John Herrman on the world of nested tech platforms

The web is in rough shape and tech companies can smell its blood. Their territorial efforts to recentralize the online experience on private platforms may well fail, but watching them try is the foreseeable future.

"The melding experiences of living and working on a queasily centralizing internet will be defined by these relationships. Platform conflict, private or public, sensible or capricious, explicit or implied, will determine the manners in which we read and watch and communicate and produce online. A type of co-dependency that would be familiar in any advanced industry becomes incomprehensible at such scale and seemingly boundless acceleration—a billion users as unsure about what they’re seeing as where they’re seeing it from."

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Firefox tracking protection sped up web browsing up to 44% in test

Some websites have dozens and dozens of tracking bugs and libraries, slowing downloads and delaying rendering. If you block them in Firefox, researchers demonstrated, some pages load much faster.

The paper shows that with Tracking Protection enabled, not only did Chew and Kontaxis see a 67 percent reduction in cookies set in the Alexa Top 200 news sites, but page load times were reduced by a median 44 percent, and overall data usage was reduced by 39 percent. Even if you aren’t too concerned about privacy, that speed increase alone might be enough of a reason to enable the feature.

The speed boost comes from blocking requests to tracking domains, so it won’t speed up browsing across the board, but considering the amount of sites that use some sort of tracking, the benefit should be fairly noticeable. Currently, Tracking Protection isn’t turned on by default, as Mozilla is still gathering feedback about how the feature works, but it’s fairly easy to enable the feature.

Previously: Facebook told to stop tracking logged-out web users Read the rest

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I'd love to read The Next Web's article titled "Ad-blockers aren’t ‘immoral,’ but maybe you’re using them wrong", but it is impossible because of the hilariously broken full-screen ad superimposed upon it. Read the rest