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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.