News from Firefox on Mobile, Private Network and Desktop
As the year comes to a close, we look back at what we’ve accomplished. As recently noted in the press, this year may be the mark of our privacy-renaissance. We’ve built additional privacy protections in the browser which included blocking third party tracking cookies and cryptomining by default and created an easy-to-view report which shows the trackers that follow you and collect your online browsing habits and interests. To date, we’ve blocked more than 1 Trillion tracking requests that attempt to follow you around the web! Privacy has always been part of our DNA. We’ve always believed our role is and has always been to help give people more control over their online lives.
Today, we’ve got something for everyone, for tech savvy folks who want to test-drive privacy-first features and products or those who love to multitask while on their desktop. We have a lot in store for the next year, and will continue to uphold our promise to create privacy-focused products and features. Before we roll anything out widely to consumers, we’ve still got some fine-tuning to do. So today we’re kicking off the next phase in our ongoing testing of our Firefox Private Network Beta, and the latest Firefox Preview app for Android powered by GeckoView. Although the year might be winding down, just like Santa’s elves, we’re working around the clock to deliver experiments and the latest versions of our Firefox browser for desktop and iOS.
Latest Firefox Private Network Beta test protects users just in time for the holidays
In September, we introduced the beta release of our Firefox Private Network (FPN), an extension which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and personal information when you use the Firefox browser. Since then, we’ve received feedback from our beta testers on how they’re using FPN, its protections, and we learned about websites that weren’t compatible as well as connection issues. This allowed us to quickly identify and fix bugs, and ensure a stable product.
As we continue our beta testing, we are considering various ways to bring additional privacy protections to our users. Today we’re announcing an additional beta test for US-based Firefox account users who didn’t get a chance to get in the initial group, and are interested in testing FPN.
In the next phase of our beta, we are offering a limited-time free service that lets you encrypt your Firefox connections for up to 12 hours a month. With the holidays around the corner, the FPN couldn’t come at a more convenient time. We know people are traveling and might have to rely on an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, like the one at the airport, at your local coffee shop, or even at your doctor’s office. FPN provides encrypted internet traffic thus giving you peace of mind whenever you’re using our browser.
This limited-time free service is currently available in the US on the Firefox desktop browser and you’ll need a Firefox account to try the service. You can sign up directly from the extension which can be found here.
For those looking to extend their protection beyond the browser, you can now sign up to be one of the first to experience the newest member of the FPN family. This month, Firefox account holders can request invitations to experience device-level protection with our new full-device VPN (virtual private network). Join the waitlist and if you’re eligible, we’ll follow up with a link to access the VPN at an introductory price of $4.99 per month. Currently the VPN will be available for Windows 10 only, and like the rest of the FPN, it is only available to US-based Firefox account holders. Pricing and platform availability will continue to evolve and we look forward to hearing your feedback.
Attention mobile beta testers: Firefox Preview Beta release now available
This past summer we introduced Firefox Preview Beta, a publicly available test version of our Firefox browser for Android powered by GeckoView, Mozilla’s own high-performance mobile browser engine. It allows us to deliver a better, faster and more private online experience for Android users. Today, we have an update on our progress, including new features we’ve added since its initial beta release in June. To learn more visit the announcement here.
Picture-in-Picture available in today’s Firefox browser release
Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of multi-tasking whether it’s checking email in a meeting or online shopping and watching product videos before we press the buy button. We all have busy lives and want to get the most out of every minute. In today’s Firefox release we’re rolling out Picture-in-Picture available in all video sites.
Picture-in-Picture allows a video to be contained in a separate and small window, and still be viewable whether you switch from tab-to-tab or outside the Firefox browser. To see if Picture-in-Picture is available to you, hover your mouse over the video to see a small blue “Picture in Picture” option. Once you click the option, the video will pop into its own and will always stay as the top window, allowing you to continue to watch the video even if you switch tabs. Currently, Picture-in-Picture will only be available on Windows OS. It will be available to MacOS and Linux in our next browser release in January 2020.
To see what else is new or what we’ve changed in today’s desktop and iOS release, you can check out our release notes.
Check out and download the latest version of Firefox available here.