Mozilla announced the launch of the Firefox Recommended Extensions program in April 2019 to increase the visibility of extensions and promote them better.
The program differs from Mozilla’s current practice of displaying add-on recommendations to Firefox users. Firefox users may see a list of extensions when they open the Add-ons Manager of the web browser, visit the Mozilla AMO website (official extensions repository), or through the contextual extension recommendations feature of the Firefox browser.
The new program takes the concept a step further. Extensions need to meet certain requirements for inclusion in the program; among them a commitment from the developer, that they pass manual reviews each time they are updated and initially, and that they need to be “really good” at what they do.
Extensions that make it are promoted by Mozilla in various ways. The organization plans them to power the recommendations that Firefox displays on about:addons and contextually, and promote them on Mozilla AMO and through other means.
Firefox 68: the new recommendations
Mozilla integrated the new recommendations page of about:addons in the latest Firefox 68 Nightly version. The page is not enabled by default at the time, but can be enabled in the following way:
- Load about:config in the Firefox address bar.
- Confirm that you are careful if the warning is displayed.
- Search for extensions.htmlaboutaddons.discover.enabled.
- Toggle the value to True (enabled).
Visit about:addons afterwards to see the new page in action. It looks similarly to the old but there are some differences. Technically, the new recommendations page is no longer loaded as an iframe but a native page.
Firefox connects to two Mozilla-owned domains to pull recommendations and images; the browser downloaded a HTML document previously as well as scripts and styles previously.
When you compare the old page to the new, you will notice differences immediately. The general page layout is very similar to the classic page but Mozilla added ratings and user counts to the page.
Add-ons are listed with their name, developer, and description in the current version; the new recommendations page lists ratings and user counts. Both useful to determine the quality of an extension.
Listed add-ons are reviewed manually by Mozilla, another core difference to current recommendations. Mozilla will review each update of extensions that are in the Recommended Extensions Program which improves security significantly.
The new Personalization page listed four browser add-ons and three themes:
- To Google Translate — Add-on to translate selected text using Google Translate.
- Tree Style Tab — Sidebar add-on to display open tabs in a tree style.
- Bitwarden — Free Password Manager
- Feedbro — A feed aggregator
- Calm Pastel theme
- Simple Space Stars theme
- abstract 60 theme
More extensions will be added to the program in the future so that users may see some variation when opening about:addons.
The feature will land in Firefox Stable eventually; it is unclear if the switch will happen when Firefox Stable reaches version 68.
Now You: What is your take on Firefox’s Extensions Recommendation Program? (via Techdows)
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