I was scrolling through the list of new Firefox extensions the other day when I stumbled on one called Mass Forget. Curious as to what it was, I clicked on it and after reading the short blurb, decided this was an extension I thought had a whole lot of promise. Some extensions add new functionality, and they’re nice, but when an extension adds functionality that I feel should have been a part of the browser already, then that’s an extension I can get behind.
The premise behind Mass Forget is simple. Everyone has websites they want to keep secret from others. Maybe it’s because someone wouldn’t approve of the content, or because you’re searching for decorations for a surprise party. Maybe you’re shopping for a gift or looking through job search websites on company time. Regardless of your reason, you don’t want those websites to appear in your web browser’s history.
Of course, Firefox allows you to go through and use the “Delete This Page” option. And it works. That page no longer appears in your history. But what if you visited that same page a couple weeks ago? Or yesterday? Or maybe while visiting a website you looked at a couple different pages? With the “Delete This Page” option, you would need to go through your entire search history and delete the “offending” pages one by one.
With Mass Forget, it’s a whole other story. Go to your browsing history, the same as you would normally, and find a page from a website you want to remove. Right-click on it, and at the bottom of the contextual menu you’ll see two new options:
Forget About This Site
Forget About This Domain
The two are very similar, but with one key difference. Let’s say I want to get rid of all evidence that I’ve visited my Gmail account. The Gmail page is as follows:
If I choose the “Forget About This Site” option, every website I’ve visited that starts “mail.google.com” will be deleted from my history. On the other hand, if I choose the “Forget About This Domain” option, everything with “google.com” in it would be deleted, including search results, Google Reader and Google Calendar, and more.
The first option gets rid of site-specific pages, while the second removes entire domains from your history. And Mass Forget also has the ability to remove multiple sites or domains at once. Simply control-click on as many different entries as you want, then right-click on one of them and choose your preferred option.
I don’t want to say that Mass Forget is the extension I’ve been waiting for my whole life, because it isn’t. (That extension would find software for me to write about, download it, take screenshots and write the review itself, in case anyone wants to write that extension for me!) But Mass Forget is a simple extension, with limited functionality (not a bad thing), that makes it easy to really clean out the unwanted items from your browser history. I love how integrated it is and how it can be used just as if it was always a part of the browser. The developer (who is also the person behind the DownThemAll download manager), mentions that Mass Forget is early in development and has limited functionality, but in my mind the functionality offered is perfect. I can only wait to see what new features are added, but I’m sure they’ll be just as good.