recent browsing history. Called Advance, the new extension is a part of Firefox's Test Pilot programme and is powered by tech from machine learning startup Laserlike that has built a Web-scale content search, discovery, and personalisation search engine. The new development brings two sections, namely 'Read Next' and 'For You', that sit on the left side of the screen. These sections serve you with personalised recommendations. While the ability to use machine learning for understanding user history makes the Advance extension a bit similar to how Pocket integration already works on Firefox, the latest move doesn't bring paid ads that are a part of Pocket's recommendations section.
"With today's Advance experiment, we hope to bring the concept of the recommender system more to life," Mozilla wrote in a blog post while announcing the launch of Advance extension. "At a point where people no longer need to go backward in search to move forward to discover new, relevant content."
Mozilla says that the Advance extension analyse the content available on the screen to provide recommendations based on what you may want to read next through the Read Next section on the sidebar. The experimental section also takes into account recommendations based on your recent online history to show relevant content in the For You section of the sidebar. The recommendations will be based on the websites you visited after installing the extension. Also, it is claimed that recommendations are "purely driven by relevance" along with the aim to "give you the best and most timely recommendations".
While most of the machine learning is the essence on the Advance extension, you can flag irrelevant recommendations being served through the Read Next and For You sections as "Not interesting", "off-topic/spam", and "block sites". Similarly, there is an option to give direct feedback to alter the default experience. Users testing the Advance extension under the Test Pilot programme are also able to see what browser history Laserlike has obtained to provide recommendations. Furthermore, an option to request deletion of any previously stored information is available in order to preserve user privacy.
Mozilla apparently isn't favouring the use of Advance as a source of serving sponsored stories, unlike the Pocket integration that debuted through the Firefox 60 release in May. Nevertheless, the company is aiming to "experience with different methods" of providing recommendations to help users "having a more active role" in exploring the Web.
You can explore the Advance experience by signing up for the Test Pilot programme and then download its extension on your Firefox browser.