New Firefox suggests ways to get more out of the web

Mozilla also builds better tab management abilities into Firefox 64.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland
2 min read
Mozilla Firefox icon logo
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Starting Tuesday, Firefox will nudge you to try out options designed to make the web more interesting, more useful or more productive.

Mozilla's new Firefox 64 keeps an eye on what you're up to and prompts you to try extensions and features that could help you with that activity, the browser maker said. For example, if you open the same tab lots of times, it could suggest you pin it to your tab strip for easier future access. Other suggestions include installing the Facebook Container extension to curtail the social network's snooping, a Google Translate extension to tap into Google's service, and the Enhancer for YouTube extension to do things like block ads and control playback on Google's video site.

The feature could help you customize Firefox more to your liking -- something that could help you stick with the browser in the face of Google Chrome's dominance. And that, in turn, could help Mozilla pursue its push toward a privacy-respecting web that's not just effectively controlled by Chrome.

If you visit YouTube with Firefox, you may see this prompt to try the Enhancer for YouTube extension.

If you visit YouTube with Firefox, you may see this prompt to try the Enhancer for YouTube extension.

Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

The feature could also provide some incentive for extension developers to bring their tools to Firefox. Extensions once were a big Firefox advantage, but Mozilla overhauled its technology, so many stopped working, and Chrome now has many more.

Extensions are a good way to customize a browser. They're also likely to keep you from switching to another browser, since getting the new one to work the way you like could be a hassle or maybe not even possible. Mozilla, facing declining users and usage, no doubt would like to keep you on Firefox if you're already there and attract you if you're not.

The suggestions are prompted by Firefox itself. Mozilla doesn't know what you're up to.

Firefox 64 also gets better tab-handling abilities. You can use Cmd/Ctrl-clicking to select multiple tabs. After that, you can drag them as a group to a different position, tear them off into a new window or close them en masse. That's handy if you're the type of person who often has a lot of tabs open.

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