The crew behind Mozilla’s Firefox are releasing a new mobile web browser app designed to run on devices powered by Apple’s iOS mobile operating system. More significantly, it emphasizes private and secure Internet surfing as the core of its overall interface experience. iPhone owners, meet Firefox Focus, a browser that blocks ad trackers (by default) and wipes out one’s browsing history, including cookies and passwords. And because it is a known fact that ads and web trackers can often affect web page loading times, the use of Firefox Focus leads to easier and more efficient browsing.
The Firefox Focus mobile app was first released on the App Store nearly a year ago, but at that time, it was positioned as more of an ad blocking tool that comes with the ability to get rid of ads and trackers from the Safari web browser on iOS run devices. To be perfectly clear about everything, that functionality is still present in the overhauled app -- the difference this time is that instead of just being an ad blocking tool, the app itself is a stand alone web browser.
By focusing on safe and private browsing, the Firefox Focus web browser has sacrificed some of the features commonly found in rival apps. For instance, Mozilla has done away with using tabs, generating lists of favorite websites, and other special configuration settings. When users explore the Settings section, they will only see an option for toggling on or off the data they want to block, such as ad trackers, analytics trackers, social media trackers, other web content trackers, and fonts.
It is somewhat surprising to note though that Firefox Focus is using Yahoo Search as the default search tool. Considering the bad publicity that has been generated in light of the massive data breaches that Yahoo has suffered, choosing Yahoo Search might not be a good idea for a web browser that values privacy and security above all else. And what is worse is that in this existing version, there seems be no way of changing the default search engine. Still, the folks at Mozilla have promised that they will certainly do something about that in later versions. Also, no word yet on when the Android version will be launched.
That potential issue aside, releasing Firefox Focus is mostly a good move for Mozilla. But one must wonder though if this app is a bit late in joining in on the fun. After all, most mobile web browsers nowadays already come with settings for private browsing, and Mozilla is certainly far from being the first company to offer a privacy-centric browsing tool.
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