Private windows coming to Firefox

If you have always felt like Firefox’s Private mode was lacking something, probably it was a way of browsing in private mode some pages while keeping your regular, non private ones open at the same time.

The time is coming as Firefox nightlies (Firefox 20) now feature private windows where you can browse with confidence that no history, passwords or forms will be kept after you close a private window.

Instead of Private mode, the Firefox menu features a New Private Window item that does precisely that.

Privtae window option in Firefox menu screenshot

Now you can have private and non private windows side by side, and more importantly, you don’t have to close your current session to browse some other pages.  Private window along with regular on in irefox screenshot

An option to open a link in a new private window is also available from links’ context menu.

OPen link in private window screenshot

Private windows won’t be available in final form until April next year according to Firefox’s release channels update plans, but daredevils’ can get it from Firefox Nightlies web page today.

Private mode back in Firefox 3.1 plans

Following Chrome’s release, Mozilla has felt the pressure of the competition and put private mode back in Firefox 3.1’s feature list in second level priority, and on track for Beta 1, the next development release (around mid-October).

In private mode, all user activity involving data such as searches, visited web pages, downloads, cached pages, credentials passed to restricted sites, etc. is discarded once the user returns to normal mode. Despite being infamously well known as “porn mode” there are many other valid use cases. As stated in Mozilla Wiki:

For instance, users may wish to begin a private browsing session to research a medical condition, or plan a surprise vacation or birthday party for a loved one. Use cases will range from users cheating on their spouse, to users buying engagement rings. Given the breadth of our user base, specific use cases are likely to be extremely varied.

With Chrome’s InCognito and Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2’s InPrivate, introduced in the last couple of weeks, lacking a private mode option by targeted year’s end release, would put Firefox in one obvious disadvantage.

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