THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION is rumoured to be working on a voice search engine to power a new type of browser with smarts to rival Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant and Siri.
The Project ‘Scout' stories came about after the release of some internal meetings within the non-profit company, discussing plans to "start to explore browsing and consuming content with voice."
An all-hands meeting for employees being held this week in San Francisco describes the project in broad terms in the blurb for the talk: "This talk will discuss the architecture and key components needed for a voice platform, the required capabilities of those components and the challenges of working with the limitations and confines of existing platforms" it quoth.
CNET, which first spotted the story, was told by Mozilla that: "We use our internal All Hands conference to come together so we can plan and build for the future,"
"We look forward to discussing these efforts publicly when they are further developed," a Mozilla spokesperson added.
So no hints there beyond an acknowledgement that the speculation isn't altogether wrong.
With Firefox languishing in the browser wars, despite the launch of its dramatic speed overhaul in 'Firefox Quantum', the company will be looking at new ways to get back on track and if it can beat Google's efforts to bring Google Assistant to the Chrome browser, it could have some serious leverage, as well as a first serious contender for Linux desktop users.
That's not to say Quantum has been an own-goal for the company - far from it, the stats show 100 million downloads since it launched late last year.
But the idea of a new speech-led browser is a huge step forward for the company.
Amongst the Foundation's other projects has been Common Voice, a programme that has collected examples of thousands of voices around the world and turned them into models that are open source for anyone to use in their apps.
It seems then, that this could be a big chunk of the end game for that project. µ
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