Mozilla, the developers behind Firefox, are planning a major design overhaul for the popular web browser. The changes will appear in Firefox 25 which is slated to arrive in October. Those who wish to preview the changes are in luck as Mozilla has set up a special Nightly UX channel for Firefox 25. (Source #2)
For those of you who just want to know the differences, keep reading. The new look is awfully similar to the current user interface for Google's Chrome browser. The tabs have been rounded over, and Firefox is ditched the top left settings drop-down in favor of a more Chrome-like menu icon at the right hand side of the URL bar which is affectionately known as the "hot dog icon."
Other features include:
- Curved tabs.
- Remove tab affordance from background tabs.
- Separate Bookmark Star from location bar and merge with Bookmarks Menu item.
- Updated Panel Based Application Menu and Customization Mode.
- Windows (All): Draw entire window frame including Caption Buttons.
- Windows XP: Custom window frame style for all default themes.
Additional changes to the browser include updating in-content user interface styles, refining all aspects of the existing UI, as well as several bug fixes. Firefox warned developers that they should plan for a minimalistic toolbar UI and that the API to add toolbar buttons will be very different.
Everyone's favorite Google evangelist, François Beaufort, has discovered a Chromium code review that aims to add Google Wallet to Chrome. The review in question is titled "Make sure the Google wallet in-app payment support app is always installed" and does basically what it says: integrates Google Wallet into Chrome.
Google Wallet has actually already been integrated into the latest Chrome Canary build, which you can verify by trying to download and install the latest build of the app. Integrating Wallet into Chrome is a natural extension as Google continues to push the web through Chrome OS as alternative operating systems.
We can expect to see Google Wallet show up in the everyday build of Chrome in a few months, likely when Chrome 29 launches.
Mark down another feature discovery for Chromium evangelist François Beaufort. He is credited with discovering a new feature to help clean up your browser after malware strikes. The new feature will allow users to reset the default search engine, homepage, cookies, and other details to the original Google settings.
In the new UI panel, users can individually select from five different categories what they would like to reset. Since this is currently in Chromium, we can expect the exact details of the feature to change. However, it is a nice addition as more and more malware target browsers.
There is no way to know when Google will add this into the main Chrome build, but we'd be fairly confident that it is coming. Some are guessing that it will show up after Chrome 30.
We can expect Microsoft to include WebGL support in Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft teased that the new web technology would be supported through a Vine video released earlier today. Internet Explorer is expected to release alongside the upcoming Windows 8.1 update that will make its first public debut in June alongside Microsoft's BUILD conference.
WebGL allows web browsers to display 3D graphics, which is becoming increasingly important as Google pushes for Chrome OS and more and more software is becoming web-based. Opera, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox all currently offer some support for WebGL. Epic Citadel, a tech demo, was recently released that demonstrates just what WebGL is capable of.
Chrome is growing more popular with Mac users every day it seems, and Google has taken notice. The company has just announced that the Chrome App Launcher will be coming to Chromium for OSX. The launcher provides a simple way to launch Chrome "packaged apps", which are web apps that behave like conventional PC or Mac apps.
Chrome's Happiness Evangelist (yes, that is his real title) posted the following on his blog:
Chrome Team is currently working on bringing the App Launcher on the Mac platform as you can see in the screenshot below.
You can already give it a try by running the last chromium build available at download-chromium.appspot.com with the -show-app-list switch.
It looks as though Google Now may soon be gracing Mac systems. Code has been ported over to the Chromium project for Mac OS X and seems to indicate that Mac OS X will soon be getting access to Google Now. This same code was introduced into Chromium for Windows and Chrome Canary, but was limited to Windows OS.
The Google Now system is believed to rely heavily on the notification center. According to Google Evangelist Beaufort, the notification center for Mac is still "under heavy development." The Windows version of Google Now still isn't fully implementede; you need to know the secret URL to enable it.
It shouldn't be too much longer before both systems get access to Google Now, though the usefulness of it may be slightly less as you won't be using it on a constantly mobile device.
Google has announced plans to implement malware warnings for downloads in Google Chrome. Google is calling these newly expanded warnings "Safe Browsing malicious download warnings." Software that falls into a specific set of criteria, as defined by Chrome, will be flagged as possibly malicious.
To further safeguard you while browsing the web, we recently added new measures to protect you and your computer. These measures will identify software that violates Chrome's standard mechanisms for deploying extensions, flagging such binaries as malware. Within a week, you will start seeing Safe Browsing malicious download warnings when attempting to download malware identified by this criteria.
These specific forms of malware operate by "misusing Chrome's central management settings" or by manipulating Chrome preferences to re-enable silent installs. Of course, you should never download something from a source you don't trust, especially a binary package. A good anti-virus and malware protection plan will only get you so far.
All week we have been covering Google's decision to drop and fork WebKit to build its own web rendering engine called Blink. Today we are learning when the transition will begin taking place.
Google has confirmed that Blink will make its first official appearance in Chrome 28, which should release in this summer. In a Q&A session with the Chrome Development Community, Chrome developer advocate Paul Irish explained that "Blink is already integrated in Chrome Canary builds, and we can expect to see it in stable versions of the browser in about 10 weeks."
Blink is said to be faster, better coded, and overall a better rendering engine than WebKit. Web developers will not have to worry much about shifting standards in CSS or other code as Blink is a true fork of WebKit. There is a chance that we could see Blink built into upcoming beta releases of Chrome 28 as well, so keep an eye out.
According to NetMarketShare's latest numbers, Apple's web browser, Safari, has actually increased its market share despite the very strong competitors on the market such as Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome browsers.
Safari now enjoys a chunk of that mobile web browsing market share, with 61.7%. Android Browser is second in line with 21.8% and Opera Mini sits in third position with 8.4%. Just last month Safari accounted for 55% of mobile browsing, so that is a considerable surge for the last 30 days. Apple continue to dominate mobile web browsing with nothing to stop them at the moment.
Google Now has shown up in Chrome Canary for Windows. As previously predicted, Google Chrome is making its way towards the desktop, though it currently is still not usable on systems other than mobile or Chrome OS. Now that it has shown up in the desktop version, we can predict that its release is imminent.
Google Now is also present in the latest Chrome's notification center, though it still can't be used. We can say with some certainty that Google Now should come to the official Chrome browser within a few months. I know many of us are waiting for it as it really is quite amazing.
Like a machine, Google has pushed out another stable build of Chrome. This latest stable version of Chrome brings with it numerous improvements for spell checking. Some of the spell checking improvements are quite impressive, such as the ability to sync spell checking settings across all versions of Chrome.
The latest Chrome features a refreshed spell checking dictionary for all languages supported by Chrome. Chrome's spell checker now supports Korean, Tamil, and Albanian. Even more interesting is Chrome's ability to sync your dictionary across all the devices you use Chrome on. This means custom words added to your desktop version will be available on other installations.
Google Chrome will now allow the spell checker to "ask Google for suggestions." This new feature makes use of the same spell checker used by Google search. This means that Chrome now supports grammar checking, proper nouns, homonyms, and context-sensitive spell checking in English.
The new spell checking improvements are available on Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS. Mac support is in the works.
Chromium expert Francis Beaufort was digging around the open source Chromium browser code and found crumbs of evidence that Google Now might be coming to Chrome for Windows and ChromeOS. This code was left behind by Google engineers who were working on the Chromium browser.
Google Now is one of the main features introduced in Android Jelly Bean. It has won numerous awards from websites and publications for being incredibly innovative. It was only a matter of time before Google Now was introduced into the Chrome browser. While it hasn't been introduced quite yet, Google's intentions do appear to show that it is coming.
But there is no sign of Google Now in Google Chrome for Mac. This is a curious move, but not completely unexpected. Google would, of course, like to keep key features away from its rival, but at what cost to the consumer? We'll know more when Google actually confirms the existence of Google Now in Chrome.
Microsoft will be pushing out an update to Internet Explorer 10 tomorrow that will enable Flash support for both Windows 8 and Windows RT. At the moment, the "full web" experience has been a bit held back on the desktop browser.
This was a move made by Microsoft to improve performance, battery life and touch experience. The update will see Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8 & RT users able to access Flash content on most - but not all - websites. Some websites have been blacklisted by the Redmond-based giant due to their negative impact on the user experience.
Desktop-based IE10 users will be alright, with access to all Flash-enabled content.
According to Mozilla's Vice President Jay Sullivan, Apple's iOS won't be seeing a Firefox web browser app. The reason for this is easily understood: Apple won't allow an app to be set as the default web browser. This means that anytime a person clicks a link in an e-mail, Safari is opened by default.
Mozilla used to have a Firefox for iOS app up until it pulled the app in September of 2012. Sullivan says that Mozilla may change its stance, but only if Apple were to play fair and allow third-party web browsers to be set as the default.
Besides, Firefox doesn't really need Apple. Mozilla is currently working on Firefox OS, which, if it catches on, could easily make up for the small market share forgone by not dealing with Apple. Additionally, any other browsers won't benefit much by having an iOS version as they suffer from the same default browser issue.
Opera has released a completely redesigned version of its web browser that runs on Android, and is being billed by the company as "the best browser on Android." Opera says that they started from scratch to bring a fully native web browsing experience to your Android based smartphone.
Opera says that the new browser brings forth a new way to browse the web that is more elegant and efficient. The new Discover feature provides a panel in which you can read popular articles from the web based on your interest. Another new feature is "Speed Dial", a service that is similar to a bookmark folder, but streamlines the process of organizing favorited websites.
Like similar browsers, the search and URL bar are now combined, tabbed browsing is present, and users are able to save websites to their phone for viewing when not connected to a data source. Browsing history has also been simplified making it easy for the end-user to quickly find and revisit previously viewed sites.
Google have just pushed out Chrome 26 in beta form, which includes improved spell checking abilities with updated dictionaries and added support for Korean, Tamil and Albanian. You can also sync custom dictionaries across multiple devices.
Added dictionaries aren't the only things Chrome 26 receives, support for grammar, homonym and context-sensitive checking, which is the same technology we see baked into Google search and Docs. The improved engine will correct proper nouns, such as the misspelling of Stephen Spielberg - whereas "Steven" is the correct way of spelling his name. This feature is currently locked to English users who have to enable the "Ask Google for suggestions" spell check option.
Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) has been available for Windows 8 since the OS launch, but Windows 7 users were stuck with IE9 until now. This morning Microsoft released Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7, which brings forth greater support for HTML5, improved speed and better privacy protection for users.
IE10 is said to be about 20% faster than its predecessor IE9, and utilizes DirectX 11 for the browser's graphics hardware acceleration speed-ups. HTML5 support is improved by more than 60% bringing forth a wealth of new feature rich web elements that developers will be sure to take advantage of.
Another feature worth noting is that Do Not Track is enabled by default. This feature blocks certain sites from tracking your browsing habits, such as Google who uses your browsing history to serve up targeted ads. Users must be running Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 installed in order to install Internet Explorer 10. You can download IE10 from the source link below.
Google will soon bake in a very cool new feature into Chrome that would allow the browser to listen in on your open tabs, where it would tell you which tabs are making noise, or recording it. The new feature has been baked into the latest Chromium release and features a throbbing EQ animation over any tab that is making noise.
The reason we're seeing it in Chromium first is that Chromium is where Google plays with features and improvements, such as this, before shifting them over to the stable Chrome build. At the moment, the new feature doesn't work on the OS X-based version of Chromium, but it works within Windows. At first, I didn't think this would be useful - but I'm the kind of person who might open 5-10 (or more) tabs in quick succession, with one of them playing some ad that I can't find - in this case, it would be perfect.
Google has released the latest stable version of Chrome. This new version comes with the typical bug fixes, improved security, and performance updates that we have come to expect from updates. Also included in this latest version of Chrome is the ability to add voice recognition via the Web Speech API.
The Web Speech API allows Chrome to send snippets or continuous speech to Google's Voice service. Google's servers then send back the text version of what was said. This is incredibly useful for users who can't type do to physical disabilities or are slow typists.
Google has also disabled silent extension installs as they announced they were going to do back in December. Google says that too many third-parties were taking advantage of the opportunity to install extensions that users didn't want or didn't even accept.
You can download Google Chrome 25 from Google's website.
Google will be bundling its Chrome OS app launcher with future versions of its Chrome browser, if the latest developer version of Chrome is correct. Yesterday, someone spotted a new feature in a just released developer channel version of Chrome that adds the app launcher feature to the popular browser.
The App Launcher lets you run Chrome apps without launching the browser first. This lets apps that are capable of running offline have a wider range of features than regular web apps. Google has stated that you will have the same experience as Chromebook users via the App Launcher.
At the moment, the new feature is only available on the developer's version of Chrome for Windows, but Google has said that the Linux and OSX developer version will be released shortly. No word on which upcoming release of Chrome will see the official launch of the App Launcher, but we will keep you notified when we find out.
Firefox 19 isn't going to officially launch until tomorrow, but you can get your hands on the latest version of Mozilla's browser for Windows, Mac and Linux right now.
You can download it directly from Mozilla's FTP server, or you can wait until the official launch and continue to check the Firefox website. Mozilla's blog also provides information about the release if it's significant enough, like Firefox 19. If you are using Firefox as your mobile browser, you might want to also keep an eye on the Google Play Store, too, as it should launch for Android tomorrow.