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Mozilla Trials Native Firefox Ad Blocking Tools For All

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Mozilla wants to extend Tracking Protection to all tabs, not just private browsing, meaning invasive ads could be blocked

Mozilla could add a degree of native ad blocking to Firefox in a future release if a test of the ‘Tracking Protection’ feature in the browser is successful.

Tracking Protection arrived with Firefox 42 last November, giving users control over what types of data third parties received from their browsing. This could mean certain online advertisements might not display properly.

However until now, Tracking Protection has been limited to private browsing. Mozilla is looking at extending this protection to all tabs but first needs to see where the feature “breaks” the web – this includes ads.

Firefox ad blocking

firefox-tracking-1To achieve this, it is inviting users to participate in a ‘Test Pilot’, a scheme which sees Firefox users test experimental features in the early stage of development.

Other new ‘test pilots’ launched today are a screenshot tool that takes, finds and shares images of the web, and ‘Min Vid’, a feature that lets you display video on top of other tabs. At present, this only works with YouTube and Vimeo.

Existing pilots include a rich history stream, side tabs, and 404s powered by the Internet Wayback Machine.

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“Since our launch, we’ve been hard at work on new innovations, and today we’re excited to announce the release of three new Test Pilot experiments,” said Nick Nguyen, vice president of product at Firefox. These features will help you share and manage screenshots; keep streaming video front and centre; and protect your online privacy.”

Opera was the first major browser developer to add native ad blocking to its desktop version.

Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB UK) suggests one in five British adults use ad blocking, but would be less likely to do so if adverts didn’t interfere with what they were doing. However nearly two thirds claimed they prefer free, ad-supported content to a subscription-based model.

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