Firefox Gains Market Share, Preps 'Porn Mode'

Nov 7, 2008 6:00 AM PST
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Against the backdrop of an expanding market share, open-source powerhouse Mozilla is preparing to unveil an adult-friendly version of its web browser, Firefox.

Although Microsoft's Internet Explorer continues to command the vast majority of the market, 20 percent of all web surfers now turn to Firefox, according to market researchers at Net Applications, an online tracking firm.

As for the so-called "porn mode," it's called Minefield, and test versions of the new browser version have leaked online. In addition, Mozilla provides a formal development forum for webmasters interested in test-driving the new feature.

When a user activates Minefield, Firefox will automatically close down and store all currently open browser windows and tabs before opening up a new, secure window for private surfing. Users can then surf web while scant trace of their online activity.

But tech writer Kevin Purdy pointed out one flaw with Minefield – it might be too secure.

"The actual browsing experience is pretty similar to standard Firefox use, although a pet peeve of mine — also present in Google Chrome and Safari — is that the address bar in 'private' mode doesn't remember where you've been while you're browsing around in your secure little shell," he wrote for Lifehacker.com. "Perhaps some users like that idea — that nobody who grabs the keyboard while your back is turned can suss out your activity — but I like the convenience of auto-fill addresses."

The new version of Firefox is tentatively slated for an official release later this year or in early 2009.

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