Mozilla has extended and improved its Firefox Focus browser, heretofore an Ios product, bringing it to Android, with auto-blocking of trackers and ads and making it easy to erase your browser history.
It's the latest entry into the burgeoning market for privacy-oriented mobile browsers that boast performance improvements and battery savings, especially for older devices -- a market that includes Brave, an innovative ad-blocking mobile browser from Mozilla alumnus Brendan Eich, as well as Orfox/Orbot, the Firefox-based Tor browser for Android.
Google has announced that future versions of Chrome will automatically block ads from ad platforms that compete with Google's own ads.
Ad blocking is in Mozilla's DNA: the browser rose to prominence by breaking with Netscape and Internet Explorer's quiet complicity with pop-up ads, once the scourge of the web (and a must-have from the perspective of web publishers and their advertisers), shipping the first popular browser that blocked pop-ups by default.
On iOS, Firefox Focus is basically just a web view with tracking protection. On Android, Firefox Focus is the same, with a few additional features (which are still “under consideration” for iOS):
Ad tracker counter — Lists the number of ads that are blocked per site while using the app.
Disable tracker blocker — For sites that are not loading correctly, you can disable the tracker blocker to fix the issues.
Notification reminder — When Firefox Focus is running in the background, a notification will remind you so you can easily tap to erase your browsing history.
Firefox Focus uses the same blocking list as Firefox’s Private Browsing mode on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
This list, published under the General Public Licence, is based on the tracking protection rules laid out by the anti-tracking startup Disconnect. Anyone can view that open-source blocklist over on GitHub.
Mozilla launches Firefox Focus for Android [Emil Protalinksi/Venturebeat]