Firefox Browser To Carry Ads

John Lister's picture

The Firefox browser will soon incorporate paid advertising on its new tab page. It will be personalized to a degree, though developers Mozilla say it won't compromise privacy.

The ads will appear in the form of links to pages. These links will appear whenever a user opens a new tab in the browser, before they type in an address. They won't appear on the home page that shows up when users first open Firefox itself.

The new tab page will contain a list of recommended links to pages the user might find interesting. Some of these will be "sponsored" results while others will be included without any commercial incentive.

No Personal Data Collected

The feature has been tested on some users over the past few months and is already available to people who run the beta editions of Firefox which include new features still in development. The feature will then roll out to all users from May 9 when version 60 of Firefox is released. (Source:

Mozilla says that it won't need any access to records of a user's online activity to produce the personalized recommendations. Instead the browser itself will download a master list of recommended links each day, then cross-reference it with the browser history on the user's computer to decide which of these links are most relevant. This is described as client-side personalization, meaning Mozilla doesn't have access to the user's data, let alone pass it on to a third party.

Users Can Opt Out

While the feature will be switched on by default, users can turn it off so they don't see any recommended links. They can also opt to have the recommendations show, but with any "sponsored" results automatically excluded.

Though Mozilla will tell advertisers how many people clicked through on the links, they won't provide any details about the individuals who did so.

Mozilla says the privacy point is key because the online community has "come to accept a premise around advertising today that users need to trade their privacy and data in exchange for personalized, high quality experiences. Our experiments over the last few months have proved that this isn't true." (Source:

What's Your Opinion?

Is any form of advertising acceptable within a web browser? Has Mozilla found an acceptable balance between advertising and privacy? Would it matter to you if a recommended link was a paid ad, as long as you still found it relevant?

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Dennis Faas's picture

I have Firefox set up to only show blank tabs when I open a new tab. I don't want to see any browsing history of sites I've visited previously, or recommended links every time a new tab is opened. They had better not interfere with how this works or I will be looking to use Chrome instead.

NickyK's picture

I entirely agree Dennis!

davolente_10330's picture

Agree wholeheartedly!

Aerokats's picture

Completely agree, Dennis.

pctyson's picture

Have they indicated why they are doing this? Are they not getting enough funding to support development? Are we not already bombarded with enough advertising?