Apps and Software By Aug. 29, 2014 11:27 am
Firefox now ships with adverts, but don’t panic | Apps and Software |

Mozilla talked about shipping Firefox with built-in ads, and they’ve arrived. Sponsored Tiles are now active in Firefox Nightly.

How, exactly, do Sponsored Tiles change Firefox? Not much at all, really. Sponsored Tiles look exactly like the Discovery Tiles Mozilla has already been offering to you as suggested browsing destinations on the New Tab page. They are, however, clearly marked as being sponsored — just like the targeted ads that occupy the top of every major search engine’s results page.

The fact that they’re ads also doesn’t really change anything. Firefox has always been supported by a sort of affiliate system — Mozilla gets money for the searches you perform from the Firefox Start and New Tab pages, search box, or Awesome Bar. It’s how Mozilla generates the vast majority of its operating income, and most of that money comes from Google (and has for years). As is the case with the vast majority of the free apps or games that you enjoy today — ad support is part of what enables Firefox to exist in the first place.

If you’re really a Firefox fan, you should be happy about sponsored tiles. Why? Because they allow Mozilla to generate revenue from someone other than Google. They’re also extremely unobtrusive and ridiculously easy to shut off — because even though Mozilla wants the extra revenue they’re still giving users the option to disable Sponsored Tiles. In fact, Mozilla even tells you how to turn them off the first time the ad-supported New Tab page loads.

There even appear to be multiple ways to turn off Sponsored Tiles. You click the gear icon and switch from enhanced to classic, and Firefox will revert to the last-gen New Tab page. I was also able to make the tiles vanish by simply clicking the X in the corner of each one to remove them from the page like any other suggestion.

Firefox now ships with adverts, but don’t panic | Apps and Software |

That could be a Firefox Nightly glitch, but it could just as easily be Mozilla’s plan. Firefox has always been a browser built with user control and choice at its core. Perhaps they plan on giving you the option to disable one or two of the tiles instead of taking an all-or-nothing approach.

If you’re new to Firefox, well, then you’re probably not even going to notice the Sponsored Tiles. People don’t generally spend a lot of time on New Tab pages. The average user doesn’t look far beyond the search box — which had to be added because people still feel the need to go to Google or Bing first to perform a search rather than typing their query into one of the two boxes that are always at the ready. Sponsored Tiles won’t change the Firefox experience one bit for those users.

Firefox now ships with adverts, but don’t panic | Apps and Software |


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