A Plague of Floats on Your Browser

Now that Firefox 2.0 is out, I’ve heard a few people asking “is that it?” I remember how awesome it felt to have Firefox 1.0’s popup blocking working for me—it felt like the browser was on my side. Now it’s time to look ahead and see what else can help us take back the web.

One of the really big issues facing us, IMHO, is the new Javascript-driven ad technology called “floats”. They’re not separate windows popped up, they’re in-window divs that move up to obscure the web page and force the user to click to dismiss them. They can’t trivially be blocked because they’re generated by Javascript code within the page, and identifying such code is a similar problem to identifying viruses. They ruin the user’s experience by being unavoidable and maximally intrusive.

At the moment they’re rare (e.g., TVNZ and MSN only show them once per user per day) but if we learned anything from 2001 it’s that greed will ruin user experience if it can get an extra buck in ad revenue. We got popup blockers as a result of the 2001 popup orgy. What’s going to save us from the 2007 float invasion?