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Fear of Porn URL Exposure Discourages Firefox 3 Upgrade 673

Posted by timothy
from the porn-mode-incomplete-until-it's-a-separate-browser dept.
Barence writes "Mozilla's Security team has disclosed a very interesting piece of research which suggests people refused to upgrade to Firefox 3 because they were afraid the browser would expose their porn collection. Mozilla's research found that the number one reason for not upgrading was the new location bar, and the fact that it delved into people's bookmark collections to suggest sites as they typed. 'When we expanded the capabilities of the location bar to search against all history and bookmarks in Firefox 3, a lot of people contacted us to say that they had certain bookmarks they didn't really want to have displayed,' Firefox's principal designer, Alex Faaborg, tactfully explains. 'In some cases users had intentionally hidden these bookmarks in deep hierarchies of folders, somewhat similar to how one might hide a physical object.'"
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Fear of Porn URL Exposure Discourages Firefox 3 Upgrade

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  • by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:04PM (#29205027) Journal

    When I was in tech support 10 years ago, "How do I get rid of things in the drop-down?" was a common Netscape support question.

    Some of them were very cool and didn't say why they wanted to get rid of it. Some said "I accidently hit this link". I think I may have had one or two guys who were honest about it during my entire time there.

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:17PM (#29205283)

    The problem is that Clear Private Data does not work.

    I remember when I first upgraded to FF3, and was shocked to find that when I "cleared private data" and then clicked on the URL drop-down there were still all the web sites I had visited.

    The "Awesome bar" does not get cleared out!

    I had to install some plug-in to restore that functionality.

  • by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:18PM (#29205297)
    It's not an either/or. You can do both. For more fun, you can do both at the same time (whether those you're watching are on a video or in person is a function of how adventurous you are). My wife and I are young still though (I'm 26 and she's 25) so we haven't had all those old people stigmas kick in yet.
  • Simple Fix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:27PM (#29205439)

    Tag all porn bookmarks as "xxx Bookmark Name" instead of "Bookmark Name". ("XXX" can literally be "XXX"!)

    Write a plugin that only shows those bookmarks in the awesome bar if you type in XXX first.

    Also restrict the history results in the awesome bar to only show hits from a given domain if it is NOT in an xxx-tagged bookmark.

    You get to hide your bookmarks and history from anyone who isn't specifically looking for it.
    You get to use the awesome bar to access your stuff.

    It's not about hiding your shit well, it's about making sure it doesn't pop up automagically.

    The only other solution is to move onto having profiles for browsers.
    Open FF, use the net.
    Want your bookmarks and history and cool stuff?
    Log in to Firefox instead of using the open account.

  • by timster (32400) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:32PM (#29205543)

    Hey, I like the awfulbar -- but I think I may have its only solid use case. When bored, I typically go through the alphabet with the location bar to find some site which I've visited before, but is not in my usual rotation, to see if there is something interesting and new posted there.

    With the awfulbar, I get a much greater cross-section of weirdness with each letter. Just the letter C, for instance, could have Camera-related sites, Cinemark, and for no reason at all the Washington Post.

    Two-letter combinations are even better. "GH" gives me Ghostbusters, and a random Mac vs Linux thread. "EW" gives me BBC News and a review of Ponyo. The wonders never cease.

    SHOULD a major interface element behave in a random and bizarre fashion? Well, probably not.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:35PM (#29205601) Homepage

    Open source software has traditionally had overly aggressive command completion. Developers tend to be keyboard-oriented but not strong typists, while most end-users are now mouse-oriented.

    A classic example is Open Office's word completion. It assumes that the user is looking at the screen and interacting with the program from keystroke to keystroke as they type.

    If Firefox completely removed command completion and just kept the feature that feeds non-URLs into Google, most users would probably be happier.

  • Re:Simple Answer (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:41PM (#29205719)
    No need to do that. Firefox has profiles for a reason, use them. Just create a profile for your porn as well as the default. A simple `firefox -P porn` to open a porn session and, unless someone actively looks for a separate profile, you don't need to worry about casual users finding it on accident.
  • Sounds interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BigBadBus (653823) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @02:54PM (#29205991) Homepage
    But according to my statistics, Firefox 3 is the most used browser. [paullee.com] If this story is true, then how many more would switch?
  • Re:Umm .... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:01PM (#29206137)

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that no other program interface uses this system.

    Not saying I like it (personally I'm indifferent - the ribbon works just as well as the old system did for me, though functions I use rarely take more seraching to find again), but for any new interface somebody has to be first. Microsoft is pushing the ribbon method for other apps as an option now.

    I'm sure there are others, but one program we purchased at work, EDraw Organizational Chart, happens to use the ribbon in it's newest version:

    http://www.edrawsoft.com/ [edrawsoft.com]

  • by anaesthetica (596507) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @03:02PM (#29206183) Homepage Journal

    I wrote up a proposal for a passive solution to hiding porn results from the AwesomeBar, much in the same way that AdBlock Plus passively solves the problem of preventing ads from being displayed on websites: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2009/2/5/43412/24669 [kuro5hin.org]

    Apparently there are already hooks present in Firefox's userChrome that allow the user to specify, on a per URL basis, sites to be prevented from appearing in AwesomeBar results: http://ed.agadak.net/2009/02/hiding-history-with-userchrome [agadak.net]

  • Re:Umm .... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Delkster (820935) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:22PM (#29207447)

    I didn't like the "awesome bar" (is it really called that?) at first, but now it has become a killer feature. It has practically replaced short-lived bookmarks I used to make for sites that I'll likely want to visit again in the near future, because now I need only to remember something about the page title or the URL and I'll probably find the page again in seconds.

    It's a bit slow, but not disturbingly so to me -- and my home desktop hardware is 5-6 years old. Of course that might also just mean I'm less sensitive to a little bit of slowness here and there...

  • Re:Browse safely (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:27PM (#29207533) Homepage Journal
    Sadly, you can get bit by this in Firefox too. The real bitch is, when I got infected, IE had never been explicitly opened and I don't "browse" the web with said machine. It turned out to be a flash, which was loaded by an ad banner from a hacked ad server, that was being served on a legitimate site.

    In general, IE has tons more vectors for drive-by malware, but Firefox isn't immune, if for any other reason, because third party plugins can be the attack vector.
  • Re:Browse safely (Score:3, Interesting)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @04:48PM (#29207887) Journal

    Meh. Just drag the icon off the address bar into a folder. It'll create a .URL internet shortcut – exactly like a regular Windows shortcut, but an internet link. Opens by double-clicking, or if you've got the browser already open you can drag one into an empty tab if you prefer.

  • Re:about:config (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 26, 2009 @08:16PM (#29210559)

    Yes but it still is missing the option that everyone I know wants which is the ability to remember sites you manually type in and not go searching high and low for random crap to fill in...

    here's the lowdown on Firefox 3.5
    Edit -> Preferences (or Tools -> Options), "Privacy" section, at the bottom
    for "when using the location bar, suggest:" choose "History" from the dropdown.
    In about:config do the following
    Change the value of browser.urlbar.matchBehavior to 3
    Change the value of browser.urlbar.default.behavior to 17
    Change the values of both browser.urlbar.match.url and
    browser.urlbar.restrict.typed to empty strings

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