Today is update day for Mozilla Firefox users, as the organization is bringing version 60 of its browser to the general public, and it adds some useful features and some questionable ones.
We reported earlier that sponsored content would be making its way to the next version of Firefox, and this is now coming to fruition. The team promises that the feature does not look into users' data and that it is privacy-conscious. If that still doesn't sound good, the sponsored content can be disabled through the New Tab settings. The feature comes with a small issue though, as sponsored content might still show up the next time a new tab is opened after it's been disabled.
There's also a new Policy Engine aimed at enterprise environments, which allows IT admins to automatically configure Firefox when deploying it. Policy templates are available on Mozilla's GitHub page. Other changes in version 60 include a responsive New Tab page with better support for wide screens and more:
- Symantec certificates issued before June 2016 are distrusted.
- The Reader View shortcut was remapped to F9 for "better compatibility with keyboard layouts that use AltGr".
- Cookies and Site Storage section redesigned in preferences.
- New Tab Page uses a responsive layout so that more content is displayed to widescreen display users.
- Highlights on the New Tab Page may show websites saved to Pocket.
- Additional options to reorder sections and content on the page.
- Bookmarks don't support multiple keywords for the same URL unless different POST data is used.
- Skia graphics library update to 66.
- Improved WebRTC audio performance and playback on Linux.
- Support for locale Occitan (oc).
There are also some new features for developers, perhaps the most interesting one being WebVR support for macOS. Here's the full list:
- Mozilla removed the dom.workers.enabled preference. In other words: Workers cannot be disabled anymore (see 1434934).
- Debugging and development improvements.
- Proxy API improvements. About:preferences highlights if extensions control proxy preferences.
- ECMAScript 2015 modules enabled by default (see 1438139).
- The Web Authentication API is enabled (see 1432542).
- The WebVR API is available on mac OS X now (see 1438044).
- Tab API improvements.
- Theme API improvements.
- Support for application cache on insecure sites is deprecated.
The release of Firefox 60 also marks the first release in the Extended Support Release (ESR) channel since Firefox 52. It should be noted that since this version, Mozilla has made dramatic changes to Firefox, removing support for legacy add-ons, dropping compatibility for Windows XP and Vista, and introducing the new Quantum engine for the browser. As such, this is a significant transition for ESR users.