Firefox creator Mozilla is working on a voice-controlled browser named Scout. The experimental project is looking to create a web experience that's controlled by speech, rather than mouse, making it perfect for digital assistant integration.
The non-profit revealed the browser at an ‘All Hands' meeting this week in San Fransico and showcased a little functionality. Users can tell the browser to read them an article about a specific topic and have it dictated aloud.
As the number of smart devices grows, users are becoming more used to talking to technology. Cortana is on every Windows 10 PC, Google Assistant on every Android phone, and Alexa is a favorite in the smart speaker market.
A Privacy Conundrum
So far, though, we haven't seen such a project for any of those giants, which could give Mozilla a head start. On the surface, it feels like a bit of a gimmick, but a voice browser could be perfect for those with accessibility issues or looking to multi-task.
Of course, it also means you can sit back comfortably in your chair or control the browser from across the room. It's not a stretch to imagine Mozilla building in dictation support for messages or any number of features.
However, it also raises questions for a company that has been very outspoken about privacy rights. Assumedly, Scout would have to collect telemetry to improve and learn user's preferences, though it's possible Mozilla will do it all locally.
Either way, Scout is an interesting concept that's more of a vision than an actual product.
“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.”