Mozilla has announced that it is to launch a new programme to help users of its open-source Firefox web browser discover new add-ons: the Recommended Extensions programme.
Like the majority of modern browsers, Mozilla's open-source Firefox supports add-ons, also known as extensions and distinct from plug-ins which are typically restricted to adding support for new media formats, which extend the capabilities of the browser without the need to delve into its source code. These add-ons range from purely aesthetic to highly functional - but with 15,007 extensions available on the official website it can be hard to find any but the most popular.
Mozilla's answer: A human-driven curation programme, distinct from the current Featured Extensions category. 'One of the ways we're helping users discover vetted extensions will be through the Recommended Extensions programme which we'll roll out in phases later this summer,' explains Mozilla's Scott DeVaney in a blog post announcing the change. 'This programme will foster a curated list of extensions that meet our highest standards of security, utility, and user experience. Recommended extensions will receive enhanced visibility across Mozilla websites and products, including addons.mozilla.org (AMO).
'We anticipate the eventual formation of this list to number in the hundreds, but we’ll start smaller and build the programme carefully. We're currently in the process of identifying candidates and will begin reaching out to selected developers later this month. You can expect to see changes on AMO by the end of June.'
Extensions will be selected for participation in the programme, DeVaney explains, through four key metrics: Whether it's good at what it promises to do, whether it offers an 'exceptional user experience', whether it's relevant to a general audience, and whether it's safe - the latter being quantified through a security review carried out by Mozilla staff, which has to be repeated at each new version release to prevent a bait-and-switch.
The new functionality should be visible on Mozilla's Add-ons site and the Extensions menu of the Firefox browser itself by the end of June, DeVaney has confirmed.
October 18 2019 | 17:00