Private Browing With Firefox?

There's a good thing about having giants fight for the throne. We benefit each time one of the giants give a blow to another giant. IE8, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome (a relatively new comer but strong enough to level with the old players) are now fighting for the throne fit for the king of the browsers. They give each other blows and every blow they give each other our browsing experience becomes better. When Chrome entered the scene it was already equipped with private browsing feature. The people at Chrome saw that IE8 and Safari have this feature in their bags so it was natural for them to think that it would help Chrome a lot to have it also. But Firefox do not have this feature built into it in its native state. Of course there's the Stealther addon but Firefox is now toying with (or actually working on) the idea of implementing this feature in the 3.1 release of the mighty Firefox browser before this year ends. Firefox's idea is to avoid writing data from private browsing sessions on your disk. This could be achieved by storing as much data from private browsing sessions as possible in memory. Here's how Mozilla explain it :

"The purpose of private browsing is to put Firefox into a temporary state where no information about the user's browsing session is stored locally. Firefox currently handles the user's privacy with a feature in preferences to clear all private data. This feature forces the user to choose between having privacy (even if only momentary), and other useful features like browsing history, and saved passwords. Users should be able to go "off the record", they shouldn't have to shoot the reporter. As we improve the functionality of history to include full text indexing, and possibly capturing thumbnails of sites visited, the need to respect user's privacy only increases."

But what's the point of adding this feature? If IE8, Safari, and Chrome have a form of this feature in them, probably they know that a lot of people (for various reasons, like viewing pr0n and downloading bootlegged stuff) do not want to leave traces of their online activities. Here's how Mozilla explain the use cases of private browsing :

"Many people believe that the primary use case for private browsing mode is viewing pornography. While viewing pornography may be a popular use case due to the nature of content on the Web, assuming that this is the only reason that users need private browsing trivializes the overall feature. For instance, users may wish to begin a private browsing session to research a medical condition, or plan a surprise vacation or birthday party for a loved one. Use cases will range from users cheating on their spouse, to users buying engagement rings. Given the breadth of our user base, specific use cases are likely to be extremely varied."

This feature is very much welcome though as of now I do not have reason to use it but it would be cool to have it handy in case I suddenly have the need to have it.

Labels: ,