The next Firefox build is scheduled for release in January 2021 and will come with a new privacy-enhancing feature that should please fans of anonymous browsers, the company has revealed.
Firefox 85 will come equipped with a Network Partitioning feature that means third-party services will find it more difficult to track users across multiple sites.
Essentially, the new partitioning feature works by keeping stored user data separate depending on which website it was sourced from. Usually, browsers pool user data together but this allows websites, advertisers, and web analytics platforms to track users by scrutinizing this shared pool.
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With the Network Partitioning feature enabled, Firefox will store data like website caches, CSS files, images, and TLS client certificates on a per-website basis.
Privacy over performance
Firefox is not the first browser to employ some form of network partitioning. Apple’s Safari browser began separating the user’s HTTP cache all the way back in 2013 and Google Chrome followed suit more recently.
However, although network partitioning does deliver privacy benefits, there are some performance drawbacks. When Chrome partitioned its HTTP cache in October, it rendered Google Fonts largely useless as the service could no longer speed up the loading process by storing fonts in a website’s cache.
Other new features coming to Firefox 85 include the ability to disable a homepage and new tab override for an extension without disabling the extension, a tweak to the “undo closed tabs” feature, and notably, it will be the first Firefox build not to offer Flash support. The latest Firefox update is scheduled for release on January 26 next year.
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