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Firefox 66 arrives with features to cut down on web annoyances

Mozilla has launched Firefox 66, in this update its main focus is on cutting down annoyances that present themselves when browsing online. Today’s update stops websites from automatically playing sound, improved scrolling anchors content from jumping around the page as image and ad content loads at the top of the page, and searching within the browser is easier and faster.

As internet speeds have gotten faster, many websites have started to put auto-playing video content on their websites. Not only is the video often not relevant, but it can also cause unnecessary alarm if the volume is set too loudly. With Firefox 66, videos that play in an unmuted state will automatically be blocked by the browser while muted videos will be allowed to play. You can allow autoplay on individual websites by pressing the information button in the URL bar and selecting “Allow” on the Autoplay sound drop down.

Another addition in this update is scroll anchoring; with this feature, you’ll be able to keep your place on the page without ads and images causing the page to move around after they load. Hopefully, with this change, fewer people will be driven to using ad blockers out of frustration and in turn help the revenue streams of publishers.

The final feature worth mentioning is that search has been made easier and faster. When you have many tabs open, a down arrow will appear on the right side of the new tab button. With Firefox 66, pressing the down button will show you the tab overflow menu complete with a search box for finding content in all those open tabs. Additionally, a search bar has been added to Private Browsing which defaults to your preferred search engine. This just speeds up the search process but doesn’t record searches that you’ve made.

Some smaller features added in this update include improved performance and user experience of extensions, certificate error pages have been updated to better reflect what’s going wrong, Pocket integration in on the New Tab page has been updated with different layouts and more topical content, and support for Windows Hello on Windows 10 was added allowing you to use your face, fingerprint or external security keys to login to websites. You can download and read the release notes here.

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