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Firefox Advance uses your browsing history to bring serendipity back to the web

Mozilla has launched a new experimental web extension for Firefox that’ll serve-up article suggestions based upon your browsing habits. The machine learning-based Advance feature is launching within the Test Pilot platform today.

Advance will introduce real-time recommendations based on the page you’re currently viewing, as well as your most recent web activity. So, if you’re currently reading a piece on the best restaurants in your area, you may see suggestions from other sites.

If you’re seeking a broad array of content, this will enable you to view all of that related gubbins without having to do the Googling yourself. The suggestions are based upon trusted sites you’ve already visited, while new sites are recommended for you to explore.

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So how does it work? Well, the Advance extension exists in a dedicated sidebar on the left side of the screen. It can be opened and closed as you wish, with Mozilla saying it won’t interrupt your workflow.

A cropped sreenshot of a browser showing Firefox's advance settings tabA sreenshot of a browser showing Firefox's advance settings tab beside a page

The Firefox-maker says it wants to rediscover the ‘serendipitous moments of discovery’ that underpinned the early days of the world wide web. Channeling the spirit of sites like StumbleUpon, the Mozilla Foundation says it will bring you back to “that time when the World Wide Web was uncharted territory and we could freely discover new topics and ideas online. The Internet was a different place.”

In a blog post, it goes on to explain: “Not a foodie? If you’re a sports fan, an opera fan, or into the news, Advance makes current and relevant recommendations so that it’s easy to hop off the bus to explore. Just browse the web normally and keep the sidebar open when you’re feeling adventurous.”

However, there is a catch. The tech is powered by Laserlike, a machine-learning start-up that ‘has built a web scale Content Search, Discovery and Personalization platform’. Anyone using Advance will be passing their browsing history over to Laserlike too. If you’re still interested, head to to download the extension.

Have you tried Firefox Advance? Share your first impressions with us @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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