Advance is part of Firefox’s ongoing Test Pilot program, which has the machine learning technology for its brains.
Mozilla says that with the new extension “you can explore more of the web efficiently, with real-time recommendations based on your current page and your most recent web history.” The company continually stresses in the blog about the internet being a complex and “unfamiliar city” and how we don’t explore the “uncharted territory” anymore. Advance is focused on helping users achieve that.
The Advance experiment is available for download on Test Pilot.
How will this work?
As the blog describes, Advance will analyze content you have been interacting with in order to provide recommendations based on what you may want to “Read Next” through a sidebar in the browser.
In addition to that, the extension will also share recommendations based on your recent online history, which can be seen in the ‘For You’ section of the sidebar. The recommendations will be all the links and pages you visited since you installed the Web Extension.
Mozilla says, “Recommendations are purely driven by relevance, the primary goal of this experience is to give you the best and most timely recommendations.”
And in order to make the extension function better with time and be customised for each individual, in instances where the extension shares irrelevant recommendations, you will have the choice to flag it as boring, off-topic or spam.
Cool, so what’s the problem?
On papers, this extension looks futuristic and efficient, with machine learning understanding the way you search and what you search, however, before you get on board with Advance you need to understand what this means for your data and privacy.
Any life-easing machine learning technology needs a lot of your browser history in order to perform its job well. The same concerns were raised for this Firefox extension as well. However, Mozilla says that it understands the fears of misused and manipulated personal data, it will allows users the option to pause the collection of browser history, view it and request it to delete it.