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Mozilla has been blowing air into the hot air balloon that is 64-bit browsers. Finally, there are people working on Firefox for Windows x64 and this means that from Firefox 8, there'll be two builds; 32-bit and 64-bit. The 64-bit version will obviously take advantage of operating in native 64-bit and use its memory space. The x64 build of Firefox 8 is roughly 10-percent faster than the 32-bit version, but its not just speed.
Encryption and filtering functions are superior on Firefox 8 x64, the handling of DOM Operations benchmark shows a 25-percent increase, this results in every dynamic website loading faster and feeling more responsive. The 64-bit build of Firefox 8 does however use more memory. In a benchmark by ExtremeTech, the 64-bit build had a memory footprint of 320MB with the 32-bit build using just 230MB.
Ready for some truly different news today? Look no further than the following HTML 5 music experience based on the Arcade Fire song "We Used to Wait." "3 Dreams of Black" is Google's latest music experience for the browser, written and directed by Chris Milk and developed by a few of the talented lot at Google. The song, "Black," comes off the album ROME, presented by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, the track features Jack White and Norah Jones vocals and is soon to be released on the record label Parlophone/EMI.
ROME has inspirations from Italian soundtracks from the 1960s and the classic Indian Western genre. As for an explanation of what you're about to experience, here is the sum up of it:
"3 Dreams of Black" is a visual voyage through three dream worlds, told through rich 2D drawings and animations that are interspersed with interactive 3D sequences. At various points in this web experience, you can take control with your computer's mouse and guide your journey through the unfolding narrative. You can even contribute to the dream by creating your own relics using a 3D model creator. Some of the best user creations will be integrated into the experience and become a part of others' "3 Dreams" exploration.
Mozilla's latest web browsing super software, Firefox, has reached 100 million downloads since it launched a month ago. This means it has been downloaded twice as many times as Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9.
As it stands now we have Firefox 4 in one corner with 7.94-percent of the worldwide browser market according to StatCounter, Internet Explorer 8.0 with 29.99-percent, Firefox 3.6 with 24.43-percent and finally, Google Chrome 10 with 15.35-percent.
Don't like being tracked and having ads that are supposedly pointed towards you popping up? Both Mozilla and Google are implementing new ways to "opt out" of these types of ad tracking in updates to their browsers.
Google is using a cookie based approach for Chrome, calling it "Keep my Opt Outs." This extension is explained as being able to "permanently [opt] your browser out of online ad personalization via cookies." The big bonus here is that it will work well with Google based ads, which tons of sites use so it will be more noticeable in most user browsing sessions.
Mozilla's plan for its Firefox browser includes an HTTP header that tells web sites that the users wants to opt-out of OBA. Alex Fowler, Mozilla's global privacy and public policy leader, stated that they "believe the header-based approach has the potential to be better for the web in the long run because it is a clearer and more universal opt-out mechanism than cookies or blacklists." This is different from other cookie or registry opt out functions.
The final, non-beta release of Opera 11 has hit the interwebs. It promises to deliver big changes and a bucket load of smaller refinements. Amongst the biggest of these is what the team at Opera are calling "tab stacking" - which lets you create groups of taps to manage dozens of open web pages more effectively.
Another addition is "visual mouse gestures" which is kind of like multitouch gestures but, with a mouse. Opera 11 now includes extensions, along with a new and improved address bar. There's also a built-in mail client dubbed "mail-panel".
I really love Google Chrome - and more so now, a group of students from MIT Media Lab Fluid Interfaces Group have turned the Kinect motion controller into a tool for browsing the internet.
They have written an extension for Chrome called DepthJS - which allows you to use the internet with gestures. Interestingly, making a fist is used for selecting while a swatting motion is used for scrolling.
You can't say you didn't see this coming, right? Developer Jesse Stay won Kynetx's Facebook App contest with a browser extension that allows you to add Facebook's familiar "Like" button to Twitter.
The browser extension, bearing the name "TwitterBook," uses Facebook's "Like" button iframe code to add the button when you hover over a tweet. "Liked" tweets show up on your profile and allow you to share your favorite posts. The developer is also working on a way to add a "Post to Facebook" checkbox to the Twitter update box. Check the Source Link to grab the extension and give it a test drive.
For those Firefox that are tired of swimming through all of the tiny sharing links to share articles and other web info via their social networks, Mozilla has heard your cries and may just have the answer to streamlining the webpage sharing experience. Mozilla has released F1, a plugin that turbocharges the page sharing experience. Facebook, Twitter, and Gmail are the first three supported entities due to their popularity, but Mozilla plans to expand this as they keep working on the plugin.
The concept is pretty simple: click on the F1 icon, choose how you want to share the current page, confirm your credentials, and your Gmail, tweet, or Facebook post is away. While there are other sharing toolbars out there, this seems to be a very nice one that doesn't clutter up your browser unless you want to use it which is really nice. As F1 gathers more sites to share with, I an only see it becoming more popular for those who like their browser simple and streamlined. Check out the demo video at the Source Link.
A hotly discussed on-going topic is Flash and the lack of support on mobile devices and the ability to playback HD video using Flash on power efficient devices such as netbooks and tablets.
Earlier today we attended an Opera Software press briefing here in Taipei to discuss Opera's future plans for HTML5, web standards and how they affect consumer electronics and OEMs in Taiwan. The get together was designed to be an early look of what the Norwegian software company intends to show at Computex Taipei 2010 early next month. Håkon Wium Lie, Opera CTO and the 'father of CSS' was there to discuss these topics and for us it was most interesting to hear what Opera thought about Adobe Flash and where it fits in now and in the future.
Jon S. von Tetzchner, Opera Co-founder and he had some interesting thoughts on Flash as well. During the presentation, we were shown the new video tag (created by Opera) which is part of CSS3, a W3C style sheet language web standard that will soon be supported by many web browsers. This new video tag allows you to write a very simple line of code to add a video to your website. It will come down to the individual browser makers to add support for CSS3 powered video playback, but clearly Opera is behind it in a big way. It remains to be seen how much other browser makers will embrace it, but Opera is eagerly optimistic that it will be embraced heavily as they are fully behind open web standards and this one in particular in a big way - at least that was the impression that we got today.
During question time, Mr. Tetzchner went as far to say that, "(for most normal browsing) you don't need Flash." He went on to say that if we think about it, we aren't seeing Flash come up as much as we did in the past and big sites like Facebook use very little Flash and the only time we really need Flash on the web is for videos and ads. Later on after the presentation we asked Mr. Håkon Wium Lie about hardware acceleration support for HD video using the CSS3 video tag and we were told that Opera isn't working with any one company and will instead work closely with all its hardware partners to offer the best solution so that users of its Opera browsers don't even need to think about it.
What does all this mean for Flash then? Immediately it doesn't mean much at all, but in the future if more software companies, web properties and web developers and the like starting using the CSS3 video tag more and more along with the improvements in HTML5, you will most likely see more resources going into improving it and that could mean broader support for web-based video playback on a greater range of devices that traditionally aren't able to or don't run Flash. If you're into web development, this is certainly something to watch.
Update Note - Mr. Jon S. von Tetzchner is no longer CEO of Opera, he is now listed as Co-founder. This was told to us in Chinese, hence the mistake.
Microsoft has stuck to its promise in releasing an Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview update every 8 weeks through the rest of the development phase and has just made available its second preview which you can download over at the IE9 Test Drive website.
The IEBlog page covers all the details about the second preview release pertaining to performance improvements and the implementation of HTML5.
The following video shows off a bunch of new speed oriented demos that are made possible with the preview 2 release.
No harm in giving it a try if you're interested to see for yourself how it performs. It's designed to install and run side-by-side to your default browser.