For those who prefer Firefox over Chrome as their default browser on Android devices, the experience just got a major upgrade. Today, Mozilla has officially launched over 450 new extensions, available on the Firefox Browser Add-ons page.
These extensions offer users a custom-made browsing experience, with options ranging from privacy tools to content blockers to productivity boosters and more. Some extensions even introduce new features, such as streaming music, while others allow for personalization of the browser’s interface – like a dark mode or a more efficient way to manage tabs.
The lack of extensions has been a longstanding issue for Firefox for Android users since the launch of the rebuilt version of the mobile browser in 2020. The new browser, which utilizes the faster and highly customizable “GeckoView” engine, initially only supported extensions within the “Recommended Extensions” program – those that are most commonly used by consumers. While this allowed Mozilla to quickly get the browser into users’ hands, it also limited the potential for extension development and opportunities for software developers in this market.
Despite the availability of more extensions through Firefox’s nightly builds, the general public still did not have access to them. This meant that the majority of Firefox’s mainstream users were unable to benefit from the hundreds of extensions that were available to others.
In August of this year, Mozilla announced that it had finally completed the necessary infrastructure to bring the open extension ecosystem back to Firefox for Android. The company then began testing and making hundreds of additional extensions available to users, culminating in today’s news that there are now over 450 extensions for Firefox for Android.
Mozilla emphasizes the importance of having an open ecosystem, noting that nearly half of all Firefox desktop users have at least one extension installed. While many of the recommended extensions for the Android browser have hundreds of thousands of users, the app itself only holds a small share of the mobile browser market – with the default browsers, Chrome and Safari, being the dominant options on Android and iOS, respectively. As of November 2023, Firefox only holds a 0.5% market share, while Chrome accounts for 64.23%. Other browsers, such as Safari, Samsung’s browser, and Opera, are also ahead of Firefox in the mobile browser race.
However, Firefox still has a dedicated following among those seeking alternative options outside of the Big Tech giants. One of its notable features is automatic tracker blocking, catering to those who prioritize privacy. According to Google Play Store data, Firefox for Android has been installed over 100 million times to date.
“The opportunity for innovation is vast,” said Giorgio Natili, Firefox’s Director of Engineering, in an announcement about the launch of the extensions. “It’s exciting to see extension developers embrace this moment and create unique browsing experiences and features for Firefox for Android users. With extensions, browsing the mobile web is no longer a one-size-fits-all experience. You’re free to change the way Firefox for Android looks and functions. As more developers continue to innovate within this exciting new space, it will only get better.”