Mozilla adds Porn mode to Firefox 3.1 beta 2

Posted by Christian Zibreg

San Jose (CA) – Mozilla confirmed that an increasingly popular, but so far missing feature called private browsing mode, also known as "Porn mode," is coming in Firefox 3.1 beta 2, which is scheduled for a  November 21 release. Currently available in the latest nightly build of Firefox 3.1 beta, private browsing allows users to browse the web without leaving traces on a computer, including cookies, history and cache. With private browsing as well as huge speed gains thanks to an optimized Javascript engine and under-the-hood code tweaks in place, Firefox 3.1 is shaping up to become one of the most significant Firefox releases ever.



Nearly two weeks after Mozilla unleashed the first beta of the supercharged Firefox 3.1, the open-source organization unveiled a much anticipated private browsing feature scheduled to debut in the beta 2. Better known as "Porn" mode, a private browsing session enables you to surf the web without leaving traces of your web activity on a computer, which is useful when you need to use a friend's computer or a public terminal. Chrome, Safari and IE8 offer private browsing modes called Incognito, Private Browsing, and InPrivate, respectively. Firefox 3.1 will be the first release to incorporate the feature by default, eliminating the need for a third party add-on.

Although current Firefox versions allow you to clear private data accumulated over browsing sessions, you can't delete items from a specific period of time like in Chrome or remove specified data of your online activities which you do not want to hide. For example, if you choose to clear the history, all browsing history will be erased so Firefox will no longer be able to find a web site you visited earlier.

The new private browsing mode will be available in Firefox 3.1 by checking the Private Browsing option in the Tools menu. Prior to starting a private browsing session, Firefox will offer to save and close all of your current windows and tabs. Once you are in a private browsing mode, the browser will not log your online activities or leave physical traces on a computer, except the files you download or bookmarks you create. To cancel the private browsing mode, un-check Private Browsing in the Tools menu. Readers should note that private browsing sessions in any browser do mean that you are surfing in an anonymous mode.

Private Browsing mode will come in the second beta of Firefox 3.1 scheduled for a November 21 release, along with other new features that did not make it into the first beta, like a deeper granularity when deleting private browsing items, an Opera-like Speed Dial feature, tab bar tweaks and a series of minor nice-to-haves and privacy enhancements.

You can test-drive private browsing mode by downloading the latest Firefox 3.1 nightly build here. If you want to make the browser always start in Private Browsing mode, type "about:config" in the address bar, type "browser.privatebrowsing.autostart" in the filter text box and double click the entry to change its value to TRUE. The next time you start Firefox private browsing mode will be enabled. Mozilla said that the final version of Firefox 3.1 will have a dedicated switch in the application preferences to set this option.