Mozilla has added Pocket, a third-party "save for later" service, to Firefox Beta (and other development channels of the browser).
I love Firefox. It is my web browser of choice because it gives you more customization options and control than any other browser out there.
I do value Mozilla's work on the browser and think they have made a great job at catching up to Chrome when it comes to performance or memory usage.
Sometimes however, I question decisions made by Mozilla and the integration of Pocket in Firefox is one of them.
If you are running Firefox Beta or Nightly, you may have noticed a new icon in the browser interface. The Pocket icon integrates the third-party service in Firefox.
A click on the icon displays options to sign up for Pocket or sign in to a Pocket account if you are a user of the service already.
While you can move the icon using Firefox's customize options, it won't block the integration of the service as it is still there.
For that, you need to do the following
- Type about:config in the browser's address bar and hit the enter-key afterwards.
- Confirm that you will be careful if the prompt appears.
- Search for browser.pocket.enabled.
- Double-click on the preference to toggle its state from true to false.
This disables Pocket in Firefox and the icon should be gone once you restart the browser.
Please note that you may end up with an "View Pocket List" entry in the bookmarks menu when you disable Pocket this way.
If you want to get rid of the bookmarks menu entry as well, you need to handle things slightly different.
- Make sure Pocket is enabled in Firefox (browser.pocket.enabled is set to true). The icon should show up in the main Firefox toolbar.
- Click on the Hamburger menu icon and select customize from the options.
- Drag and drop the Pocket icon away from the toolbar so that it is not visible anymore.
This hides the bookmarks menu entry as well.
If you choose to use the Pocket feature, the impact on Firefox’s performance or memory use is minimal, similar to opening Pocket in a new tab in Firefox. For users who choose not to use the feature and remove the button from their toolbar, the impact is reduced even further.
The integration is bad for several reasons if you ask me. The most obvious reason is that the service is not useful to some -- I would say the majority -- of Firefox users but is still deployed for all by default.
This is a shotgun approach that is going to annoy Firefox users who don't plan on using Pocket.
It is puzzling that Mozilla went the direct integration way as there is already a Pocket extension for Firefox that interested users can install.
Even if it is for testing purposes, e.g. integration of Firefox accounts with third-party services, it should be offered to users as an optional component and not something that is baked in.
Mozilla has been working on a feature called Reading List which works similar to Pocket but made the decision to put Reading List on the backburner to integrate Pocket instead in the browser. This seems wrong on many levels, Reading List does not rely on third-party services for instance.
This is going to be another PR nightmare for Mozilla in the end. Users are already complaining about the integration on sites like Reddit, and while some welcome the integration, the vast majority of commenters dislike it or put it in words that I cannot possibly print here on Ghacks.
There seems to be a disparity between what Mozilla does and what Firefox users want, and the integration of Pocket is just the latest feature that highlights that.