Firefox’s Test Pilot Program Returns with Firefox Private Network Beta
Like a cat, the Test Pilot program has had many lives. It originally started as an Add-on before we relaunched it three years ago. Then in January, we announced that we were evolving our culture of experimentation, and as a result we closed the Test Pilot program to give us time to further explore what was next.
We learned a lot from the Test Pilot program. First, we had a loyal group of users who provided us feedback on projects that weren’t polished or ready for general consumption. Based on that input we refined and revamped various features and services, and in some cases shelved projects altogether because they didn’t meet the needs of our users. The feedback we received helped us evaluate a variety of potential Firefox features, some of which are in the Firefox browser today.
If you haven’t heard, third time’s the charm. We’re turning to our loyal and faithful users, specifically the ones who signed up for a Firefox account and opted-in to be in the know about new products testing, and are giving them a first crack to test-drive new, privacy-centric products as part of the relaunched Test Pilot program. The difference with the newly relaunched Test Pilot program is that these products and services may be outside the Firefox browser, and will be far more polished, and just one step shy of general public release.
We’ve already earmarked a couple of new products that we plan to fine-tune before their official release as part of the relaunched Test Pilot program. Because of how much we learned from our users through the Test Pilot program, and our ongoing commitment to build our products and services to meet people’s online needs, we’re kicking off our relaunch of the Test Pilot program by beta testing our project code named Firefox Private Network.
Try our first beta – Firefox Private Network
One of the key learnings from recent events is that there is growing demand for privacy features. The Firefox Private Network is an extension which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and your personal information anywhere and everywhere you use your Firefox browser.
There are many ways that your personal information and data are exposed: online threats are everywhere, whether it’s through phishing emails or data breaches. You may often find yourself taking advantage of the free WiFi at the doctor’s office, airport or a cafe. There can be dozens of people using the same network — casually checking the web and getting social media updates. This leaves your personal information vulnerable to those who may be lurking, waiting to take advantage of this situation to gain access to your personal info. Using the Firefox Private Network helps protect you from hackers lurking in plain sight on public connections.
Start testing the Firefox Private Network today, it’s currently available in the US on the Firefox desktop browser. A Firefox account allows you to be one of the first to test potential new products and services, you can sign up directly from the extension.
Key features of Firefox Private Network are:
- Protection when in public WiFi access points – Whether you are waiting at your doctor’s office, the airport or working from your favorite coffee shop, your connection to the internet is protected when you use the Firefox browser thanks to a secure tunnel to the web, protecting all your sensitive information like the web addresses you visit, personal and financial information.
- Internet Protocol (IP) addresses are hidden so it’s harder to track you – Your IP address is like a home address for your computer. One of the reasons why you may want to keep it hidden is to keep advertising networks from tracking your browsing history. Firefox Private Network will mask your IP address providing protection from third party trackers around the web.
- Toggle the switch on at any time. By clicking in the browser extension, you will find an on/off toggle that shows you whether you are currently protected, which you can turn on at anytime if you’d like additional privacy protection, or off if not needed at that moment.
Your feedback on Firefox Private Network beta is important
Over the next several months you will see a number of variations on our testing of the Firefox Private Network. This iterative process will give us much-needed feedback to explore technical and possible pricing options for the different online needs that the Firefox Private Network meets.
Your feedback will be essential in making sure that we offer a full complement of services that address the problems you face online with the right-priced service solutions. We depend on your feedback and we will send a survey to follow up. We hope you can spend a few minutes to complete it and let us know what you think. Please note this first Firefox Private Network Beta test will only be available to start in the United States for Firefox account holders using desktop devices. We’ll keep you updated on our eventual beta test roll-outs in other locales and platforms.
Sign up now for a Firefox account and join the fight to keep the internet open and accessible to all.