In our efforts to continutally improve upon Ghostery, we recently launched Ghostery for Firefox v2.8. This new version features a new heads-up menu (the drop-down dialog that appears when you click on Ghostery in the address bar). The new menu was a departure from the Firefox system menu, and we went that direction for several reasons. First, our Ghostery for Chrome, Safari, and Opera users have worked with this menu since those products were initially released, and we found that users generally seem to find it more intuitive. Second, we’re planning on launching features in the near future that aren’t well supported without a more custom-designed menu, so we made that move now to give our users time to adjust.
We’ve heard from some of our Firefox Ghosterians that they really like the new look – but others are confused and frustrated. It’s never our goal to make Ghostery more difficult to use, for any reason, so I thought I’d take a moment to explain how to use the new heads-up menu, and how it is meant to interact with our full options page.
When you visit a site, Ghostery shows the trackers found on that site with the purple box and a numbered badge on the Ghostery icon. Clicking on the Ghostery icon launches the heads-up menu, which can tell you more about the trackers you’ve encountered on the page and allow you to make on-the-fly blocking decisions. Trackers with a strike-through are blocked, tracker names without the line are allowed.
You can block and allow individual trackers from this menu, or adjust the blocking options of the entire page. Clicking “Edit Blocking Options” at the bottom of the dialog allows you to check each tracker you’d like to block, or whitelist that page to allow trackers. This menu can be very helpful when you’ve encountered a page that doesn’t work when Ghostery is blocking, or if you notice a new tracker you hadn’t previously blocked but you’d like to change.
That’s what the heads-up menu was always meant to provide – a way to easily make exceptions to your default blocking preferences. If you want to make big changes, for example, to block everything Ghostery detects, it’s much easier to use the full Ghostery options page. You can get there by clicking the icon at the bottom of the heads-up menu.
On the full options page you’ll find several different ways to configure Ghostery to your liking. For blocking, scroll down to the Blocking Menu portion of the page, and you’ll see all the tracking technologies Ghostery detects, divided into categories. You can block individuals, an entire category, or all of the trackers at once just by selecting them in this menu. (You can also add domains to the Site whitelist tab, if you have several you’d like to take care of at once.)
Additionally, if you want the most comprehensive blocking settings, make sure that the Enable library auto-update option is checked. Then click over to the Advanced tab, and check the Block new elements by default options. Don’t forget to save your settings with the button at the bottom of the screen.
That should keep you from needing to frequently use the heads-up menu to block, and allow you to only have to click when you need to make an exception. We’re working on features to make these blocking controls more granular – like allowing certain trackers on certain web sites, for example – so expect some more changes as the features become available.
As always, we really appreciate your feedback. Please continue to let us know any thoughts you have about the new menu, and don’t hesitate to give us ideas for how to improve. We want to make the most comprehensive, easy-to-use privacy tool on the planet – and Ghosterians can make that happen. Hit us up at support at ghostery dot com, or over on our support forum.
Ghostery Product Manager
andy at ghostery dot com