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Two months after the news Opera's browser business would be sold to Chinese firms, the company's eponymous browser now offers a built-in virtual private network (VPN) service. Available in beta form since April, it goes public today, making it the first major browser to do so.
VPNs allow one greater privacy and security while granting access to region restricted content. Opera cites surveys where users who declined to use one typically did so to avoid difficulty and subscription fees, so it appears their aim is to eliminate both barriers.
Mozilla is experimenting with integrating the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine into its Firefox browser. What this means is anytime you hit a dead page, the browser will automatically detect it and offer up a link to an archived version. At least, in theory: the feature (dubbed "No More 404s") is in the early stages and doesn't always detect pages and sometimes there is no archived version available.
After extensive planning and development, multi-process Firefox (aka Electrolysis or e10s) is here with Firefox 48. The jist of it is this: web content and browser interface processes are now separate, so if a page is hogging resources, your tabs, buttons, and menus will no longer lock up.
E10s is rolling out slowly; to check if it's enabled for you, type about:support into the address bar and check the line that says 'Multiprocess Windows.' If it says '1/1 (Enabled by default', you're good to go.
The awesome bar also gets significantly more useful with the 48 release: many more suggestions, each showing more information now show up when you begin to type in the bar.
Microsoft has claimed that its Edge browser is the only one out of the four big browsers on the market that can handle 1080p playback of Netflix content, and according to PCWorld, the claims are true.
The three other browsers - Chrome, Firefox, and Opera - are all capped at 720p. Using the "secret Netflix menus" (press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+D) will display the resolution and bitrate of the Netflix content on your PC, and Microsoft is right - the others are capped at 720p while Edge ramps up to 1080p. The Windows 10 Netflix app renders Netflix at 1080p as well.
Considering that the PC is one of the most powerful platforms in the world, it's a strange thing to see that the PC doesn't support 1080p playback of Netflix, let alone 4K playback. Le sigh.
Firefox will soon see what Mozilla developer Asa Dotzler calls "the largest [change] we've ever shipped": the public release of Electrolysis (aka E10S).
A fundamental design change, E10S splits Firefox into two separate processes: one for interface, and one for content. The benefit for the user is if there are any stability issues (slowdowns due to resource hogging, freezing, crashing, etc.), you'll still be able to use your tabs, buttons, and menus as normal.
E10S has been in beta for a long while now and Dotzler says it's finally nearing public release; the current plan is to launch it publicly on August 2. Only one percent of users will receive it immediately, but assuming all goes well, it will then gradually roll out to the other half in the weeks that follow.
For the first time, Mozilla's Firefox browser has beaten out the one-two punch of Microsoft's Edge and Internet Explorer in market share. Web analytics company StatCounter reviewed data from three million sites and determined Firefox sat at 15.6% as of April, a hair ahead of Edge and IE at 15.5%.
Firefox usage has been on the decline recently, but Microsoft's browsers are falling faster. In the case of the latter, the story hasn't changed: most believe the company has to deliver the still in beta extension support to better compete with its rivals.
No more fussing with paid virtual private network (VPN) services to get your US Netflix or access blocked websites: Opera now builds one directly into its desktop browser.
The company says the new feature is a response to the demand for the service (24% of internet users have tried or are currently using a VPN), as well as a desire to offer something new for the web. No doubt much of that 24% will try out the new Opera and maybe even stick with it, if only as a secondary browser for the express purpose of accessing geographically restricted content.
After struggling in recent years against the dominant Google, Mozilla has decided to give in somewhat and dedicate a six-person team to develop a radically different browser. The shocking part: Tofino, as it's called, is using an outside project Electron, which in turn is built on the Chromium foundation (which powers Chrome). With this move, Mozilla joins a long list of companies that have adopted Chromium, most recognizably Samsung and Opera.
Mark Mayo, senior vice president of the Firefox project says internal resistance to the shift has been vehement, to the point he's surprised the project got off the ground at all. No doubt it helps that the long-term plan is to adapt the company's proprietary Gecko technology and so replace Electron and Chromium, according to Mozilla engineer Kyle Huey.
Chrome accounts for 47 percent of browser usage; Safari sits at 13 percent, and Firefox at 9 percent, according to StatCounter.
Earlier this month, Microsoft's Edge browser finally added support for extensions, although only three were available at the time: Translate, Mouse Gestures, and the Reddit Enhancement Suite.
Today the list expands as seven more partners have been added: Pinterest, Adblock, Adblock Plus, LastPass, Amazon Assistant, Evernote Corp., and Page Analyzer, which should do well to help Edge compete against the ever-dominant Chrome browser.
Note that not all of the new partners have their extensions available quite yet, and you'll need the preview version of Edge to try extensions for the next little bit.
Opera 36 is out and marks a major release for the alternative browser, bringing with it a new look and some key new features.
First up is the overhauled start page, which is now better optimized for widescreen monitors, and includes a customize button that allows you to alter themes and your news section, among other things. More will come in version 37.
There's lots of love for Windows 10 users, too: colours will change depending on your OS theme and such, touch input is supported (and accommodated with UI elements that auto adjust in size, and a fullscreen icon), and native notifications are included.