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!
After countless leaks and a whole lot of speculation, Google's open source Chrome OS will finally make an appearance on a shipping product in the fall of 2010, said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google.
Pichai didn't say which vendor it will be, though our odds on favorite is Acer. Late last month there was speculation that Acer was planning on showing off a Chrome OS netbook at Computex, and while that hasn't yet been the case, market sources continue to peg Acer as the front runner, according to DigiTimes.
Whether or not we'll see Chrome OS on tablets remains to be seen. When asked how Google plans to position its two OSes, Pichai said that Android is aimed at handheld devices with development towards multi-funcitions, while Chrome OS is essentially for PCs, and primarily for 10-12 inch notebooks.
Because everyone uses the Internet in a different way, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all browser. The feature set one person needs might be too little or too much for another person. Extensions for browsers like Firefox and Chrome go a long way toward solving this problem, but installing and managing extensions is a pain, and can be an overly complicated solution to often-simple problems.
That’s where bookmarklets come in.
Mozilla has been working on the Weave browser sync plug-in for a while now, but they've announced that Weave has "graduated" from Mozilla Labs. The new Plug-in will be renamed Firefox Sync. Firefox sync will allow users to sync bookmarks, history, preferences, tabs, and passwords across multiple instances of Firefox. The feature will be included in an upcoming release of the popular browser. We imagine it will make the scene in Firefox 4.0.
The setup process in Firefox sync has been greatly streamlined since Weave first debuted. Mozilla has added more tolls to help users manage what content is synced, and to which computers. Weave has also been available to users of the mobile browser Fennec. Presumably, these changes will roll out to the mobile plug-in as well.
The idea of having an integrated syncing utility is a desirable one. The Chrome browser currently includes some syncing features, but Firefox Sync seems to be a more full-featured solution. Do the Firefox users out there use third-party plug-ins for syncing? Will you switch to Firefox Sync?
Can your browser beat a potato in a speed test? If you're using either Chrome or Opera, the answer is a resounding "yes," and both Google and Opera Software have proof. Let's start with Google.
Following the release of Chrome beta version 5.0.375.29, Google wanted to get the point across that there have been significant speed-enhancing improvements made to the underlying architecture. To get their point across, Google posted a video featuring a variety of stunts filmed with high-speed videography. The very first one involves a potato being shot through a metal grid and, well, it's probably better if you just see for yourself:
Not to be outdone, the spunky developers over at Opera Software saw this as an opportunity to poke a little fun at Google, and so they've gone and posted a video of their own. In it, a Scandivavian engineer concludes, "So there we have it, the Opera browser is much faster than a potato." This too will make more sense if you see it for yourself, so here you go:
The million dollar question is, which video is better? Cast your vote in the comments section below!