Mozilla Festival 2015 was a productive and dynamic event celebrating the world’s most valuable public resource — the open Web. MozFest is also a gathering place for Mozilla community members from around the world and brings together makers, designers, builders, coders and creative folks to showcase their ideas of how the Web can enable the sort of innovative tinkering you might do (or want to do) in your own garage. Continue reading …
This past weekend, the sixth-annual MozFest — Mozilla’s celebration of the open Web — convened hackers, teachers and organizers from across the globe to address some of the most pressing issues facing the Web today. Together, we explored how we can act as leaders in the tech, policy and social spheres to create a better Web for everyone.
Participants from diverse fields like journalism, education, science, advocacy, hardware and the internet of things worked in collaborative, self-organized sessions to shape the future of the Web. With 1,700 attendees from almost every corner of the Earth in attendance, 300 volunteer-hosted sessions and 50 learning pathways, the weekend was a joyful, thought-provoking celebration — and a reminder that all of us have the ability to mobilize others and fuel the movement for the open Web. Continue reading …
We’re releasing a powerful new feature in Firefox Private Browsing called Tracking Protection. We created this feature because we believe in giving you more choice and control over your Web experience. With the release of Tracking Protection in Firefox Private Browsing we are leading the industry by giving you control over the data that third parties receive from you online. No other browser’s Private Browsing mode protects you the way Firefox does—not Chrome, not Safari, not Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer. Continue reading …
Last week we launched the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) – an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software. The first track within MOSS provides support for open source and free software projects that Mozilla uses or relies on. Our goal is to identify up to 10 such projects that we can fund in a thoughtful, meaningful way by December 12th.
You can find the link to apply along with more on the criteria and resources you will need to submit, in a longer post on my blog.
Initial Allocation of One Million US Dollars
Today Mozilla is launching an award program specifically focused on supporting open source and free software. Our initial allocation for this program is $1,000,000. We are inviting people already deeply connected to Mozilla to participate in our first set of awards.
Mozilla is a part of the open source and free software movement. We were born out of this movement. We prosper because of the technology and activism which comes from this movement. And we know that open source and free software remains a key part of the Internet and the online life we seek to build. We have had a grant program for many years. Now it is time to formalize a systematic way to provide a new level of support to this community. Continue reading …
Mozilla has released a new report — mzl.la/localcontent — co-authored with the GSMA. Titled “Approaches to local content creation: realising the smartphone opportunity,” our report explores how the right tools, coupled with digital literacy education, can empower mobile-first Web users as content creators and develop a sustainable, inclusive mobile Web.
In emerging markets like India, Bangladesh and Kenya, many individuals access the Web exclusively through smartphones. Indeed, by the end of 2020, there will be 3 billion people using the mobile internet across the developing world.
Improved access is heartening, but a dearth of local content in these regions can render the mobile Web irrelevant, leaving users with little reason to engage. This leads to lost opportunities, and a diminished mobile ecosystem.
In this report, Mozilla and the GSMA explore solutions to this challenge. Mozilla and the GSMA sought to answer three key questions:
- What level of digital literacy is necessary to empower mobile-first users?
- What kind of tools enable users to easily create content?
- Can the right training and tools significantly impact the digital ecosystem in mobile-first countries?
Our findings draw on a range of data: 12 weeks of ethnographic research in emerging markets throughout Africa, Asia and the Americas; one year of user-centered design, testing and iteration of Webmaker for Android, Mozilla’s app for spurring local content creation; two pilot studies exploring the relationship between digital skills on mobile Web usage; and additional analysis.
We explored a range of topics — from language to learning to networks — but reached a central conclusion: Higher skill levels and a larger amount of relevant content would benefit a range of actors, including the mobile industry, government and civil society. If the right investments are made, many more newcomers to the internet will enjoy the benefits of online life, and will be able to create value for themselves and others in the process.
Additional lessons learned include:
- There is a latent appetite to create content in emerging markets. Research participants and user testers were hugely excited and enthusiastic about the idea of creating for the Internet.
- Sharing is a powerful motivator for original content creation. In some of our testing contexts, we have observed that the social incentives for “sharing” content provide the hook that leads a user to generate his or her own original content.
- Designing for the “next billion” requires the same focus and respect for the user as designing for those already online. Simply because some are new to the Web, or to content creation, does not mean that those creating platforms and applications should underrate their ability to handle and even enjoy complexity.
- Users do not want to create the same content as everyone else. During workshops, participants continually broke free of our restrictions, escaping the templates and the grids they were provided with, to experiment with more open-ended and fun concepts.
To read the full report, visit mzl.la/localcontent.
Mozilla and the GSMA began their partnership in 2014, motivated by the growing number of people coming online through smartphones and the desire to spark local content creation. To read past research findings, visit mzl.la/research.
Content blocking has become a hot issue across the Web and mobile ecosystems. It was already becoming pervasive on desktop, and now Apple’s iOS has made it possible to develop iOS applications whose purpose is to block content. This caused the most recent flurry of activity, concern and focus. We need to pay attention.
Content blocking is not going away – it is now part of our online experience. But the landscape isn’t well understood, making it harder to know how best to advance a healthy, open Web. Users want it –whether to avoid the display of ads, protect against unwanted tracking, improve load speed, or reduce data consumption– and we need to address how we as an industry should respond. We wanted to start by hacking on proposed principles for content blocking. The growing availability and use of content blockers tells us that users want to control their experience.
This is a good thing. But some content blocking could be harmful in ways that may not be obvious. For example, if content blocking creates new gatekeepers who can pick winners and losers in the publishing space or who favor their own content over others’, it ultimately harms competition and innovation. In the long run, users could lose as much control as they gain. The same happens if the commercial model of the Web is not part of the content blocking debate.
In my last post, I conveyed our intention to engage with this landscape, not solely through analysis and research, but also through experimentation, product development, and advocacy.
To help guide our efforts and hopefully inform others, we’ve developed three proposed “content blocking principles” that would help advance the beneficial effects of content blocking while minimizing the risks. We want your help hacking on them. Just as our data privacy principles help guide our data practices, these content blocking principles will help guide what we build and what we support across the industry.
Content is not inherently good or bad – with some notable exceptions, such as malware. So these principles aren’t about what content is OK to block and what isn’t. They speak to how and why content can be blocked, and how the user can be maintained at the center through that process.
At Mozilla, our mission is to ensure a Web that is open and trusted and that puts our users in control. For content blocking, here is what we think that means:
- Content Neutrality: Content blocking software should focus on addressing potential user needs (such as on performance, security, and privacy) instead of blocking specific types of content (such as advertising).
- Transparency & Control: The content blocking software should provide users with transparency and meaningful controls over the needs it is attempting to address.
- Openness: Blocking should maintain a level playing field and should block under the same principles regardless of source of the content. Publishers and other content providers should be given ways to participate in an open Web ecosystem, instead of being placed in a permanent penalty box that closes off the Web to their products and services.
Tell us what you think of these proposed principles on your social channels using #contentblocking and join us on Friday October 9 at 11am PT for our #BlockParty, a conversation around the problems and possible solutions to the content blocking question. We look forward to working with our users, our partners and the rest of the Web ecosystem to advance our shared goal of a healthy, open Web.
In this role, Ari will be responsible for Firefox OS and broader exploration of opportunities to advance our mission across the ever-increasing range of connection points of the modern Internet, i.e. phones, TVs, IoT, etc.
His deep understanding of Open Source projects and mobile leadership experience at Intel, HP, and Nokia developing platforms and products make him ideally positioned to lead our Firefox OS and Connected Devices strategy.
Firefox OS is an important part of our mobile strategy, in addition to Firefox for Android and iOS 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.
We believe Mozilla’s role in the world is more important today than it has ever been. Issues of digital rights, privacy, online safety and security are real and impact our lives daily. The pace and complexity of online life continues to accelerate from here.
Over the last year we’ve focused on building our our team to compliment the vibrant Mozillian community adding the necessary know-how to continue to bring choice, control and opportunity to everyone on the Web.
Please join me in welcoming Ari to Mozilla!
Not surprisingly, the latest discussions around content blocking have resulted in a polarizing debate about the users who choose to block content as a way to control their Web experience, and the commercial interests who monetize that content. All of this inevitably leads to a discussion about which content is good, which content is bad, and which content should be blocked.
Rather than focusing on the symptoms of the problem, we should be asking ourselves why users have sought to use blunt instruments like content blockers to help them navigate their online lives. We don’t know the full answer to this question yet. What we see is that the reasons differ among users and may depend on the device (e.g. on desktop users may be focused on privacy and performance may be a side benefit, whereas on mobile performance and data usage may be a main focus). We as an industry need to understand the user’s needs. Continue reading …