Mozilla now shows ads right in the Firefox address bar in the form of contextual sentences… This innovation has already been noticed by US users. Mozilla says the feature was introduced in Firefox 92 in September and is allowing the company to raise funds for browser development.
According to Mozilla, “Starting with Firefox 92, users will receive new, up-to-date offers from trusted partners based on what they are looking for. No user data will be collected, stored or passed on to third parties to make new recommendations“.
Although the company’s blog posts introducing a new feature called Firefox Suggest were published in September, it was first mentioned in the Firefox 93 changelog two days ago and reported as “a faster way to navigate the internet“. Mozilla says it will only work with partners that comply with Firefox’s privacy standards, with adMarketplace being the company’s preferred partner for the time being.
Mozilla announced on its support site that these offers will only be activated after users grant permission to display them by clicking “Allow offers” when prompted, or by manually selecting the types of offers to display in preferences. To enable or disable contextual suggestions, you must check or uncheck the box next to Contextual Suggestions in the Privacy & Security menu of Firefox preferences.
While Mozilla describes Firefox Suggest as a feature that can be enabled if desired, some users report that they have this feature enabled by default. Additionally, Firefox does not flag ads displayed through Firefox Suggest. There is no clear way to define what an ad should look like, or how a regular search sentence appears in the address bar.
When Firefox Suggest is enabled, user searches are sent to Mozilla’s servers and selected suggestions to partners through a proxy service owned by Mozilla. The company says that in order to support the service, when users select contextual offers, Mozilla collects the following information: search queries and offers, clicks on offers, and city-level location data, which is necessary to serve relevant offers.
Firefox Suggest is likely an attempt by Mozilla to diversify its revenue streams, as most of the company’s annual revenue right now comes from a deal it struck with Google in November 2017, which makes Google search the default in Firefox in regions such as the United States. Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan. According to GlobalStats Statcounter, Firefox is now the fourth most popular browser in the world, behind products like Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Microsoft Edge.