All posts in “Firefox”

A new Firefox update should have the browser working again after a rough weekend

Firefox had an off weekend, but it's trying to get back in working order.
Firefox had an off weekend, but it’s trying to get back in working order.

Image: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

After a difficult weekend in which browser extensions stopped working in Firefox, the popular browser is trying to get itself together so people don’t have to suffer during the work week.

An update came early Monday morning that should theoretically fix the issue, which, according to the Firefox bug report site, was caused by an expired certificate. (Just like in Google Chrome, plenty of Firefox users rely on optional extensions to make their web surfing experiences more tolerable.) 

In a post on the Mozilla blog, the browser maker said version 66.0.4 should resolve the issue. 

The seemingly small infrastructural problem meant that people who relied on things like ad blockers to browse the web were forced to use Firefox without them (or switch to another browser entirely). This, of course, led to complaints on social media.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to people who use Firefox,” the blog post read.

One thing to note is that this update only applies to version 66, the current build of the Firefox browser. Some people choose to use older iterations due to personal preference, but it seems those people will be left behind by this update. They may need to update to the current version or start using another browser.

This isn’t the first time in 2019 that internal changes to a popular service have left some people in the dust. Google made API changes earlier this year that killed off a great deal of support for the productivity-focused app IFTTT within Gmail. Thanks to those changes, some people who had set up Gmail commands to make their lives easier suddenly had to find alternatives.

Firefox’s issues this weekend happened on a much larger scale, but at least Firefox was able to issue some kind of fix by the start of the week. 

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f91004%252f74d7cfee fb07 4e3d 8e5e edab57cb12cc.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=15a2pdkqhd4vl0udknbdlzxa2iw=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Firefox is now a better iPad browser

Mozilla today announced a new iOS version of Firefox that has been specifically optimized for Apple’s iPad. Given the launch of the new iPad mini this week, that’s impeccable timing. It’s also an admission that building a browser for tablets is different from building a browser for phones, which is what Mozilla mostly focused on in recent years.

“We know that iPads aren’t just bigger versions of iPhones,” Mozilla writes in today’s announcement. “You use them differently, you need them for different things. So rather than just make a bigger version of our browser for iOS, we made Firefox for iPad look and feel like it was custom made for a tablet.”

So with this new version, Firefox for iPad gets support for iOS features like split screen and the ability to set Firefox as the default browser in Outlook for iOS. The team also optimized tab management for these larger screens, including the option to see tabs as large tiles, “making it easy to see what they are, see if they spark joy and close with a tap if not.” And if you have a few tabs you want to share, then you can do so with the Send Tabs feature Mozilla introduced earlier this year.

Starting a private browsing session on iOS always took a few extra tabs. The iPad version makes this a one-tap affair as it prominently highlights this feature in the tab bar.

Because quite a few iPad users also use a keyboard, it’s no surprise that this version of Firefox also supports keyboard shortcuts.

If you are an iPad user in search of an alternative browser, Firefox may now be a viable option for you. Give it a try and let us know what you think in the comments (just don’t remind us how you work from home for only a few hours a day and make good money… believe me, we’re aware).

[embedded content]

Mozilla launches Firefox Send, a free self-destructing file-sharing service

Mozilla, the nonprofit behind the Firefox web browser, has launched a new private file-sharing service called Firefox Send.
Mozilla, the nonprofit behind the Firefox web browser, has launched a new private file-sharing service called Firefox Send.

Image: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Mozilla’s latest service might make you feel like a secret spy.

The nonprofit behind the popular open-source Firefox web browser has launched its new encrypted self-destructing file-sharing platform, Firefox Send. Mozilla’s latest offering has been in beta since 2017. It officially launched on Tuesday.

Firefox Send allows users to send up to 1GB of files for free. Users can have their file size capacity bumped up to 2.5GB if they signup for a free Firefox account. Unlike other file hosting services, there is currently no paid options.

Files on Firefox Send are ephemeral. Each file link is set to expire after a certain amount of time or number of downloads.

A screenshot of the file uploading process in Firefox Send.

A screenshot of the file uploading process in Firefox Send.

Image: MOZILLA / FIREFOX SEND

To use Firefox Send, a user simply goes to the website and uploads whatever file they’d like to share right on the main page. Unless a user wants to take advantage of the extra storage space from having a Firefox account, no login is required. There are no pop-ups or advertisements, like those often found on other file uploading websites, weighing the service down either.

Once a file is uploaded, users can choose to have the download link expire in as little as 5 minutes or after one download. Firefox Send currently allows links to remain for as long as 7 days or 100 downloads. Currently, the service forces users to pick both a timeframe and a download limit and the file link will expire after whichever comes first.

Users are also given the option to password-protect their private file link. After that is set, an encrypted file link is provided for easy sharing.

A secure private file-sharing service is actually a logical step for the tech nonprofit. Mozilla has become more and more of a major privacy advocate over the years. The organization has put companies like Facebook on the spot for its bad data practices. Through its Firefox web browser, it has rolled out important privacy features to help protect its users.

According to Mozilla, a beta version of a Firefox Send for Android app will be available later this week.

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f82393%252feed8fce2 f8d2 424b ba39 b01bc8139948.jpg%252foriginal.jpg?signature=axwnmpkgqflxcqnjo7ybuszp w=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Firefox for iOS gets persistent private browsing tabs

Firefox for iOS is getting an update today that brings a new layout for its menu and settings, as well as new organization settings in the New Tabs features to iPhone and iPad users. But more importantly, it is also introducing persistent Private Browsing tabs that allow you to keep private browsing tabs alive across sessions.

Typically, when you exit Firefox, your private browsing sessions will exit, too. Now, when you relaunch Firefox, you’ll be right back in your private browsing sessions. And while it’s important to remember that private browsing doesn’t render you anonymous, it does automatically erase your cookies, passwords and browsing history. Sometimes you want those to persist across your sessions, though, given that it’s annoying to have to re-enter your passwords every time you quite the app, for example, and now Firefox lets you do that until you actively exit the private browsing mode.

“Keeping your private browsing preferences seamless is just another way we’re making it simple and easy to give you back control of the privacy of your online experience,” Mozilla explains in today’s announcement.

With this updates, users now also get different options to organize the view they see when they open a blank new tab. You can now chose between having new tabs open to your bookmarks list, Firefox Home (which features your top sites and recommendations from the Mozilla-owned Pocket), a list of your recent history or a custom URL (with your own homepage, for example). Or, if you just like to see a white page, you can also opt to see a blank page.

As for the new settings and menu layout, Mozilla notes that these now closely mirror the Firefox desktop version. That means you can now access your bookmarks, history, Reading List and download from the Library menu item, for example.

Pocket’s reading app won’t sound so robotic now

Last year, Mozilla made its first acquisition by snatching up Pocket, the Instapaper competitor that helps you save longer articles for later reading. Today, this popular reading app is getting a major update that gives its app a visual makeover, including a new dark mode, and most importantly, a better way to listen to the content you’ve saved.

Pocket had added a text-to-speech feature several years ago, so you could listen to an audio version of your saved articles, instead of reading them. Instapaper today offers a similar option.

But these text-to-speech engines often sound robotic and mangle words, leading to a poor listening experience. They’ll work in a pinch when you really need to catch up with some reading, and can’t sit down to do it. But they’re definitely not ideal.

Today, Pocket is addressing this problem with the launch of a new listening feature that will allow for a more human-sounding voice. On iOS and Android, the listen feature will be powered by Amazon Polly, Mozilla says.

First introduced at Amazon’s re:Invent developer event in November 2016, Polly uses machine learning technologies to deliver more life-like speech. Polly also understands words in context. For example, it knows that the word “live” would be pronounced differently based on its usage. (E.g. “I live in Seattle” vs. “Live from New York.”) The technology has evolved since to support speech marks, a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression, among other things.

To take advantage of the updated “Listen” feature, users just tap the new icon in the top-left corner of the Pocket mobile app to start playing their articles. It’s like your own personalized podcast, Mozilla notes.

In addition, the app has been given a redesign that gives it a clean, less cluttered look-and-feel, and introduces a new app-wide dark mode and sephia themes, for those who want a different sort of reading experience.

The redesign includes updated typography and fonts, focused on making long reads more comfortable, as well.

[embedded content]

“At Mozilla, we love the web. Sometimes we want to surf, and the Firefox team has been working on ways to surf like an absolute champ with features like Firefox Advance,” said Mark Mayo, Chief Product Officer at Firefox, in a statement about the launch. “Sometimes, though, we want to settle down and read or listen to a few great pages. That’s where Pocket shines, and the new Pocket makes it even easier to enjoy the best of the web when you’re on the go in your own focused and uncluttered space,” he said.

The updated version of Pocket is live on the web, iOS and Android, as of today.