They may sound delicious but when it comes to the Web, cookies are almost like poison. Sure, they technically serve an important purpose but, like the real-world treats, they can be abused to harm people. That’s why web browser makers are taking up arms against cookie abuse, each in their own way, and Mozilla’s latest attempt is to completely confine those cookies in their own jars starting with Firefox 86.
Cookies were supposed to be used simply to let sites remember your previous sessions for convenience. Over time, however, they have been misused and abused to become what is known as tracking cookies that keep an eye on where users go, often for the sake of creating targeted ads. While some browser makers like Google just try to mitigate or curb the reach of these cookies, Mozilla seems to be waging an all-out war on them.
Last month, Firefox 85 targeted Supercookies that followed users around even when they left the pages where the cookies were generated. For Firefox 86, Mozilla is implementing what it calls Total Cookie Protection which gives each website its own cookie jar instead of dipping into a single cookie pool that everyone has access to. In practice, this should minimize how far those cookies can go and stop them from tracking you once you move to other sites.
Firefox 86 also expands the Picture-in-Picture feature into multi-PiP. This allows users to yank out multiple videos from different tabs and have them playing simultaneously. Whether that’s actually a good or a bad thing for your sanity and productivity is a personal matter.
Firefox 86 has started to roll out but the Total Cookie Protection is available only on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It is part of Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection, which is enabled by default. Mozilla doesn’t elaborate whether these changes to how cookies work could have adverse effects on some websites that, unfortunately, require tracking cookies for one reason or another.