Like a cat, the Test Pilot program has had many lives. It originally started as an Add-On before we relaunched it three years ago. Then in January, we announced that we were evolving our culture of experimentation, and as a result we closed the Test Pilot program to give us time to further explore what was next.
We learned a lot from the Test Pilot program. First, we had a loyal group of users who provided us with feedback on projects that weren’t polished or ready for general consumption. Based on that input we refined and revamped various features and services, and in some cases shelved projects altogether because they didn’t meet the needs of our users. The feedback we received helped us evaluate a variety of potential Firefox features, some of which are in the Firefox browser today.
If you haven’t heard, third time's a charm. We’re turning to our loyal and faithful users, specifically the ones who signed up for a Firefox account and opted-in to be in the know about new product testing, and are giving them a first crack to test-drive new, privacy-centric products as part of the relaunched Test Pilot Program. The difference with the newly relaunched Test Pilot program is that these products and services may be outside the Firefox browser, and we will be far more polished, and just one step shy of general public release.
We've already earmarked a couple of new products that we plan to fine-tune before their official release as part of the relaunched Test Pilot program. Because of how much we learned from our users through the Test Pilot Program, and our ongoing commitment to building our products and services to meet people’s online needs, we’re kicking off our relaunch of the Test Pilot program by beta testing our project code named Firefox Private Network. This first test will only be available to our users in the US for now but we’re planning to offer first tests to our users in Europe soon, as well.
About Firefox Private Network
One of the key learnings from recent events is that there is growing demand for privacy features. The Firefox Private Network is an extension which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and your personal information anywhere and everywhere you use your Firefox browser.
There are many ways that your personal information and data are exposed: online threats are everywhere, whether it’s through phishing emails or data breaches. You may often find yourself taking advantage of the free WiFi at the doctor’s office, airport or a cafe. There can be dozens of people using the same network -- casually checking the web and getting social media updates. This leaves your personal information vulnerable to those who may be lurking, waiting to take advantage of this situation to gain access to your personal info. Using the Firefox Private Network helps protect you from hackers lurking in plain sight on public connections. To learn more about Firefox Private Network, its key features and how it works exactly, please take a look at this blog post.
As a Firefox user and account holder in the US, you can start testing the Firefox Private Network today. A Firefox account allows you to be one of the first to test potential new products and services when we make them available in Europe, so sign up today and stay tuned for further news and the Firefox Private Network coming to your location soon!