Mozilla today released version 66 of its Firefox browser. It features all of the usual tech updates and bug fixes, but there’s also a clear theme here: reducing online annoyances.
With this update, Firefox can now automatically block autoplaying audio and video — the scourge of the modern web. The way Mozilla has implemented this is smart enough to recognize when a video is playing with the audio muted and it’ll still let the page quietly play that video. If it’s a news site that insists on bombarding you with the unmuted video of an anchor talking about a semi-related news story, though, it’ll mute it and leave you in peace.
To play the video on a site where Firefox has blocked the video, you simply click the play button. You can also always whitelist sites with autoplaying and unmuted videos, too.
Another major annoyance these days is ads that load after the text or other content on a site is already visible. Often, the ad then moves that text around (and occasionally, slow-loading images are to blame here, too). With this update, Firefox is introducing scroll anchoring, which ensures that you’re not going to bounce around on the page as these slow-loading ads load.
Other updates in this release include the ability to search within multiple tabs, better search in private browsing mode, improved and clearer security warnings and web authentication support for Windows Hello. Firefox 66 also promises an improved extension experience that should make pages load faster by storing extension settings in a single file instead of a series of individual files for every extension.