Mozilla closes Firefox Test Pilot

Firefox test pilot
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Mozilla is ending its Test Pilot program, which gave users an opportunity to try and give feedback on new features before they were integrated into the release version of the browser.

Most web browsers offer beta releases and nightly builds for developers and early adopters, but Firefox Test Pilot was different. Instead of having to download a whole new browser, candidates could simply pick and choose which new features they wanted to try from a selection, then offer their suggestions based on their experience in everyday browsing.

"Test Pilot was designed to harness the energy of our most passionate users," said Mozilla. "We gave them early prototypes and product explorations that weren’t ready for wide release. In return, they gave us feedback and patience as these projects evolved into the highly polished features within our products today.

"Through this program, we have been able to iterate quickly, try daring new things, and build products that our users have been excited to embrace."

Several features trialled in Test Pilot went on to become part of the browser proper, including the Activity Stream, which shows your recently visited sites and recommendations when you open a new tab, password manager Lockbox, and Facebook Container, which keeps the social network running in its own sandboxed tab to keep its tracking cookies from monitoring your browsing on other sites.

What's next for Firefox

This isn't the end of Mozilla's user testing, though – the company says Test Pilot was a great success, and it will be conducting more experiments than ever, with the whole company taking joint responsibility for developing new features.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with our users who are the reason we build Firefox in the first place," the company said. "In the coming months look out for news on how you can get involved in the next stage of our experimentation."

If you're currently enjoying using some Test Pilot experiments, don't worry – Mozilla won't uninstall them, and says that many of them will find their way to, where they'll be available to everyone.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)