Advertisements are to be shown on Mozilla’s Firefox Browser for the first time ever as part of new features rolled out to its 33.1 incarnation.
Users of an attentive disposition will note the presence of suggested websites alongside their most frequently visited destinations after search ads launched last week.
Yet unlike on many rival and more popular browsers, users do have the option to revert back to Firefox’s ad-free roots by turning the placements off.
Version 33.1 arrives in light of Firefox celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Users take stock
Recent changes to the browser’s newly relaxed policy on search ads means that brands can now pay for their links to appear when a user opens a new tab.
Intentions to launch ads on the browser were announced back in February this year, and Mozilla vice president, Darren Herman, has attempted to assure users that “Enhanced Tiles” will improve, rather than damage the service on offer.
“A separate feature, Enhanced Tiles, will improve upon the existing new tab page experience for users who already have a history in their browser,” he announced, alluding to the fact that users must have their web history turned on to receive a list of their most visited pages as well as ads.
Sponsored tiles appear on the browser’s recently launched Directory layout for the new page window. This brings an interactive, image-focused design made up of frequently visited websites and suggested results.
Away from the user’s point of view, the invitation for companies to advertise on Firefox could create a fresh stream of revenue for Mozilla – a firm known for its supply of free technology.
Despite tools such as Firefox having no attached cost for the user, the company announced in record earnings of $311 million for 2012. However, last year’s financials are still yet to be released, and the move towards paid-for ads on Firefox are reminiscent of a company looking to monetise one of its most popular products.
Mozilla currently receives the bulk of its revenue from a huge sponsorship contracts with rival search engines. Google is a known client of the open source software group but is set to end its current deal with the company later this year. In this case, ads may be one of the ways Mozilla will look to claw back some of the money lost.
Enhanced Tiles are now live in eight different languages and 25 countries across the world, with early clients including CVS Health and Booking.com.