Kyle Berger Kyle Berger -4 years ago 286
HTTP Question

How to tell the Firefox start page to use specific images?

Using a completely fresh install of Firefox, I see a start page with these icons/pages:

Firefox start page

Hovering over the "Customize Firefox" box, the image changes to this:

Hovering over Customize Firefox

The normal behavior of Firefox is to create some sort of screenshot for the start page images. However, it looks like there might be a way to control the image that appears as well as what appears when hovering over each image.

What HTML tag(s) or HTTP header(s) is/are required to get customization of images on the Firefox start page?


Digging around a bit, I see the following HTML for the "Get Firefox for Android" option:

<div xmlns="" class="newtab-cell">
<div class="newtab-site" draggable="true" type="history" pinned="true">
<span class="newtab-sponsored">SPONSORED</span>
<a class="newtab-link" title="Get Firefox for Android" href="">
<span class="newtab-thumbnail placeholder"></span>
<span class="newtab-thumbnail thumbnail" style="background-image: url(&quot;;);"></span>
<span class="newtab-thumbnail enhanced-content" style="background-image: url(&quot;;);"></span>
<span class="newtab-title">Get Firefox for Android</span>
<input title="Unpin this site" class="newtab-control newtab-control-pin" type="button" />
<input title="Remove this site" class="newtab-control newtab-control-block" type="button" />
<span class="newtab-suggested"></span>

A "normal" entry looks more like this:

<a xmlns="" class="newtab-link" title="Twilio Console" href="">
<span class="newtab-thumbnail placeholder"></span>
<span class="newtab-thumbnail thumbnail" style="background-image: url(&quot;moz-page-thumb://thumbnail/?;revision=4346&quot;);"></span>
<span class="newtab-thumbnail enhanced-content"></span>
<span class="newtab-title"></span>

newtab-thumbnail thumbnail
span appears to be how the on hover is working and the
newtab-thumbnail enhanced-content
span is the non-hover image that is displayed.

Answer Source

The short answer to this question is: No. There is currently no way to affect the images that get displayed by Firefox on the New Tab page.

After doing quite a bit more digging, I finally figured out what is going on. Mozilla calls the page the "New Tab page" not the "Start page". Mozilla calls the tiles "Directory Links" and there are a bunch of rules regarding what can be included in the Directory Links Provider:

There are two configuration options of note and A Directory Links Provider must point at as the base URI. This policy is enforced by the browser itself. An example provider is:

Which shows what the user sees in a fresh install. There is no way to provide metadata or such via a HTML page or Javascript to provide hints for a New Tab page. The New Tab page lives in isolation and has strict rules built in to prevent user tracking (e.g. no cookies are sent). I'd wager a good part of the reasoning is user privacy and browser security. Imagine the ability to track user habits via a New Tab page or repeatedly infect a machine via a bug in a JPEG library every time a new tab is opened. It's a bit disappointing because the thumbnails that Firefox generates for most websites look pretty terrible.

Recommended from our users: Dynamic Network Monitoring from WhatsUp Gold from IPSwitch. Free Download