Firefox 42 will be the first version of Mozilla’s web browser to include tracking protection when surfing the web in private browsing mode. It also introduces audio indicators that let you know which tab is playing sound — and lets you disable sound for that tab simply by clicking the icon.

While Firefox 41 is the latest stable version of the web browser, you can download a beta of Firefox 42 to give the new features a try.

ff 42 beta_01

Up until now private browsing allowed you to surf the web without saving any history, cookies, or other data to your device — but websites could still keep track of your online behavior.

Tracking Protection keeps any scripts that track your data from running. While this is feature is designed to block all known scripts that can track your personal data, it effectively works like an ad blocker, since most online ads fall into that category.

In addition to helping protect your privacy while surfing in private browsing mode, Tracking Protection will also probably speed up page load times for most ad-supported websites.

ff 42 beta_03

While Tracking Protection is turned on for private browsing sessions by default in Firefox 42, it is not enabled for normal browsing sessions. And if you encounter websites that don’t render properly with Tracking Protection turned on, you can disable it.

There are a few ways to do that: you can turn it off either from the new tab page or from the Privacy section in the Firefox settings menus.Or you can tap the shield icon in the location bar from any web page to temporarily disable Tracking Protection for the current session.

ff 42 beta_02

Tracking Protection may be big news, but I’m personally more excited by the audio indicator feature: if you regularly surf the web with a dozen or more browser tabs open, odds are that at some point in time you’ve started to hear audio playing and had no idea where it was coming from.

Now if a web page starts to play audio or video in the background, you should be able to tell which tab it’s coming from at a glance and mute that tab with a click.

Tracking Protection is available in Firefox for Android, Windows, OS X and Linux, while audio indicators are only available for the desktop versions of Firefox and not the Android version of the web browser.

Other new features in Firefox 42 beta include WebRTC improvements and Login Manager improvements.

via Mozilla


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5 replies on “Firefox 42 beta introduces tracking protection, audio indicators for browser tabs”

  1. How can they expend resources on something like anti-tracking while there are STILL huge issues with memory leaks and instability in FF for Android. FF for the desktop on the other hand is rock-solid for me..

  2. Tracking protection built into the browser sounds like a great idea. Not sure if I like the way it’s implemented. Toggling on/off for a session could be improved (if I understood the write-up). Most effective blockers allow per page blocking.

    Lots of the (unnecesary) issues related to tracking and illegal data-mining will be improved once ads track ‘The Content Not The User’.

    It doesn’t take violations of civil rights to figure out I’m interested in Tech when I’m visiting this site, for example.

  3. Chrome has the tab/audio feature too, but you have to close the tab to shut off the audio, AFAIK.

    1. There’s a flag to use the indicator as a mute button also – chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting

      1. Yup — very useful trick. It’s probably time Chrome makes that the default option too.

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