Developers are always looking for ways to make internet browsing more seamless, and now Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, is working on a web browser that’s voice controlled.
CNET reports that the project is called Scout. “With the Scout app, we start to explore browsing and consuming content with voice,” Mozilla said. One command that the company used as an example is: “Hey Scout, read me the article about polar bears.”
Voice-controlled devices are becoming increasingly common in every-day life. Consumers use them with their cable boxes to find TV shows and movies and with devices such as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri.
Mozilla’s development of a voice-controlled browser could be a game changer. While Google Chrome accounts for 58 percent of web usage, Firefox holds just 5 percent of the market.
A voice-controlled browser would be a boon for users with vision issues who require on-screen readers and other programs to access the internet. CNET pointed out that Mozilla’s mission is to create “an internet that includes all the peoples of the earth — where a person’s demographic characteristics do not determine their online access, opportunities or quality of experience.”
The browser is currently an “early-stage project,” noted Mozilla, which declined to comment on the technology. The project was on the agenda of a meeting the organization had this week in San Francisco.
“We use our internal All Hands conference to come together so we can plan and build for the future,” Mozilla said. “We look forward to discussing these efforts publicly when they are further developed.”
The listing on the agenda was called “Technical Stack Requirements for a Voice Browser.” It was described as: “With the Scout app, we start to explore browsing and consuming content with voice. This talk will discuss the architecture and key components needed for a voice platform…”
Last year, Firefox released Quantum versions of the Firefox browser to compete with Google Chrome. The company wrote on its blog in November: “Surf a ton of pages, open a zillion tabs, all guilt free because Firefox Quantum uses less memory than the competition. Your computer will thank you.”
According to Chief Marketing Officer Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, users are favourably responding to the Quantum version of Firefox. The browser has been downloaded 100 million times, and 6 percent more people are staying with it.