Nick Nguyen, VP Firefox Product at the Mozilla Foundation, announced today on his Medium blog a new Mozilla-sanctioned project called Context Graph, which he described as “a better forward button.”

In a simplified explanation, Context Graph will be a new technology embedded with Firefox that will help users discover new content based on the page they’re already on, their past history, but also the previous navigational patterns of other users.

This means that Mozilla will collect data from its users and build a database of how sites link to each other and how users are following these paths, trying to detect the most popular routes.


Mozilla will build a link recommendation engine

This data will then be used to suggest new pages the user could follow, in a so-called “recommendation system” seen with various online services, but usually in a limited scope, such as news articles (Facebook, Google, Twitter, Pocket, Flipboard etc.).

A raw version of Context Graph is already available with Firefox’s Activity Stream feature, currently under public testing via the Test Pilot add-on.

Fitting with Mozilla’s image of an open-source friendly company, the Context Graph engine will be open-sourced and available for peer review.

User privacy will be a big deal

User privacy is expected to be a big issue, and so, the Foundation has already started tests with a small number of volunteers on the best methods of collecting data without sacrificing user privacy and control over the browser.

“Just like when we launched Firefox 1.0 in 2004, there is no guarantee that we’ll be successful,” Nguyen writes. “Tackling the Context Graph is the perfect challenge for Firefox because it is one that nobody else will. We’ll do this in the only way we know how — by being open and getting help and advice from anyone who wants to contribute.”

Activity Stream feature

Activity Stream feature

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