Mozilla Pushes the Web to New Levels as a Platform for Games

David Bryant

The Web is the platform for game development and we’ll be showing it in action at this year’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco. Powerful new capabilities continue to emerge and gain mindshare with developers and gamers alike as the open Web games stack reaches ubiquity.

  • Technologies pioneered by Mozilla, such as WebGL, WebVR and asm.js are all gaining momentum.
  • Today, WebAssembly, the next evolution of asm.js, is available as an experiment for testing in Firefox Nightly.
  • Launching this week at GDC, Open Web Games is a site for developers and browser makers to demonstrate modern Web game technologies, stress-test browser implementations and collaborate on maintaining the stability and evolution of the Web games stack over time using a variety of real-world games and demos.
  • Next generation Web technologies such as WebGL 2, SIMD.js and Shared Array Buffer are also now available for anyone to explore in Firefox Nightly.
  • To advance WebVR, Mozilla recently announced version 1.0 of the WebVR API proposal.
  • Mozilla is investing in helping developers move titles based on plugins to Web technologies through the Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) and direct engineering support.

Over the last year the industry has continued to demonstrate its support for the open Web stack:

  • Unity, one of the largest and best-regarded game engines in the industry, showed that the Web stack is ready for prime time by removing the ‘Preview’ label from their amazing WebGL exporter which takes advantage of WebGL and asm.js.
  • Autodesk, a leader in 3D design and animation tools, is showing a tech preview of Web export support with its Stingray game engine.
  • Indy mobile developers like EVERYDAYiPLAY are expanding their revenue streams by building for the Web with games like Heroes of Paragon. They report Daily Average Revenue per User (DARPU) numbers that are much better for the Web version of their game than the Android Play store and are very competitive, relative to iOS.

EVERYDAYiPLAY-DARPU

  • Major browsers have adopted more of the key APIs needed to enable the next generation of Web games. The industry’s top brands are coming out with growing support for the Web, making it easier than ever for developers to create for and succeed on the Web platform.

timelineFor more information:

  • If you’re at GDC, come see us at booth 936 on the Lower Level of the South Hall.
  • If you’re a member of the press and have a question, please email press@mozilla.com and we’ll help you out.
  • To learn more about what Mozilla is doing at GDC, read articles from developers or learn how to get involved, please visit games.mozilla.org.

Mozilla A-Frame Powers New Amnesty International Virtual Reality Website #360Syria

Mozilla

Amnesty International today announced a new #360Syria “virtual tour” website showing the devastation brought by Syrian government barrel bombing of the besieged city of Aleppo. The website demonstration, called “Fear of the Sky” (www.360Syria.com), is built using Mozilla A-Frame technology.

Websites like #360Syria, that allow viewers to take a virtual tour of the devastated city of Aleppo, are a significant new use case for WebVR. Technology gives people a voice where otherwise there is none. It brings a new level of visibility and greater levels of empathy to real-life situations.

The #360Syria website comprises specially-created 360-degree photography, narration, sound recordings, 3-D data graphics and videos gathered by Amnesty-trained Syrian media activists. The site was created in partnership with San Francisco design and technology company Junior (www.junior.io).

A-Frame is an open source framework that simplifies WebVR development and enables easy creation of WebVR experiences with HTML. Because A-Frame is built around building blocks that can be extended and combined into limitless combinations, it provides a high degree of creative freedom.It is designed and maintained by MozVR (Mozilla’s virtual reality research team) and optimizes for a smooth learning curve between ease-of-use for developers who are new to virtual reality technology and increased flexibility for advanced developers.

At Mozilla one of our goals is to bring high-performance, responsive virtual reality technology to the open Web. We launched A-Frame, an open source library for creating virtual reality Web experiences, so that Web developers could create virtual reality websites from a single line of HTML code and bypass complex 3D APIs like WebGL.

Our hope is that A-Frame provides a constructive contribution to a growing pantheon of WebVR development tools, helping to grow the number of VR Web developers and experiences.

More information:
About Mozilla VR (MozVR)
Getting Started with Mozilla A-Frame
Amnesty International #360Syria blog post

Encryption, Journalism and Free Expression

Mark Surman

Over the past several weeks, Mozilla has been running an educational campaign about encryption. We believe it’s essential for everyday Internet users to better understand the technology that helps keep the Web a more secure platform.

So far, we’ve explored encryption’s role in helping protect users’ personal, intimate information. We’ve created an animated short that uses plain language to explain how encryption works. And we’ve expressed our support for Apple in its ongoing case against the FBI.

Today, we’re spotlighting how encryption can support not only our personal security, but also how it can play a role in promoting values like free expression that most of us hold dear.

Recently, Mozilla spoke with Trevor Timm, Executive Director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports and defends journalism dedicated to transparency and accountability. “Increasingly, encryption is playing a huge role in upholding free expression rights,” Trevor says. You can learn more by watching our interview below:

I hope you’ll take a moment, hear Trevor, and share this video with friends and family. Broadening public understanding of encryption is the first step toward protecting it. We’ve learned that an informed public is one of the open Internet movement’s most powerful tools.

Mozilla is also supporting encryption by placing a technologist, in collaboration with the Ford Foundation, at the Freedom Of The Press Foundation. It’s part of our Open Web Fellows program — if you are interested in this program, apply by March 20.

Thanks for being involved and for joining the discussion about encryption. It’s an important moment for all of us to be talking about these issues.

Updates to Firefox Hello Beta

Mozilla

Firefox Hello Beta is a communication tool that lets you share tabs you’re browsing in Firefox with others and chat over video or text, free and without needing an account or login. Firefox Hello Beta in Windows, Mac and Linux helps you discuss and make decisions about anything online by sharing the website you’re browsing in your conversation. This makes it easier and faster to do things like to shop online together with friends, plan a vacation with the family or collaborate on work with a colleague.

When you click the Firefox Hello icon Firefox Hello Beta in Firefox and invite someone to your conversation, Hello will instantly share the tab you’re viewing with them when they join.

Firefox Hello on Windows, Mac and Linux is developed with our partner Telefónica and we’re always working on adding features, including the ability to pause sharing and more.

We hope you enjoy using the updated Firefox Hello Beta and we look forward to sharing more updates about new features we’re testing on our Future Releases Blog.

More information:

International Women’s Day; Time to Take Action

Mitchell Baker

Tuesday March 8 2016 is International Women’s Day (IWD).  While Mozilla celebrates the progress to date we also realize there is a great deal of critical work still needed. The Internet can play an enormous role in improving the lives and opportunities of women, girls and their families. This is why I am honored to participate in the United Nations’ first High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, which was launched this January. I am eager to emphasize the positive effects of technology and the Open Internet as part of the Panel’s work. I am also intent on representing voices from around the globe in this discussion, and have begun collecting input to do this.

You can learn more about work in these topics and read my thoughts on how the Internet can empower women in a post on my blog.

Standing Up with Apple to Fight for Everyone’s Security

Denelle Dixon-Thayer

Mozilla today is joining a coalition of technology companies, including Google, Nest Labs, Facebook, WhatsApp, Evernote, Snapchat and Microsoft, in filing an amicus brief in support of Apple’s position in its ongoing dispute with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In our brief we are urging the district court not to force Apple to undo its own security protections to break into an iPhone.

Ultimately, companies like Mozilla are constantly striving to build more secure products. We make decisions every single day intended to protect our users. But those decisions affect all our users, which means Mozilla cannot weaken security for one user without effectively weakening it for everybody else. And it also means we cannot stand by as other companies are required to do so.

We are filing the amicus brief to help the court understand why it is dangerous to force technology companies to actively undermine their own security features. Opposing the FBI order is about taking a stand for public safety. It is the responsibility of technology companies to build as strong a product as possible to protect all users. We’ve already seen what weak security can do. We think users want more security, not less security. Tech companies should aspire to build “unhackable” products. With this precedent, we could all be told not to build secure products in the first place.

Security is critical to the continued evolution and growth of the Internet. It’s part of our mission to safeguard the Web, we consider it part of our job to take a stand on issues that threaten the health of the Internet.

Update on Connected Devices Innovation Process: Four Projects Move Forward

Ari Jaaksi Ari Jaaksi

The Internet of Things is changing the world around us, with new use cases, experiences and technologies emerging every day. As we continue to experiment in this space, we wanted to take a moment to share more details around our approach, process and current projects we’re testing.

We are focused on a gated innovation process that includes time to brainstorm solutions to real life problems and evaluate the market opportunity for these ideas. Additionally, we are aligning ourselves with users when it comes to simplicity, ease-of-use and engaging experiences, while ensuring everything is built with the Mozilla values of openness, transparency, privacy and user control at the core.

We have identified a shortlist of experiments as our first group of projects in need of community participation to help us develop, test and evaluate.  We’re excited to say that our first round of projects cover a wide range of potential solutions, as you can see below:

  • Project Link: Your personal user agent that understands your preferences for how you want to interact with the world of devices in your home, and automate your connected world for you. All of this still done conveniently and securely, but completely under your control.
  • Project Sensor Web: The easiest path from sensors to open data for contributors to collaboratively build a detailed understanding of their living environments. We are launching a pilot project to build a crowdsourced pm2.5 sensor network.
  • Project Smart Home: A middle ground between “in a box” solutions like Apple Homekit and DIY solutions like Raspberry Pi. Combining modular, affordable hardware with easy-to-use rules, Smart Home empowers people to solve unique everyday problems in new and creative ways.
  • Project Vaani: An IoT enabler package to developers, device makers and users who want to add a voice interface to their devices in a flexible and customizable way. We will prototype interactions at home in near term, and in future, showcase the ability to access services from the open Web.

We cannot do this without our dedicated and passionate community of developers and volunteers serving in an array of roles, as they are critical at ensuring each project has the best opportunity at making an impact. If you are interested in participating as a developer or tester, please click here to get involved.

We look forward to giving you updates on these projects as we continue to innovate with you all, out in the open.

This post was originally posted on the Future Release blog.

Firefox OS will Power New Line-up of Panasonic Ultra HD TVs

Mozilla

Panasonic announced today that Firefox OS will power the new Panasonic DX-series UHD TVs.

Panasonic TVs powered by Firefox OS are already available globally. These TVs have intuitive and customizable home screens which give you “quick access” to Live TV, Apps and personal connected devices. You can access your favorite channels, apps, videos, websites and content quickly – and you can also pin any app or content to your TV home screen.

What’s New in Firefox OS For TVs

Panasonic plans to update the DX-series UHD TVs, first announced in Europe, with a new version of Firefox OS later this year. This update will give you a new way to discover Web Apps and save them to your TV. Firefox OS will feature Web Apps with curated Web content optimized for TV, such as games, news, video on demand, weather and more. You will also get an easy “click to watch” content discovery experience with no installation necessary.

Panasonic’s DX-series UHD TVs powered by Firefox OS will also get new features that provide a seamless Firefox experience across multiple platforms. A new “send to TV” feature will allow you to easily share Web content from Firefox for Android to a Firefox OS-powered TV.

Mozilla and Panasonic have been collaborating since 2014 to provide consumers with intuitive, optimized user experiences and allow them to enjoy the benefits of the Open Web platform.

For more information:

Mozilla Introduces Surveillance Principles for a Secure, Trusted Internet

Denelle Dixon-Thayer

4

#encryption

Security is paramount to a trusted Internet. Encryption is a critical part of how that trust is made real. The recent events around Apple and the FBI set a dangerous precedent. Our position on these issues is simple: the FBI should not be able to require a technology company to create code that “undoes” years of security enhancements by creating additional vulnerabilities.

Even when legitimate, government surveillance can cause massive harm to user security and the Internet. Governments don’t always take this harm into account when conducting their surveillance activities. The Apple case is just the latest example. We propose that governments adopt basic principles that guide the scope of their surveillance activities, balancing their legitimate needs with the broader good:

  • User Security: Governments need to strengthen user security, including the best encryption, not weaken it.
  • Minimal Impact: Government surveillance should minimize impact on user trust and security.
  • Accountability: Surveillance activities need empowered, independent, and transparent oversight.

These principles were not proposed in a vacuum. At Mozilla, we believe that user privacy and security is fundamental, that the Internet is a global public resource, and that transparent processes promote trust and accountability. Those ideas shouldn’t just apply to the way Mozilla builds its products. They can help all of us, including governments, create a safer, more trusted Internet.

So what can you do? Help advocate by being a voice for these principles. As a member of the public, talk about these issues (#encryption), share the principles and encourage your policymakers and governments to get serious about protecting users from the harms of surveillance. If you are a policymaker, you can go even further by implementing basic principles that help us all create a more secure and trusted Internet.

Continuing the Conversation About Encryption and Apple: A New Video From Mozilla

Mark Surman

In the past week, the conversation about encryption has reached fever pitch. Encryption, Apple, and the FBI are in headlines around the world. And lively discussions about security and privacy are taking place around kitchen tables, on television, and in comment sections across the Internet.

Mozilla believes the U.S. government’s demand for Apple to circumvent their own security protections is a massive overreach. To require Apple to do this would set a dangerous precedent that threatens consumer security going forward. But this discussion is an opportunity to broaden public understanding of encryption. When people understand the role encryption plays in their everyday lives, we can all stand up for encryption when threats surface — this key issue related to the overall health of the Internet becomes mainstream.

Earlier this month — just days before the Apple story broke — Mozilla launched a public education campaign about encryption. We’re excited to continue this campaign alongside the new, robust conversations that have emerged.

Today, Mozilla is releasing the next installment in the campaign: a short film that animates encryption as a lovable character and unpacks how she works and why she’s so important.

We hope you’ll share this video with your friends and family — and then start a conversation about the issues that have come to the fore over the past week. Building grassroots support for a safe and open Internet is essential. It’s a tried and true tactic: kitchen table conversations and support from everyday Internet users helped uphold net neutrality. This is the power of the open Internet movement at work. Now, it’s time to do it again — let’s spread the word about encryption and help keep it safe.