back to article Firefox 72: Floating videos, blocking fingerprints, and defeating notification pop-ups

Mozilla has aired a bunch of new features aimed at making web 2020 a little less unpleasant in its release of Firefox 72. "Picture in picture" is a way to play videos, introduced in Firefox 71 for Windows only, but now available on macOS and Linux. Start a video playing and a blue button appears. Click it, and the video plays …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    Disconnect

    Just installed the plugin and it looks as though it does a good job, far better than nothing.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Disconnect

      Ditto that. Some sites really make the count go mad.

  2. To Mars in Man Bras!
    FAIL

    Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

    That should be listed as a bug not a feature. With the exception of reFuckingCAPTCHA, I can think of few things more irritating on the websites of today than videos that start playing automatically and then follow you down the page as you scroll

    1. Steven Raith
      Stop

      Re: Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

      That's true when it's forced on you by ads.

      This is an option you can elect to use so you can keep a video running that you want to watch.

      You know, not an ad.

      Steven R

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

        Indeed, this is a picture in picture option.

        I've actually found it most useful when displaying windows for media when in VR - instead of having to fullscreen the video to remove all but the video from view, and subsequently have to capture the full 4k output for display on a screen inside VR, I need only capture the floating video window instead, leaving more system resources and bandwidth for the VR application.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

        I don't want to *keep* a video running, I want it to not run in the bloody first place, sucking away at my internet allowance.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

          USe NoScript. It blocks everything by default.

        2. OrangeDog

          Re: Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

          Firefox does that too.

    2. Matthew 3

      Re: Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

      It's nice to see some more of Opera's pioneering features being picked up by other browsers. ;-)

      1. overunder Silver badge

        Re: Floating Videos? Arrrrgggh!

        "It's nice to see some more of Opera's pioneering features being picked up by other browsers. ;-)"

        Or just the return of Flash pop-ups from 20 years ago. It's cool and useful to have this option, but it might turn out that just as 1 enemy weakens (notifications), another takes its place.

        Just how many floating videos can be on 1 page?

  3. chivo243 Silver badge

    Browza browza browza

    I've been 'trying' new browsers for about a year now. I dislike how much Google has their fingers in my pie. When I got my gmail invite back in the day, search and now email! Wow, that was cool. Google just got creepy after that. I avoided Chrome, util my employer drank the kool-aid and embraced gmail, and docs and sheets, etc.

    What I find at work these days, is that I need browza 1 for these sites, browza 2 for those devices, and browza 3 for my personal stuff, browza 4 just because something doesn't work well or at all in browza 1,2, or 3.

    I have given FF a try in the last few weeks, so far no show stopping issues.

    1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: Browza browza browza

      > browza 1 for these sites, browza 2 for those devices, and browza 3 for my personal stuff...

      > I have given FF a try in the last few weeks, so far no show stopping issues.

      If you're after Logical separation (eg work vs personal), an o-oooooooold feature of netscape is still kicking around, but hidden. Profile Manager.

      If you run FF once off the commandline, adding the -P option (firefox.exe -p), you thereafter get access to multiple Profiles forever (or until you disable same).

      So each time I click the taskbar icon, I get to choose which group of plugins + opened-windows I want to work in.

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Browza browza browza

        firefox.exe -p won't help me in my macOS work environment. If I get ever get stuck on a windows workstation, I'll keep it in mind.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: Mac OS X + Linux

          Commandline syntax for Linux, MacOSX, and Win is (are?) here: Mozilla Command Line Options.

          Mac OS X syntaxes:

          * GUI:

          hold down Option key (Alt key) when launching FF

          * commandline:

          * go to "/Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/MacOS", type "./firefox -ProfileManager"

          * also, "firefox -?" or "firefox --help" should show you the full list of options; chances are the shorter "-P" is also implemented for macosx

          * Browser: type About:Profiles into URL-bar, configure as desired

          1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: Mac OS X + Linux

            Linux: get directory with "type -a firefox".

            ("/usr/bin/firefox" is std location for the binary, I think, although this might just be a link)

  4. P.B. Lecavalier

    Creepy, Crappy and FF

    Recently I looked at some estimates of browser market share. To see M$ IE around 70% was quite a shock. Ok, it used to be much higher way back (in the period from Netscape 6 to M$ IE 6 SP1), but still so high?! Yeah I know, it's all about users who don't know and are quite content in their misery.

    Now the choice is clear: You can go with creepy (Chrome), crappy (IE) or Firefox.

    I learn here that the release schedule is going to 4-weeks. It looks like they are converging toward daily builds and abolish altogether the notion of a release version, following what's done in experimental channels. I've been using Firefox Nightly at home since 2012, with very little problem. It's a new browser everyday.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Creepy, Crappy and FF

      I thought IE had already been phased out in favour of Edge.

      1. Mandoscottie

        Re: Creepy, Crappy and FF

        on 10 yes, not on 7 ;) or 2008

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Creepy, Crappy and FF

      To see M$ IE around 70% was quite a shock

      It certainly would be. StatCounter shows Chrome with nearly 70%, so between the two of them they'd hold 140% of the market.

      IE doesn't even show up on the current StatCounter results. What the hell were you looking at that showed IE at 70%?

      1. P.B. Lecavalier

        Re: Creepy, Crappy and FF

        Looking at desktop only, I think. Hold on... You are quite correct! How things have changed

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Creepy, Crappy and FF

      It'd be interesting to know exactly where these claims of browser usage share actually come from.

      I rather suspect that more privacy conscious people use Firefox, with various privacy add-ons installed, and so any sort of usage monitoring that relies on JavaScript being triggered to acquire usage data probably results in Firefox flying completely under the radar, and so simply not being counted.

  5. John Lilburne

    Nope ...

    ... I'm sticking with FF56 all the newer versions broke my workflows.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Nope ...

      Maybe time to update your "workflows"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nope ...

        DUH, no budget for it. And if a broken workflow means no business gets done...

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Nope ...

      Shoot, I'm stuck on FF43, since 44 removed a bunch of features I used pretty much on every site.

    3. Yes Me Silver badge

      Re: Nope ...

      Yes, FF updates have to be treated with extreme caution these days. I've had to stop updates by policy (at 71.0) because, well, it works.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nope ...

      Odd. Honestly never had a problem (other than when they re-architected how plug-ins worked, which broke all plugins for about 2 days). :/

      1. deep_enigma

        Re: Nope ...

        > which broke all many useful plugins for about 2 days permanently.

        FTFY.

      2. John Lilburne

        Re: Nope ...

        I have 7 plug-ins that are marked as legacy 4 due to FF breaking how plug-ins work.

        All of which is why software updates are such a pain in the arse. Nero switched their backup program to be some subscription based web thing, thanks but no thanks I had to reinstall Nero8 and won't be purchasing any new Nero based stuff. Other software has moved to subscription based systems no thanks.

        The update of Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 broke half my website. Lesson learned won't be updating to D8.

        Dread any Apple updates they have a tendency of crashing your system. An iOS update 2 years ago bricked my iPod for 4 days. Updates to windows drivers when updating iTunes had a tendency to brick windows 7 and XP.

        And so it goes.

    5. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: Nope ...

      FF56 + all of the security fixes backported = Waterfox Classic.

  6. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

    These features are nice and all, but I really wish that they'd do something about the memory/cache problems.

    It'd also be nice if there was some way to keep videos from auto-playing or at least not just soaking up bandwidth buffering when I have given zero indication that I'd actually watch the video. This is particularly annoying in combination with the caching issues. A lot of my daily browsing is on documentation sites for the various products my company uses. One of them has a video up on every single page that is essentially a re-hash of the written text, rarely its useful, usually it means several megabytes of bandwidth wasted per page.

    I'd also like the ability to just turn off most style sheets on some webpages, or tweak the style a bit. Like I'd very much like to remove a lot of background colors from chunks of text, or at least be able to shift it to black-on-white instead of dark-grey on somewhat-light-grey. I'd also live to be able to expand the width of content frames. I have a 4K monitor, but most websites are configured to only be 1024 pixels wide, so nearly 3/4th of my monitor is wasted displaying background pixels.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

      "It'd also be nice if there was some way to keep videos from auto-playing"

      You mean like the setting "Block Autoplay"?

      1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

        Block Autoplay only seems to work when the video is in a <video> tag. Videos wrapped in JavaScript will still play automatically.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

          In firefox, type in about:config,

          go to "media.autoplay.enabled",

          set to "false".

          I have yet tested on a video wrapped in js, because it works really well on most site.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

            That doesnt work on a huge number of sites, Twats find ways to be twatty!

        2. Joe Drunk

          Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

          The Disable HTML5 Autoplay extension works for me on every site where the block autoplay setting and "media.autoplay.enabled" tweak failed

        3. OrangeDog

          Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

          Strange. I've never seen any video bypass it.

          Maybe I just don't go anywhere that doesn't use <video>.

    2. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

      Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

      Darkreader plug in renders pages in wonderful custom schemes. I have it on for all sites. Works on mobile too! Shop around...

      1. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

        Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

        Looks promising, thanks for the recommendation!

      2. Richocet

        Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

        That's only intended for browsing the dark web,

    3. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

      >It'd also be nice if there was some way to keep videos from auto-playing or at least not just soaking up bandwidth buffering when I have given zero indication that I'd actually watch the video.

      Ditto that for audio.

      Whilst most of the time I do have audio turned off at the OS level there are times when I have it on eg. when attending a webinar. It is highly irritating when a website you pop up in a different window starts auto playing some audio advert, with no indication on the displayed webpage on how to disable the audio.

      1. OrangeDog

        Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

        > Ditto that for audio.

        Yep, it has that setting too.

    4. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      Re: I hate that Firefox is the least terrible option

      > I'd also like the ability to just turn off most style sheets on some webpages, or tweak the style a bit.

      2 options occur to me:

      * hack anything: install GreaseMonkey plugin/add-on, has(had?) a huge fanbase of devhackery

      * just hack Styles: click HamburgerMenu-->Web Developer-->Style Editor (or press Shift-F7)

      Or completely eliminate ALL styles, via View menu (Alt-V)-->Page Style-->No Style.

  7. MrMerrymaker Bronze badge

    Brave is also good

    Brave renders better IMO, chrome base for ya, but Firefox is my go to.

    Wish brave had better mobile addons options...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brave is also good

      Brave is Gecko based isn't it? How can it render better? Isn't that like "the bass sounds great on this monster cable!"

      1. Joe Drunk

        Re: Brave is also good

        Brave is Chromium based.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    chrome?

    I always feel like I should use a condom when opening chrome.

    It really is amazing to me that noone seems to care that the whole business model is based on surveillance...

  9. karlkarl Silver badge

    Yeah, nice. But Is it still going to keep asking me to make a sodding "Firefox account"?

  10. Gene Cash Silver badge
    FAIL

    Pot, kettle, black

    How about Firefox does something about ITS OWN annoying unblockable popups, like the "there's a new version available!" one?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pot, kettle, black

      I too was getting irritated by these update messages since they removed the "Never check for updates" option.

      Some mitigations that helped are setting the following about:config options as follows.

      app.update.doorhanger to false - stops the small/frequent notification message, however that leads to the larger (old style) on-screen notification popup (less frequently but still often enough).

      So I set the following preference values to 2147483647 (The largest value possible) - and I haven't seen a notification since :-D

      app.update.interval

      app.update.idletime

      I also had the following set to that value too - as was just playing about really.

      app.update.badgeWaitTime

      app.update.promptWaitTime

    2. James 29

      Re: Pot, kettle, black

      As that only happens (now) every 4 weeks or for point releases like 72.0.1 which was for a 0 day vulnerability

      For 99.99% of users automatic updates are a very good thing. For the 0.01% edge cases it should be very difficult.

    3. stiine Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Pot, kettle, black

      Agreed. I have yet to find a way to block it.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Pot, kettle, black

        I've never seen Firefox mention an update being available. Updates get handled by the package manager like all the others!

    4. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

      Re: Pot, kettle, black

      You can easily avoid it by using an LTS build. Even if you don't turn off updates, it'll only bother you every few months when a new LTS is out. Its also a little lagging in new features, so you usually avoid the minor releases as well.

  11. Colonel Mad

    Update

    Installed yesterday, updated today

  12. stiine Silver badge

    Now you have to udpated again...72.0.1 has been released

    And it patches an even worse bug that those fixed in 72.0.0

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    72? *SEVENTY*-two??? I'm still on 52, and that seems excessive. I tell myself it's really 5.2 in human measurement.

  14. Adair Silver badge

    It's a shame ...

    whining can't be used to generate electricity.

  15. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
    Pirate

    ? Critical Security Bug in 72.0 ?

    Heads-up, all. I just saw these:

    https://appleinsider.com/articles/20/01/10/update-firefox-now-because-the-department-of-homeland-security-says-so

    https://www.fastcompany.com/90450626/firefox-attacks-homeland-security-urges-mac-users-to-update-browsers-immediately-in-rare-warning

    "The issue is this: Firefox versions for desktop older than the just-patched version contain a critical vulnerability that could allow an attacker to take control of a user’s entire operating system—whether they use Windows or Mac. More alarming, the vulnerability is already being exploited in the wild, thus Homeland Security stepping in with the urgent plea for users to upgrade."

    Per DHS:

    " Mozilla has released security updates to address a vulnerability in Firefox and Firefox ESR. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system. This vulnerability was detected in exploits in the wild.

    The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages users and administrators to review the Mozilla Security Advisory for Firefox 72.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.4.1 and apply the necessary updates."

    Safe versions are apparently Firefox 72.0.1 and Firefox ESR 68.4.1

    Mozilla's own advisory here.

    1. jgarbo
      Big Brother

      Re: ? Critical Security Bug in 72.0 ?

      Homeland Security are offering help with security? It's a trap.

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