How about an iTunes-style interface that shows web page or content thumbnails in the main pane with media libraries, browsing history, surflists, and statistics in the left pane? Or, how about tabs, applications, and work spaces in the left pane to take full advantage of today's widescreen displays? Either way, the once-sharp distinctions between a web browser interface and an operating system management interface like Windows Explorer have become very blurry. While the jury's still out on the Firefox of the future's interface, it looks as if the Ubiquity command-line interface will definitely make it into Firefox by version 3.6.
Are you ready for a new browser experience? Take a look at the prototypes, mockups, and demos, then join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
If you haven't been impressed with Microsoft's latest browser -- or just haven't felt compelled to give IE8 a spin and kick its tires -- you're not alone. Despite a significant speed increase, better web compliance, and a handful of new features, IE8 hasn't been attracting the kind of response Microsoft had probably hoped for, at least not if market share data from Net Applications is any indication. At last count, IE8 made up for a little over 4 percent of the browser market share, taking away from IE7 at a conservative pace. The solution? Throw IE8 into the Automatic Update queue as a 'High Priority' update.
"Last week, we released IE8 via Automatic Update to users still running pre-release versions of IE8 (Beta 2 or Release Candidate 1). The goal was to make sure users who chose to install IE8 have the latest up-to-date version," Microsoft wrote in a blog post. "Starting on or about the third week of April, users still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 will get will get a notification through Automatic Update about IE8."
Microsoft went on to say that the rollout will start with a narrow audience and expand over time to include its entire userbase. IE8 will be labeled as an 'Important' update for those running Vista and Server 2008, and 'High Priority' for XP users. However, IE8 won't automatically install; users will still have to opt-in.
The launch of a new free email service with the promise of a full gigabyte of storage space was no prank when Gmail was first made available on April 1, 2004, otherwise known as April Fools Day. Five years later, the wildly popular (among techies) webmail continues to benefit with frequent feature enhancements (Mail Goggles, anyone?). And five years later, Gmail is still in beta.
"Google Mail was born out of an experimental project created by a few engineers at Google five years ago," a Google spokesperson said. "From the beginning, we wanted Gmail to be a faster, cleaner, and more intuitive solutin for people's email."
Surprisingly, Gmail has yet to gain mass appeal among the general public, despite having long since abandoned its invite-only system for signing up. Accorded to Hitwise stats, Gmail only claimed 6 percent of the webmail market last year, compared to Yahoo Mail's 55 percent and Microsoft Windows Live at 26 percent. However, Google's Gmail service continues to grow, and to the tune of 43 percent last year according to comScore.
Microsoft's recently released Internet Explorer 8 runs faster than previous versions, boasts better standards compliance, and serves up some nifty features like Tab Grouping, Web Accelerators, and Web Slices. And without any major UI changes to pull end-users out of their comfort zone, Microsoft likely expected a mad rush to upgrade. As it turns out, those who are upgrading appear to be running back to IE7, according to data by Net Applications.
After being released on Thursday of last week, IE8's market share ramped up to 2.59 percent on Sunday. By Monday, that number dropped to 1.86 percent and today sits at 1.17 percent. Going by Net Applications' numbers alone, this would seem to indicate early adopters aren't all that impressed with IE8.
Because of the improvements made to web standards compliance, Microsoft had to implement a Compatibility Mode to prevent itself from essentially 'breaking the web.' Major sites known to render improperly in IE8 automatically run in compatibility mode, while others require end-users to manually switch modes. Complaints have surfaced from not being able to print from greeting card sites to missing images on pages built with Microsoft Publisher.
Are you having issues with IE8? Hit the jump and sound off.
Microsoft used last week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, but without the fanfare Mozilla's Firefox 3 received when the open-source browser set a Guinness World Record for most downloads in a 24-hour period following its release.
But while IE8 didn't manage to set any new records, it did boost the browser's market share a tad. Nothing to get excited over, IE8's average market share increased from 1.34 percent from the day before its official launch to 1.45 percent on the day of release. To be fair, market share peaked slightly higher at 1.86 percent and now stands at 1.7 percent.
For the sake of comparison, Google Chrome 1.0 only gained about 0.1 percentage points next to IE8's .52 percentage points gain on day of release. Firefox 3, meanwhile, gained .66 points on the first day and 3.51 points over a two-day period.
Are you planning to download IE8? Hit the jump and let us know.
As expected, Microsoft used this week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, Cnet's Ina Fried reports. To make it easy to get your hands on IE8, links to the previous IE8 beta version website now automatically point to the official IE8 page. So, what's new in IE8? We've discussed a lot of the new features in previous articles, but if you need to get up to speed, here are some of the high points:
Compatibility mode, designed to enable IE8 (built, at long last, to comply with official standards) to properly render pages on sites designed to match previous IE versions' Microsoft-only features
Web accelerators, which provide one-click blog, define, email, find, map, and search for content in any web page
SmartScreen filter and other built-in features to help provide a more secure search environment
InPrivate browsing that automatically blocks history and other traces of where you've been online
It was a year ago that security researcher Charlie Miller walked away with $10,000 for hacking into a MacBook Air with Safari in just two minutes during the annual Pwn2Own competition, and earlier this month Miller predicted Safari would be the first to fall at this year's event. Miller made good on that promise this week by using a prepared exploit to gain full control of the device in about 10 seconds.
"It's not easy, but this worked with one click [from the Safari browser]", Miller said.
Miller had discovered the exploit last year, which allows a remote attacker to take over a machine if a user clicks on a malicious URL. Details of the exploit, which Miller isn't allowed to divulge, will be shared with Apple from contest sponsor TippingPoint so that Apple can develop a patch.
On the same day, a 25-year-old computer science student at the University of Oldenburg in Germany demonstrated exploits in IE8, Safari, and Firefox, earning him a cool $15,000 ($5,000 per exploit), along with getting to keep the Sony Vaio P series notebook he used (Miller pocketed $5,000 and a MacBook Air).
While three major browsers succumbed to hacking attempts on day one, no mobile exploits have yet been successful. Mobile exploits carry the biggest reward for contest participants, with TippingPoint offering $10,000 for each successful exploit in the major smartphones.
For those that are looking to help the folks at Mozilla test out the latest version of their popular Firefox browser, you’re in luck! At long last, Beta 3 of Firefox 3.1 is up for download, and you can get it here.
The new version is, as usual, a free download and is available for Windows and Linux. So, be sure to give this a test and let us (and Mozilla) know what you think!
After several delays, we were beginning to wonder if Firefox 3.1 would ever see the light of day beyond a beta release, and as it turns it out, it's not going to. Instead, Mozilla has renamed the once 'fast-track' update to 3.5 with a fourth beta scheduled for April 14, 2009.
"The increase in scope represented by TraceMonkey and Private Browsing, plus the sheer volume of work that's gone into everything from video and layout to places and the plugin service make it a larger increment than we believe is reasonable to label ".1". 3.5 will help set expectations better about the amount of awesome that's packed into Shiretoko," said Mike Shaver, Mozilla's engineering VP.
Shaver went on to say that the version change to 3.5 is indicative of the current scope and not intended to represent a significant increase 3.5's current make-up.
Still no word on when the next version of Firefox will go Gold, though if we had to guess, we'd say either May or June of this year.
By now you should have received a pop-up alerting you a new version of Firefox, 3.0.7. If not, select 'Check for updates' from the 'Help' menu, as 3.0.7 introduces fixes for several stability and security issues, some of which are considered critical. Among the more notable fixes include:
URL spoofing with invisible control characters - LOW
Upgrade PNG library to fix memory safety hazards - CRITICAL
XML data theft via RDFXMLDataSource and cross-domain redirect - HIGH
Mozilla Firefox XUL Linked Clones Double Free Vulnerability - CRITICAL
Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:126.96.36.199) - CRITICAL
A full list of bug fixes can be found here, including those which are specific to Windows, Mac, and Linux, and those which affect all three operating systems.