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First look at "Porn Mode" for Firefox 3.1

The pre-release version of Firefox 3.1 becomes the latest browser to feature porn mode, em, I mean, private browsing.
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Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Contributor on

The pre-release version of Firefox 3.1 becomes the latest browser to feature porn mode, em, I mean, private browsing.

"Porn Mode" for Firefox 3.1 gallery here!

So what is private browsing? Well, basically it's a type of browsing session that you call up where, once you've closed the browser, there are no traces of the sites you visited in the browser's history, cookies or temporary files.

Note: Private browsing is NOT an anonymizing service. Private browsing is only about the browser not logging where you've been. It doesn't make you invisible to your ISP or your boss if you are using the corporate network to job hunt or sell stuff on eBay!

To see the private browsing feature in action I grabbed a nightly build of Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 pre-release and got to work installing.

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Entering private browsing mode is simple. Click Tools > Private Browsing.

This brings up a Start Private Browsing dialog window. Click Start Private Browsing to kick off the session.

All your current tabs are then stored and the private browsing session starts. From this point on, no history, cookies, files or bookmarks will be stored.

To end the private browsing session, go Tools > Private Browsing again to uncheck the option.

All your private tabs are closed and your previous tabs are re-opened automatically.

Want private browsing to begin automatically as soon as your fire the browser up? To do this you'll have to enter about:config settings, find browser.privatebrowsing.autostart and double-click on this to toggle it to true (or right-click on the option and select Toggle).

It's a great feature ... but ... I much prefer how Google handles Incognito mode in Chrome. Why? Because Chrome allows you to combine private browsing with regular browsing in different windows. With Firefox, it's normal browsing or regular browsing, and that seems artificially restrictive to me.

Still, it's a useful feature, and one that I'm positive will be augmented by add-ons once Firefox 3.1 is released.