While the battle between Windows and Linux wages on, a similar struggle is set to take place in the cloud. Instant-on computing has been gaining ground, helped in large part by Asus pushing a custom version of SplashTop on select motherboards and Eee PCs, and now Good OS steps into the browser-based OS fray.
If the name looks familiar, it's because the company's gOS Linux debuted in Wal-Mart's ill-fated $199 Everex gPC. But this time around, Good OS is focusing entirely on the cloud with an instant-on derivative appropriately called Cloud. The company showed off its browser-based OS running on Gigabyte touch-screen netbooks at the Netbook World Summit in Paris today.
"We are excited to preview the Gigabyte Touch-Screen Netbook with Cloud and Windows together," said a Good OS spokesperson. "With Cloud, Gigabyte Netbooks will power on to the Internet in seconds, while still supporting killer applications together with Windows XP."
Instead of loading a typical desktop, Cloud runs entirely in a browser that looks nearly identical to Google's Chrome. At the bottom of the browser, an integrated dock gives quick access to several apps and Web 2.0 portals. But like SplashTop, Cloud isn't meant to replace the main OS, and instead run alongside it.
Good OS plans to make more details available at CES in January, 2009.
Just a few months ago, we could have summed up the browser wars in single word: BORING! That's not to say we haven't appreciated the new features that accompany each new release of Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but the results and the competitors always remained the same. It's become far too easy to predict how each new round will go - Firefox will add new features, get a little faster, and inch ever so closer in market share, while each new IE release will suck a little less than the last and continue to be the most widely used browser on the planet. At least in the chip wars, AMD and Intel have taken turns putting the smackdown on one another accompanied by the occasional trash talk.
It took a surprise release by an unlikely newcomer to finally get us excited about the future of browsers again. Google's Chrome seemingly came out of nowhere and has the potential to turn what has been a stale two-man scuffle into a three-way battle royal. Along with greater stability, Chrome's claim to fame is that it can render web pages faster than the competition, and indeed a recent benchmark comparison has pegged Chrome as the new speed king. But in order for anyone to truly take Chrome seriously, Google has to put extension support at the forefront of development, and it appears they're doing exactly that.
Hit the jump to see what Google is doing to add extensions to Chrome, and how it will differ from Firefox.
Early on in the browser wars, one of the key advantages Mozilla's Firefox held over Microsoft's Internet Explorer was performance. Most would agree that Firefox remains the snappier browser out of the two, but it's Google's recently released Chrome browser that can boast the title of Speed King, according to benchmark results published by ExtremeTech.
"Google uses its own knowledge of search and browsing habits to optimize Chrome, but Chrome is still in early development," ExtremeTech wrote in its conclusion. "It's also clear from our testing that Microsoft really needs to get IE8 out the door—IE7 not only has compatibility issues, but is substantially slower in many ways."
ExtremeTech goes on to note that Firefox 3.1 should show improved benchmark scores, but for the time being, Chrome is king, at least when it comes to speed. But who are we kidding - until Google can deliver on its promise to deliver extension support, it might not matter how fast Chrome cruises to the finish line.
Opera Software has released the final version of Opera Mini 4.2 for mobile phones, giving G1 handset users looking for change from Android's built-in WebKit browser a third party alternative to play with. Opera Mini, which is the first web browser alternative on Android, sports a number of enhancements, including what Opera claims is up to a 30 percent performance boost.
"With Opera Mini 4.2, we are showing the world that Opera never gets complacent. We will always be improving our product, adding speed, new functionality and features, and ensuring that it is accessible by all,” says Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera Software. “Our support of the Android platform helps fulfill our mission to be available on more platforms, for more devices and reach more users, anywhere in the world."
Opera Mini also boasts greater multilingual support with more than 90 language versions, personalization through skins, Opera Link support for notes, and support for mobile video on a wider range of phones.
Internet Explorer may be slowly losing ground to Firefox, but it’s still by far the number one browser in the world with over 71% of the market. Why you ask? Simple, it comes bundled with every new PC and is the most widely known and supported web platform in the world.Google knows if it is to gain market share they are more likely to steal from IE users who simply use whatever browser ships with their new PC. To this end The Times Online has revealed details on what they call “Google’s plan to make Chrome the browser of choice for the everyday user”.
According to Google’s Vice President of Product Management Sundar Pichai Chrome will come out of beta sometime in January at which point they would pursue distribution deals with various OEM’s. This would see Chrome ship as the default browser on some new machines, and in theory drive up its popularity. Paichai also added that the Mac and Linux versions of Chrome will be available by the first half of next year as well. Currently only Windows users have been able to participate in the open beta. Past anti-trust rulings against Microsoft would make blocking Google’s plans rather difficult, and according to Paichai “We will throw our weight behind it. We’ve been conservative because it’s still in beta, but once we get it out of beta we will work hard at getting the word out, promoting to users, and marketing will be a part of that.”
So will pre-installing Chrome help Google gain market share? Click the jump and let us know what you think.
It's an all-too-familiar marketing ploy: download a utility you really want, and get a toolbar for your browser free. This week, Microsoft joined the "download one, get one free" bandwagon, but with a twist: Redmond announced a deal with Sun Microsystems to offer the MSN Toolbar to US users of Internet Explorer whenever they download the Java Runtime Environment. MSN Toolbar offers one-click access to Live Search, direct access to Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger, and stories from the MSN network. If you hate toolbars, or your browser's already running your favorite toolbar, you can opt out of the MSN toolbar.
This Microsoft plus Sun pairing represents a big "win" for Microsoft, as Google's toolbar was previously being offered as the freebie with Java. As El Reg points out, this sort of thing is nothing new for Sun and Java. Java's also been used to deliver offers of OpenOffice and the Yahoo! toobar (the latter to Mozilla Firefox browser users only).
So, how do you feel about these combo deals? Would you rather get a coupon for free french fries, or are you comfortable with getting "two for one" downloads"? Join us after the jump and sound off.
Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser continues to gain ground in the browser wars in what can be considered a major uphill battle. Firefox has flirted with a steady 20 percent market share in the past, and according to Net Applications, October has been kind to the configurable browser, which settled in at 19.97 percent. That number represents a 0.51-point jump over September and is a record high for Mozilla.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's Internet Explorer slipped again last month, continuing its trend as having the fastest declining market share out of the six most popular browsers. But far from being a free fall of sorts, IE's combined share nestled in at a still very dominant 71.52 percent, down from 71.27 percent one month prior. That puts IE at a 4.2-point drop for the year, compared to Firefox's 2.99-point gain.
It will be interesting to see what kind of effect Google's Chrome browser may have on the top two contenders. Currently, Chrome only accounts for a 0.74 percent slice of the browser pie (down from 0.78 percent), but that could change if Google follows through with adding extension support.
Hit the jump and tell us how you see the browser wars shaking out in 2009 and beyond.
Google has already begun rolling out the next update to its recently released Chrome browser. Chrome program manager Mark Larson said in a mailing list post this week that "You will automatically get updated in the next few days," but for the impatient, many users can grab the updated version right away by selecting 'About Google Chrome' from the wrench menu.
The update takes Chrome to version 0.3.154.9 and addresses a variety of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and security vulnerabilities. One such vulnerability includes a scenario where, once a user opens a pop-up window, the site could show a different web address than the one that supplied the information. Larson warns that such a flaw could be used to trick users into giving up sensitive information.
Other changes include the ability to sort columns in the password manager, adding a command line switch to the start the browser in incognito mode, better support for Windows Media Player, crash fixes, and more, as outlined in the release notes. Note to Google: We want extension support!
Considering that Chrome managed to take the “most popular niche browser” crown from Opera on the very first day of its release, you would think there would be some bad blood between the browser’s bosses. Not so, according to Opera founder Jon von Tetzchner. In an interview with CNET’s Rafe Needleman, von Tetzchner explains how Chrome and other unlikely products have actually benefited Opera.
Of Chrome, von Tetzchner says that although the browser is a competitor, its (relatively) high profile launch drew a lot of attention to the fact that there are alternatives to the big three browsers. As a result, Opera’s daily downloads have gone up 20% since the launch of Chrome.
Most of Opera’s revenue comes from its popular Mini variant for mobile phones. Even here, von Tetzchner says that the high-profile iPhone, which does not use Opera, is actually helping the browser by (again) bringing mobile browsing into the public eye, causing more people to try out the internet functionality of their Opera-equipped mobile phones.
So what’s your take? Is Opera in denial? Tell us after the jump.
Amazon has agreed to acquire casual web gaming company Reflexive Entertainment. The move marks the internet behemoth’s foray into casual gaming. Reflexive was constituted in 1997 and is stationed in Orange County, California. Reflexive is working on a game development and distribution service called Reflexive Arcade.
The Reflexive Arcade service will be restricted to only PC, Mac and web-based games. The true motivation behind this particular acquisition is not yet known. The two companies haven’t made the details of the transaction public.