Mozilla announced today that it’s adding recommendations to the URL bar in Firefox through a new feature called “Firefox Suggest.” Now, in addition to the autocomplete suggestions that show whenever you begin typing something, you’ll see suggestions from Mozilla itself. It also looks like Mozilla will use Firefox Suggest to serve ads, though users will have some degree of control over the recommendations they see.
In a blog post to its website today, Mozilla explains that Firefox Suggests was born of the fact that “people need to work too hard to find what they want online,” these days, and because “navigation on the internet has become increasingly centralized and optimized for clicks and scrolling, not for getting people to where they want to go or what they are looking for quickly.”
Firefox Suggest, apparently, is the answer to those issues. Some Firefox users may already be familiar with Suggest, as it seems to have been in testing to some degree in the lead up to today, but now the feature appears to be rolling out to everyone.
In any case, when users type something into Firefox’s URL bar, they’ll see suggestions for pages related to their search. For instance, typing “Costa Rica” into the URL bar, as Firefox shows, will suggest the Costa Rica Wikipedia page. In addition to Wikipedia, Firefox Suggest will also surface suggestions that include “Pocket articles, reviews and credible content from sponsored, vetted partners and trusted organizations.”
In addition to this, Mozilla says that it’s developing contextual suggestions that will consider certain data from users. “To deliver contextual suggestions, Firefox will need to send Mozilla new data, specifically, what you type into the search bar, city-level location data to know what’s nearby and relevant, as well as whether you click on a suggestion and which suggestion you click on,” Mozilla wrote.
We have to wonder if Mozilla will get some pushback from Firefox users here because injecting ads into autocomplete suggestions may not sit well with many of them. The good news is that those smarter suggestions are opt-in, and users can turn off Firefox Suggest entirely by going into the Search tab of their browser settings and then deselecting Firefox Suggest under the “Search Suggestions” heading. You can read more about Firefox Suggest both in the blog post linked above and over on the Firefox support site.