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The company is this week debuting its Suggested Tiles feature in the upcoming version of Firefox Beta, which will allow advertisers to claim real estate on the browser’s new tab pages. But unlike Directory Pages, Suggested Tiles looks at the browser’s history, and cherry picks from those entries.
In reality, if you happen to be a fan of LOLCats and browse Wikipedia pages centering on kittens, expect to see a lot of kitty litter advertisements.
Mozilla’s calling it a “more powerful and personalized Web experience” but we’re not so sure. Will this alienate the already dwindling Firefox usage numbers, and force those to head over to Google‘s yard? It’s definitely a worry too, considering that the data acquired by advertisers is based on web browsing history.
But Mozilla’s Darren Herman sees this as an opportunity for users, rather than an infiltration of their personal space:
With Suggested Tiles, we want to show the world that it is possible to do relevant advertising and content recommendations while still respecting users’ privacy and giving them control over their data. And to bring influence to bear on the whole industry, we know we will need to deliver a highly effective advertising product.
It should also be noted that the feature can be tweaked in two ways. Firstly, editing browsing history will adjust the Suggested Tiles results, and secondly, it can be switched off completely on the “New Tab” settings dialog.
A more detailed explanation of the process, and what Suggested Tiles is all about, is available in the video below.