Browse By

Now Firefox Will Predict Your Next New Tab

mozilla labs firefox prospector

There was a time when only few web browsers were ruling the browsers market. Those days web pages were like some .txt files 😉 Obviously we didn’t have technologies like CSS or JavaScript that time. So browsers were just like Notepad.

But as days passed, we got many other players entering the browsers war and strongly took over stakes from old browsers.

Mozilla is one of the strongest player in browser war and their Firefox browser is the second best browser in the world. Well what makes them the second most used browser in the world? Browser age? Of course not!

Firefox has got lots of unique features and they never stopped trying new things. If you remember, Mozilla team is running some interesting experiments like,

Hope many of our reader would have read these topics and tried them as well. We got one more innovative feature which is called as Predictive NewTab. Yes, Mozilla is experimenting one more feature in labs which can give a tough competition to Opera and IE9’s Speed dial and Chrome most used site thumbs.

Predictive NewTab is a new experimental feature introduced Mozilla labs which predicts what you may be interested look when you click new tab.

How does it work?

Working of this add-on is very simple but interesting. When you are trying open a new tab, Firefox displays some results you had previous visited and matches the tab from which you came to new tab.

For example, we opened a Pandora webpage and our browser looks like below,

mozilla firefox

Now we’ve opened a new tab, Firefox searches both your bookmarks and history for similar websites that you may be interested in based on what you were recently browsing(Pandora in this contrast).

mozilla firefox predictive newtab prospector experiment

As you can see above there a list of suggested links with few attributes like Score, Frequency, Hub and BM Engine. Here are the properties of the attributes:

  1. Score: calculated experimental statistics which is calculated through similar tags.
  2. Frequency: measure of frequency and recently.
  3. Hub: page out algorithms and heuristics believe is a good candidate for being a “home page” or otherwise important page in a website.
  4. BM Engine: indicator of whether the search result came from a bookmark tag.

Combination of all these 4 factors will rank the results found and displays in descending order.

Pre-requisites for better usage

Predictive NewTab is still an experimental feature. So it works effectively when we have,

  1. More bookmarks and organised as well
  2. Lot of pages in history


One good advantage of this feature will be, it does all of its computation inside the browser and no personal information is sent to the web. This avoids service calls and provides result faster as it fetches data from local machine.

In future when this experiment gets added into Firefox browser it may provide following advantages,

  1. Improved History Search feature in Firefox.
  2. Developing better methods for suggesting which pages are important to you.
  3. Introduce a painless way for users to provide feedback to the browser about what they like so we can help them find it quicker the next time.

That is all for now. We thank Abhinav Sharma who is an intern for summer 2011 in Firefox for providing this information.




Well! Well! What you think about this innovative idea by Mozilla labs team? Do you think it will give tough competition to Firefox rivals whom we mentioned above? Please share your thought! 🙂

5 thoughts on “Now Firefox Will Predict Your Next New Tab”

    Leave a Reply