MOZILLA HAS STARTED SHOWING ADVERTS in the Firefox 33.1 web browser launched on Monday, displaying 'sponsored tiles' among the most frequently visited website tiles in new tab pages.
The open source outfit announced in a blog post earlier this year that it planned to start showing ads in Firefox, leading to fears that it might clutter up the previously ad-free web browser.
That was in February, but Mozilla clarified its advertising intentions with another blog post in May, when it said that sponsored 'recommendations' - in other words, adverts - would be limited to the display of most visited websites on new tab pages.
The first adverts appeared with the launch of the 10th anniversary edition, Firefox 33.1, on Monday. The introduction had been prefigured in the Firefox development channel nightly builds since August.
Initially Mozilla said that sponsored tiles would be added to new tabs pages only for new users who didn't already have histories of most frequently visited websites, but they will now appear as 'enhanced tiles' for all users.
Mozilla VP of content services Darren Herman explained in a blog post on Thursday: "A separate feature, Enhanced Tiles, will improve upon the existing new tab page experience for users who already have a history in their browser."
The display of sponsored tiles can be turned off, but many users probably won't bother as they are unlikely to spend much time looking at the new tab display.
The addition of advertising to Firefox is part of Mozilla's efforts to diversify its sources of revenue.
Presently, the open source software house gets most of its revenue from sponsorship deals with search engines featured in the Firefox web browser's search function - primarily Google - but Mozilla's contract with Google is set to expire this year. µ
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