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.
The long-anticipated Material design changes to Chrome are nearing the finish line and are now expected to launch April 8 with Chrome 51.
With it, you can expect a translucent top bar, a tab bar that adapts to the colours (or video) behind it on OS X, an all-black Incognito mode (which supports themes), fresh developer tools that allow for a dark mode and appearance tweaking, among other changes. Yet more may come with the development time between now and launch.
If you want to try out some of the changes now, download the latest Chrome beta here.
A handy new extension is now available for Chrome users known to browse Steam from time to time. It's called Fair Steam and it saves you the trouble of looking up gameplay videos from YouTubers by integrating their videos directly into the Steam website. The videos available on a given game page are determined by an algorithm that prizes gameplay-heavy, personality-light videos, so you just get the meat. As of now, there are 13491 videos in the database, with more added daily.
A few notes: more features are planned for Fair Steam, though they are not known yet. For now, the focus is on gameplay videos; if you're in the minority and don't use Chrome, Firefox and Opera versions are coming soon; for those that use Enhanced Steam extension, Fair Steam is compatible with it.
To download it, head this way.
Microsoft impressed with its "sequel" to Internet Explorer (Edge), but failed to gain much traction with it, which some attribute largely to a lack of extension support. It's been a long time coming, but it's almost here finally: extensions have been moved into the RS1_release branch, so support should arrive with the next insider preview. An anonymous source within Microsoft has confirmed this information.
The next Edge release is expected sometime this month; extension support is expected to arrive before the end of March should it fail to show up in the next release.
Donald Trump won primaries in seven states during this week's Super Tuesday, which seems to have prompted many Americans to immediately consider refuge in Canada. The evidence lies with Google, where searches for "how can I move to Canada" spiked by 350% four hours after polls closed, and 1000% by midnight. (Protip from a Canadian: moving here is not easy.)
Additionally, the Government of Canada's immigration and citizenship page was slow loading or not loading at all for many visitors. At around midnight ET, a message on the website read, "You may experience delays while using the website. We are working to resolve this issue. Thank you for your patience."