About a year ago, Mozilla announced a strategic investment in Cliqz GmbH, the Munich, Germany-based provider of search and privacy tools. Today, we want to tell you about an important upcoming Firefox test in Germany that will use Cliqz technology.
Cliqz delivers recommendations and other information, such as news, weather, and sports, directly into the address bar as you type. In our Firefox Context Graph post last year, we highlighted the increasing problem of centralisation and how that impacts discovery on the Web. We want to provide recommendations from new and diverse places, make space for innovation in discovery and navigation, and above all build experiences our users love.
The Cliqz product has demonstrated great potential throughout Firefox testing this year. Users tell us their recommendations are fast, valuable, and save time by taking them directly to the intended destination.
Next week, we will be launching our most significant test so far. Less than one percent of users in Germany installing Firefox from our main download page will receive a version of Firefox with Cliqz recommendations enabled out of the box.
This experiment also includes the data collection tool Cliqz uses to build its recommendation engine. Users who receive a version of Firefox with Cliqz will have their browsing activity sent to Cliqz servers, including the URLs of pages they visit. Cliqz uses several techniques to attempt to remove sensitive information from this browsing data before it is sent from Firefox. Cliqz does not build browsing profiles for individual users and discards the user’s IP address once the data is collected. Cliqz’s code is available for public review and a description of these techniques can be found here.
One of Mozilla’s core privacy principles is No Surprises: we will use and share data in ways that are transparent and benefit our users. That is why we are telling you about this today. We want users to understand why we’ve taken this approach and what it means for them. While still a small experiment, the data collection and new search experience are major changes in the way this build of Firefox performs. We hope that users will appreciate the improved experience, but if users want to turn it off, they can always disable data collection or remove the Cliqz add-on entirely.
We’ll keep you posted on the results of this test. Mozilla and Cliqz share a commitment to our mission and to delivering a great product. We are excited to see how users respond.