You’ve probably been receiving a lot of notifications from various apps, websites, and online services these past few weeks as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union (but also affects the rest of the world) finally takes into effect this May 25. Just like the other major browsers, Mozilla’s Firefox has now announced it is GDPR ready and along with it, Firefox Focus is ready as well and even bringing new features to help users get more privacy from sites with first party trackers and now with advertisers that also track your movement across sites with cookies. This is just one of the many ways that Focus is a browser that you can use to bring you “less tracking for more privacy”.
Firefox Focus has been around for almost two years and one year for Android devices and since it launched, it has been helping users protect their personal data and also save some megabytes on their data plan. Blocking ad trackers is something that we probably all want not only because they most of the time unknowingly track our behavior but even more importantly for some, it slows down browsing on your mobile device. Erasing your browsing history, including passwords, cookies, and trackers, is also pretty convenient with Firefox Focus. You have other minor features like an ad tracker counter (if you want to see how many ads are blocked), a way to disable the tracker blocker if a site doesn’t load correctly, and a notification reminder to tell you that Focus is running in the background.
For the latest update, you now get a cookie management feature that will also be able to block those that track you across websites. You will be able to protect your online activity from first party and third party trackers on all sites or if you choose to do so, you can also disable this advertiser cookie blocking feature. Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Cookies and Site Data to enable or disable this feature. If a website is not loading properly, chances are it’s because you’ve enabled this so if the site is important enough, then you have the option to disable it.
Another new feature for Firefox Focus that doesn’t have to do with privacy but more of convenience is the autocomplete function for websites that you go to regularly. Previously, you had to add favorite sites to an autocomplete list but you had to do it manually. As with a lot of things, we want something that is a bit more convenient than that. So now you just have to long press the URL bar and the site that you’re currently on will be added to the URL autocomplete list.
While it is sometimes convenient for trackers and publishers to be able to recommend articles and websites to us based on our browsing history, there are times when you would not want to share with them what sites you’re going to. There are also other reasons we’ve previously mentioned like data saving and memory saving as well. There will be a continuous need for products like Firefox Focus now that people are becoming even more aware of all sorts of online privacy and security issues. If you haven’t yet, you can download the app from the Google Play Store for free.