HN Gopher Feed (2017-08-01) - page 1 of 10
Mozilla launches voice search, file-sharing and note-taking tools
192 points by denchikceohttps://techcrunch.com/2017/08/01/mozilla-launches-experimental-...
r3bl - 4 hours ago
I've seen all the promo videos, and some questions remain
unanswered:1. What's Send encrypting with? It doesn't show anything
related to setting up a password during the video.2. What's Notes
syncing with?3. What's Voice using to analyze the voice commands?
detaro - 3 hours ago
soapdog - 2 hours ago
2. Notes source code is at https://github.com/mozilla/notes, the
panel.js source is the one that saves and load content. It
uses the Storage API from Web Extensions, but it uses it only
to save/load locally. It is not currently sending any data
anywhere. So, sync is not enabled. If you click the sync button,
you're greeted with a message saying it is not implemented yet
(they do count it and metrify it, probably gauging interest).:
wongarsu - 4 hours ago
>What's Send encrypting with? It doesn't show anything related to
setting up a password during the video.Likely a random string
that is added to the download URL as Fragment (the part after #
that doesn't get sent to the server).The download URLs look like
...I agree that there is very little explanation beyond "look at
this cool thing".
znpy - 1 hours ago
Mozilla is doing everything but what is supposed to do:make Firefox
toyg - 1 hours ago
They actually did, the recent switch to multiprocessing made a
massive difference. I've been happily using Vivaldi for a few
months now, but I'm tempted to go back to FF as the speed gap has
been wiped out of late - only cold startups are a bit slower,
actual pageload is absolutely on par or better. This on Mac, at
least, but I expect it will have been similar on other platforms.
albertzeyer - 4 hours ago
Some more information in the official blog post:
was especially interested in the Voice Fill (speech recognition)
technology. Landing page: https://testpilot.firefox.com/experiments
/voice-fillIt seems the project is here:
https://github.com/mozilla/speaktome/This seems as if it actually
is a webservice. From the code
I see: const STT_SERVER_URL =
"https://speaktome.services.mozilla.com";Actually, I think this can
be very easily done fully client-side, with good accuracy. Even on
Android, the voice recognition can run client-side / offline.I
wonder if the project is in any way related to their DeepSpeech
project (https://github.com/mozilla/DeepSpeech). Maybe they use
DeepSpeech on the server-side? At some other place they call it
Pipsqueak, not sure if this is yet something else.And maybe also
related is their common voice project (https://voice.mozilla.org/).
Recent discussion here on HN
information also here: https://research.mozilla.org/machine-
detaro - 4 hours ago
Here is the backend: https://github.com/mozilla/speech-proxy
(which talks to Kaldi via I think https://github.com/api-ai/asr-
fabrice_d - 4 hours ago
"this can be very easily done fully client-side" : maybe, if you
have the voice model and and inference engine that runs well on
devices. Mozilla doesn't have that yet, so this experiment uses a
backend running a Kaldi server and model that uses too much
memory to run locally.Once DeepSpeech is ready I'm pretty sure
they will switch to that, and ultimately to on-device voice
recognition with PipSqueak (PipSqueak is expected to be an
inference engine usable on devices). Unfortunately none of these
projects are far along enough to be usable.Common Voice is mostly
related to DeepSpeech as this will help getting data to train the
retox - 1 hours ago
I just want to browse the web!
Certhas - 1 hours ago
What's stopping you? Optional experimental plug ins?
free2rhyme214 - 3 hours ago
None of these will get me to switch. Chrome is still faster than
Firefox, sorry Mozilla.
dijit - 3 hours ago
I was interested in Send until I realised it wasn't p2p.:(
notheguyouthink - 5 hours ago
I just wish it was .. faster.Lately I've been moving away from
Google everywhere I can. I moved everything but Google Voice. Yes,
even Google Search - I've moved to DuckDuckGo. On windows however,
I had to fall back to Chrome, because I was just shocked at how
slow Firefox was.Opening pages like Twitch.tv proved to be
shockingly slow. Furthermore, my habit of opening many tabs in the
background like I do in Chrome/Safari was massively slower in
Firefox because while Chrome doesn't autoplay new-hidden tabs,
Firefox does - I imagine Chrome feels faster there because it's not
running nearly as much stuff at once.Pretty much everything of
Firefox felt slower for me. And this is from someone that really
wants to get away from Chrome! On OS X, I've long switched to
Safari and DuckDuckGo, and been quite happy. I've had zero
complaints about performance with Safari.So.. I don't know what
they need to do, but I'm really hoping they do something.
jo77 - 1 hours ago
This has a lot to do with the ever increasing incompetence of web
devs than it has to do with Firefox imho. I do performance
testing for a living and Firefox creams Chrome on sites where the
devs know what they are doing. I don't think of Chrome as faster,
but better designed to hide developer mistakes. Chrome basically
keeps the mediocre developer who can't rtfm in business just the
same way Microsoft did back in the day. Same pointlessness on
Android. I call it the Trump definition of success - pander to
the lowest common denominator and pretend there isn't a price to
leeoniya - 55 minutes ago
speaking as a web dev who's obsessed with payload size, TTFB
and web app performance, i find your statement to be patently
false.i have well-written code that runs very fast in FF, and
it always runs even faster in Chrome. not just JS, but also
repaint and layout. FF does handle some absurd cases better:
giant dom trees & scrolling, RAM usage, lazy tabs.as a long-
time Firefox bug hunter and nightly user, i hope
Firefox/Quantum & Servo can reverse this pattern, for sure.
ohthehugemanate - 19 minutes ago
When did you try?I've been on Firefox developer edition for
awhile now, because it's just SO MUCH FASTER than chrome,
especially on high tab volume.
CommanderData - 3 hours ago
Google does not want you to move from their services and
APIs.Chrome/Chromium, as a recent example allowed serviceURI in
Web Speech APIs for third party recognition to be plugged in.
US/docs/Web/API/SpeechRecog...It was dropped in Chrome 49 and
we're now all stuck with using Google. There has been little
coverage on this, some speculated it was hardly implemented, or
was dropped because lack of a standard API format.Whatever the
case. Google / Chrome choose not to fully develop that feature
and its now gone. Which ultimately works in Googles favor.
notheguyouthink - 2 hours ago
I mean, I don't care what Google wants lol. I've moved
everything except Chrome on Windows, and Google Voice because
of no replacement.I'm not complaining because I'm locked in by
Google, I've switched to Safari on OS X with no issue at all -
I don't miss Chrome in the slightest. Yet, on Windows, Firefox
is proving to be a hurdle.It's on Mozilla, not Google. Imo
sirfz - 7 minutes ago
What does "faster" mean? honest question. I've been using Firefox
since its early days and never jumped on the Chrome bandwagon
simply because I didn't see the need to do so. When Firefox felt
slow, it usually was the whole operating system that's slow and
neither Chrome or any other browser could solve that. Nowadays,
all the machines I use are powerful enough to not feel any such
slowness and I just don't understand what is this "speed" people
keep attributing to Chrome and what is so "slow" in Firefox
(regardless of that fact they're working on speeding it up).In
addition, Chrome recently crashed on me multiple times while
using Google Spreadsheet which is supposed to work better with
Chrome than other browsers.
joelrunyon - 4 hours ago
Weirdly enough - I found gmail was running VERY slow on Chrome. I
switched to the Brave browser and it's been blazing fast.Weird
that Google products don't even seem to run the best on their own
notheguyouthink - 2 hours ago
Do you like Brave? I've not done too much research on alternate
browsers, but at this point as long as I trust the company I'd
be willing to try it.Cliqz is another one I thought about
trying, but it is based on Firefox so I'm a bit dismayed haha.
joelrunyon - 11 minutes ago
I do!It has some issues with sites because of cookie storage
+ I believe it disables scripts - but it's really fast :)
dingdingdang - 2 hours ago
Routinely have similar issues with gmail/chrome whereas I never
have any issues on Firefox. Odd.
problems - 5 hours ago
> I just wish it was .. faster.They're working on it, to see the
progress, install nightly (which is already a huge improvement)
and turn on servo CSS for an extra boost. It feels much faster.
eridius - 4 hours ago
Firefox stable feels relatively slow. Firefox nightly is really
snappy, especially with Stylo enabled.Also, go to about:config,
and make sure preloading is turned on. I checked it last week and
for some reason it was turned off, even though I don't recall
ever doing that.
richardboegli - 1 hours ago
Pale Moon, been using it for a few years OR Chromium.
lol768 - 4 hours ago
Personally I've found the recent Nightly with the new Rust CSS
engine to be pretty snappy. I'd say anecdotally faster than
Chrome.There was also a recent post regarding having large
numbers of tabs open in Firefox (see
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14823807) and it did pretty
notheguyouthink - 1 hours ago
Yea I'm definitely going to try switching to Nightly based on
the comments here. As well as adjusting some of the
adito - 51 minutes ago
Would you comment back here and gives your first impression
on it? How fast is it compared to stable.
robin_reala - 4 hours ago
The auto playing issue is fixed and making its way down towards
karolg - 2 hours ago
Option to disable autoplay in background tabs exists in Firefox
for so long that I forgot it isn't enabled by default.Go to
about:config and set: media.block-autoplay-until-in-foreground =
trueIn older versions they used another config variable media
.block-play-until-visible .There is also media.suspend-bkgnd-
video.enabled to stop decoding video in background tabs after set
amount of time (10s default).
artursapek - 4 hours ago
It doesn't help that they keep cramming features into Firefox.
Chrome feels pretty bare in comparison.
soapdog - 3 hours ago
Many of said features are just bundled web extensions, add-ons,
so they don't pollute the main code base. Please, don't spread
FUD when it is not needed.
pcwalton - 3 hours ago
Chrome has consisted of significantly (i.e. millions of lines)
more code than Firefox has for quite a while now.
H4CK3RM4N - 40 minutes ago
I feel like I heard that a Chrome install was comparable in
size to an average Linux install a year or two ago.
c0nducktr - 4 hours ago
The features they're 'cramming' into Firefox don't slow down
aluhut - 4 hours ago
I have Chrome as reference to my FF here and since their
beginning, it never was faster again. As in every FF post, there
will be people saying that and the opposite. I guess the
difference depends on other factors like Addons or Plugins as
well as the probably narrow difference between both.I never
really came upon a reason to leave FF behind. It works good, has
all the addons, and I can still make it look like a real window
with options and things where they should be. I also have a
"special" relationship to Chrome due to this "bundling to
freeware" they use to push the browser onto people who don't want
it.@your tab problem: I just googled this up
No idea how good it is though since I never felt I'd need
that.There is a solution/addon for everything ;)
fpgaminer - 4 hours ago
It's getting there. They recently added multiprocess support. A
new CSS engine is coming. In the further future we're going to
get more and more pieces of their new rendering engine
in.Personally, I dropped Chrome 2 years ago or so, for the same
reasons (moving away from everything Google that I reasonably
can). Firefox is more painful to use, for sure, but it's gotten
"okay" enough that I'm willing to keep using it in favor of its
benefits (privacy).By the way: In Firefox, open `about:support`
and check that "Multiprocess Windows" says something like "2/2
(enabled by Default", where the numbers can really be anything
but 0. If it's disabled, that means your Firefox isn't using the
new multiprocess support, most likely because you're running an
bhnmmhmd - 4 hours ago
I always admired Mozilla for their efforts in making Firefox
better. But I switched to Chrome many years ago. For me, the
problem with FF was UI and UX.Chrome and Safari just feel more
"smooth and sleek", and UI elements are consistent (Look how
Chrome buttons are rounded-rectangles).The other reason I
switched from FF was that Chrome has always been simply better.
Sure, FF can handle many tabs, but I save that for times I want
to work with Selenium or something. For an ordinary user (and
even pros), Chrome just beats FF.
robfreudenreich - 4 hours ago
I don't know here Mozilla got their inspiration, but Send looks
pretty similar to our E2E encrypted file sharing app Whisply:
https://whisp.lyPS: Whisply even has more features and a detailed
description how its encryption works:
problems - 4 hours ago
There's many such tools available, RiseUp runs one called Up1.
See https://share.riseup.net/It's quite nice, has integrated
image and video viewers as well as a pastebin all end-to-end
robfreudenreich - 4 hours ago
Up1 looks nice, but is internally using SJCL which is slow and
does not support bigger files ("This is not a problem with sub-
10MB images"). Send - and Whisply - are built on the new
WebCrypto APIs which are faster and allow bigger files, up to 1
GB in both cases.
JepZ - 1 hours ago
Sorry, but I will not use any speech recognition service until it
becomes a pure on-device service.
woranl - moments ago
Mozilla should focus on building the browser instead of building
app that competes with other developers. They need to start
listening to the developers community and stop being arrogant and
ignorant. You build the foundation, and developers build the app.
bad_user - 4 hours ago
I wonder what happens to the previous Test Pilot experiments.I
loved the experimental home page and the Tab Center . I really
hope it continues to live. https://github.com/bwinton/TabCenter
lewisl9029 - 3 hours ago
Tab Center Redux is the official successor to Tab Center:
re...It's now a WebExtension, which means it will work in Firefox
57+ (and possibly eventually Chrome, if they end up supporting
the same APIs), and uses the new Sidebar APIs that the new Notes
experiment also makes use of.If that doesn't fit your use cases,
there are also quite a few new tab sidebar WebExtensions popping
up that aim to replicate existing more sophisticated tab
management extensions like Tree Styles Tabs
others that try to innovate on their own terms, such as Sea
container...), which makes use of the new Containers
experiment.Overall there is a huge amount of very promising new
development in the WebExtensions space, and this is exactly the
kind of innovation I had hoped WebExtensions would encourage.
sp332 - 4 hours ago
On the main https://testpilot.firefox.com/ page, scroll down and
click "view past experiments". Each one gets a write-up when it's
jgruen - 3 hours ago
Hey, we're a little behind on writing up the last few
experiments unfortunately. We'll be adding full reports over
the next few weeks.
romanovcode - 4 hours ago
I hope Firefox succeeds and destroys Chrome.
ece - 2 hours ago
After the 54 release, it is the better browser frankly, low
latency, and not a resource hog. Plugins, extensions, privacy and
security defaults all seem to be better as well.Using firefox
focus on android is pretty great too. The normal firefox on
android is just slow, not sure why.
mynewtb - 59 minutes ago
Opera 12 called and it's rotating in its grave. Unite was such an
amazing feature. And notes were available in Opera even before I
started using it. Opera, I miss you, it still hurts.
hexmiles - 4 hours ago
what will happen to test pilot after the non-webextension are not
allowed?As far i know must of these feature are implemented as
extension and i don't thing webextension have the api to do a lot
of thing that are in test pilot.
fabrice_d - 20 minutes ago
Note that Voice Fill is actually a WebExtension :
jgruen - 3 hours ago
We're moving to a webExtensiony future. The idea here is that
we'll be a first party consumer of the webExtension APIs so we
can help test/drive/expand capabilities.
sp332 - 4 hours ago
They will have to adapt. For now they're using data from the
experiments to guide API development. For example, the Tab Center
experiment used old APIs, but now they've expended the new API
and are building a new Tab Center Redux extension at the same
eridius - 4 hours ago
send.firefox.com says that my browser (Safari) is unsupported.
Anyone know what particular "web technology" the site uses that
Safari doesn't support?
sp332 - 3 hours ago
This is the only one I can think of, not sure why that site would
require it though. https://caniuse.com/#feat=input-file-directory
eridius - 3 hours ago
Found it. It's checking for window.crypto.subtle. Looks like
Safari TP supports this. I believe the problem with Safari 10
is that it implemented an older version of the web cryptography
jgruen - 2 hours ago
15charlimit - 1 hours ago
But why?It's a browser. All it should do (and do well) is display
content.I don't want a bunch of extra garbage tossed in because it
sounds good on some marketing slide.Chrome has been and continues
to eat FF's marketshare alive because it has been both faster and
lighter. More junk is not going to help FF beat them.
Certhas - 1 hours ago
Firefox is as fast and lighter, and has been for a while (the
exception being Googles own webapps that are heavily Chrome
optimized). This is stuff they are testing out in TestPilot, so
it's for people who want to go add the TestPilot add on and then
selectively enable these features.So your complaint really makes
Dirlewanger - 1 hours ago
I wish they'd stop focusing on the flavor-of-the-week technology
gimmick bullshit and focus on making Firefox the better performing
browser. Chrome outperforms it in nearly every way by margins that
grow with every release. My reasons for sticking with FF grow fewer
ancarda - 1 hours ago
Are Mozilla paying for people to do these experiments or is it
people sending patches? I don't know but I'd imagine a lot of it
is the latter.Have you tried a recent Nightly? Firefox is getting
with-hu... . As Mozilla continues to pull in code from Servo
and implement e10s, Fiefox will perform better and crash less.
ohthehugemanate - 16 minutes ago
Try developer edition or beta to get a taste of the work they've
put into speed. I ditched chrome for FF and haven't looked back
because even a year ago, developer edition was so much faster...
Especially on heavy tab loads.Iirc the speed changes can't start
landing in stable until November, because of the shift to
mrspeaker - 4 hours ago
I feel like I must be reaching the "get off my lawn" phase of my
life, because I can't even comprehend a situation where I'd ever
want to talk at my browser... maybe when I'm at home alone and,
couldn't type for some reason? Certainly not in the office. Am I
missing a use case, or am I just old now?
soapdog - 3 hours ago
There are many use cases for this, among them:* Mobile version of
Firefox. It might be easier to talk to fill a form on mobile than
type on glass screen.* Accessibility. There is a huge under
served demography of people who will welcome this as typing might
be hard for them.You may not be on any of the groups above but
that doesn't invalidate the features.
sp332 - 3 hours ago
Lots of people are faster at speaking than typing. Or maybe
you're reading from a document (or pill bottle) and don't want to
type with one hand or whatever. But what I usually use it for is
if I'm having a conversation with someone and we want to look
something up. It feels more anti-social to type silently for a
while than to make the computer part of the conversation.
mrspeaker - 3 hours ago
But it's only for searching after you've already navigated to a
search engine, right? You'd have to be extremely slow at peck-
and-hunting for it to save you much time (especially as search
strings are so short) - and in the video you have to click
"submit" to even do the search (and then presumably navigate
normally with mouse). I can't see many instances where this
could be worth it. Maybe I'm actually too young to see why it's
burkaman - 3 hours ago
Maybe the search engine is your homepage, or you just have to
hit "g" and enter to get there, or it's bookmarked. Maybe you
don't have hands, but you have an easy way to move a mouse
around and click. Maybe you're eating a sandwich with one
hand and don't feel like putting it down. Maybe you won't use
it for a short query like "weather", but you will for
sentence-long queries. Maybe you want to search "linux won't
recognize wireless keyboard".It's very easy to think of
instances where this will be helpful.
rdiddly - 3 hours ago
Faster than typing would be great. What's not so great (or so
fast) is trying 3 or 4 times by voice and having to go type it
anyway because the accuracy's not there. Sooo, like my old-
aged ancient geriatric friend in the parent, I too still
preferentially go to the keyboard, since I figure I'll probably
end up there anyway. If it's a social situation I usually
preface the typing with some variation of "All right let's see
here..." which sounds like I'm trying to figure out something
hard or ask something of the Great Oracle, but really it just
means "I'm about to type."Maybe once speech recognition
advances a bit more...
rodolphoarruda - 3 hours ago
I work in the online learning industry, mainly with higher
education institutions. One of the top features required by
instructors is the ability to provide audio feedback to
students. And this is really a huge benefit for them because
most instructors are not fast typists and they have hundreds of
assignments to review every once in a while.
buovjaga - 3 hours ago
"Firefox! I've fallen and I can't get up!"
ikurei - 3 hours ago
Actually, people who are very deep into the "get off my lawn"
phase of their life, that is old people, are generally not the
greatest typists. For them, the ability to talk instead of type,
everywhere and not just in google search (which already has this)
seems like a huge help.I'll never use it. It's completely useless
to me. But if my grandma actually did anything else than Facebook
on her computer I'd show this to her.
goalieca - 24 minutes ago
> that is old people, are generally not the greatest
typists.Well.. and we're just fine with it. Simple works better
somethings and why be in such a hurry sometimes. I look at
these young whipersnappers who fly around the computer with
windows attacking from all directions. They just seem to make
things complicated without actually meeting the goal any
vikiomega9 - 2 hours ago
Just to clarify these features are not yet on the release.