Mozilla’s Firefox browser didn’t quite make the leap from desktop to mobile, particularly on iOS, but it’s back for a second try with Firefox Focus, a new browser which hopes to be iPhone users’ go-to tool for private web surfing.
It’s an innovative approach from an organisation that has often struggled against the forces of inertia. Rather than try to beat the might of Apple’s ability to dictate the default browser on iOS, as well as the company’s requirement that any other browser still use Safari’s rendering engine as its core technology, Mozilla has taken a different tack: create the category of “second browser”, and own that.
Firefox Focus is as stripped-down as a browser can be. The app boots straight in to a search bar, which searches Yahoo in the US (likely due to the $375m Yahoo pays Firefox annually to be the default search engine on the main version of the browser) and Google in the UK for anything you ask. You can’t change the search engine yet, but Firefox says that’s coming.