Firefox for iOS Now Available for Preview

Mozilla

Today we are delighted to begin the roll out in New Zealand of our first public preview version of a Firefox browser for iOS.

iOS TopPreview to collect feedback

Our goal is to create a great browsing experience for iOS with Firefox. With this first public preview we will be collecting feedback in one country, before we extend availability to get feedback in a few more countries prior to a full public launch. Feedback from this preview release will help us build new features and bring Firefox for iOS to the App Store in rest of the world later this year. If you are interested in being notified when Firefox is available in your country, sign up here.

Features we are collecting feedback on

This preview release features Intelligent Search, which provides suggested search results and the choice of search providers.

FFx-iOS_iPhone6plus-Search_PR-wTag_ENWith Firefox Accounts, you can take your Firefox browser history, passwords and tabs from your desktop to your iOS devices. The preview release of Firefox for iOS also includes Visual Tabs, an intuitive way to keep track of your open tabs.

FFx-iOS_iPhone6plus-Tabs_PR-wTag_EN(1)Collecting feedback

We want your feedback to help us make Firefox for iOS great. You can share feedback directly with us in the app. To do this, tap the numeric tab icon on the top right of Firefox for iOS, tap the “Settings”  menu on the top left and go to “Support” to send your feedback directly to us.

FFx-iOS_iPhone6plus-Feedback_PR-wTag-Mag_EN

New Experimental Private Browsing and Add-ons Features Ready for Pre-Beta Testing in Firefox

Mozilla

We’re experimenting with new features in pre-beta versions of Firefox (Firefox Developer Edition on Windows, Mac and Linux and Firefox Aurora on Android) to offer more control over your privacy, including updated Private Browsing ready for pre-beta testing.

All major browsers offer some form of experience that is labeled ‘private’ but this is typically intended to solve the “local” privacy case, namely preventing others on a shared computer from seeing traces of your online activity. This is a useful solution for many users, but we’re experimenting with ways to offer you even more control when they open Private windows.

Private Browsing

Our hypothesis is that when you open a Private Browsing window in Firefox you’re sending a signal that you want more control over your privacy than current private browsing experiences actually provide. The experimental Private Browsing enhancements ready for testing today actively block website elements that could be used to record user behavior across sites. This includes elements like content, analytics, social and other services that might be collecting data without your knowledge. In some cases, websites might appear broken when elements that track behavior are blocked, but you can always unblock these if you want to view the website normally. Private Browsing in pre-beta Firefox also has a Control Center that contains important site security and privacy controls in a single place. As pre-beta testers, we need your feedback and we will use it to make the experience better for future releases. Please go to our feedback page to share your experience using the new experimental Private Browsing.

tp-pbm-start-page-small-FINAL

Firefox Makes Add-ons Safer

Add-ons are another important way you control your Web experience in Firefox and we are making them safer. Add-ons provide virtually limitless possibilities for how you can customize the look and functionality of Firefox. However, add-ons also have access to information Firefox manages and we are working to help make third-party add-ons a safer experience for personalizing your Firefox. Add-ons may have the ability to create unwanted toolbars or buttons, collect information, change your search settings or inject ads or malware into your device. We’ve worked with developers and created a process that attempts to verify that add-ons installed in Firefox meet the guidelines and criteria we’ve developed to ensure they’re safer for you. Starting with this release, add-on verification is enforced by default in pre-beta Firefox. Users who understand the risks of unverified add-ons can disable this (see the Add-ons Blog for details).

Testing Multi-process with Electrolysis

Electrolysis runs Web content in a separate process from the main browser and is enabled by default for most pre-Beta users. Performance improves with Electrolysis because the main browser process remains responsive to your input even when the content process is doing work. Some Firefox add-ons may not currently be compatible with Electrolysis and might not work as expected or at all. As always, we appreciate your help as our adventurous pre-Beta tester in helping us explore experimental features in pre-Beta Firefox. If you have comments on the quality of the Electrolysis experience, please share them through our feedback page.

Stay Tuned

We’re working on more new features to test soon, including an experience to help parents get added control of their children’s online experience, more ways to connect with Firefox Hello Beta and a way to bring the full Firefox experience to iOS.

More information:

Firefox for Windows 10: How to Restore or Choose Firefox as Your Default Browser

Mark Mayo

We’re excited to bring all that you love about Firefox to Windows 10. When you upgrade to Windows 10 or get a device that already has it installed, you may be surprised to find that your default browser is set to Microsoft Edge by Windows. Microsoft has changed how to set default applications in Windows 10 and to help with the process, we have illustrated below all the steps you need to set or change your default back to your intended choice.

  1. When you open Firefox for the first time, you will be asked if you’d like to make it your default browser. To do so, click the “Use Firefox as my default browser” button.red-small-firefox-default-browser-prompt
  2. The Windows Settings app will open with the Choose default apps screen. Scroll down and click the entry under Web browser. The Web browser icon will say either “Microsoft Edge” or “Choose your default browser”. It may not be intuitive, but you need to click on the Microsoft Edge logo to open the window that will let you choose another Web browser as your default.red-small-system-setting-after-scroll
  3. This will open the Choose an app screen. Click Firefox in the list to set it as the default browser.red-small-system-setting-change-to-firefox
  4. Firefox is now listed as your default browser. Close the window to save your changes.

Here’s a video walkthrough of this process.
If you need more help, please go to our support page.

Help Test Firefox Beta on Windows 10

We wanted to make sure that Firefox showed up on Windows 10 as a first-class experience, so we’ve made a lot of subtle tweaks to the look and feel that both sit well in the Windows 10 context and are definitively Firefox. We’re taking visual cues from style changes appearing in Windows 10 and we’re also reducing the overall browser UI footprint to increase space for viewing the Web. Download Firefox Beta now to help test out these updates or watch out for them coming soon in the general release of Firefox!

More information:

 

What to Look Forward to from Firefox OS

Mozilla

Firefox OS is an important part of our mobile strategy, in addition to Firefox for Android and other initiatives. We believe that building an open, independent alternative to proprietary, single-vendor platforms is critical to the future of a healthy mobile ecosystem. And it is core to our mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity in online life.

As an open source project, we are different from other tech companies and do most of our work and planning in the open, so we want to share a brief update of what we’re planning and what we’ll be experimenting with for the next phase of Firefox OS.

Ignite Initiative

Earlier this year, we shared that we were moving to the next phase of Firefox OS, where we would focus on the core product experience to ensure that it is clean, modern and easy-to-use, and yet powerful through its extensibility, clever design and features that put users in control of their experience.

Our aim is to build the next generation of Firefox OS with a stronger, more unified product experience and developer platform that exemplifies our values by showcasing the best of the Web.

To accomplish this, we are bringing threeignite image key ideas together:

  1. User focus: Ensuring that we’re delivering an experience that people love through user-centered design, research and product iteration
  2. Web platform: Bringing more of Mozilla and the Open Web to people than just the Web technologies upon which our products are built
  3. Community: Rallying and fully empowering our global community of developers, designers, and more to help build the future together

To deliver upon this vision we are immediately moving to a development model where we will drive a single open source core of Firefox OS, with major releases every six months, based upon weekly sprints.

Each major release will strive to deliver significant user and platform value, and will be available directly to anyone who wants to flash an unlocked Android phone or run through B2GDroid (an app that allows you to experience Firefox OS on Android) to get the latest experience, help test new features and to contribute back to the overall project. We will also support our partners (i.e. OEMs and operators) who will build and ship Firefox OS-powered devices based upon these major releases.

Firefox OS 2.5

The next major version of Firefox OS is now scheduled for this November.  You can view the draft roadmap and plan here.

Firefox OS 2.5 will be the most customizable, secure, locally relevant and empowering Firefox OS experience yet. In addition to local content, personalization and privacy features, we plan to enable the mobile equivalent of “View Source” (note: we’re still evaluating and designing the final feature set), revamp our security model to expose more of the new mobile Web APIs to developers and enable a Firefox-like extension mechanism to add to the user interface and phone capabilities.

New Product Development

We are also ramping up focused new product development efforts with key partners, building on recent announcements about Firefox OS Smart TVs and Smart Feature Phones, and active explorations into the Internet of Things and other connected device opportunities.

Stay tuned for more.

Mozilla Games Technology Roadmap

mbest

In furthering the advantages and appeal of the Web as a platform for games and game technologies, Mozilla is publishing its games-focused roadmap. In short, it’s all about high-performance, plugin-free games on the Web. We have made incredible progress over the last few years; to continue this trend, Mozilla has been working with game developers and tool makers to identify additional enhancements that will further empower the community. The following roadmap outlines both the feedback we received and the solutions we are currently pursuing in response to this feedback. This roadmap may be subject to change.

With the unveiling of WebAssembly, browsers have taken another common step towards native levels of performance on the Web. This roadmap outlines the wider view of additional Web platform functionality needed to allow game developers to provide the best possible experiences. Games are often a great catalyst for driving technology forward due to their demanding nature. To maximize the benefit to the Web, care has been taken to ensure that solutions will benefit the widest possible range of applications.

There are two levels to this document. The first is the Roadmap section which contains areas that are currently in development and we have a reasonable level of confidence we can address in the next year. The second is the Under Consideration section which contains topics that are under active investigation.

Roadmap

  • Allow developers to better exploit hardware parallelism.
    • Developers are struggling to get multi-threaded games running efficiently on the Web:
      • Standardize, implement and ship SharedArrayBuffer [1,2].
      • Add pthreads support to Emscripten [1,2].
      • Expose performance-sensitive Web APIs to Web Workers: WebGL, WebSockets, IndexedDB, WebAudio, WebRTC, WebVR.
      • Share compiled code (asm.js and WebAssembly) between workers [1].
    • Developers want to take advantage of SIMD hardware to optimize their code:
      • Standardize, implement and ship SIMD.js [1,2].
      • Include SIMD in WebAssembly [1].
      • Add SIMD support to Emscripten [1].
  • Improve cold load time of large compiled codebases.
    • Developers want to see reduced download, compilation and startup time for multi-million line compiled codebases.
      • WebAssembly will provide significant download size reductions (even before native support, through the polyfill) [1].
      • Natively decoding WebAssembly will be significantly faster than parsing JavaScript/asm.js [1].
      • Add a fast WebAssembly/asm.js compiler that allows an app to start quickly while a fully-optimizing compilation proceeds in a background thread [1].
      • Off-main-thread, streaming parsing/compilation [1].
    • Developers want to avoid depending on HTTP Content-Encoding:gzip for generic compression.
      • Add Emscripten support to perform decompression in asm.js / WebAssembly while downloading (allowing more aggressive algorithms than gzip).
  • Improve browser storage capabilities.
    • Developers seeking to avoid the permission prompt associated with persistent storage hit limitations of temporary storage as currently implemented in browsers.
      • Improve temporary quota limits to take into account factors like frecency.
      • Provide more information on quota usage and allowance [1].
      • Propose, standardize and implement finer-granularity units of evictable storage [1].
      • Allow cross-origin storage usage [1].
    • Developers that need persistent storage guarantees hit limitations of persistent storage as currently implemented in browsers.
      • Standardize persistent storage so that other browsers implement [1].
      • Reduce UI friction associated with the persistent permission prompt [1].
      • Improve storage management/eviction UI for browser users.
  • Improve browser graphics capabilities.
    • Ship WebGL2 [1].
    • Standardize and implement streaming WebGL canvas via WebRTC [1,2].
    • Run WebGL on discrete hardware for systems with integrated+discrete (e.g. nVidia Optimus).
  • Allow developers to better avoid 32-bit browser Out-of-Memory conditions.
    • Ship 64-bit Firefox on 64-bit Windows.
    • Avoid Emscripten in-memory Virtual File System for asset storage by leveraging pthreads and FileReaderSync to provide synchronous file I/O in workers.
  • Continue investment in performance across the platform.
    • Significantly optimize WebAudio performance [1].
    • Reduce WebGL shader compile times [1,2].
    • Reduce latency and jitter in the browser’s rendering pipeline [1,2,3,4].
    • Continue investments in the performance of JS, DOM, WebGL, WebRTC, codec, layout, rendering, compositing, animation, etc.
  • Continue investment in Emscripten.
    • Add support for pthreads, SIMD, and WebAssembly, as mentioned above.
    • Further improve compilation speed.
  • Continue investment in Firefox developer tooling to better support game developers.
    • Improve Web Worker support [1].
    • Allow developers to break on various asm.js/WebAssembly error conditions [1].

Under Consideration

  • Developers are having trouble identifying how many Web Workers they should create to distribute their workload. Benchmarking methods often prove unreliable.
  • Developers are hitting the 20-per-origin limit on web workers in Firefox and are requesting a much higher limit.
  • Leverage multi-process browser architecture to guarantee a fresh address space for games with large contiguous heaps allocated early in process startup.
  • Investigate Out-of-Memory error reporting mechanism to send safe/sanitized triage information back to Web app developers.
  • Collaborate on new standards to improve IME capabilities [1,2].
  • Add hardware cursor API [1].
  • Improve Gamepad API [1].
  • Add Pointer Clipping extension to Pointer Lock API [1].
  • Add Emscripten tooling for memory use/leak debugging.
  • Standardize (as part of WebAssembly or more generally) a more scalable form of source maps suitable for large compiled codes.

What to Look Forward to from Firefox

Mozilla

We created Firefox more than a decade ago with a mission to give people transparency, choice and control online. Since then, the browser has continued to evolve its critical role in how users experience the Web and control their online lives.

That’s why at Mozilla we’re always focused on one question: how do we make Firefox even better and continue to delight users? Because we are different than most tech companies and work in the open, we are sharing some experiments centered around the three focus areas of our strategy.

Firefox Pillars

Uncompromised Quality

The first focus area is delivering an uncompromised user experience that ensures Firefox meets the most rigorous of quality and performance standards. This commitment is evident in the strides we’re making to improve the richest Web experiences like HTML5 video playback and game performance.  We’ll also soon deliver Firefox to new platforms, such as Firefox for iOS and Windows 10, where we will provide an independent and high-performing alternative to the stock browser.

Best Of The Web

Firefox is well known for giving users complete control over their Web experience while pushing the boundaries of the “modern browser.” Today, we’re working with more partners and developers around the world to highlight innovation and offer the best of the Web in Firefox. We showed this with our new search strategy for Firefox to promote choice and innovation and with new open technologies we build based on standards including Firefox Hello, the first WebRTC in-browser video chat tool made in partnership with Telefonica. We continue to pioneer open standards including WebVR, WebGL and WebRTC to advance the Web as the development platform.

Uniquely Firefox

Earlier this year, we asked users to identify what’s different about Firefox and the results reaffirmed our view that it’s important for Firefox to be increasingly recognized for attributes such as performance, trust and quality that align with our mission.

We value that our users trust us because we protect their choices and protect their privacy. That’s why we are experimenting with improvements to private browsing and other unique features for a major release focused on these three areas that we’ll share with Firefox users later this year.

Stay tuned for more.

Update on Firefox for iOS

Mozilla

We want to bring Firefox to every language, platform and device possible. Although we can’t bring the full Firefox experience and rendering engine to iOS due to the restrictions, we saw an opportunity with the latest improvements and tools in iOS 8 to begin development of a Firefox experience for iOS.

The Firefox team has been working hard on development of this new browser over the past few months. We are sharing source code in Github for the brave early testers and are also preparing for a limited Firefox for iOS Beta soon. Of course, we would prefer to have a large, open beta, but we must work through the required development and release process to get a Firefox app tested on iOS to get it ready to share with the world.

We’ll post more updates here as Firefox for iOS develops.

Help Test Changes to New Tab in Firefox Beta

Kevin Ghim

It’s been 18 months since we started working to improve digital advertising experiences for the Web.  We released our first two products, Directory Tiles and Enhanced Tiles, last November.  Directory Tiles have proven that Tiles can deliver successful advertising in Firefox and Enhanced Tiles was our first step to show it is possible to deliver personalization while respecting privacy.  The next step is to scale these advances to the entire Firefox population.

Suggested Tiles will merge with the Beta channel next week – Beta testers should start to see Tiles promoting Firefox for Android, Firefox Marketplace and other Mozilla causes.

Suggested Tiles is an advertising experience that delivers content recommendations that are relevant for the user in a transparent way while at the same time respecting their privacy, and giving them complete control over the experience.  As a tester, you should be able to identify clearly what is promoted or sponsored content, understand why you’re seeing it, interact with it and be able to change your settings with ease.  If you want to opt out entirely of Tiles, you may do that effectively and easily. Please note that we are not testing ad blocking add-ons with Suggested Tiles.

Where something doesn’t work as specified, please file bugs under Firefox, Component New Tab page.  If you have comments on the quality of the experience, please let us know through Firefox Input.

* Note: if you set DNT=1, it is possible that you may not be receiving Suggested Tiles.  You can very simply enable them on the new tab page with the cogwheel.  We made the decision to opt users out of all sponsored Tiles experiences if they have DNT=1 quite early on, as we believe that most DNT early adopters are seeking to opt out of all advertising experiences.  However, it’s important to understand that no tracking is involved in delivering Tiles.

More information:

Get a Firefox Account and Test New Features in Firefox Beta

Chad Weiner

We’re experimenting with new features in Firefox Beta to give you more ways to connect with the people and content you want on the Web.

There’s a new tab sharing feature in Firefox Hello Beta so you can share any website you’re viewing while talking to friends, family and co-workers. We’re also testing a new integration with the popular service, Pocket. Pocket allows you to save stories, videos and websites to enjoy at a later time.

To test Firefox Hello tab sharing, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Hello icon in the Firefox toolbar.
  2. Start a conversation.
  3. Connect with your guest.
  4. Click the share icon.

To experience even more of Hello, sign up for a Firefox Account. You can then add and save contacts directly into your Hello contacts list, making it easier to connect with friends and family.

Firefox Hello Tab sharing

You’ll see the Firefox Accounts sign up option by clicking the Hello icon and looking at the bottom right of the conversation control center.

Firefox Accounts

You can even use Firefox Hello without an account, the people you’re connecting to just need to click your link to join a call with you.

When you have a Firefox Account, you can also test the new Firefox Beta Pocket integration, following these steps:

  1. Click “Sign up with Firefox.”
  2. You’ll create your account and be asked to confirm your email.
  3. Open your email service and click the confirmation link in the message we’ve sent you.

Pocket

You’re now ready to use Pocket. To start testing, visit any website and click the Pocket icon in the toolbar. For example, visit Yahoo news. Once there, click the Pocket icon. That page will be saved to your Pocket. You can access that content again through Firefox by clicking the Pocket icon and selecting View List. You’ll then be taken to the screen below where you can view and manage your saved content.

Pocket

Pocket is available in Firefox Beta in English, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish and more languages are coming soon.

An Early Look at WebGL 2

mbest

One of the common requests we’ve had since we started work to bring high-end gaming to the Web is the desire to take advantage of the more modern 3D graphics capabilities present in desktop GPUs, as well as the latest generation of mobile GPUs. WebGL, the Web’s standard for 3D graphics, is tied closely to OpenGL ES, the standard for mobile 3D graphics. WebGL 1.0 was based upon OpenGL ES 2.0, which ensured that WebGL content could run on the widest possible hardware, both desktop and mobile.

Today, we’re introducing a preview of WebGL 2, which is still under development by the WebGL working group. WebGL 2 is based on OpenGL ES 3.0, and brings with it many improvements and additions to help developers create stunning visuals on the Web. WebGL 2 will raise many restrictions and add new capabilities compared to WebGL 1. For example, while WebGL 1 only required support for being able to render using 8 textures at a time, WebGL 2 raises this minimum limit to 32.

WebGL 2 also includes requirements for higher precision in fragment shaders, adds support for features such as occlusion queries and geometry instancing, and introduces developer-controlled access to antialiasing, multiple render targets, and more. All of this combines to enable Web developers access to more advanced graphics on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The Unity 5 engine includes experimental support for WebGL export, and we’ve worked with Unity engineers to bring their ES 3.0 target to WebGL 2. Check out Unity’s Teleporter demo below, taking advantage of new WebGL 2 rendering features!