Mozilla engineers have managed to annoy their users once again this week by adding a new button to the Firefox user interface without providing users a simple way of removing it.
The new button appears to the right of the Firefox bookmarks toolbar. Its role is to show other bookmarks that users have saved in Firefox.
All fine and dandy, but the new button was unnecessary because Firefox already had a Bookmarks section where users could view their bookmarks, easily accessible through the browser's menu.
Furthermore, there are many other negative effects of the new button. The first is its placement. The button reduces the width of the bookmarks toolbar, meaning users can fit fewer items on their bookmarks toolbar, which is crucial browser real estate.
Second, it's the fact that there isn't a way to remove the button. Right-clicking the button shows a context menu where the "Delete" option is grayed out.
Third, the button appeared out of nowhere on many users' browsers. Firefox has not received any updates since January 6, when version 84.0.2 was released, but the button appeared overnight for many users on Tuesday, January 19.
Making matters worse, the button appeared on Firefox instances where Firefox Studies, a feature that lets Mozilla run experiments in Firefox stable releases, is disabled.
Obviously, many Firefox users didn't like this sudden UI change, the fact that they couldn't disable it, and the fact that the change appears to have been delivered via a silent update behind their backs, a big privacy and security no-no.
While a source inside Mozilla couldn't tell ZDNet how this new button came to be, we were told that the new "Other Bookmarks" button was supposed to be part of the Firefox 85 version, scheduled for release next week, on January 26.
The Firefox 85 version is scheduled to include an option that would allow users to remove the "Other Bookmarks" button, but this is not available yet for Firefox 84.x users.
The good news is that we were told about a second, more tricky method of disabling this new button, right now, rather than waiting a week. This involves typing about:config in the Firefox address bar and accessing one of Firefox' configuration pages.
Here, users will have to search for the browser.toolbars.bookmarks.2h2020 option, set it to false, and then restart their Firefox browser. This will remove the button.
Firefox 84 users can either use this method or wait until Firefox 85 comes out, when they'll have a right-click menu option.