After introducing Directory tiles in May, Mozilla has finally launched Sponsored tiles as part of its ongoing attempt to personalize advertising without sacrificing user privacy.
The Sponsored tabs aim to deliver paid content in a way that aligns with the company’s commitment to transparency and trust. When users log into Firefox Nightly, they’ll see tiles clearly labeled as “sponsored” alongside their Directory or Frecency tiles. A click on the tile will reveal a short explanation of the Sponsored tile program and give users instructions for opting out.
While they may look similar, these Sponsored tiles differ from Directory tiles, which are unpaid and intended to suggest possible sites of interest for new users. The Directly tiles appear after installing Nightly or clearing the browser history and lead to popular websites like Wikipedia and Mozilla services. Over time, Directory tiles disappear and are replaced by Frecency tiles based on users’ recently and most frequently visited websites.
With the introduction of these Sponsored tiles, Mozilla hopes to improve the way users interact with advertisements, while always giving them the opportunity to opt out of all product features, according to their content services blog.
Currently, Sponsored tiles are only available in Firefox Nightly, Mozilla’s testing channel. Nightly is used primarily by developers who are interested in helping the company experiment with new features. Tiles aren’t expected to hit Aurora or Beta, Mozilla’s more stable channels, for another three months, so regular users probably won’t see any change until 2015.
On the company blog, vice president of content services Daniel Herman wrote that even as Firefox strives to integrate paid content, the nonprofit company remains focused on balancing “commercial interests with public benefit, and [building] successful products that respect user privacy and deliver experiences based upon trust, transparency, and control.”