Firefox is due for a comeback. A lot of the work the team spent on refactoring core parts of the browser is starting to pay off, and, while its market share continues to decline (especially on the desktop), Firefox today feels faster and leaner than it has in a long time. And today is a good day to give Firefox a new try because the team just launched three new Test Pilot experiments that bring voice search, built-in note taking and a tool for sending large files to the browser.
These are obviously experimental tools and there’s no guarantee they will ever make it into a release version of Firefox. Indeed, the idea behind Test Pilot is to allow the Firefox team to test new concepts. Early experiments included side tabs and activity streams. To give these new features a try, you also have to install the Test Pilot add-on.
While the new voice search, which currently works on the Google, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo homepages, and note-taking features are browser plugins, the new Send tool is web-based and allows anybody — no matter which browser they use — to send files up to 1GB in size. It encrypts the file as it is uploaded and gives you a link you can share with your friends and co-workers. Files are automatically deleted after one download or after one day. That’s not exactly the most novel concept (and Mozilla has often been criticized for diverting its attention from its core competencies), but the built-in encryption and the open-source nature of the tool do make up for that.