Mozilla updates Firefox and (more or less) abandons Thunderbird and Firefox OS

Now more than ever, Firefox is at the forefront of the Mozilla Foundation’s ambitions. — Mozilla pic
Now more than ever, Firefox is at the forefront of the Mozilla Foundation’s ambitions. — Mozilla pic

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 16 — While it intends to stop work on its chat software Thunderbird and to slow down the development of its alternative mobile operating system Firefox OS, the Mozilla Foundation has unveiled a new update for its Internet browser Firefox (43.0).

This new version of Firefox reflects an increasing battle against ad trackers. The idea is to optimise blocking of all these trackers in order to guarantee better privacy protection as well as an increased page-loading rate. Net surfers now have a choice between blocking by default, classic blocking, and the possibility of blocking absolutely all types of tracker, with the risk of making some sites unstable. Another new feature is address bar search suggestions, provided that the browsing history is retained. And lastly, Firefox automatically deactivates all the extensions that are not Mozilla’s. It is then possible to reactivate them one by one.

This update comes at a tricky time for Mozilla, which has recently announced its intention to halt the development of its free and alternative mobile operating system, Firefox OS, which is aimed at smartphones. Launched less than three years ago, it is currently available in about 40 countries via low-cost offerings from local operators. Conscious of not offering the best user experience after several years of development, Mozilla has nonetheless decided to continue to try it out on connected devices.

In addition, the Mozilla Foundation is set to drop Thunderbird, its famous messaging software, the development of which has been abandoned for several years. Mozilla is therefore concentrating on its star browser more than ever.

Firefox has recently become available for iOS, where it offers private browsing (no browsing history or cookies recorded) and the option for users to sync their account and access their favourites, browsing history and passwords whatever the device used. Firefox has already long been available for Android. — AFP-Relaxnews

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