Firefox has announced that it has relaunched its Test Pilot program. Test Pilot started as an add-on before it was released three years ago. Mozilla announced earlier this year that it was changing its culture of experimentation and closed the Test Pilot program as it explored what was next.
Mozilla says that it learned a lot from the Test Pilot program, including that there was a group of users who would provide feedback on projects that weren't ready for general use. During the project, it used the feedback from that group to refine and revamp features, and in some cases to kill projects that didn't meet the needs of the users.
Mozilla is now notifying Firefox users who signed up for a Firefox account and opted-in to be informed about new product testing of the relaunch of the Test Pilot program. Those users will get the first chance to test new privacy-centric products as part of the relaunched Test Pilot program. Mozilla notes that the difference in the new program and the old one is that the products and services could be outside of the Firefox browser in the new program.
The new products and services will also be more polished and "one step shy of general public release." A couple of products are already coming to the Test Pilot program; the first of them is Firefox Private Network. Firefox Private Network is an extension that gives users a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect the connection and personal information wherever Firefox is used.
The plug-in helps to protect users from hackers on public connections. Firefox Private Network is available for testing right now on the desktop browser. Features include protection when in public WiFi access points, hidden IP addresses to make it harder to track you, and the ability to toggle the protection on and off at any time. Mozilla says that feedback is critical to the product and there will be multiple variations in testing. Firefox 68 launched in July with support for Dark mode.