An upcoming Firefox feature will highlight extensions as you browse the web, pointing out tools that might protect your privacy or otherwise enhance the site.
The feature, called Contextual Feature Recommender, is currently only available in Nightly builds, but will roll out with Firefox 63 in October. The idea is that Firefox can point out potentially helpful extensions that are relevant to the site you’re currently browsing.
Here’s Lawrence Abrams, writing for Bleeping Computer:
When enabled, if a user visits a site that Mozilla has a recommended extension, Firefox will wait for the page to finish loading, wait an additional second, and then display a “Recommendation” button to the right of the URL in the address bar. When a user clicks on this button, a “Recommended extension” door hanger will drop down that provides a brief description of the extension and an option to install it.
This isn’t too intrusive, and might even be useful for users. But we’ve seen way too many examples of browser extensions becoming a privacy nightmare, and I wonder if Mozilla should be actively trying to promote extensions at this point.
Let’s assume that Mozilla does its due diligence and only recommends add-ons that are helpful and don’t invade privacy. What happens if recommendations result in an add-on growing a large userbase, only for some company to buy it out and use it to track users’ data? That’s what happened to Stylish.
And just last month Mozilla recommended a privacy extension that was tracking user’s web history. This crap is everywhere, and if Mozilla is going to recommend users install add-ons they should probably also recommend users uninstall previously installed add-ons when they turn to the dark side. Otherwise this change just piles on to an existing problem.