Back in February, Firefox exec Darren Herman announced Directory Tiles, which would display ads to new Firefox users whenever they opened a fresh tab. The reaction to Directory Tiles wasn’t exactly positive though. Now, Firefox revealed that while they’re not quite going forward with Directory Tiles, they will “experiment” and attempt to develop features that could be useful to users. Sponsorships would then be sought out later on.
In an official Firefox blog post entitled “New Tab Experiments,” Firefox VP Johnathan Nightingale noted that people were concerned that Directory Tiles would turn the browser into a “mess of logos sold to the highest bidder.” He attempts to reassure Firefox fans by saying “that’s not going to happen.” That’s not necessarily the end of ads in Firefox, though.
“In the coming weeks, we’ll be landing tests on our pre-release channels to see whether we can make things like the new tab page more useful, particularly for fresh installs of Firefox, where we don’t yet have any recommendations to make from your history,” Nightingale said. “These tests are purely to understand what our users find helpful and what our users ignore or disable – these tests are not about revenue and none will be collected.”
Nightingale also says once Firefox is confident that they have developed features which “deliver user value,” sponsorship would then be the “next stage” of the process. Though the firm plans to test site recommendations in new Firefox installations, they’ll come from a mix of Mozilla sites, and “other useful sites on the Web.” Layout tweaks may be on the horizon too, despite the fact that Firefox received a significant update about a week and a half ago.
It’ll be interesting to see what approach Firefox will take with this issue, especially considering that featuring ads in the browser still appears to be in the cards.
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