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How Firefox Is Becoming the TiVo of Internet Browsing

By Tim Beyers - Apr 12, 2013 at 10:30PM

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A feature of the newest browser allows for advertisers from tracking users.

Pity this era's ad men and women. Each day brings new ways that techies are limiting our exposure to their pitches. Witness Firefox, the Mozilla Foundation browser that now automatically blocks "cookies" from third-party websites.

For the uninitiated, cookies are small blocks of code uploaded to a browser upon visiting a site. Some are quite helpful, like the cookies that recognize you returning to a site you love and log you in automatically as a result. Others are like trackers that hope to understand you so well that targeted ads get through.

According to trade magazine Computerworld, the latest edition of Firefox (version 22) would only block cookies unrelated to the website you're viewing at the time. Code related to sites you've already visited, and approve of, would also be allowed. Mozilla plans to formally unveil the new browser in June. Expect more than the usual rhetoric in the interim.

Advertisers hate the idea. At least two industry trade groups -- the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Association of National Advertisers -- strongly oppose the new setting, arguing that users of the browser will see more (and more irrelevant) ads as a result, Computerworld reports. Perhaps that's why Apple (AAPL -1.92%)Google (GOOGL -4.95%) , and Microsoft (MSFT -0.40%) haven't taken similar steps with their own browsers?

Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova isn't so sure, arguing in the following video that the pattern is eerily similar to the reaction TV advertisers had when TiVo (TIVO) first introduced time shifting and the ability to fast-forward through commercials. The industry has since adjusted, and it will here, too, Tim says.

Do you believe Mozilla is making the right move in blocking some cookies? Please watch and then leave a comment to let us know what you think of the plan and how you consume (or avoid) Internet advertising.

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