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article imageMozilla launches its privacy-first mobile web browser on Android

By James Walker     Jun 20, 2017 in Technology
Mozilla has officially launched Firefox Focus on Android devices. Previously iOS-exclusive, the web browser is designed for people looking for strengthened online privacy and a clutter-free experience. There's a built-in ad blocker and data saving mode.
Firefox Focus originally launched last year as a "free, fast and private" browser for the iPhone. Today, Mozilla announced it's now available on Android devices too. The basic premise remains the same but the company has included a few new features for the Android launch.
Focus is based on a simplified way of browsing the web. There are no tabs or other "visual clutter," allowing your screen to be occupied by the web page content. A notification reminder lets you know when the browser is open in the background. It also offers a way for you to immediately clear your browsing history.
Similarly user-first features include Focus' built-in ad blocking and tracker disabling features. By default, the browser will actively disable the analytics tools that typically follow you as you browse online. Since these website plugins are often a common cause of performance problems, you also get a smoother and faster overall experience.
Trackers are present on virtually all large websites. If a site is displaying ads, it also includes trackers from the ad network that monitor how you browse. This data is then used to determine the advert to display on the next site you visit.
If you encounter a site that's reliant on its ads or trackers to load, you can tap a button in Focus to open the page in another browser. If you need to break out of the browser's sandbox, it is capable of launching the site in Safari or the main Firefox app. You can stay secure for the majority of your browsing activities but still access resources that may not work with Focus's blocking technology.
According to Mozilla, Focus is meant to let you use your phone without handing personal data over to third parties. Focus cuts you away from the constant monitoring, letting you "focus" on your work.
"Focus is designed for the times when you don't want to leave a record on your phone," said Mozilla at Focus's introduction last year. "You may be looking for information that in certain situations is sensitive – searches for engagement rings, flights to Las Vegas or expensive cigars, for example. And sometimes you just want a super simple, super fast Web experience – no tabs, no menus, no pop-ups."
With the Focus app for Android devices, Mozilla is debuting new features that include an ad tracker counter and the ability to disable tracking for a single Focus page. This lets you continue browsing in Focus when a site doesn't work with its trackers disabled. In theory, you can now use Focus as your only web browser, allowing you to remove more bloated alternatives from your phone.
Firefox Focus is available today from the App Store on the iPhone and iPad and Google Play Store for Android devices. It currently has an average rating of 4.6 on the App Store, a position Mozilla claims is the highest for a mobile web browser from a "trusted brand."
More about Firefox, firefox focus, Web browsers, Android, Apps
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