Firefox 2.0 now has Safe Browsing

I just downloaded the latest build of Firefox 2.0 and it seems that they’ve now integrated Safe Browsing. The Safe Browsing extension seems to be the Google extension – I can’t see any real differences between Google’s Safe Browsing extension and the version integrated into Firefox 2.0. It looks the same, feels the same, even the links link back to Google.

Note: I have reviewed some of the new features in Firefox 2.0 before. Oh, and Microsummaries.

Safe Browsing Screenshot

I am quite disappointed with the state of Safe Browsing at the moment. When I visited the Safe Browsing test page, it took about 3 or 4 seconds for the "Web Forgery" box to come up. I really don’t like the interface – IE’s behavior of blanking the screen and replacing it with a phising warning is a lot nicer.

The good thing is that remote lookups are disabled by default so Google don’t get any more of your personal data. I will be really annoyed if the default web lookup service stays as Google in the final version – Google shouldn’t get the personal data of every single Firefox user.

Safe Browsing Config 

My suggestions: 

  • Safe Browsing should be faster. I shouldn’t get shown the page and then 3 seconds later a warning that it’s phising.
  • Google should not be linked to in the Phising Block page. Instead, any links should point to Mozilla – a party that all Firefox users can obviously trust as that is where they got their browser from.
  • The remote lookup should stay disabled by default (privacy reasons) and if enabled, should download URLs from Mozilla – not Google.
  • The speech bubble doesn’t feel very Firefox. It’d look a lot nicer to use a similar interface used in the "page not found" and the feed reader.
  • Since Firefox is about maintaining choice, should there be an easy way for security products such as Norton or other sites such as Yahoo! to become the choice for determining whether a page is phishing?

Other Thoughts 

  • I’m unsure about the Search box behavior. For some reason, sometimes the results open in a new tab, sometimes in the same tab.
  • Get rid of Google Suggest!!!
  • I think a Spell Check option should be available in the Tools menu. When I see people using Word, many of them still don’t know you can right click on a word to correct the spelling. Firefox 2.0 assumes people will know the right click behavior.


3 thoughts on “Firefox 2.0 now has Safe Browsing

  1. Ok thanks, now I finally believe it’s GFox 2.0. Suggest sucks and "safe browsing" doesn’t help at all if it works by blocking known URLs. They spread in seconds and I guess it takes at least 1 day to update these URLs if you’re not looking them up on-the-fly. So, it is completely useless.

    Making Firefox better doesn’t work by including annoying or useless Google extensions. So why should I switch to Firefox 2.0 except for security fixes? Spell check is the only reason so far, but I can happily live without it. If it stays that way, I won’t switch and warn everyone before switching. I really hope it gets some bad press so that they for FSM’s sake stop going that direction. 

    Probably new users will like those anti-features because they don’t really work with their computer but enter a world of facinating things which somehow work. However, the more advanced users find these features quite annoying and many of them are creating or maintaining extensions – and if they quit, Firefox will die, sooner or later. 

     If they move on like this, it won’t take long for tools/extensions like firefox-antispy to turn all the annoying options off. And once that state is reached, Firefox is nothing more but a tool out of a thousands. That works ok or better than the others, but isn’t "the one". This makes me sad.


  2. I don’t think Firefox 2.0 is too bad. The rendering engine and the 95% of the browser which is inherited from Firefox 1.5 is second to none.  Feed Reader and Microsummaries are beautiful. Spell checking is also a fantastic feature which can save a lot of time. And the tabbed browsing improvements are great.

    The safe browsing feature doesn’t feel right but in it’s defense it has just landed and I have no doubt the Firefox guys are going to review it, fiddle with it and by the time it reaches the end user it’ll be great.

    I hope that they’ll find the Google Suggest feature is superfluous and damages usability. I mean the guys at Firefox have never let us down; during the early stages of Firefox 1.5 I really hated it, but once the bugs were fixed it was a fantastic world-class browser.

    All this Google integration is dangerous though, as you say. 


  3. Well, you might be right and I a little pessimistic. It might not be the first time they copied extension code (ok, why not? If it works like it should…) but it just looks like hardcoding those extensions into Firefox. Like a step back, when the DOM Inspector was still an unremoveable extension. Probably they’ll add some heuristics later to safe browsing (like in TB) though it would be better if people were actually cautios when surfing the net – as CPUs can’t think. Yet.


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