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Poor porn protection hurt Firefox 3 uptake

"Certain bookmarks" best left unexposed

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How we yawned as Microsoft churned out dull report after sponsored study to "prove" Internet Explorer 8 beats Firefox on security, performance, and ease of use.

Turns out, all Microsoft had to do against Firefox was talk more about IE 8's porn mode with InPrivate Browsing, which hides your online stash from the eyes of loved ones and colleagues.

The Mozilla Foundation has admitted that the expansion of the Firefox 3 location bar to search against all history and bookmarks saw people refuse to upgrade and stick with Firefox 2.

Mozilla said the number-one reason why people had refused the Firefox update was "their frustration/preference/confusion" related to the open-source browser's location bar.

The Foundation blogged: "When we expanded the capabilities of the location bar to search against all history and bookmarks in Firefox 3, a lot of people contacted us to say that they had certain bookmarks they didn't really want to have displayed. In some cases users had intentionally hidden these bookmarks in deep hierarchies of folders, somewhat similar to how one might hide a physical object.

"Having something from your previous browsing displayed to someone else who is using your computer (or even worse) to a large audience of people as you are giving a presentation, is really one of the most embarrassing things that Firefox can do to you."

Mozilla pointed out that in Firefox 3.5, users have complete control over what types of information are displayed in the location bar or that suggestions can be turned off entirely.

But Mozilla recognizes this could be too late, and Firefox may have needlessly tripped up in its market-share race against IE.

The team noted many users had tried Firefox 3 when it was initially released, then reverted back to Firefox 2. "Now they still won't consider upgrading because of their initial experience (even if that initial issue has since been resolved). You never get a second chance to make a first impression!" ®

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