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11/4/2008
06:27 PM
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Firefox 'Porn Mode' Private Browsing Arrives

Firefox's version of the feature will be available to the general public in Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, which should be released soon.

Pre-release versions of Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 now include Private Browsing, according to Firefox programmer Ehsan Akhgari.

"Private Browsing aims to help you make sure that your Web browsing activities don't leave any trace on your own computer," Akhgari explained in a blog post. "It is very important to note that Private Browsing is not a tool to keep you anonymous from Web sites or your ISP, or for example protect you from all kinds of spyware applications which use sophisticated techniques to intercept your online traffic. Private Browsing is only about making sure that Firefox doesn't store any data which can be used to trace your online activities, no more, no less."

Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 all feature a private browsing mode, often referred to as "porn mode."

Firefox's version of the feature will be available to the general public in Firefox 3.1 Beta 2, which should be released soon.

Those who can't wait can download the current developer build at the Mozilla Developer page.

Chrome's privacy mode, called Incognito, was criticized on Monday by Consumer Watchdog, a consumer advocacy group. The group said that Incognito isn't nearly as private as Google claims.

One of the group's objections is that Chrome does not allow the user to make Incognito the default mode; Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 will allow this.

Firefox also reached a global market share of 20% for two out of the four weeks last month.

"Congratulations to the Mozilla community for reaching this historic milestone!" exclaimed Ken Kovash, Mozilla's metrics chief, in a blog post.

It's a bit premature for congratulations, given that browser market share tends to be measured on a monthly basis. For the month of October, Net Applications puts Firefox's global market share at 19.97%. That's close but it's nonetheless not quite 20%. Check back at the end of November.

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