E10s or Electrolysys project aims to keep web content separated from core Firefox processes in order to enhance performance and add security. Mozilla has been working to implement this into Firefox. In terms of security, e10s has the benefit of allowing users to sandbox individual tabs to separate content that runs in sandboxed tabs. This ensures that the content doesn’t interact with content in other tabs, meaning that it won’t be able to share storage, storage or other data with other parts of Firefox. Each individual tab will be able to run as if it was a different browser of its own.
Mozilla has relied on e10s to develop the main technology needed for sandboxing tabs. However, there is an add-on that managed to offer sandboxing first. We are talking about Priv8, a solution created by Baku that is designed to enable users to manage their tabs in sandboxes to enjoy improved privacy. This free and open source add-on for Firefox gives you the possibility of sandboxing individual Firefox tabs. Using part of Firefox’s security model, Priv8 can create sandboxed tabs that run independently. No data is shared between the sandboxes. Cookies, storage and other information are only shared with other tabs within the same sandbox.
How does it work
It is possible to create new sandboxes and assign them a default URL, as well as a tab group color. Each sandboxed tab is marked with a specific tab color. Once Gmail or Facebook are opened in the sandbox, it is possible to open another tab and sign into a different account. For instance, you can sign into Gmail on one tab to check your emails, and use a different tab to access another Google account for YouTube. When you right click a new link in a sandboxed tab, you have the possibility of opening the link in the same sandbox. All the tabs have the same group color so they can be identified with a quick look.
The sandboxes created can be easily opened through a menu bar icon’s dropdown dialog. The sandboxes are permanent and once you open them for the second time, after a restart for example, the same storage, cookies and other data will still be available. The sandbox will be just as you left it originally. It is also possible to switch between sandboxes using the context menu for the tab. Overall, Priv8 offers good performance and it is very convenient. Still, there are some additional features that could improve the experience for users and make Priv8 safer and easier to use.
One of the functions that we would like to see added is a private mode, which would allow users to enjoy a better level of protection for their data. At the moment, there is no private mode support, but we hope to see this option added. It would also be good if it was possible to open sandboxed links from a non-sandboxed tab or to open links from within a sandboxed tan into another sandbox group. The lack of real documentation is one of the downsides of Priv8, although it is likely that the developer makes it available soon.
While there is room for improvement, Priv8 is a good solution that could help you to enjoy a more versatile and safer browsing. You can keep Gmail open in a tab, without compromising the rest of your browsing as it is less likely that it can be tracked by Google. Priv8 brings innovation and it opens the doors to the introduction of sandboxed browsing as a default function for Firefox. With Priv8, you can sign into different accounts with the same service simultaneously, while enhancing the privacy of your browsing.