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Mozilla Launches Privacy-Minded 'Firefox Focus' Browser For Android (venturebeat.com) 58

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched a new browser for Android. In addition to Firefox, the company now also offers Firefox Focus, a browser dedicated to user privacy that by default blocks many web trackers, including analytics, social, and advertising. You can download the new app now from Google Play. Because Google isn't as strict as Apple, Android users can set Firefox Focus as their default browser. There are many use cases for wanting to browse the web without being tracked, but Mozilla offers a common example: reading articles via apps "like Facebook." 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.

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Mozilla Launches Privacy-Minded 'Firefox Focus' Browser For Android

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why should I use this? I run Firefox for Android with several add-ons that limit tracking including Adblocker Ultimate, Ublock Origin, Decentraleyes, and Noscript Anywhere. Unfortunately, I'm not sure Noscript Anywhere is still being developed, and it has to be downloaded from noscript.net instead of from the normal repository. Still, how would this be any better than add-ons that each address specific issues?

    • NSA is 100% abandoned as far as I know. I think the closest you can get that's being supported is the so called "hard mode" for ublock. I think medium and hard mode are good ideas. Problem is they're unbearably clunky on android and superfluous on Linux and PCs where noscript is alive and well, but ublock is. Still, ublock is in fact actively supported.
      • On devices with a large enough screen for the UI to work well, I like using uMatrix instead of uBlock + NoScript.
    • by Teun ( 17872 )
      This is a very fast browser but with limited options like no tabs.
      But it is a very new development, we'll see where it leads.
      For some people it might have it's uses.
      • Sounds really nice to me. Once they get tabs introduced, I'm going to be using it plenty and more than that recommending to non-techies that want some privacy.

    • As I understand it, this uses the Android system WebView with a few of the privacy controls from Firefox (but without the Gecko rendering engine).

      There is already an existing product [f-droid.org] that does this (and likely offers more features).

      KitKat users should be particularly careful with WebView browsers, since their engine (likely) hasn't been updated since XP went out of support.

  • its kinda nice. doesnt seem to use mozilla's engine though. very fast browser actually, lol

  • One of the main reasons I don't use Firefox for Android is that you can't fling pages as fast/far as you can on Chrome. It sounds like a petty reason but when I want to move quickly around a page it's frustrating to have to exert extra effort or perceive lag.

    I'd try Focus myself but it's not listed for me in the Play store search. Perhaps it's only available to certain devices initially?

    • I'd try Focus myself but it's not listed for me in the Play store search. Perhaps it's only available to certain devices initially?

      I had to scroll down 3 or 4 screens to find it even though I searched specifically for Firefox Focus.

      The link in the summary also goes directly to it.

      It seems alright I guess. I really don't do much browsing on my phone anyway so I I'm not going to review it beyond that.

  • Can't create a new tab. Can't open links in a new tab. Chances of me using this thing: zero.

  • by jpkunst ( 612360 ) on Wednesday June 21, 2017 @03:23AM (#54659131)
    It seems that there is no way to save bookmarks in this browser.
  • On my android tablet I use the Ghostery browser. The primary reason is that Chrome, Firefox, or Opera will not remember the use Desktop setting.
  • The download seems to be Georestricted. Is this a US only product from Mozilla, or a mistake on the configuration on Play store?

  • If they really wanted to make it privacy minded, they would make it available from somewhere other than "Google Play". I do not have "Google Play" installed on my phone, and will not have it. Why can they not just put an apk on their web site? And no, just because other people are too stupid to install it that way is not a good reason not to make it available to us.

  • Try Slashdot in this browser. Blazing fast... feels like old times before the world wide web became a bloated nightmare!

  • I have used Ghostery for a very long time on my desktop browsers; it works amazingly. Is there any real reason why mobile browsers don't do add-ons?

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