Google recently updated Chrome with the ability to automatically update the Adobe Flash plug-in. In an upcoming revision, Google's browser will gain power over other plug-ins as well. The out of date plug-ins will be blocked from working, while also offering the option to assist the user in updating them. Vulnerabilities in plug-ins are one of the most often exploited security issues.
The search giant did not have an approximate date users could expect to see the feature added. The browser will also eventually have the ability to determine when a plug-in is being run under suspicious circumstances. When a plug-in is rarely used, it's activation could be a sign of malicious behavior. Chrome could be able to take not of this and notify the user.
Chrome has a beta and developer build channel, so we're likely to get some warning before this feature hits the majority of users. The changes don't sound too intrusive, and we like the idea of all our plug-ins being kept up to date automatically.
Google Chrome has been the third most popular browser in the world for quite some time now. According to web analytics firm StatCounter, the browser now occupies the familiar third slot in the United States as well. Google's WebKit-based emerged as the third most used browser in the US for the week beginning June 21. This is the first time its market share in the US has gone past Safari's.
"This is quite a coup for Google as they have gone from zero to almost 10% of the US market in under two years," said Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. "There is a battle royal going on between Google and Apple in the internet browser space (Chrome v Safari) as well as in the mobile market (Android v iPhone)."
StatCounter's report is based on a sample of 874 million US page views. Chrome now commands almost 9% of the US browser market, but still trails Firefox (28.5%) and Internet Explorer (52%) by a long way.
Google and Adobe are getting along swimmingly these days. In the mobile space, Android is the only platform that currently has full Flash support, and now Google's desktop browser has the Flash Player built in. The newest stable version of Chrome 5.0.376.86 has Adobe Flash by default. This feature was present in the beta and developer channels at various times recently, but now it is rolled out everywhere.
Many developers and consumers feel Flash is too resource intensive, and should be replaced by HTML5 standards. Interestingly, Google is one company pushing HTML5 quite hard. It seems they are willing to support multiple standards for the benefit of users who, like it or not, need to use Flash content from time to time.
Users who don't want the plug-in for whatever reason can disable it. Type about:plugins into the address bar and hit enter. From this page, you can turn off Flash, or any other plug-ins you don't want.
Chrome has gained a large following in its short history on a reputation for speed. According to a new round of benchmarking, it looks like Internet Explorer 9 could actually give Google's browser a run for its money. We heard the new version had improved HTML5 support, but they weren't kidding. In the newly released Preview 3, IE9 managed to beat Chrome soundly on a test of HTML5 canvas speed. It's described as "orders of magnitude faster"
Keeping in mind that this is still a preview build of the browser, we're feeling pretty optimistic. It's hard to see moving to IE as our main browser, but it would be nice if people had a decent browser on their PCs out of the box. Hit this link to see the video.
Mozilla today released Firefox 3.6.4, the latest version of its flagship browser, and in so doing entered the crash protection club. This version stands out from its predecessors mainly due to the way it tackles plug-in crashes.
Firefox will now remain unaffected by plug-in crashes as the latest version does not run plug-ins inside the same process as the browser – Chrome and Safari already include this feature. So instead of the browser reeling under the weight of a crashing plug-in, it holds firm and notifies the user of the crash. The user can even reload the plug-in without interrupting the ongoing browsing session.
“At this time Firefox offers crash protection for Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime and Microsoft Silverlight on Windows and Linux computers. Support for other plugins and operating systems will become available in a future Firefox release,” Mozilla's Mike Bletzner wrote in a blog entry announcing the release.
Apple launched their own site to show off the cool stuff one can do with HTML5 earlier this month. The only problem was that the demos would only work in Apple's Safari browser. In response, Google is opening its own HTML5 showcase called HTML5Rocks. As far as names go, you can't deny the honesty it shows. Google loved HTML5, and they want you to love it too.
The HTML5Rocks site has nine different tutorials on HTML5, and a feature where you can write your own code to test. The whole affair works well in Chrome, but it also works in Safari. The undertone being a slight jab at Apple's notorious closed nature.
Head on over and check it out. It doesn't have the flashiness of Apple's demos, it's more of a tool to get developers interested in HTML5. MTML5Rocks presents HTML5 features in a more educational way really.We found it quite informative.
Up until now, Google has relied on the traditional browser plug-in model for PDF support in Chrome, but there are some downsides to going this route. Most notably, this path opens users up to compatibility, performance, and security problems, Google says, so the search titan has decided to take a different approach.
"To overcome [these problems], we've been working with the Web community to help define a next generation browser plug-in API," Google said in a recent blog post. "We have begun using this API to improve the experience of viewing and interacting with PDF files in Google Chrome. This mirrors our efforts to optimize the Adobe Flash Player experience in Chrome.
"Today, we are making available an integrated PDF viewing experience in the Chrome developer channel for Windows and Mac, which can be enabled by visiting chrome://plugins."
Google said that Linux support is on the way. In the meantime, users who enable PDF integration will see PDF files rendered seamlessly as HTML pages, the search giant said. Basic interactions will be the same as for Web pages, like zooming and searching, and PDF functionality will be contained withing the security sandbox Chrome uses to render regular HTML pages.
Google debuted its open, royalty-free WebM video format last month. Based on the open-source V8 video codec, WebM is meant as a challenger to the propriety H.264 video codec, which threatens to saddle web video with hefty licensing fees and royalties.
Google, Opera and Mozilla are easily its most prominent backers, with the trio pledging WebM support in their respective browsers. As for the rival camp, Apple's weight is firmly behind H.264, whereas another important patron, Microsoft, has decided to support both H.264 and WebM beginning with IE9.
“Like every codec, WebM is not immune to change; the difference in our project is that the improvements are publicly visible, and compatibility and implementation issues can be worked through in an open forum,” Jim Bankoski, Google's Codec Engineering Manager, wrote in a blog post.
For the first time ever, the social Web browser called Flock is turning to Google's Chromium project to provide the architecture for its next major release. Currently in beta form, the new Chromium-inspired Flock represents a complete redesign, and is the first social browser built on Google's platform.
"Our interactions with people online have changed everything about the way we discover, shop, work and play," said Shawn Hardin, CEO of Flock. "The new Flock is designed to naturally complement the value we place in relationships and puts you at the center of your friends and their conversations while you browse the Web. Conventional browsers like Internet Explorer and Safari aren’t built to bring together the conversations and content that matter to each user. Flock is the only browser with the best of the social Web built-in."
Previous versions of Flock, including the latest stable release, have all been powered by Mozilla and built around Firefox, so why make the change to Chromium? According to Flock's development team, "there are lots of reasons why... and the main ones are the thoughtful architecture, the elegance of the underlying code, and the incredible speed of the browser."
Flock claims its new beta starts up instantly and loads pages and complex Internet apps much faster than either IE or Firefox. During our limited test drive, we found this to be generally true, although there are still some kinks to be ironed out - our icon on Maximum PC, for example, wouldn't load in the Flock beta (see screenshot below).
Any potential bugs aside, the overhauled Flock browser will come as a welcome change to social networking nuts who have grown fond of Google's Chrome browser. Flock supports numerous social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube, all seamlessly integrated.
Prepare thy hoses. The recent announcement of the Safari 5 Web browser got me thinking--just how much of Apple's latest software iteration is already replicated in Firefox? In Google? I've never been a fan of the Safari browser myself--even the few times I would ever let my pristine hands be blackened by an unholy Apple device. But one has to give the company credit, in that they sometimes do come up with some pretty neat ideas.
Has Apple managed to improve Safari 5 leaps and bounds beyond its chief rivals, Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome? In short, no. A number of the new tricks and tidbits are already a part of one browser, or both, in some capacity. Some, that is, but not all. Just to make sure that you're getting the best-in-class experience on the Web, I've put together a short list of ways that you can embed or mimic the spirit of some of Safari 5's features in either aforementioned alternative Web browser.
I realize this is a little bit different than the usual freeware software roundup. And, yes, I realize you're about to flame me to bits for suggesting that anything touched by Apple is, in even the smallest of ways, better than a PC-based piece of hardware or software. Let's head this off at the pass by agreeing that cool features are cool features regardless of platform; I'm out of iPhones to break to prove my loyalty, faithful readers!