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Prospector: Predictive Newtab

About Prospector: Predictive Newtab

In most major browsers, when you open a new tab, you encounter a “speed dial” – a list of web sites you frequently visit. We’ve written a new Prospector experiment, Predictive Newtab, to explore the idea of supplementing the fixed list of top sites with a dynamic list that changes based on your behavior:

  • makes items on your "speed dial" more relevant to what you are currently browsing
  • suggests potentially interesting and relevant websites that you’ve visited but forgotten about

In its current experimental implementation, Predictive Newtab works by starting from a website you are currently viewing.

After opening a new tab from Pandora, Firefox searches both your bookmarks and history for similar websites that you may be interested in based on what you were recently browsing. This is currently displayed along with some experimental statistics such as score (which is how similar the tags are), frecency (which is a measure of frequency and recency) and others. A hub is a page out algorithms and heuristics believe is a good candidate for being a “home page” or otherwise important page in a website, and BM Engine is an indicator of whether the search result came from a bookmark tag. Please keep in mind that this is a very early stage experiment and not a polished product, and we believe that the ideas behind Predictive Newtab will help us advance in multiple areas:

  • improve the history search feature inside of Firefox
  • develop better methods for telling what pages are important to you
  • 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

Prospector is a collection of experiments from Mozilla Labs focused on analyzing, experimenting and prototyping enhancements for how you search and discover content with Firefox. We’re focused on three main areas: websites you've visited, tabs you're currently viewing, and pages you haven’t visited yet.

Project Team