Mozilla has released a new beta version of its popular Firefox web browser and it’s got a fantastic feature for Android smartphones. Firefox 42 Beta for Android brings Tab Queuing— i.e. the ability to open external links later in the background in Firefox.
Firefox 42 Beta for Android and desktop also adds Tracking Protection in Private Browsing mode, which stops third-party companies from tracking your web behavior as you go from one site to another. And the desktop version also gets Tab Muting!
What is Tab Queuing?
“Open URLs in the background” is a complex single line to explain a simple action. And once you hear what it actually is, you’ll want it!
Let’s say you are browsing your Twitter or Facebook feed. You come across an interesting link. You want to continue browsing your timeline, but you know that tapping the link will open it in a browser.
Well, with Tab Queue, that doesn’t happen. When you tap a link, it’s added to your Firefox Tab Queue. A toast notification tells you that the link has been added, without opening Firefox or loading the link immediately.
Your Tab Queue (with the number of links stored) appears in your Android’s notifications bar. Tap that or the toast notification to go to Firefox, which will then start loading all those links.
TL;DR: When you are using any app, you can continue using it. When you see a link, tap it and it’s added to a queue, without moving you away from the app. Go to your notifications to find your Tab Queue, and with one tap, open them all in Firefox.
How to Enable and Use Tab Queuing
Tab Queuing isn’t active by default, but you can switch it on quickly.
- Install Firefox Beta for Android.
- Tap the Menu button (three-dot icon in the top-right corner).
- Tap Settings > Customize > and check Open multiple links.
You will need to make Firefox Beta your default browser, or choose it every time you tap a link in any app. The link will be auto-added to your queue.
To open your queue:
- Tap “Open” in the toast notification when you go to a link
- Tap the Firefox Beta “X tabs waiting” notification in your notifications bar.
What is Tracking Protection?
Firefox 42 Also Adds Tracking Protection, in both the desktop and Android browsers. This feature stops third-party companies from tracking you when you move from site to site. It’s available only in the Private Browsing mode.
In case you didn’t know, Facebook and other social networks are tracking you online. Google searches, ad networks, and even those innocuous Facebook buttons keep track of you. While you can use extensions to protect your privacy, those aren’t enabled in Private Browsing mode by default.
“Users have a greater expectation of privacy when using Private Browsing,” Mozilla says. “Users reported that they believed Private Browsing was already protecting them from third-party tracking across the Internet.” So Mozilla is baking that feature into the browser.
Tracking Protection will not load those tracking elements in sites that are known to host them. Mozilla clarifies in its Tracking Protection F.A.Q.s that its blocklist is based on the blocklist of privacy and security tool Disconnect.
On some sites, Tracking Protection blocks ads too, including here at MakeUseOf. If you are using Tracking Protection, we request that you please whitelist MakeUseOf by disabling the feature for this site, since we are an ad-supported, free information source.
Mozilla has a clear step-by-step guide to enable and disable Tracking Protection, but it’s actually really simple. Start a new tab and just follow the on-screen instructions.
Firefox 42 Desktop Gets Tab Muting!
One of the best features of Chrome is tab muting. With this, when a tab in the background is playing audio—like, say, a YouTube video—then you will see a loudspeaker icon on that tab. This makes it easy to spot where the sound is coming from.
If you want to mute that tab, just click the loudspeaker icon. To unmute, click again. It’s an incredibly easy way to silence individual tabs while keeping the tab open.
Is Firefox Ready to Beat Chrome?
Firefox on Android is looking like a great browser now. On the desktop, Mozilla is adding some of Chrome’s best features, like tab muting and will soon let you run Chrome extensions in Firefox. It looks like Firefox is ready to take the battle to Chrome.
Do you think Firefox can beat Chrome? Are you ready to break up with Chrome and move to Firefox?