In 2016, Mozilla released a privacy-focused browser for the iPhone called Firefox Focus. Now, Mozilla is bringing Firefox Focus to Android devices.
A Private Web Browser
Firefox Focus is not for everyone. It offers a minimalist experience with an emphasis on privacy over other features. The browser does not offer many of the options that users have come to expect from browsers such as bookmarks, favorites or even multiple tabs. What it does offer is the assurance that searches will not be tracked. Firefox has also noted that the browser's focus on privacy makes it a bit faster since it means that it will not support ads that slow pages and hinder the web experience.
Despite these strong points, the browser's minimalist features may make it a non-starter for some. The lack of tabs and favorites will make it harder to use than Chrome or the standard version of Firefox. On the other hand, the app does have a four-star rating on the app store so privacy advocates may find plenty to like in this browser.
One other major weakness of this browser is the reliance on Yahoo as the default search engine. While the choice of search engine is clearly a personal choice, it is indisputable that Google is the preferred choice of the majority users so Firefox's decision to go with Yahoo may be off-putting to some people.
Firefox Focus can be set as the default browser so articles opened in Facebook or other apps will be protected from ad tracking.
Firefox Focus New Features
The Android release also brings with it several new features that Firefox Focus users may enjoy. The first is the ability to disable the built-in tracker blocker. Firefox has said that some sites may not work with the blocker enabled so users now have an easy way to disable it. That being said, the blocker is the main reason to use this browser so users may be better off using another browser for sites that are incompatible with the blocker.
One neat feature is the addition of an ad tracker counter. This allows users to see how many tracking ads have been blocked by the browser. It isn't particularly useful, but it's always nice to see numbers backing up a product's claims.
This update also brings reminders to clear browsing history. When the app is running in the background, users will get a push notification reminding them to launch the browser and clear their history.
Firefox Focus can be found on the Google PlayStore.