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Friday, September 12, 2008

Mozilla readies "Private Browsing"

Mozilla Firefox 3.1 (which will go beta this month) will have a "Private Browsing" mode (aka P0rn Mode in the informal circles). I guess the privacy advocates will be a little more happy about this move from Mozilla (or may be not considering all the other browsers - safari, chrome, IE etc have adopted a roadmap for this).

But lets ask the following questions about the need for Private Browsing:
a) What is it useful for?
- watch prohibited stuff at your cube? (Remember your visits are logged remotely but not within the enterprise. Ok, the proxy will log your web requests).
b) Missing feature that cannot be lived without?

From the WashingtonPost article:
Much like Chrome, users will be able to open a separate window in Firefox 3.1 that will let them browse the Web in any way they see fit without worrying about the wife or kids entering the History menu and seeing why they spent the last hour in the office with the door locked.

Interesting Feature?

Well, if Mozilla had worked toward providing a safe browsing mode for children (wouldn't that be a significant effort)..... I know, I know it is not easy to filter out content, links etc plus the market is small. Ok, what about "Do no evil" strategy? (it is google's but I consider Mozilla to also do no-Evil). Johnathan Nightingale, Human Shield, Mozilla is a good friend from the W3C Web Security Context Group. I am certain that Johnathan does not aspire to do anything evil. Now lets see a safe browsing mode for small children. Come on Mozilla.

Ok, lets look at the CNET News piece:

Another aspect of the current unnamed feature will save all tabs and close the session, re-opening a new blank browser window. When the private session is finally turned off, the older session will re-open. One difference from Microsoft's InPrivate will be that there won't be any neon advertising that private mode has been activated, according to Mike Connor, the lead developer on Firefox. The fact that you are using a privacy mode will remain private.

Certainly, this is a feature we have been missing. (sigh.......)

UPDATE: I do see an useful use case of a browser's private mode - (Look at the Private Browsing section).

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