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.
If you're like me, and use the pre-release version of Chrome, you would already have this feature. But it's great to announce that the latest stable version of Google's super-popular web browser, Chrome, includes the redesigned New Tab homepage.
Google announced that "it's more streamlined, so it's easier to access and organize your apps in different sections on the page". The new homepage shows thumbnails of the websites you visit most (hopefully TweakTown is first! *wink*) and you can also see your 'recently closed' pages at the bottom right of the page, this allows you to restore a closed tab or window.
You can add more apps to your New Tab page by clicking on the Chrome Web Store icon, and the Web Store also rocks a makeover as of today. Apps and extensions are now being presented in a wall of images that's updated every time you visit the store. If you'd like to check out the official video from Google demonstrating its New Tab homepage layout, check it out below:
Chrome is very popular, and this popularity is winning them some serious users, with Firefox set to lose its title as the second most popular browser globally to Google, as soon as the end of this year. Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still way, way ahead of everything else right now with stats from September 2011 showing that Internet Explorer holds 41.7 percent market share, Firefox holding onto 26.8 percent and Chrome slightly behind at 23.6 percent.
If we view the data over the last year, we see just how quick Chrome is jumping on Firefox's heels and also how many users are leaving Internet Explorer. In October 2010, Chrome had just 12.4 market share, Firefox sitting on 31.2 percent and Internet Explorer had almost half, at 49.2 percent. IE has lost 7.5 percent in a single year, where Chrome added 11.2 percent. If this trend continues, Chrome should be on top of Firefox before the end of the year.
The development of Android and Google, to most peoples amazement is kept totally separate. They have different teams working on both and theres almost no interaction between the teams. There was even a time when they were both competing with each other for the future of personal computing. But, this is all set to change, according to a post on the Chromium Code website, Google Chrome for Android is right around the corner.
The Chromium revision log indicates that Chrome for Android will bring most of its desktop features across, which will make a lot of people (myself included) very, very happy. The app will also support the Skia 2D graphics library that Google has been working on. This is all the information available at the current time. Remember that Google has something big planned for October 11, and maybe this is it. Google for Android to debut on October 11? Let's hope so!
The other changes are not as noticeable, such as the address br now eliminates the URL from the current page and highlights the primary domain to simplify spotting fake sites. Bookmark and password syncing now occurs more frequently and the renderer now supports CSS3's Text Overflow and web load time analytics for developers. Windows-based users now get hardware acceleration of HTML5 Canvas pages.
Firefox 8 is expected within six weeks, with Mozilla saying they might return to a slower, major milestone-type release schedule, but that change won't happen before Firefox 8 is upon us.
Google have released Chrome 15 and 16 to beta and dev channels respectively. Just a week after the first stable build of Chrome 14 hits the sticky webs of the Internet, Google throw more versions into the mix. Available for Windows, Mac OS and Linux, Chrome 15 beta brings a redesigned New Tab page that makes it easier to manage your apps, bookmarks and most visited sites. Chrome 15 includes the ability to drag and drop apps to rearrange them, create new sections with custom names and delete apps by dragging them into a trash can on the bottom right of a page.
Chrome 16 on the other hand (only available on Windows and Mac OS) enabled the long-awaited multi-user feature by default. This allows you to switch between various in-browser user profiles. The pre-release beta also consists of an updated V8 engine (188.8.131.52) and various bug fixes.
An announcement from Adobe today lets us know that significant new versions of its Flash Player and AIR platform are on the verge of release, Flash Player 11 and AIR 3; these both scheduled to become available to the masses early next month.
The new browser plug-in of Adobe Flash promises massive performance improvements over the 10 release using full hardware acceleration. Adobe also rolls in full, native 64-bit web browser support which should make the switch over to 64-bit web browsing less of a problem with there already being HTML5 and Java 64-bit plugins available.
Here's a detailed rundown on all the new goodies coming with the new versions :-
- Accelerated 2D/3D Graphics: Full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics enable 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2.
- 64bit support on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Google have today shipped the latest release of Chrome to the Stable channel, after last month's Beta channel release. The new release contains two significant technologies which allow developers to create even more powerful web apps and games. These include the Web Audio API which enables developers to add fancy audio effects such as room simulation and spatialization. Native Client is second tech included, which is an open-source technology that allows C and C++ code to be seamlessly and securely executed inside the browser. Current, Native Client only supports applications listed in the Chrome Web Store, but Google are working on removing this limitation as soon as possible.
Chrome 14 also includes some Mac OS X Lion changes. For all web pages, Chrome uses Lion's overlay scrollbars, which only appear when scrolling. They've also added initial support for Lion's full screen move, triggered by a full-screen button or Ctrl+Shift+F. Google have also fixed many crash bugs and added some all-around visual polish.
Grab the new version here.
A beta build for developers of Firefox for Honeycomb is available for you to try. With developer Lucas Rocha saying on a blog post:
It has now reached a functional state that is good enough for getting some early feedback. Keep in mind that this is very early stage work. There are lots of rough edges and design is continuously evolving.
The design continues the keep the elements of the smaller-screen smartphone version, with tab switching that is accessed bu pulling out from the left side and other options that can be accessed by pulling from the right side. The bigger screen adds forward and backward navigation buttons, an address bar, and buttons for reloading and bookmarking. Firefox on smartphones is well underway, so Mozilla are now beginning to focus on Android-based tablets, in particular, Honeycomb.
Mozilla is banking on Android as a way to keep its browser relevant in the fast-growing mobile world. With MeeGo and Windows Mobile 6.5 riding into the sunset, Windows Phone 7 not having the necessary low-level access to permit Firefox to run, and the dominant mobile OS, Apple's iOS, only permits browsers that put a new interface on Apple's WebKit browser engine.
Today brings reason to celebrate for Google, marking Chrome's third anniversary since the open source web browser was first launched. This is a browser that needs no introduction with it being a widely favoured choice across the globe, in businesses, at home and on the go.
Things have certainly come a long way even in the three years since Chrome graced the web, making significant strides in speed, simplicity and security.
At this special time, to give insight to the evolution of major web technologies and browsers, Google has also put together a fantastic interactive infographic built using HTML5 that looks at all things web/browser wise as far back as the early 1990s when Netscape was king.
Firefox 5 only came out a short while ago and Mozilla are not slowing down. Firefox 6 final is now available for download on Mac, Windows and Linux via Mozilla FTP servers. It's not available "officially", but will be available anytime next week. Firefox 6 does not introduce any UI changes, but the new version of Mozilla's ever-so-popular web browser does include some speed improvements while using the browser, almost 20% faster in some cases verses Firefox 5.
As always, because this isn't the "official" release, the final build may be updated before it gets released to the public next week. The welcome page does still say "Firefox 6 Beta" but don't let this stop you, Mozilla just hasn't updated the page yet. Go forth and grab Firefox 6! If you'd like to get your download on, I've linked to the 3 flavours of Firefox 6 below.
It was only a few weeks ago that Google announced that their Instant Pages feature would make its way to the Chrome beta channel users. But today they're releasing Instant Pages is on by default in the latest stable version of Google Chrome. This means that sometimes when you click a Google search result in Chrome, the page will appear to load much faster than before. How much faster you ask? Well, take a look below at a side-by-side comparison with Instant Pages on/off by default.
Google haven't stopped there, they've also announced that print preview is available for Windows and Linux users in the latest stable version of Chrome, with the Mac release coming soon. There's now a "print to PDF" option which should please people. Finally, there's the omnibox, Chrome's combination search box and address bar, which has gotten a bit smarter in the latest release which makes it easier to get back to pages you visited before.
Just type part of the page's address or title and look in the dropdown for matching pages from your history.