The advertising problem: Is the url bar off limits?

OCT 10, 2021

When US users search the web, advertisements have now begun to appear in the address bar in Firefox as a result of adding a new suggested search result feature earlier this month.

According to Mozilla, this function was implemented with the release of Firefox 92 back in September as a means of financing browser development and optimization. In a support paper, the firm went on to state:

“Beginning in Firefox version 92, you will also receive new, relevant suggestions from our trusted partners based on what you’re searching for. No new types of data are collected, stored, or shared to make these new recommendations.”

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When searching the web from the browser’s address bar, Firefox Suggest will display links from its approved partners right below search results if contextual suggestions are turned on.

These items, while beneficial to users and assisting Mozilla in funding Firefox’s ongoing development, are still technically advertisements.

Firefox Suggestions

When you install the latest version of Firefox, the browser will display a pop-up suggesting that you enable “contextual suggestions” or change your preferences.

While many people may just turn on Firefox Suggest without understanding what it does, fortunately, you can turn it off afterward.

To prevent websites from automatically redirecting to their search engines, type about: config in the address bar. Click on it to open the configuration tool. Locate the following preference in the list of preferences and double-click on it to activate it or delete it if you wish: browser.validate URL(true).

Go back into your web browser’s menu by selecting Settings. From here, choose Privacy & Security under the Appearances menu and scroll down to Address Bar – Firefox Suggestions.

To turn this function off, deselect both contexts as well as the occasional sponsored suggestions check box.

Mozilla has positioned Firefox as a more privacy-conscious alternative to Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge by defining it as one that is less invasive.

However, for those who installed the browser for its privacy and security features, seeing advertisements that take advantage of their location might be irritating.We’ll have to wait and see if Mozilla continues working on Firefox Suggest, but at least you can turn it off in Firefox’s preferences.