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Just as web developers across the world were settling down to enjoy the good life, Google and Mozilla have walked in the door and thrown a wrench into their smoothly running machines. This morning both Google and Mozilla announced that they are moving their browsers to new rendering engines.
Google has announced that it has forked the popular WebKit engine off into a more "manageable for chromium" engine called Blink. Google says that Blink will focus on speed and simplicity, and will still hold true to its WebKit roots. Opera, who just switched to WebKit says that they will follow Google's lead and fully embrace and contribute to Blink.
In a blog post, Adam Barth, a Software Engineer at Google said:
"Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation - so today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit."
Not to be left out, Mozilla had its own announcement about a new rendering engine as well. Dubbed Servo, the engine is a collaboration between Mozilla and Samsung, and is coded in an entirely new language called Rust. It will not replace the Gecko engine current versions of Firefox are built around just yet, but the transition will take place at some point says Mozilla.
Samsung and Mozilla have teamed up to develop new Android browser technology. Specifically, the team will be working on developing a new browser engine for Android and the ARM architecture. The new engine is said to be called Servo and will make use of Mozilla's Rust programming language.
Mozilla and Samsung are optimizing the browser for multi-core processors since that seems to be the way mobile devices are heading. It seems somewhat of an unlikely partnership, but it does make sense on some levels for Samsung. The Korean giant currently relies heavily on the Android operating system, a system that Samsung does not own.
Samsung is looking to have alternative options going into the future. Working with Mozilla could help get them in on the ground level of Mozilla's upcoming mobile operating system.
Today Amazon announced that it will be adding vinyl records to its AutoRip service. AutoRip is a service by Amazon that offers purchasers of music on physical storage, free MP3 downloads of the same album.
From now on, any physical disc purchased on Amazon will include a free digital copy of the same album, which is placed in your free Amazon Cloud Player. In addition, digital copies of purchased tracks will not count against your storage total on the cloud service. Amazon says the service is available now for "thousands of records," including titles from every major label with more titles being added daily.
"We're thrilled to extend this experience to vinyl records," said Steve Boom, Vice President of Digital Music for Amazon "Many of our music customers are vinyl fans and it's traditionally been very difficult to make digital versions of vinyl records-now customers can enjoy the albums they buy wherever they are, not just when they have access to a record player."
Mozilla has updated its Firefox web browser with per-window private browsing that functions much the same as Chrome's private browsing feature. In addition to per-window private browsing, Firefox 20 comes with stability improvements, bug fixes, HTML5 additions, and a new download experience.
As part of the stability improvements, users can now close a frozen plugin without the entire browser crashing. This is also similar to how Chrome handles plugins. The improved download experience features a new interface and a button that makes opening the downloads list much easier. When downloads are active, the button shows an estimated time to completion.
Probably the largest change with Firefox 20 is the ability to have both normal Firefox windows and private browsing Firefox windows open simultaneously. As previously stated, this new method is how Chrome has handled private browsing from the get-go. Firefox used to require the entire session to either be a normal session or a private browsing session.
Microsoft's Hotmail replacement, Outlook.com, is still pretty new but this hasn't stopped the Windows giant from releasing a new design for the calendar aspect of the website. Today, Microsoft has updated Outlook.com's calendar to feature a "fresh and intuitive design" that fits with the modern look Microsoft is providing all of its new products.
Microsoft's new design emphasizes "content over chrome" by giving appointments and events primary focus. After all, those are the main functions one expects from a calendar. If you're interested in Microsoft's changes in more detail, you can head over to their blog post announcing the update or head over to Outlook.com and check it out for yourself.
Yahoo has teamed up with cloud storage provider Dropbox to do away with the current 25MB e-mail attachment file-size limit. It's much the same technology as Gmail uses with Google Drive integration. Attachments are loaded into a user's Dropbox and can be easily stored, updated, and forwarded.
Some user e-mail accounts restrict file size or inbox size even further causing e-mails with large attachments to bounce. Dropbox says that this new integration will allow users to quickly save attachments directly to Dropbox where it will automatically sync to all of your devices:
Email attachments can be tricky: they've got file size limits, you can't keep them updated, and when you add people to a thread, attachments are the first to get left behind.
The Yahoo! Mail team decided to fix this-by integrating with Dropbox! Starting later today, if you're using a Yahoo! Mail account in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish, you'll be able to access your Dropbox from right inside your inbox. You can add stuff from Dropbox to any email message and save attachments back to Dropbox, too.
Since this integration is Dropbox-powered, you can even send that big album of vacation pics without worrying about the 25 MB file limit. Plus, it's easy to save any photo, video, or doc in your Yahoo! Mail straight to your Dropbox, where you can get to it from anywhere.
Google have updated the search interface for their Chrome Web Store, which now provides tabulated filter options at the top of the page. There are four filter options: All, Apps, Extensions and Themes.
Google have been slowly improving the search functions within their Chrome store, where last July the company added social recommendations from Google+, which allows users to see which apps people in their circles +1'd. The company are working on a total revamp of the Web Store, that will reportedly include multi-platform support for apps and extensions.
Google introduced their new e-mail compose window as an option last October, but Gmail users have noticed this morning that this is now the default way it will be from now on.
The new compose experience is a pop-up window that appears on the right side of the screen, and makes it easier to not only send e-mails, but to multitask within Gmail. Google have noted that it is a little harder finding text formatting options such as underline, indent, numbered and unnumbered lists, but they're still floating around.
I have noticed it as an option for me, but it is not forced on me just yet. How do you find the new compose experience?
YouTube debuts new live-streaming platform for game developers, will transcode video feed in real-time
Game Developers Conference 2013 - YouTube has announced a new platform for game developers that will allow real-time streaming of gameplay. The new platform will allow game developers to send a stream of content to YouTube's server where it will then be transcoded in real-time.
This isn't the first time that YouTube has helped game developers integrate live-streaming. Black Ops 2, which was touted by YouTube many times during the presentation, already utilizes YouTube for game streaming. This new platform will bring live-streaming support to iOS, Android, and a wider development audience.
Live-streaming gameplay seems to be all the rage. Sony put a major focus on it with the PlayStation 4 and it looks like YouTube doesn't want to be left behind. YouTube still has some work to do on the platform, but I'm sure we'll hear more about it in the coming weeks and months. Who knows, maybe it will be used in a majority of Xbox 720 games.
A new charitable experiment is being trialed at eBay which will allow users to split their fashion related sales revenue with the non-profit organization Goodwill. eBay will handle the sell in-house in an effort to reduce the "pain" of listing individual items.
The online auction giant will send sellers postage paid mailing bags that will return the item to be sold to eBay, where it will be listed for sale. If the item sells within two weeks, eBay will split the proceeds 50/50 with the seller and Goodwill. At the moment the new feature is only available to California residents of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin areas.
This new venture is similar to past "seller assistance" services that eBay has offered in the past, such as mall kiosk where one could drop off an item to sell and be paid a fixed price on the spot. Recently eBay launched a service in which an "auction expert" would come to your home and help pick out items that would sell better than others.