The company announced the change in a blog post using language that obfuscates at first blush what’s going on. “Mozilla is kicking off an exploration to transform the user’s content experience through two initial programs...The newest program is one we’re calling Directory Tiles, which is designed to improve the first-time-with-Firefox experience.”
Although it’s true that Directory Tiles will technically transform the user experience, it won’t do so for the better, and it’s silly that Mozilla would try to paint it that way. Firefox will now come populated with ads, plain and simple.
But Mozilla didn’t need to try and spin this development. Why shouldn’t they generate some cash with a few ads? Further, it’s a stroke of genius to utilize that unused space. It doesn’t negatively impact anything about the user experience, the ads will be clearly labelled as such so there’s no confusion, and once you get some browsing under your belt the tiles will reflect your own browsing activity instead.
True, there are those who believe that the Firefox browsing experience should remain completely chaste, pure as freshly-fallen snow, but the fact of the matter is that things cost money. Mozilla found a way to generate some cash without screwing up its product, and will therefore “it helps Mozilla become more diversified and sustainable as a project”.