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Last year, Google released a plug-in for the wildly popular Google Chrome. Like all things Google, this plug-in started out as a beta. The plug-in was a utility that would allow users to remotely access other PCs through Chrome. Today, Google has upgraded this plug-in from beta status with additional features.
To move the plug-in out of beta, Google added some extra features, some of which are really sweet. For instance, you can now have a real time audio feed from Windows, which should allow you to stream your MP3 collection through the internet to wherever you may remote desktoping in from.
Google is really trying to sell the plug-in as part of the Chromebook experience. You can take your highly "portable and easy-to use Chromebook with you on the go" and still remote into your PC or Mac at home to listen to music, do work that isn't possible on a Chromebook, or to just check on things.
Google says that they are still working on even more features to make Chrome Remote Desktop even more powerful. You can grab the plug-in from the Chrome Web Store.
Mozilla have taken to their Security Blog to update users on a security vulnerability they've found in their latest version of Firefox, version 16. The company have stated that there is an update arriving on October 11 on Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux.
This update should fix the problems with the security hole, which Mozilla have stated:
Mozilla is aware of a security vulnerability in the current release version of Firefox (version 16). We are actively working on a fix and plan to ship updates tomorrow. Firefox version 15 is unaffected.
The impact of the hole itself:
The vulnerability could allow a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited and have access to the URL or URL parameters. At this time we have no indication that this vulnerability is currently being exploited in the wild.
For the meantime, Mozilla have cleared Firefox 16 from its current installer page.
In a continuing effort to make Google Chrome more secure, Google enters the browser into hacking competitions. One of the hacking competitions stopped requiring participants to fully disclose how an exploit was performed, so Google decided to start hosting their own. Known as Pwnium competition, Google hands out awards from $20,000 to $60,000 depending on the exploit.
In this case, a hacker managed to win $60,000, the highest award amount, for exploiting a security hole in Chrome on Tuesday. "We're happy to confirm that we received a valid exploit from returning pwner Pinkie Pie," Google announced in a Chromium blog. "This pwn relies on a WebKit Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) compromise to exploit the renderer process and a second bug in the IPC layer to escape the Chrome sandbox. Since this exploit depends entirely on bugs within Chrome to achieve code execution, it qualifies for our highest award level as a 'full Chrome exploit,' a $60,000 prize and free Chromebook."
Of course, Google's team immediately started patching the exploit as soon as it was discovered and had a patch pushed out in just 10 hours. The hacker who performed this exploit also picked up $60,000 in the first competition that was held earlier this year. If Pinkie Pie can keep this up, he could support himself nicely with this income.
With Windows 8 knocking at our door, Mozilla have unleashed a preview of Firefox for Windows 8, as you can see from the photo below, it is not looking too bad at all.
This version is from the latest nightly build of Firefox for Windows 8, and is available for download right now if you'd like to try it out. This preview of Firefox for Windows 8 includes "a new Metro style Firefox Start page, support for Firefox Sync, Metro touch and swipe gestures, integration with Windows 8 'charms', and a simple but powerful Australis interface that is streamlined, modern, and beautiful."
Mozilla has touted this nightly version to be part of their "Elm" development branch, and will be auto-updated as their development of the browser goes on. We should see the usual improvements to the browser as time passes, but for now the preview is all we have.
Google's Chrome browser is popular, but just how popular are new versions? Well, according to Chitika Insights, Chrome 22 enjoyed usage of 22% within 24 hours of its release.
To compare this to Chrome 21, which enjoyed 25% on its release. But, more users have been shifting over to Chrome 22, where within its first week since launch hit an 85% adoption rate. Chrome 21 took ten days to reach the same milestone.
It seems that more and more people are keeping up with the bleeding edge of Google's web browser, partly because it has become much easier to keep up to date, and not wiping your settings or messing around with bookmarks again makes it easier for the mainstream user to transition, without worrying about losing a bunch of important data.
It seems as though Google has decided to come to the "Do Not Track" party with Google Chrome. The latest test build of the popular browser now includes a "Do Not Track" option, which allows users to opt-out of being tracked by cookies for advertising and other purposes. It's becoming more and more popular.
Advertisers are, of course, worried about these changes due to the fact that they will be less able to target ads at web-surfers. A Google Spokesperson:
We undertook to honor an agreement on DNT that the industry reached with the White House early this year. To that end we're making this setting visible in our Chromium developer channel, so that it will be available in upcoming versions of Chrome by year's end.
Microsoft, Google, Opera, and Mozilla have all joined in on this Do Not Track initiative. Mozilla added the feature to Firefox back in 2011, and Opera joined in with Opera 12. Microsoft has actually said that the Do Not Track feature will be enabled by default on new Windows 8 systems, something advertisers are really unhappy about.
Due to Apache believing it should be a choice given to users, they are planning on ignoring Do Not Track requests from Internet Explorer 10.
Apple makes it very difficult to use a browser other than the default Safari on iOS devices. They don't outright prevent other developers from creating browsers, but they do prevent users from selecting a different default browser. Back in June, Google finally released Chrome for iOS and it has since been gaining market share.
In July, Google's browser had reached a massive 1.5 percent, which, despite the small number, is quite impressive. Here we are just three months after the initial release and Google's Chrome has reached an even more impressive 2.7 percent. Of course, these market share numbers are a bunch of estimates and vary with the time of day and between days.
Chitika, the advertising company behind these numbers, stated that depending on the hour of the day, the number can be in excess of 5 percent, and peaked at 6.83 percent on September 7. Chitika's analysts state, "considering the fact that Chrome for iOS spent nearly a month as the top free app for iOS devices, the Chitika Insights team expected it would make more of an impact on the market than it has thus far."
The days of Firefox "talking" to you while updating are over. With the release of Firefox 15 today, Mozilla has done away with that form of updates, opting for the silent updates, or background updates, utilized by Chrome and other software. No longer will you have to wait while it updates to the latest version! What a relief.
All joking aside, this really is a nice feature to have in software. One of the most frustrating things I have encountered in computing is when I really need to look up something quickly and the browser is updating to the latest version. Since the updater is an integral part of the software, Mozilla took its time testing this before releasing it.
"This was one of the scariest projects that I've ever worked on, since messing something up in the updater component could have catastrophic consequences in case it prevents users from being able to update to newer Firefox revisions," said Ehsan Akhgari, a programmer who worked on the project.
The feature has been present in the nightly Firefox build for a while now, and using that, they caught a few bugs which were fixed in time for the release of Firefox 15. The latest version of Firefox is available from the Mozilla website. If you already have it installed, this should be the last update you have to endure.
Developers who submit a Windows 8 app to the Windows Store using the word 'Metro' will "fail certification". This is a move from Microsoft that will see the Metro name die a horrible, horrible death. A recent change to the "Naming your app" instructions appears despite the heavy use by Microsoft of the term elsewhere.
This means that developers are now having to rebrand their apps in order to pass the new, stricter, non-Metro requirements. One big example is Windows-based Twitter client, MetroTwit, which already has a great following, and it now risks losing users when they go through a now required name change.
This is a big change, and its getting so close to the launch of Windows 8 I fear the Microsoft may be poisoning the Windows 8 name by this huge tectonic shift in renaming Metro, and the domino effect its having on developers, and their apps. Time will tell, I guess.