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Google on their quest for the best web browser in the world, have yet another version that has hit the beta channel that is designed around improving two of Chrome's key aspects: speed and security. The first change in Chrome 17 beta is the ability for pages to start loading in the background before a user has even finished typing a URL into the Omnibox address and search bar.
Dominic Hamon, a software engineer at Google explains: "If the URL auto-completes to a site you're very likely to visit," he explained when announcing the browser update. The pre-rendering makes the full site show up almost instantly, according to Google. Google have also introduced an extension to its Safe Browsing technology, which protects users against malicious downloads by analysing executable files, including Windows .exe and .msi files, for known malware.
With this new extension, Chrome will issue a warning if a certain file appears to be malicious and will also alert the user if a file is downloaded from a website with a poor reputation for hosting malware-infected files. What this does, is protect users from the "social engineering" type of threat, such as anti-virus products being offered online, but it's still up to the user to proceed with the download or discard it.
Whilst a Google Chrome engineer says that Firefox is not a competitor, but a partner, it all comes down to competition and numbers. Right now, Google Chrome are ahead of Firefox in browser share market numbers. Chrome had an amazing year in 2011.
Chrome went from a 15-percent marker share, to 27-percent in December, 2011. Chrome ended 2011 two points above Firefox, who had 25-percent, down from 31-percent twelve months ago. Google haven't been able to replicate this success in their Android browser, which gets slapped around by Apple's mobile Safari across all iOS devices, with 52-percent to 16-percent for Apple and Google, respectively.
The real beast to beat is Microsoft's Internet Explorer which currently holds 39-percent of the browser market. If Chrome keeps going up like it does, I don't see that being a problem for 2012. I use Chrome, and love it. My entire life is synced into Google. Mobile, browser, syncs, e-mail, everything. I'm sure a lot of others are like me, too. Best of all... it's free!
Google and Firefox signed a three-year agreement just a few days ago to continue Google's default search engine goodness in Firefox, and Mozilla has got yet another gift for the world.
The first public beta build of Firefox version 10.0 has been released, and according to the developers, it comes with Full Screen APIs (so web apps can run in full screen mode), with support for CSS3 3D-Transforms and WebGL Anti-Aliasing, and an added HTML5 nugget: the < bdi > element for bi-directional text isolation.
Firefox 10.0 Beta also includes a forward button which stays hidden until you navigate back, an Inspect tool with content highlighting, IndexedDB APIs and a few fixes. Firefox 10.0 Beta is available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Download links are available here.
Earlier this week, Mozilla renewed their agreement with Google to be their default search engine in Firefox for another three years. Google Chrome engineer, Peter Kasting, has said: "Google is funding a partner," not a competitor. And its a great way of putting it, more revenue streams and people coming to your search engine, are better than none.
People never seem to understand why Google builds Chrome no matter how many times I try to pound it into their heads. It's very simple: the primary goal of Chrome is to make the web advance as much and as quickly as possible. It's completely irrelevant to this goal whether Chrome actually gains tons of users or whether instead the web advances because the other browser vendors step up their game and produce far better browsers. Either way the web gets better. Job done.
Mozilla have reportedly renewed their search partnership with Google for another three years. Mozilla haven't disclosed the financial details, but have said that it will be significant and mutually benefit both parties. For example, in 2010, Google contributed 84-percent of Mozilla's $123 million total revenue.
The previous agreement, which lasted for three years, expired last month. Mozilla said at the time it was in "active negotiations" with Google, but with Chrome ramping up its market share, most believed that Google would use that as leverage to cut down on a competitor or just let them go.
There were doubts that Mozilla wouldn't tap Google for its search engine, with the end of October seeing Firefox offering a "Firefox with Bing". This of course started rumors that Firefox might use Microsoft as their default search engine, but this in the end, was not the case.
Google have pushed through a new 'stable' build of their awesome Chrome browser, which offers a stand-out feature; multiple profiles.
This new feature baked into Chrome allows a single instance of Chrome to handle multiple user profiles and allows easy switching between them. For those of you who use a shared PC, it enables all people on the system to use the single web browser, with multiple accounts you're able to access your personal bookmarks, apps, extensions, history and more settings.
Other than the multiple sign-in support, Chrome v16.0.912.63 includes Sync enhancements and the usual bug fixes. It's available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Google's popular Chrome browser is having some new functionality baked in early next year, with plug-and-play support gamepads and more on the way. Google developer advocate, Paul Kinlan, revealed the news earlier today at Develop Liverpool.
The new features are due in Q1 2012, with gamepad support, camera and microphones, all without the need for plug-ins, Kinlan even hinted at the possibility for augmented reality games and player tracking. Another feature planned is WebRTC, an open-source video chat application that will run in the browser, with no plug-in required.
This is technology that could support an OnLive-style cloud-based gaming service, so we could see some very interesting things in the near future.
Firefox 8 is officially debuting on November 8th, but this is the Internet and we are cool, right? This means we can get things earlier because of our insane technical knowledge and sexy mojo, right? Well, partly. If you want to get on some Firefox 8 action, head on over to Mozilla's FTP server and grab it. That's right, it's available now.
The biggest change to Firefox 8 is it's a little more careful with add-ons, which now sets them to disabled by default and presenting upgraders a one-time dialog box to manage previously installed add-ons.
Also included is support for Twitter in the search bar, a preference to load tabs on-demand after a relaunch (something I love with Chrome) and the usual performance and stability fixes. If you're not one to live on the bleeding edge of browser versions, you can wait and let Firefox auto-update in a few days time.
Opera Software have just rolled out a small update to their mobile browsers which includes some new features as well as the usual optimizations such as improved network performance and lower memory usage. Opera Mini 6.5 and Opera Mobile 11.5 now sport enhanced bookmarking functionality with a small star in the address field that lets you quickly save those links you want to keep and add them to your Speed Dial.
Opera have also added in a built-in data counter, found in the "Help" menu, the counter lets you monitor your data consumption, which could be very useful for data conscious users. Tracking your data consumption on your mobile plan is usually hard, requiring that you sign into your providers website or use an app to monitor it, but having it built into Opera (which is where a majority of your browsing will be done) is very handy indeed.
On top of this, it will gel well with Opera Turbo. Opera Turbo compresses web data by up to 90-percent before sending it to your phone. This is great for those on low data plans, mixed in with the data counter, you could keep a tab on your consumption very easily.