They may sound delicious but like their sugary and carb-filled real-world counterparts, browser cookies can be bad for your digital wellbeing. Especially when said cookies come from third-party sites that want to track your every move, even when you ’ve moved away from that site. These tracking cookies leave crumbs that vendors and even hackers can follow to potentially violate your privacy or even influence your mind. Firefox version 63 will finally put a stop to that but only if you tell it to.
Browser cookies have been around for ages and, when used in moderation, they are useful, almost essential to a good Web experience. They are practically used to store small tidbits of data related to your last visit so that your preferences, login state, and more are saved and you don’t have to do things all over again.
Naturally, cookies can and have been abused, mostly for the purpose of serving up personalized ads. Third-party sites use or read cookies to track users across the websites they visit. More than just a violation of your privacy, these tracking cookies can also slow down web page loading and performance.
So with Firefox 63, Mozilla is putting its foot down. Somewhat. There is now an option to block tracking cookies for all websites and an option to disable that block for specific websites. But to “ensure we balance these new preferences with the experiences our users want and expect”, Mozilla is setting those options to off by default. Meaning, the default behavior is to allow websites to track you. That’s just in case blocking cookies could actually break websites. They shouldn’t but they do.
Firefox version 63 also adds a few new features, some exclusive to certain platforms. There are new Search Shortcuts available to users in the US for quickly searching on Google, Amazon, and other search engines you might want to add later on. Windows users will find that their Firefox will now automatically match your dark or light Windows 10 preferences. iOS users, on the other hand, will now get to enjoy the convenience of Siri Shortcuts.