THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has confirmed the release of Firefox version 60.
The latest update to the company's venerable open source web browser includes sponsored content for the first time. How this will go down with the faithful remains to be seen, but Mozilla is keen to emphasise that it has been done, to paraphrase Kenny Everett, in the best possible taste.
At present, us limeys won't get any sponsored content - it's only appearing as a limited rollout in the US, but it will trickle out once it has been proved not to be a repeat of the last attempt to monetise Firefox with sponsored tiles.
The cookies have definitely arrived, however, and in the meantime, they'll be used to personalise page suggestions.
The other big change is the arrival of WebAuthn - short for Web Authentication (not that short really), which takes Firefox squarely into the post-password era.
WebAuthn lets you use some sort of two-factor authentication (2FA) such as biometrics or a FIDO dongle. The biggest name in dongles is Yubikey - and we're giving away 10 of them over on Twitter.
2FA has been working on specific sites in Chrome for a long time, and Google accounts already accept keys. But universal acceptance of WebAuthn at a browser level is going to be a game-changer, not least of all because it will make it easy for companies to use the technology with zero effort.
Firefox is leading that charge, but Chrome and Edge are both expected to roll out support in the next month or so. WebAuthn is supposed to be a lot more reliable than previous attempts and the good news is, keys can be upgraded to work with the new standard, assuming they don't already.
Mozilla's focus has been on trying to make Firefox profitable without betraying the principles that make it what it is. Meanwhile, the company has made a huge stride in bringing the post-password era closer, and got a jump on its rivals into the bargain. µ
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