And to anyone trying to convert your friends "mobile supports ublock" is usually all I have to say.
Edit:unblock == uBlock Origin (sorry, on my phone)
We already support a very limited set of the WebExtensions API to offer features like Reader Mode. Rest assured that more features will land in the coming months.
If you're a developer and you want to help us, our Github site is at this link. We mark easier issues with a Good First Issue label. We also need help with translations, documentation, and even getting issues filed.
As it stands, adblocking is "post MVP". QR code scanning, however, is somehow part of the MVP. This doesn't make sense to me: there are many apps that launch the default system browser when scanning a URL QR code. You can easily get by without that functionality in the browser.
The comments in this post should be sending you really loud signal: technical users (the type of people who install preview software) don't consider a browser without adblocking MVP. You are drastically underestimating the significance of adblocking extensions.
On the other hand, QR code scanning is necessary for a good Firefox Sync setup experience, and that genuinely seems crucial to the MVP: we don't want your data stranded on one device unless that's explicitly what you want.
And I don't see FP under devices in https://accounts.firefox.com/settings/clients?service=sync&c....
When it came out I considered reader mode a killer feature, and coincidentally it also tends to remove the ads. Or at least the ones not embedded in an article, which is good enough for me as long as they remain stationary.
I wont give up on Firefox anytime soon. I would love to see some serious competitors though.
Most people who care about adblocking will choose whatever browser suppoerts adblocking over anything else honestly.
It is always soft of amusing to watch companies make all kinds of unforced errors with their products because the managers feel that they know much better than the users of the product what should be important to users. They fail all the time just to have someone else come in and say "Oh, those people, they were just holding the instructions wrong" and go repeating the same mistake.
So far in this ( software + hardware space ) there has been exactly one company that nailed it. The company is called Apple and the product is called iPhone. Since that point on Apple has not introduced anything that was not a direct play on "Our users want X, we are going to give them X, maybe with a bit of a twist"
The users are telling you that the USP of Firefox is ad blocking. If your PM says it is something else, you should replace the PM. That should be your singular focus. Everything else is secondary.
> Apple has not introduced anything that was not a direct play on "Our users want X, we are going to give them X, maybe with a bit of a twist"
Unless you want plug-ins in a mobile browser or a headphone jack or ... well, too many things to list really. Apple mobile/tablet software experiences are some of the worst offenders of "We'll tell you how you should want it and if you don't agree, you're just wrong and we're right."
A usable night mode e.g. invert the topbar icons and change the white screen you see before the page loads combined with an existing dark theme would be an easy feature to implement and would put it miles ahead of other mobile browsers too. I presently have to use Swift for Samsung to overlay a proper black theme (with white icons etc), but still get bright white when loading pages.
And..where to report this sort of thing? There seem to be about 7 different rival official locations.
That's how we end up with this disgusting bloated software world we live in. Why do I need a calculator app with food delivery service?
(Of course, some time later I realized what "extensions enabled" truly means, and started using other extensions I have enabled on my desktop browser too :).)
Please listen Mozilla. Firefox is the only browser that works as intended for me, on mobile. Cookie AutoDelete + uBlock Origin and Dark Reader. What a blessing.
Using Firefox because it has a particular technological feature is a political choice. That political stance would lead users to turn to other browsers as fast as tech is added or removed.
I use Firefox for political reasons and for what it stands.
Which means that when Firefox gets worse I still use it and support what it stands for.
It's very Stallmanesque and let it be clear I am not saying the choice to favour superior tech over ethic concerns is wrong. It's just a different choice.
That's what I tell people when talking about Signal and messenger, Chrome and Firefox.
Also, I don't think Mozilla is a white knight and in my opinion they fucked up some good things over the years (tech or ethic). But the good still largely surpasses the bad.
This way, you can switch your acquaintances to use Firefox, and they'll stay with it by inertia. I'd say that's a win-win.
I don't think I am making myself clear. Everyone has a cultural and political profile that dictates some choices and it doesn't matter if they acknowledge it or not.
> But to be most effective, you have to recognize that most other users won't care about it that strongly, so you have to use arguments that matter to them in a practical way.
Oh, but the privacy and anti-ad argument is a strong political argument that will outlive the tech of the day.
> and they'll stay with it by inertia.
And if Mozilla pulls a google and becomes evil, that inertia is now a problem you have to overcome on other grounds than the tech.
It's an easy and short term win-win until the next HN article "ff slower than chrome in test XYZ, jump ships everyone !".
Right, but that doesn't matter an inch if you can't use it to convince people to switch to a FLOSS browser.
> It's an easy and short term win-win until the next HN article "ff slower than chrome in test XYZ, jump ships everyone !".
And then it's time to make political arguments, when they're already using Firefox, are accustomed to it and have all its configurations and workflows in this tool. This way you use the powerful force of inertia in your favor, instead of fighting it.
Firefox matters not because it's "not chromium" but because it's firefox, a non-profit dedicated to an open web.
(Note: I've been running Gecko based browsers almost since the beginning. I guess in those days it was probably easier to use a browser that isn't perfectly supported, but I'd probably do it again if it came to it. But I can recommend Firefox to whoever I want, since it works on every site except Linked In. I couldn't do that if it only worked well on one in two or three or four sites.)
> Unlike Firefox on Android, Firefox for iOS does not support browser add-ons. Additionally, it uses Apple's Webkit rendering engine, rather than Mozilla's Gecko.
Bug opened seven years ago. It looks like the only real updates in the last year are a non-dev advocating for it.
Good to hear it's getting some attention behind the scenes. I'm a little sad the driving factor is probably just mobile. Given that it already seems to work in the mobile Firefox Preview, apparently using gecko, it gives me a little hope we may one day see this on the desktop.
I hope "collections" will come to the desktop too. Are there plans?
If I choose Voice and Assist app as Firefox instead of Google then active edge, Ok Google does not work. May be I could just try setting browser app to firefox.
Let me give this combination a try for a few days. Browser is firefox and assist app is google which as you say still renders some links in android webview.
"Assist app" settings determines which app can respond to assistant invocations (ok google, long press home, squeezing the phone...) and grants special assistant privileges to app.
Default browser is another setting :)
Chrome's general UI interaction is definitely more polished and snappier all around, but browsing mobile with good ad blocking, and not getting blasted in the face by stark white pages more than covers for Firefox's warts.
But I agree, uBlock Origin makes the mobile web far less painful. Also, I'll point out that you want to be using uBlock Origin, not uBlock. As I recall, Raymond Hill (the creator of uBlock) decided to hand over uBlock Firefox to one of the contributors to offload some of the maintenance burden but then the new owner immediately started trying to monetize it which prompted him to create uBlock Origin.
One thing he (rightfully) points out is that the real power of ad-blocking solutions comes from the community-maintained blocking lists. In theory one could manually block every url they run across, but in practice we can use these tools (or a tool like pi-hole) almost effortlessly.
Isn't it what donation is ?
It might not happen in the near future, but chances are eventually you'll get to contribute something. And even if you don't, just accept uBO as a gift from a nice person.
FF with add-ons run noticeable slower than brave.
On the other hand, the "Firefox Focus" app and Chrome do not seem to have this issue. Is there any way to fix this, because it's literally the only thing that stopping me.
But I think it's available for Asian countries only.
I'm referring to the bugs that cause extreme CPU usage and as a consequence extreme heating and battery usage, mainly on macbooks with retina screens set to "more space" resolution.
I work in a whole building full of developers where every single mac user has stopped using firefox due to this issue, yet there seems to be a deep disconnection between how prevalent the issue is and the priority it seems to be assigned.
I hope I'm not coming off as an ass here, I'm just sad that I've had to move away from firefox and to see all my coworkers also moving to chrome.
For me adding "Auto Tab Disard"  (a Firefox equivalent of The Great Suspender for Chrome) has reduced my FF memory/CPU footprint by 10x. It defaults to 10 minutes which is usually long enough where you've mostly forgotten about the tab, then it will refresh when you focus on it. A feature fortunately becoming native to FF. I don't seem to have the previous performance issues anymore but I'll be looking for it now.
That's what I thought as well, but apparently it's something to do with the compositor and FF redrawing the whole window instead of just relevant pixels or areas - which provokes a lot of unneeded calculations -something specially damaging for users that have scaling set to more space (effectively a higher resolution).
That was my understanding at least, when I first learned about the bug many months ago. I followed the development for a while with no (public) improvements and now I just wait for news about the issue or something, but all FF related news so far have been about new features or products.
I am not trying to cast doubt on your experience, but I just wanted to point out that it isn’t universal!
It makes me really confused because my current understanding on the bug doesn't seem to be compatible with the idea of only affecting some users - and to be clear I'm not casting doubt on your experience either, it's just hard to imagine how a performance issue regarding the compositor and screen redrawing could be affecting users differently.
Subconsciously I started using Chrome on my Desktop more regularly too, since the abhorrent state of Firefox on Macbooks trained me into using Chrome instead.
The Firefox developers don't seem to care about the state of Firefox, on macOS, to be honest.
For example - This is a bug report I made 7 months ago of an issue that would be quick to implement, yet make a noticeable difference in UI on macOS (move the Share menu to the File menu). Nobody has bothered to respond. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1512851
Otherwise, I've always been on FF from the Netscape days. I use Chrome when I have to (noticably Hangouts for a while), but otherwise stayed with FF without a problem.
(Just curious about how your setup differs from mine)
- I use Firefox, and have done continuously for a long time. I don't intend to switch to anything else, despite being very unhappy with the experience in many ways, as I consider it to be the "least worst"
- I genuinely believe there are very easily achievable low-hanging fruit that Mozilla could implement that would at least please a large swathe of their target demographic. Namely, not talking about privacy and then slapping Google tracking into everything they do. I understand that there's a revenue stream there, and a balance to be met between economic survival and ideal conditions, but this particilar issue is a deal tipped too far towards defying the point of the exercise.
Perhaps I'm in a bubble and this is just my "single issue", but shouting about privacy and sending all that data about their users to Google seems a fairly large deal to me.
Huh, I must have missed that - if true, this is a huge breach of trust for me. Do you have a link?
- as I mentioned in another comment, Firefox Preview comes with Google as a default search engine (not a huge issue) and with "search suggestions" enabled by default (which sends everything you ever type to Google).
- Even if you disable search suggestions (or change provider), Firefox has a built-in feature called "Google Safe Browsing" which collates every URL you visit and sends bulk reports to Google. This feature is only disable-able via the "here be dragons" about:config area.
- then there's Google Location Services, which sends your WiFi router SSID, SSIDs of routers in range, and hardware details, to Google. This is less clear cut as Mozilla's use of this service has been on-off over time, and varies per device. See
Safe Browsing DOES NOT reveal URLs to Google. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Safe_Browsing#Privacy and read the protocol spec or Firefox source code if you doubt this.
> Google Location Services, which sends your WiFi router SSID, SSIDs of routers in range, and hardware details, to Google. This is less clear cut as Mozilla's use of this service has been on-off over time, and varies per device.
Mozilla has made a significant investment to try to get away from this by building the Mozilla Location Service. In the meantime it's a straight tradeoff between quality of user experience and information leakage. Experience shows that degrading the user experience for some invisible and small privacy benefit is not a winning strategy.
Is this not 'about:preferences' -> Privacy & Security -> Block dangerous and deceptive content ?
This is quite a different thing from using Chrome(-ish browsers) with the "phone home".
This is what it comes down to: I still use Firefox confidently despite being aware of these issues, as I'm aware they're still very minor compared to running Chrome, or even any other Google-engine-based project.
It's still however worthwhile probing these issues. They're still far from ideal, even if they're preferable as a "least worst" option.
* They pushed ad/extension for a TV show to everyone
* They silently served modified installers to a small subset of users downloading firefox which sent all browsing data to a 3rd party by default.
* Disabling experiments used for pushing the mr robot ad does not disable "normandy" - which is practically the same thing and they used to push new certificates once their old ones expired and broke addons recently. This feature is hidden in advanced settings.
And then as you say, using google analytics everywhere (giving google data), painting google indirectly as evil while having it as a default engine and collecting google money.
> * They pushed ad/extension for a TV show to everyone
I assume you're talking about the "mr robot" thing here as well. One can accuse it of being many things, but it wasn't a privacy violation, as no data was sent (or planned to be sent) to anybody, either to Mozilla or any third-party. (It was silly, an abuse of studies, a source of worry for those who monitor their list of add-ons for suspicious items, and a strategic error.)
Among that group are sysadmins, webmasters and people who get called by friend or family members for anything tech-related.
If they do things right, like they did when IE was dominant, these guys will definitely give back.
I've used since v0.4.
Whenever I raised issues with Mozilla about things that degraded, it was always either talking to a brick wall or a wontfix. They made the decision based on one person complaining about it being the old way, implemented the change, and no matter that other people liked the old way, it wouldn't be changed back or made configurable.
I then tried to compile Firefox for Android myself and cherry pick only security updates, but that was enough of a pain in the ass that I gave up on it.
And before you mention it, changing default font size in browser/OS doesn't really help, mostly makes things worse (Bad categories like "medium", "huge" instead of font size, page layouts breaking etc.)
The newest version mentioned in this article actually feels faster than chrome although I'm not crazy about the new ui it is usable without difficultly and a work in progress.
Experiences from years ago aren't really relevant any more, as Firefox has gotten a lot of work done the last couple of years.
But then, I also didn't think 57 for desktop was a big update. For me, it made zero speed difference (Firefox has always been fast on my laptop), on Linux with vertical tabs there is almost zero UI difference, and the only new thing was having to throw out all add-ons with the bathwater. Somehow, it seems I always experience things differently from other people.
Will it be continually "improving" when they drop extension support?
(uBlock Origin is a prerequisite for me.)
It's not the same thing, but the built-in tracking protection incidentally blocks a portion of ads.
Lacking a port I would be interested in a solid, maintained Firefox-without-the-GUI base so people could port it somewhat easily.
There's not much solid or explicit info in it, but it does seem to be planned eventually.
I'll be happy to use their other browsers (mainly, Firefox Focus, my default browser) until this one gets more polished, but the moment this one becomes a bit more stable and adds a few more features (adblock support is certainly on top of that list) will be the moment when I not just switch over, but delete every other browser I have installed on my phone. I can't believe a browser (any browser) makes me feel excited in 2019, but this one does.
It isn't even clear that they're not going to replace Android Firefox with Fenix before getting extensions working.
As far I know this issue is the most recent source of information:
It says «We are currently finalizing the transition plan».
Even if they don't have the entire transition planned out, I think it was important for Mozilla to communicate their Android dev focus was gonna shift to GeckoView, from existing apps, to allow external devs, and customers to have a better plan, even if they don't have the add on strategy and timeline fully fleshed out.
The alternative is waiting a few months to know any of this was happening.
Focus has already shifted for quite some time, though - the current Firefox for Android ("Fennec") code base has already been in maintenance mode since the end of 2017, i.e. over 1½ years, including a few months at the start of 2018 were almost nobody was regularly working on it at all other than watching Bugzilla for any immediate priority bugs and reacting to those in case any happened.
Note that they already included something similar, which is SafeBrowsing(TM), that is maintained by google. Technically, it is exactly the same concept. But uBlock is actively request by 99% of their users, while safeBrowser(TM) fingerprinting is mostly disabled by half.
(Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla)
I am sorry but tracking protection on mozilla as it is now (only enabled by default on private windows, and hapening with no user knowledge/information/learning oportunities) is a lame clutch.
I wish they'd focus more on getting the UX of containers up to snuff. They are almost there, but still far enough away to make addons like Multi-Account Containers (MAC) something I cannot recommend to my parents.
Here is what I mean: Suppose I want to keep my use of example.com separate in it's own Example container. How do I do that?
1) Click the MAC icon in the toolbar, then click the "+" button.
2) Enter 'Example', pick an icon or color, then click okay.
3) Open a new Example container.
4) Navigate to example.com in the Example container
5) Click the MAC icon in the toolbar, then check "Always open in Example"
6) Close the tab.
7) Open a new tab, and browse to example.com
8) Click "Remember my decision"
9) Click "Open in Example container"
This is nuts. I can't recommend this workflow to anybody.
Outside of that I'm sure turning ad blocking on by default would break several sites.
Also publicly, they've said that ads are an integral part of the web.
What's the difference of shipping a feature off, and shipping with support for an extension (on both firefox and Google's chrome store sites!) that can be installed? At this point we are just discussing semantics. Install vs Turn on.
Anyone remember when Firefox extensions broke recently? I thought it was a rather horrible experience.
If the new Firefox Preview can natively block advertisements, whitelist sites, disable third party cookies, prevent and hide social trackers, block anti-ad-blockers, etc. etc. then I agree that extensions are kind of useless, and I understand Mozilla's point.
However, I see the lack of extension support detrimental to my freedoms as a user, since it means I no longer can control what the software hides for me, nor what it broadcasts about me to the abyss of waste that is the advertising industry; I will have to trust the browser, and the lack of extension support is a rather untrustworthy property to begin with.
Isn't it strange that the big flash announcement comes before MVP?
advertising is an abomination that destroys the utility of the internet
and so there's no fair comparison.
I hope they add support for addons otherwise there isn't much use for it at least to me.
With that said, what sites are you visiting? It could be that I simply don't visit sites with any ads, but I gave a few of my daily sites a spin in Firefox Preview and didn't notice any ads.
Winning their userbase back is the only way to win back the leverage they once had...
When you install Firefox Preview, tracking protection is enabled by default. This is recently true for Firefox Desktop as well.
This post below by our CEO explains how we're thinking about the issue broadly. Your privacy and agency are definitely front and center.
I understand that it's a testing release, but they stand to lose out on many testers and users. While I am perfectly willing to be a guinea pig and use this as my daily driver, I am passionately unwilling to browse with ads (especially on a mobile device where data is more expensive).
I am likely part of the vast majority of potential testers/users. There probably won't be a "hey, we support plugins/blocking now" announcement and, even if there will be, it probably won't be as visible as this announcement.
It doesn't block ads. It blocks trackers that sometimes happen to be ads too. But when it comes to ad blocking, it's no better than Chrome.
As a tester of Firefox Preview: WebRender has been a godsend for mobile browsing -- I have yet to see it choke!
Moto G4, Qualcomm Adreno 405, OpenGL ES 3.2
about:config doesn't work either
(Disclosure: I work for Mozilla)
I want to be able to zoom in or out and have text reflowed to the screen width. This makes the web magnitudes nicer to use on a small screen. No cut off lines, no 10 lines per screen. Just convenient freedom over the primary tool we interact on the web: Text.
Another thing that annoyed me about the previous mobile Firefox was the 'x' in the URL bar closed the bar instead of clearing it like Brave. I had to unlearn months of muscle memory since it was a habit of mine. Maybe it doesn't matter since it's just an issue after switching.
My two main gripes are the default search engine and telemetry. Both of these options should be set by the user on first launch. I don't want to use Google and I don't want to send data to Mozilla.
* or, places that are hard to reach for most users
Mobile-first design really hasn't taken hold for many UX web designers (and/or the organizations haven't adapted). Relatively speaking, large phones where it's difficult to reach the top weren't popular until recently. Even mobile apps are just starting to put navigation towards the bottom.
2) same browser gets put on a mobile phone, wants to "feel natural"
3) url bar goes in the "familiar" place.
What "native look and feel" are you talking about?
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About Firefox focus, I love to have it as default browser when opening links, it gives me a lot of confidence to know that the session will be completely destroyed afterward. I'd miss it if it were to be discontinued.
You can toggle between the modes in one tap, and if you're in a private mode, opening links from other apps behaves just like Focus (minus the convenient "erase everything" button, at least for now).
It's the best of both worlds, I don't have to use a second one for those rare scenarios in which I want cookies (like remaining logged into HN).
The Chrome user agent has your device model, even in incognito mode.
If you have a relatively rare Android device in your market, I think you can be tracked fairly uniquely on that alone. I was creeped out when I discovered this.
For example, on my phone, Firefox's current User-Agent header is:
Mozilla/5.0 (Android 8.1.0; Tablet; rv:67.0) Gecko/67.0 Firefox/67.0
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 8.1.0; Moto G (5) Plus) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/740.3729.136 Mobile Safari/537.36
And you know what absolutely clinches it for me? That you moved the address bar to the bottom!! Just like Edge on Windows mobile - that's the best position for address bar IMO.
I also hope you do something about better battery management on the android app.
Have a bow!
My main gripe is that I feel like bookmarks are now a second-class citizen in Firefox Preview, they're not as accessible. I could see my mobile bookmarks right on the new tab screen in Firefox, now I have to press ⋮ > Your Library > Bookmarks and then click the bookmark I want.
4 clicks, while it took only one (or two) before with bookmarks as the default panel on my homepage on Firefox "classic".
Also, I feel the opposite regarding the address bar position - give it a few days, you'll absolutely love it. Edge on Windows Mobile had the same position, and it was a very nifty and time-saving UX. You can now use the phone one-handed more easily, even for small-handed people.
Swiping up seems to only give me the option to share and/or bookmark the page, and in Fennec those things were already possible through the main menu, so not much of an improvement (though I suppose swiping might be a little easier than precisely hitting the menu button).
Actually viewing my bookmarks has indeed become more cumbersome, though, and that is what your parent comment is referring to: In Fennec bookmarks were accessible through the about:home UI, which appears both when opening a new tab and when tapping the URL bar to enter URL edit mode, both of which feel quicker than "Open main menu -> Open library -> Open bookmarks" in Fenix.
There's a thumb that indicates dragability. They're about as hidden as a feature in a menu - that's not great, but it's a lot better than I understood before. (The preview took several hours to download and install on my phone. It's big, but it's not that big that it should've taken that long.)
With you on the bookmarks though. Especially since they're putting this new "Collections" feature front-and-centre but it seems to have no integration with Your Library. The whole "Tab Groups", etc. paradigm has been tried time and time again: the reason it never sticks isn't because it's a bad idea, it's because it's never integrated with idiomatic browser features.
Sure it's disturbing at first but from a usability standpoint it seems vastly superior, especially for bigger screens.
This also goes for all other apps...
A privacy-focused browser should care about the privacy part of the online advertisement, which is tracking. Completely preventing the site from showing any ads is a different feature.
Ads on, say, Stack Overflow or HN or whatever, that target nerds ("great hosting!", "3d printing tech!", "legos!") would be perfectly doable without tracking each of us personally.
Long press the link.