Firefox 66 Seeks To Reduce Web’s Most Annoying Features

The Mozilla Foundation has made Firefox 66 available for download, and the new browser is targetting those things that tend to annoy people most when browsing the web.

For example, Firefox 66 will block the autoplaying content by default, but there are some caveats as the new browser seeks to strike a happy medium.

It has been a busy time for Mozilla. Last week it released Firefox Send, its free file transfer service that can send files of up to 2.5GB in size to anywhere in the world.

Chrome and Firefox

Block Autoplay

Mozilla however this week concentrated on the release of its updated web browser. It revealed its arrival in a blog post, and pointed out that online annoyances are just real life annoyances, which it hopes to tackle.

These annoyances can be autoplaying videos, page jumps or finding a topic within all your multiple tabs, which the new update tackles.

But it is clear that the block on autoplaying content by default is the headline act.

“Ever open a new page and all of a sudden get bombarded with noise?,” wrote Mozilla. “Well, worry no more. Starting next week, we will be rolling out the peace that silence brings with our latest feature, block autoplay.”

The Block Autoplay feature will stop the audio and video from automatically playing on web pages. If the user wants to view the video, they can simply click on the play button to watch it.

But there is a caveat as Block Autoplay only aims to stop audio being blasted out.

Social networking sites, for example, which automatically mute the sound but continue to play the video, will not be stopped from playing the muted video.

Block Autoplay will also allow a binge watcher using for example Netflix or Youtube, to play the videos continuously, so long as they have added those websites to his or her permissions list.

Other features

Another annoying feature that Firefox 66 aims to deal with is when a webpage loads its text faster than the accompanying images or adverts, and when these load it leaves the user bouncing around the web page.

“Today’s release features scroll anchoring,” said Mozilla. “Now, the page remembers where you are so that you aren’t interrupted by slow loading images or ads.”

Firefox 66 has also made it easier to search multiple tabs, including tabs open on other devices as well.

And for those people who prefer a bit of private browsing when they don’t want the search history to be saved, when the user opens a new tab in Private Browsing, they will see a search bar with their default search engine (Google, Bing, etc).

Firefox has long been committed to privacy, as demonstrated last September when it said it would begin blocking advertising trackers (ad trackers) by default.

Mozilla wanted to stop firms tracking the web surfing habits of people to help with their adverts. And by stopping ad trackers, Mozilla also hoped to improve privacy and reduce the loading speeds of web pages.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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