Mozilla has implemented its long-proposed but negatively-received Suggested Tiles feature within Firefox, which effectively inserts Mozilla-approved ads into the browser. First vaunted back in February 2014, Suggested Tiles was put on hold after a negative reaction from Firefox users. Instead of putting the idea to bed, though, Mozilla has quietly deployed it with as little fanfare as possible, presumably hoping users don’t notice.
Mozilla revealed in May 2015 that it hadn’t entirely binned the proposal, with Darren Herman, Mozilla’s VP of Content Services, saying, “Suggested Tiles represents an important step for us to improve the state of digital advertising.”
Suggested Tiles, which has been rolled out to Firefox browsers for the past few weeks, not only shows sponsored links, it tracks user interaction with the browser, sending that raw data to its Disxo analysis engine, which is then converted into a high-level aggregate report that it sends to advertisers. Mozilla claims that is not getting paid for featuring the ads.
“Since early August,” Herman went on to explain, “we have been delivering promoted content provided by our first wave of partners including Yahoo, a number of top tier news titles including Fortune Magazine and Quartz, and mission-oriented partners such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”
“With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data,” he added.
According to Mozilla, Suggested Tiles records and stores the following user data:
- Language preference
- Tile ID
- How many times the Tile was displayed
- Where in the grid of tiles a Tile was displayed
- What interaction the user has with a Tile:
- “Rolled over”
- “Hovered over”
“This data is associated with an IP address and is stored for a maximum of seven days, while Mozilla reports on the performance of the Tile. Then the IP address is removed from the data which is then archived. Mozilla does not create a profile of an individual over time,” a Mozilla representative said.
Will this move scare away the remaining Firefox users, or put off people considering migrating to Firefox?
Thank you ZDNet for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia.