Firefox users with a penchant for discovery, take heed! Mozilla has just taken the wraps off a new Prospector add-on that brings site suggestions to your new tab page (NTP). It’s called, unsurprisingly enough, Site Suggest.
The change is unobtrusive enough. Once installed, Site Suggest will replace a single tile on the new tab page alongside your frequently visited site thumbnails. Beneath the suggestion, you’ll see a rotating banner that displays both the site’s name and the reason it was chosen. There are only a handful of sites in the Suggest database right now, so don’t expect any truly unexpected revelations. After refreshing the NTP, Firefox showed me very logical choices like PC World, Google, Ars Technica, and even the Foundation’s own home page. Over time, these suggestions will improve as more Firefox users opt in and Mozilla perfects its code.
As you’d expect from Mozilla, end user privacy is a primary concern with Site Suggest. While Site Suggest does need access to your browsing history, it only does so to match sites with categories from the Open Directory Project. Your most-visited category is then piped to Mozilla’s server, which then selects another site from the same category and sends it back to your browser. Cookies are never used, and it’s a one-and-done thing — Mozilla doesn’t hang on to the information.
And like the rest of Mozilla’s efforts, you can take a look at the code yourself if you’re so inclined. Site Suggest and the other Prospector initiatives are available from Mozilla over on GitHub.
It seems inevitable that Site Suggest will make its way to a future Firefox build, but that’s likely a few versions off. Even when it does, you can be certain that you’ll be able to shut suggestions off if you decide they’re not your cup of tea.