Get the Firefox Focus Experience Now on Android Smartphones

Remember Firefox Focus, Mozilla’s privacy-based web browser? Well, it has finally made the jump over to the Android operating system after making its debut on iOS devices.

For the most part, the Firefox Focus experience on Android is very much the same as the one that can be found on iOS devices. Firefox Focus for Android retains all of the features that makes the browser a great alternative such as the ability to block ads, analytics and social trackers.

settings

Also, in the Android version of Firefox Focus is the ability to disable the custom web fonts on a website to make web browsing even faster, as well as an Erase button that lets you wipe your browser clean on-demand.

Unfortunately, some of the browser’s demerits are also present on the Android version as Firefox Focus has yet to implement a tab browsing.

disable custom web

While the Firefox Focus experience is largely the same as the iOS version, the Android version of the browser did receive some new tricks. Android users are given the option to set Firefox Focus as their main browser, a feature that isn’t available to iOS users.

In addition, Firefox Focus for Android now comes with a reminder notification that lets its users erase their browsing history without even needing to be on the browser.

erase browsing history
10 Firefox Plugins For A Safer Browsing Experience

.no-js #ref-block-post-15177 .ref-block__thumbnail { background-image: url(“http://media02.hongkiat.com/thumbs/250×160/firefox-security-plugins.jpg”); }

10 Firefox Plugins For A Safer Browsing Experience

Mozilla’s Firefox browser is a user-friendly and feature-rich browser, with around 35% of all web users using it…Read more

Get the Firefox Focus Experience Now on Android Smartphones

Remember Firefox Focus, Mozilla’s privacy-based web browser? Well, it has finally made the jump over to the Android operating system after making its debut on iOS devices.

For the most part, the Firefox Focus experience on Android is very much the same as the one that can be found on iOS devices. Firefox Focus for Android retains all of the features that makes the browser a great alternative such as the ability to block ads, analytics and social trackers.

settings

Also, in the Android version of Firefox Focus is the ability to disable the custom web fonts on a website to make web browsing even faster, as well as an Erase button that lets you wipe your browser clean on-demand.

Unfortunately, some of the browser’s demerits are also present on the Android version as Firefox Focus has yet to implement a tab browsing.

disable custom web

While the Firefox Focus experience is largely the same as the iOS version, the Android version of the browser did receive some new tricks. Android users are given the option to set Firefox Focus as their main browser, a feature that isn’t available to iOS users.

In addition, Firefox Focus for Android now comes with a reminder notification that lets its users erase their browsing history without even needing to be on the browser.

erase browsing history

Compatibility Update: Add-ons on Firefox for Android

Firefox

We announced our plans for add-on compatibility and the transition to WebExtensions in the Road to Firefox 57 blog post. However, we weren’t clear on what this meant for Firefox for Android.

We did this intentionally, since at the time the plan wasn’t clear to us either. WebExtensions APIs are landing on Android later than on desktop. Many of them either don’t apply or need additional work to be useful on mobile. It wasn’t clear if moving to WebExtensions-only on mobile would cause significant problems to our users.

The Plan for Android

After looking into the most critical add-ons for mobile and the implementation plan for WebExtensions, we have decided it’s best to have desktop and mobile share the same timeline. This means that mobile will be WebExtensions-only at the same time as desktop Firefox, in version 57. The milestones specified in the Road to Firefox 57 post now apply to all platforms.

The post Compatibility Update: Add-ons on Firefox for Android appeared first on Mozilla Add-ons Blog.

Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 browser adds content blocking and more

Adblock Plus announced its advertisement filter add-in is now available for some Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Beginning in March, it will also be available for Samsung Internet for Android 4.0, a Web browser based on Google Chrome (see the discussion in Samsung’s User Agent String Format for developers). The oldest devices Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 works with are the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

Adblock Plus is not the only content filtering add-in for the Samsung Internet browser. MurphyApps’ Crystal content filter, which first appeared for use with iOS 9 and Apple’s Safari browser, is also available. Both Adblock Plus and Crystal use Samsung Internet for Android 4.0’s API support for third-party Content Blocker extensions. Both extensions support the Acceptable Ads filtering criteria, which allows non-intrusive advertisements to be displayed even with content blocking turned on.

samsung_internet4_contentblocking

Like Apple’s iOS 9 support for content blocker extensions, the option to enable content blockers only becomes visible in settings after you install the first content blocking add-in. You are allowed to install more than one content blocker. However, only one can be selected for use at any given time.

The Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 upgrade includes other enhancements in addition to content blocking. It adds its version of Incognito Mode, which Samsung calls Secret Mode; Content Cards (thumbnail content recommendations); Pop-up video windows, which can stream video separately from web browsing; and Push Notifications. Like the current version 3 release, Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 also supports automatic web-logins using fingerprints on devices with the appropriate scanning hardware.

If you’ve got an older Samsung phone or tablet, or an Android device that’s not made by Samsung, and would like to have content blocking, you might want to learn more about Adblock Browser for Android from the same company that produces the Adblock Plus extension for Samsung: Eyeo. You can read about this browser here: Ad blocking for the masses, part two: Adblock Browser.

Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 browser adds content blocking and more

Adblock Plus announced its advertisement filter add-in is now available for some Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Beginning in March, it will also be available for Samsung Internet for Android 4.0, a Web browser based on Google Chrome (see the discussion in Samsung’s User Agent String Format for developers). The oldest devices Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 works with are the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

Adblock Plus is not the only content filtering add-in for the Samsung Internet browser. MurphyApps’ Crystal content filter, which first appeared for use with iOS 9 and Apple’s Safari browser, is also available. Both Adblock Plus and Crystal use Samsung Internet for Android 4.0’s API support for third-party Content Blocker extensions. Both extensions support the Acceptable Ads filtering criteria, which allows non-intrusive advertisements to be displayed even with content blocking turned on.

samsung_internet4_contentblocking

Like Apple’s iOS 9 support for content blocker extensions, the option to enable content blockers only becomes visible in settings after you install the first content blocking add-in. You are allowed to install more than one content blocker. However, only one can be selected for use at any given time.

The Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 upgrade includes other enhancements in addition to content blocking. It adds its version of Incognito Mode, which Samsung calls Secret Mode; Content Cards (thumbnail content recommendations); Pop-up video windows, which can stream video separately from web browsing; and Push Notifications. Like the current version 3 release, Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 also supports automatic web-logins using fingerprints on devices with the appropriate scanning hardware.

If you’ve got an older Samsung phone or tablet, or an Android device that’s not made by Samsung, and would like to have content blocking, you might want to learn more about Adblock Browser for Android from the same company that produces the Adblock Plus extension for Samsung: Eyeo. You can read about this browser here: Ad blocking for the masses, part two: Adblock Browser.

Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 browser adds content blocking and more

Adblock Plus announced its advertisement filter add-in is now available for some Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Beginning in March, it will also be available for Samsung Internet for Android 4.0, a Web browser based on Google Chrome (see the discussion in Samsung’s User Agent String Format for developers). The oldest devices Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 works with are the Galaxy S4 and Note 3.

Adblock Plus is not the only content filtering add-in for the Samsung Internet browser. MurphyApps’ Crystal content filter, which first appeared for use with iOS 9 and Apple’s Safari browser, is also available. Both Adblock Plus and Crystal use Samsung Internet for Android 4.0’s API support for third-party Content Blocker extensions. Both extensions support the Acceptable Ads filtering criteria, which allows non-intrusive advertisements to be displayed even with content blocking turned on.

samsung_internet4_contentblocking

Like Apple’s iOS 9 support for content blocker extensions, the option to enable content blockers only becomes visible in settings after you install the first content blocking add-in. You are allowed to install more than one content blocker. However, only one can be selected for use at any given time.

The Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 upgrade includes other enhancements in addition to content blocking. It adds its version of Incognito Mode, which Samsung calls Secret Mode; Content Cards (thumbnail content recommendations); Pop-up video windows, which can stream video separately from web browsing; and Push Notifications. Like the current version 3 release, Samsung Internet for Android 4.0 also supports automatic web-logins using fingerprints on devices with the appropriate scanning hardware.

If you’ve got an older Samsung phone or tablet, or an Android device that’s not made by Samsung, and would like to have content blocking, you might want to learn more about Adblock Browser for Android from the same company that produces the Adblock Plus extension for Samsung: Eyeo. You can read about this browser here: Ad blocking for the masses, part two: Adblock Browser.

Browser Trends December 2015: the Fight for Firefox’s Future

It’s the same news and Chrome is continuing its meteoric rise. How do the other browsers fare in December’s StatCounter statistics? …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, October to November 2015

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past month.

Browser October November change relative
IE (all) 15.28% 15.45% +0.17% +1.10%
IE11 10.00% 10.40% +0.40% +4.00%
IE10 1.53% 1.44% -0.09% -5.90%
IE9 1.61% 1.48% -0.13% -8.10%
IE6/7/8 2.14% 2.13% -0.01% -0.50%
Edge 1.10% 1.21% +0.11% +10.00%
Chrome 53.78% 54.27% +0.49% +0.90%
Firefox 15.52% 14.70% -0.82% -5.30%
Safari 4.10% 4.29% +0.19% +4.60%
iPad Safari 5.02% 5.05% +0.03% +0.60%
Opera 1.78% 1.77% -0.01% -0.60%
Others 3.42% 3.26% -0.16% -4.70%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, November 2014 to November 2015

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past twelve months:

Browser November 2014 November 2015 change relative
IE (all) 19.60% 15.45% -4.15% -21.20%
IE11 10.79% 10.40% -0.39% -3.60%
IE10 2.38% 1.44% -0.94% -39.50%
IE9 2.80% 1.48% -1.32% -47.10%
IE6/7/8 3.63% 2.13% -1.50% -41.30%
Chrome 48.15% 54.27% +6.12% +12.70%
Firefox 16.76% 14.70% -2.06% -12.30%
Safari 10.58% 9.34% -1.24% -11.70%
Opera 1.39% 1.77% +0.38% +27.30%
Others 3.52% 4.47% +0.95% +27.00%

(The tables show market share estimates for desktop browsers. The ‘change’ column is the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. 8.1% of IE9 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

Yes, Chrome rose again. 0.5% may be nothing special, but month-on-month, Chrome has increased its user base by 12.7% in the past year. IE/Edge, Safari and Opera barely changed, which leaves us with a single loser.

Firefox suffered one of the biggest drops in its history, and one in twenty users migrated elsewhere. I’m not convinced there was any particular reason?

Firefox remains the only mainstream open source browser which isn’t tied to a commercial entity. There are no directors or shareholders, so the application can take whatever direction is best for the Web. Mozilla has built a great browser and, while some question Mac OS performance, Firefox provides strong competition and generally uses fewer resources than Chrome. The built-in developer tools are more than a match for those found elsewhere, and thousands of useful extensions offer deep browser integration.

So why are users abandoning Firefox?

IE/Edge is the default browser on Windows. Safari is the default on Mac OS and enforced on iOS. Chrome is used in Chrome OS and is advertised every time someone accesses a Google service. By comparison, Firefox is available in relatively low-use Linux distros and Firefox OS.

Installing Firefox is a conscious decision made by developers and power users who want the configurable experience it offers. Unfortunately, they have no hesitation in switching if another browser offers a better or more stable environment. Many developers migrated to Chrome when the developer tools became interesting — and they have little reason to return.

Firefox is rarely a consideration for non-technical Web users. This was less evident in the early days when the userbase actively promoted and installed Firefox because the only other option was the aging IE6. Today, we don’t care what people use. The latest browsers are all good applications.

Can Mozilla stem the flow?

Firefox isn’t going anywhere. Despite being a non-profit organization, Mozilla has plenty of cash — owing to associated advertising and partnership revenues. Having fewer users results in less money, but the browser retains a huge fan base.

More from this author

Marketing campaigns could help, but the budget would be insignificant compared to what Google can throw at Chrome. Mozilla could simplify Firefox to attract more less-technical users, but there are already plenty of simple browsers to choose from.

Overall, Mozilla should stick with Firefox and remember it’s the primary reason for the organization’s success. Firefox OS, MatchStick and Webmaker etc. are all interesting projects but they’re not revolutionary, and there are many commercial alternatives.

Whatever you think of Firefox, without it you’d have no Mozilla Developer Network. W3Schools would dominate again.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, October to November 2015

November’s mobile usage slipped by 1.5% and now stands at 39.67% of all Web activity. A cold weather blip? I suspect it’ll rise strongly as we approach the gift-giving season.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser October November change relative
Chrome 35.85% 37.42% +1.57% +4.40%
iPhone 16.38% 17.94% +1.56% +9.50%
UC Browser 17.42% 16.94% -0.48% -2.80%
Android 13.06% 11.73% -1.33% -10.20%
Opera Mini/Mobile 12.54% 11.37% -1.17% -9.30%
IEMobile 2.07% 2.04% -0.03% -1.40%
Others 2.68% 2.56% -0.12% -4.50%

Again, Chrome experienced huge growth, but it’s offset by a drop in Android browser usage. The biggest riser is therefore Safari on the iPhone, which has retaken the #2 spot after a couple of months behind UC Browser. Firefox has 0.1% of the mobile market, despite having Android and iOS (skinned Safari) editions.

The worldwide chart has split. Chrome and Safari dominate in the US, Europe and Australia. UC Browser and Opera are phenomenally successful in Asia and Africa.

See you next month for a preliminary discussion of the most popular devices of late December.

Browser Trends December 2015: the Fight for Firefox’s Future

It’s the same news and Chrome is continuing its meteoric rise. How do the other browsers fare in December’s StatCounter statistics? …

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, October to November 2015

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past month.

Browser October November change relative
IE (all) 15.28% 15.45% +0.17% +1.10%
IE11 10.00% 10.40% +0.40% +4.00%
IE10 1.53% 1.44% -0.09% -5.90%
IE9 1.61% 1.48% -0.13% -8.10%
IE6/7/8 2.14% 2.13% -0.01% -0.50%
Edge 1.10% 1.21% +0.11% +10.00%
Chrome 53.78% 54.27% +0.49% +0.90%
Firefox 15.52% 14.70% -0.82% -5.30%
Safari 4.10% 4.29% +0.19% +4.60%
iPad Safari 5.02% 5.05% +0.03% +0.60%
Opera 1.78% 1.77% -0.01% -0.60%
Others 3.42% 3.26% -0.16% -4.70%

Worldwide Desktop & Tablet Browser Statistics, November 2014 to November 2015

The following table shows browser usage movements during the past twelve months:

Browser November 2014 November 2015 change relative
IE (all) 19.60% 15.45% -4.15% -21.20%
IE11 10.79% 10.40% -0.39% -3.60%
IE10 2.38% 1.44% -0.94% -39.50%
IE9 2.80% 1.48% -1.32% -47.10%
IE6/7/8 3.63% 2.13% -1.50% -41.30%
Chrome 48.15% 54.27% +6.12% +12.70%
Firefox 16.76% 14.70% -2.06% -12.30%
Safari 10.58% 9.34% -1.24% -11.70%
Opera 1.39% 1.77% +0.38% +27.30%
Others 3.52% 4.47% +0.95% +27.00%

(The tables show market share estimates for desktop browsers. The ‘change’ column is the absolute increase or decrease in market share. The ‘relative’ column indicates the proportional change, i.e. 8.1% of IE9 users switched browsers last month. There are several caveats so I recommend you read How Browser Market Share is Calculated and StatCounter vs NetMarketShare.)

Yes, Chrome rose again. 0.5% may be nothing special, but month-on-month, Chrome has increased its user base by 12.7% in the past year. IE/Edge, Safari and Opera barely changed, which leaves us with a single loser.

Firefox suffered one of the biggest drops in its history, and one in twenty users migrated elsewhere. I’m not convinced there was any particular reason?

Firefox remains the only mainstream open source browser which isn’t tied to a commercial entity. There are no directors or shareholders, so the application can take whatever direction is best for the Web. Mozilla has built a great browser and, while some question Mac OS performance, Firefox provides strong competition and generally uses fewer resources than Chrome. The built-in developer tools are more than a match for those found elsewhere, and thousands of useful extensions offer deep browser integration.

So why are users abandoning Firefox?

IE/Edge is the default browser on Windows. Safari is the default on Mac OS and enforced on iOS. Chrome is used in Chrome OS and is advertised every time someone accesses a Google service. By comparison, Firefox is available in relatively low-use Linux distros and Firefox OS.

Installing Firefox is a conscious decision made by developers and power users who want the configurable experience it offers. Unfortunately, they have no hesitation in switching if another browser offers a better or more stable environment. Many developers migrated to Chrome when the developer tools became interesting — and they have little reason to return.

Firefox is rarely a consideration for non-technical Web users. This was less evident in the early days when the userbase actively promoted and installed Firefox because the only other option was the aging IE6. Today, we don’t care what people use. The latest browsers are all good applications.

Can Mozilla stem the flow?

Firefox isn’t going anywhere. Despite being a non-profit organization, Mozilla has plenty of cash — owing to associated advertising and partnership revenues. Having fewer users results in less money, but the browser retains a huge fan base.

More from this author

Marketing campaigns could help, but the budget would be insignificant compared to what Google can throw at Chrome. Mozilla could simplify Firefox to attract more less-technical users, but there are already plenty of simple browsers to choose from.

Overall, Mozilla should stick with Firefox and remember it’s the primary reason for the organization’s success. Firefox OS, MatchStick and Webmaker etc. are all interesting projects but they’re not revolutionary, and there are many commercial alternatives.

Whatever you think of Firefox, without it you’d have no Mozilla Developer Network. W3Schools would dominate again.

Worldwide Mobile Browser Statistics, October to November 2015

November’s mobile usage slipped by 1.5% and now stands at 39.67% of all Web activity. A cold weather blip? I suspect it’ll rise strongly as we approach the gift-giving season.

The top mobile browsing applications:

Mobile Browser October November change relative
Chrome 35.85% 37.42% +1.57% +4.40%
iPhone 16.38% 17.94% +1.56% +9.50%
UC Browser 17.42% 16.94% -0.48% -2.80%
Android 13.06% 11.73% -1.33% -10.20%
Opera Mini/Mobile 12.54% 11.37% -1.17% -9.30%
IEMobile 2.07% 2.04% -0.03% -1.40%
Others 2.68% 2.56% -0.12% -4.50%

Again, Chrome experienced huge growth, but it’s offset by a drop in Android browser usage. The biggest riser is therefore Safari on the iPhone, which has retaken the #2 spot after a couple of months behind UC Browser. Firefox has 0.1% of the mobile market, despite having Android and iOS (skinned Safari) editions.

The worldwide chart has split. Chrome and Safari dominate in the US, Europe and Australia. UC Browser and Opera are phenomenally successful in Asia and Africa.

See you next month for a preliminary discussion of the most popular devices of late December.

Ad blocking for the masses, part two: Adblock Browser

In part two of this series on the state of ad blockers, I take a look at a new product from a well-known company whose earlier product has been available for nearly a decade: Adblock Plus (ABP). Adblock Plus develops extensions for web browsers which can block tracking, malware sites, and, of course, ads.

Last week, ABP went beyond releasing extensions and launched a standalone Adblock Browser for Android and iOS that has built-in blocking capabilities. Before we take a look at the browser itself, it is worth noting ABP’s interesting (and some call it controversial) business model. ABP signs contracts with companies that agree to its acceptable ads guidelines. Ads from these companies are allowed to pass through the ABP ad filter.

In a 2014 interview, ABP lead investor Tim Schumacher said that only the largest companies pay for these contracts. “Adblock Plus has been experimenting with different models,” he said. “I can’t talk about specific contracts, but in some cases it was performance-based and in other cases it was more of a flat fee. More that 90% of companies don’t pay at all.”

adblockbrowser_ad_noad

The first thing you should know about the free Adblock Browser is that, unsurprisingly, it works better on recent devices with faster processors. For example, it ran slowly on an iPad 2 with a 32-bit processor in my tests. So, slow, in fact, that there is not much speed advantage to using Safari with ads displayed. However, on a iPhone 6+ with a faster 64-bit processor, Adblock Browser rendered the mostly ad-less web pages fast enough to be interesting and useful. On the Android side, I tested it using a Nexus 4 and Nexus 6.

adblockbrowser_2_moreblocking

Here’s the use case that makes Adblock Browser interesting and useful for me: I generally use Google’s own Chrome browser on Android devices and read web pages with ads. However, I often find interesting news items in my Google Now feed. And, some of the sources are either unfamiliar to me with possibly heavy handed ads or are from interesting sources with known heavy ads. So, I have links from Google Now handled by Adblock Browser.

A single ad blocking filter is selected by default: ABP’s own EasyList. ABP describes it as: “The EasyList subscriptions are lists of filters designed for Adblock Plus that automatically remove unwanted content from the internet, including annoying adverts, bothersome banners and troublesome tracking. The subscriptions are currently maintained by four authors.” You can use the Ad Blocking setting option to choose filters for other languages.

The “More blocking options” page lets you select options such as disabling tracking. Surprisingly, the option to disable malware domains is turned off by default.

adblockbrowser_3_nonintrusive

The “Acceptable Ads” option is turned on by default. As I noted earlier, this allows ads to be displayed from companies who sign a paid or free contract with ABP to agree to display non-intrusive ads.

Finally, in the Privacy settings window, you can choose to turn off cookies and tracking (which are, by default, allowed). It also provides controls for remembering passwords (off by default), and clearing private data manually. There is also an option to clear the cache upon a manual exit using the Quit option. However, I didn’t see a Quit option in the Android app, and I didn’t see this cache setting in the iOS app.

It is worth noting a few differences between the iOS and Android versions of Adblock Browser. The iOS version lets you choose between DuckDuckGo (the default) and Google as its search engine. You can choose from a much larger list of search engines in the Android version. URL suggestions are turned off by default, but can be turned on. The Android version has a large number of display options, including enabling zoom on pages that normally do not allow zooming on mobile devices. The Android version also has an option to save a web page as a PDF file (Settings -> Page -> Save as PDF).

adblockbrowser_4_privacy

The recently released free Adblock Browser for iOS and Android makes it easy for non-technical people to reduce the number of mobile web ads they see and protect themselves from known malware sites. It is one more tool that makes it easier for anyone to have an arguably improved mobile web experience.

If you missed part one in this series, check out: Ad blocking for the masses, part one: uBlock Origin. Finally, stay tuned for part three, where we will take a closer look at Apple’s Content Blocking Safari Extensions that will be made available in the iOS 9 update released September 16.

Ad blocking for the masses, part two: Adblock Browser

In part two of this series on the state of ad blockers, I take a look at a new product from a well-known company whose earlier product has been available for nearly a decade: Adblock Plus (ABP). Adblock Plus develops extensions for web browsers which can block tracking, malware sites, and, of course, ads.

Last week, ABP went beyond releasing extensions and launched a standalone Adblock Browser for Android and iOS that has built-in blocking capabilities. Before we take a look at the browser itself, it is worth noting ABP’s interesting (and some call it controversial) business model. ABP signs contracts with companies that agree to its acceptable ads guidelines. Ads from these companies are allowed to pass through the ABP ad filter.

In a 2014 interview, ABP lead investor Tim Schumacher said that only the largest companies pay for these contracts. “Adblock Plus has been experimenting with different models,” he said. “I can’t talk about specific contracts, but in some cases it was performance-based and in other cases it was more of a flat fee. More that 90% of companies don’t pay at all.”

adblockbrowser_ad_noad

The first thing you should know about the free Adblock Browser is that, unsurprisingly, it works better on recent devices with faster processors. For example, it ran slowly on an iPad 2 with a 32-bit processor in my tests. So, slow, in fact, that there is not much speed advantage to using Safari with ads displayed. However, on a iPhone 6+ with a faster 64-bit processor, Adblock Browser rendered the mostly ad-less web pages fast enough to be interesting and useful. On the Android side, I tested it using a Nexus 4 and Nexus 6.

adblockbrowser_2_moreblocking

Here’s the use case that makes Adblock Browser interesting and useful for me: I generally use Google’s own Chrome browser on Android devices and read web pages with ads. However, I often find interesting news items in my Google Now feed. And, some of the sources are either unfamiliar to me with possibly heavy handed ads or are from interesting sources with known heavy ads. So, I have links from Google Now handled by Adblock Browser.

A single ad blocking filter is selected by default: ABP’s own EasyList. ABP describes it as: “The EasyList subscriptions are lists of filters designed for Adblock Plus that automatically remove unwanted content from the internet, including annoying adverts, bothersome banners and troublesome tracking. The subscriptions are currently maintained by four authors.” You can use the Ad Blocking setting option to choose filters for other languages.

The “More blocking options” page lets you select options such as disabling tracking. Surprisingly, the option to disable malware domains is turned off by default.

adblockbrowser_3_nonintrusive

The “Acceptable Ads” option is turned on by default. As I noted earlier, this allows ads to be displayed from companies who sign a paid or free contract with ABP to agree to display non-intrusive ads.

Finally, in the Privacy settings window, you can choose to turn off cookies and tracking (which are, by default, allowed). It also provides controls for remembering passwords (off by default), and clearing private data manually. There is also an option to clear the cache upon a manual exit using the Quit option. However, I didn’t see a Quit option in the Android app, and I didn’t see this cache setting in the iOS app.

It is worth noting a few differences between the iOS and Android versions of Adblock Browser. The iOS version lets you choose between DuckDuckGo (the default) and Google as its search engine. You can choose from a much larger list of search engines in the Android version. URL suggestions are turned off by default, but can be turned on. The Android version has a large number of display options, including enabling zoom on pages that normally do not allow zooming on mobile devices. The Android version also has an option to save a web page as a PDF file (Settings -> Page -> Save as PDF).

adblockbrowser_4_privacy

The recently released free Adblock Browser for iOS and Android makes it easy for non-technical people to reduce the number of mobile web ads they see and protect themselves from known malware sites. It is one more tool that makes it easier for anyone to have an arguably improved mobile web experience.

If you missed part one in this series, check out: Ad blocking for the masses, part one: uBlock Origin. Finally, stay tuned for part three, where we will take a closer look at Apple’s Content Blocking Safari Extensions that will be made available in the iOS 9 update released September 16.