Mozilla revives Mozilla Labs


Veteran Firefox users may have fond memories of Mozilla Labs, an experimental platform for all things Firefox.

Projects like the Firefox Sync, the excellent Ubiquity or Prospector, Persona, Test Pilot, or Firefox Share were developed under the Mozilla Labs umbrella. Not all projects found their way into Firefox natively or were maintained after release; still, Mozilla Labs played an important part in Firefox development.

Mozilla ended support for Mozilla Labs in 2014; no new projects were released and the website was turned into an archive.

Fast forward to 2018. Mozilla relaunched Mozilla Labs, a place to “create, test, innovate, repeat”. Point your browser to to open the new Mozilla Labs website on the Internet. Mozilla made the decision to establish the reinstated Mozilla Labs on a new domain instead of resurrecting the now-archived copy of the old Mozilla Labs.

mozilla labs

Interested users can browse the list of current projects on the “Explore” page. Projects focus on virtual reality, speech and voice, and the Internet of Things currently:

  • Firefox Reality — A version of the Firefox web browser made specifically for virtual reality environments.
  • Firefox Listen — A listen technology that is integrated in Pocket already; it turns text into speech when activated by the user.
  • Common Voice — A “voice donation” project to improve virtual assistants.
  • Hubs by Mozilla — Hubs by Mozilla is a Virtual Reality chatroom that is compatible with any VR headset and web browser. Users may join chatrooms or create custom ones.
  • Project Things — A Framework — Things Framework — that developers may use through the Web Thing API.
  • WebXR Viewer — An augmented reality viewer for the Web. It is available for Apple’s iOS operating system only at this point in time.
  • Spoke by Mozilla — A tool to create virtual scenes by using 3D content from google Poly, Sketchfab and other sources.

Closing Words

The new Mozilla Labs focuses on projects in areas that go beyond the web browser. While some have Firefox in their name, only one of the projects is currently related to Firefox (Firefox Reality).

It appears that Mozilla reestablished Mozilla Labs for projects that are not Firefox-based. The organization uses Test Pilot projects to test new features that may find their way into the browser.

From the looks of it, Mozilla Labs is a place for non-Firefox based projects for the most part.

Now You: Should Mozilla focus on Firefox development? (via Sören Hentzschel)

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