Mozilla’s Firefox browser to get ads

Mozilla’s Firefox browser to get ads

Don’t you hate it when you are watching an interesting movie to see it get interrupted every ten minutes for five minutes of dumb ads – toothpaste, unwanted services, cars, washing detergents, you name it? Well, something like this will happen to Mozilla Firefox users too.

Mozilla, the non-profit group that develops and updates the popular Firefox browser, has announced that in the near future its browser will get ads right where thumbnails of your frequently visited websites normally appear when you open a new tab. Many of these thumbnails, called by Firefox “Enhanced Tiles” will remain but some of them will be transformed into sponsored logos or other promoted images.

Mozilla believes that the addition of ads to the web browser will help the non-profit group and Firefox stay relevant during times when the popularity of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Google’s Chrome is on the rise. Mozilla has hopes that the addition of sponsored tiles will help influence powerful advertising groups while not compromising its non-profit values. The ads will also be a potential way for Mozilla to make additional money next to the money it receives from Google for having it as the default web search engine in Firefox.

“We see this as a meaningful contributor to Mozilla’s revenue,” Darren Herman, vice president of content services for Mozilla and the man behind the tile ads, said in an interview. “We’re using ourselves to demonstrate that it’s possible to advertise at a scale nobody else can.”

The number of ads will increase over time and they will depend on how long the person has been using the browser. For example, new users will see sponsored tiles for Mozilla sites and Mozilla partners. People who have been using Firefox for more than a month will be shown sponsored tiles based on browsing history. The bad news is that the ads will collect user data but Mozilla says it will be minimal such as the location of the user but no more specific than the country the user is from, how many impressions the tile has received and how many times users pinned the tile to their New Tab page or removed it. Fortunately there will also be a way to disable the ads altogether – just go to the gear icon in the upper right corner of the New Tab page and then click away from “Enhanced”. Mozilla says the removal of the ads will not affect the browsing experience.

As of now it is not clear when Firefox will get its first ads but it will be in a next version for sure, which given the rapid release cycle of Mozilla, will not be that far away.


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