Firefox released an Android version of its private browser Firefox Focus today. It’s the software company’s answer to consumers’ desire for greater internet privacy with ad blocking built in at the core.
The movement for greater privacy has been growing over the years through concerns exacerbated by WikiLeaks, NSA spying, identify theft, and more. “We’re seeing consumers play an active role in trying to protect their personal data and save valuable megabytes on their data plans,” Barbara Bermes, product manager at Firefox Mobile, writes in a blog post.
Firefox Focus blocks ads by default, allowing a seamless experience. It runs smoothly and is intuitive to use, but the UI is an immediate throwback to the past, which might deter those who are aesthetically minded. Its default search engine is Yahoo, but, fortunately, users can change it to Google or the engine of their choice.
Firefox claims that by blocking ads and ad trackers, the browser can help users browse faster and save data. The Android version has additional features compared to the previously released iOS version: a counter listing the number of ads blocked so far, an option to disable the tracker blocker, and a notification reminder that Firefox is still running.
When speaking of privacy browsers, it’s worth mentioning Tor, the browser of choice for accessing the dark web. Tor also has a mobile option and securely hides your IP, but it inconveniently requires two apps (Orbot and Orfox) to successfully run and is a bit more complicated to use than the average browser. (As an example of just how secure it is, Tor actually blocks you from taking screenshots.)
This mobile release comes just days after Firefox updated its browser to version 54, which includes a speed boost and more processing power, signaling how Mozilla is ramping up its game against competitors.
Watch Firefox’s video here:
Correction: June 20th, 2PM ET: This story has been updated to correct a statement made about Tor. Tor can be used to access regular websites, not just dark web sites.