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Following Google's lead, Mozilla has decided to deactivate most of the browser plug-ins used in Firefox. In the latest version of Firefox Aurora, almost all of the plug-ins have been disabled with the exception of Adobe Flash. Unlike Chrome's plan to ban plug-ins all together, FireFox will let its users choose which plug-ins they would like to activate.
Firefox says that the decision to disable most plug-ins would not only help speed up the browser, but it will provide a safer environment and remove many of the security vulnerabilities that modern browsers face. At one time, plug-ins were an important tool for development as well as implementing cutting-edge features such as video and animation, but over time web technologies advanced and everything can now be done using new technologies such as WebGL, WebSockets, WebRTC, and asm.js.
The move to disable plug-ins is also driven by the fact that most mobile devices no longer support many of them. Disabling plug-ins by default will help push development into a more mobile-friendly workflow and will allow developers to take the Internet to the next level.
Earlier this afternoon, Google announced that it has began rolling out a newly refreshed "new tabs page" that greatly speeds up searching from within the Chrome browser. The new tab page still features little windows to your most visited sites, but now features the Google search bar front and center.
Google says that at the moment only those who use the "stable channel of Chrome" will have access to the new tab page, and those users must additionally have Google set as the default search engine. Google is not limiting this new tab page to just Google search, and has opened the API to allow any search engine to be integrated into the new tab page.
A statement on Google's Chrome blog said:
When you're searching for information, speed matters. We're always thinking about how to shave milliseconds from every search you do, throughout our products. Last year, we started testing a feature in Chrome to make searching from a new tab faster and simpler. If you use Chrome's Developer or Beta installs, you may have already seen this in action. Many thanks for your feedback, which has helped us continue to hone the look and feel, and improve average time from query to answer - meaning you can find what you're looking for even more quickly than before.
Browser plug-ins are one of the largest security vulnerabilities facing today's computers, and Google aims to remove this issue from their Chrome browser once and for all. Starting in January 2014, Google will begin banning all of the most widely used browser plug-ins and will insist that developers begin using programming methods that use standards built directly into the web.
Most of the plug-ins featured on Chrome use the Netscape Plug-In Application programming interface, a technology that was state-of-the-art more than 10 years ago. Plug-ins should not be confused with much safer Add-Ons, which Google distributes through its Chrome Web Store. Fortunately, plug-ins such as Microsoft's Silverlight, Unity, Java, Flash, and Facebook Video will be white listed in the ban, so most of your services should continue functioning normally.
PAX PRIME 2013 - Microsoft is in attendance of PAX Prime 2013--why wouldn't they be? Their headquarters is just down the road--and is showing not only their Xbox equipment, but is also making a marketing push for Internet Explorer. In conjunction with Atari, Microsoft is showing off three classic games redesigned for touch and running in Internet Explorer.
Each player played three classic games for 60 seconds a piece. The three scores were then combined, with the highest scoring player getting a VIP vacation to the Tokyo Game Show in 2014. For those interested, the three games were Centipede, Missile Command, and Asteroids.
In the latest stable versions of Chrome and Chrome OS, Mountain View-based Google has been testing search-enabled tabs. These search-enabled tabs have been popping up in Chrome since December, but you've needed to run the test version of the browser to see it.
Google has now opened it up to a small number of users running stable copies of Chrome and Chrome OS, and all you need to do is have Google as your default search engine to see a search box appear in every new tab - a very nice, functional addition to new tabs. Google hasn't said whether this new search function will leak into every users Chrome, but it said that previous tests have been "encouraging."
Just how powerful is Google's grip on the global web browser market share? Very powerful. The Mountain View-based giant claim 43% of the global market with Chrome.
In the US, just 36% of Internet users use Chrome, which is one of the world's lowest rates. Internet Explorer is still dominant - I don't know how or why - in the US, with 30%. In South America, Google is king with 63% of the market.
Asia seems to favor Chrome, where Google see 49% of the market in its hands. Worldwide, Google take 43%, Internet Explorer takes 25% and Firefox scoops up 20%.
Over the weekend, The Pirate Bay launched its very own web browser aimed at circumventing many of the censorship blockades imposed by countries around the world. The new browser is based on the TOR client and version 23 of the portable edition of the FireFox Browser bundled with the foxyproxy add-on.
Unfortunately, the browser does not make the browser the anonymous; it simply provides a gateway through the firewalls many countries are starting to use to block content such as porn, anti-government websites, and even The Pirate Bay themselves. The Pirate Bay said in a statement, "This browser is intended just to circumvent censorship--to remove limits on accessing websites your government doesn't want you to know about. There have been no modifications to any of the packages used, no adware, trojans, toolbars, etc. This is simply a tool to help people get around censorship."
Previously only released as a developer preview, Google's Chrome App Launcher for Windows has today been released to the public. The app launcher allows users to directly launch Google services and install Chrome apps from the Windows 7 and Windows 8 menu bar. Additionally, Windows 8 users are also able to launch these apps through the start page on Windows 8.
Users of Chrome OS have had this functionality for quite some time now as well as versions of Chromium for Windows, Mac and Linux. Unfortunately for OS X users, a fully functional version has not yet been released for public download. The same story applies for those who love Linux and wish to run Chrome instead of Chromium.
Google recently unveiled its new experimental protocol called Quick UDP Internet Connections (QUIC). The search giant also added the new network protocol into the latest build of Chrome Canary so that testing could be conducted in the real-world. The protocol has already undergone internal testing, but the outside world is vastly different.
Google says that the new protocol is secure, with the security being similar to TLS. It is also designed to be faster than the currently used TCP protocol.
This new protocol should eventually make it into the public release of Chrome, though servers will also have to implement the protocol for it to be effective. We're sure Google will be one of the first adopters of the protocol since they are the developers of the protocol.
If you've been wondering if or when Internet Explorer 11 would be arriving on Windows 7, this is your day. Microsoft have confirmed the fact that IE11 will be arriving on Windows 7, but haven't provided a time frame unfortunately.
We might not see Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 until after the launch of Windows 8.1, which is my train of thought right now. I think Microsoft could release their new OS, and then once that is out in the wild and the limelight is taken away from it, they'll slide out Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7 to keep their hype train moving along before Xbox One is released.