In case you missed it, Microsoft last night put its final coat of polish on Internet Explorer 9 and released the finished browser to the public. Not wasting any time, Google has made available its WebM video plug-in for IE9. It's not a finished release, but a technology preview that Google admits has some known issues. What those issues are is anyone's guess, as the page Google links too is still blank.
We know, we know, the Internet police will have to pry Chrome/Firefox (Opera/Safari?) from your cold, dead hands. But for what it's worth, the final version of Internet Explorer 9 just dropped from Redmond and is ready for download. If you're already sitting pretty with the Release Candidate, you may be able to upgrade without having to reboot your system (we've had mixed results), you know, just like the other browsers allow. Otherwise, a reboot will be in order. Is it worth it?
As Microsoft looks to kill off Internet Explorer 6, the Redmond software giant made official the launch date for IE9: March 14th, 2011. The final code will be available for download from Microsoft's servers starting at 9 AM PST on Monday, making good on Microsoft's promise to deliver its next generation browser in the first quarter.
The recent release of the IE9 Release Candidate gave Microsoft an opportunity to rave about all the wonderful things it has achieved. Heavily touted in particular was the browser’s unprecedented compliance with modern web standards like HTML5 and CSS3. But Mozilla’s tech evangelist Paul Rouget has taken umbrage at Redmond’s assertion of superior standards compliance.
Microsoft has revealed some details on their anticipated 2011 updates for Windows Phone 7, and if they follow through, the platform could be looking much more attractive. The first major update that includes copy and paste functionality is set to drop in early March, but that's nothing compared to the features expected for the second update of 2011. Microsoft expects to add Internet Explorer 9 and multitasking to Windows Phone in this second update.
Internet Explorer 9 has hit the release candidate milestone and Microsoft is behaving like any browser vendor would when its browser reaches a new development milestone. You guessed it right, Redmond is touting the blazing speeds brought along by the Release Candidate. Read on for a complete list of enhancements.
Google has been coping a fair amount of flak ever since it announced the withdrawal of H.264 support from its Chrome browser. Apparently, the internet giant was having nightmares about a closed, royalty-fettered future of web video before it decided to drop H.264 support in favor of the open source WebM format. However, the company couldn’t quite explain why it continues to support other closed-source technologies like Flash and Silverlight.
The internet giant posted a lengthy explanation on the Chromium Blog this past Friday, but did little to address the principal gripe about its decision to drop H.264 support. In fact, instead of explaining why it has different yardsticks for different closed technologies, it actually made it a point to emphasize support for Flash and Silverlight. It now sees a symbiosis between H.264 and the two plug-ins.
“H.264 plays an important role in video and the vast majority of the H.264 videos on the web today are viewed in plug-ins such as Flash and Silverlight. These plug-ins are and will continue to be supported in Chrome,” wrote Mike Jazayeri, a product manager at Google, in a blog post.
“Our announcement was only related to the <video> tag, which is part of the emerging HTML platform. While the HTML video platform offers great promise, few sites use it today and therefore few users will be immediately impacted by this change.”
It is now concentrating its efforts on popularizing the use of the open-source WebM format for HTML5 video. An uphill task to say the least. Nonetheless, the WebM Project team will soon release plugins to enable WebM support in Internet Explorer and Safari through the HTML standard <video> tag. This not only defies logic but belies the raison d'être of HTML5 video, which was conceived as a means of disencumbering web video from the clutches of special plugins. That said, all major stakeholders are equally culpable for the current state of fragmentation.
Another major hurdle in WebM’s path is the widespread hardware support that H.264 currently enjoys. The open-source format is unlikely to take off in an era of hardware-accelerated video without support from GPU vendors.
Many feel that codec standardization is necessary if the HTML5 video tag is to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of online video. But right now it seems fairly optimistic to even imagine the introduction of a standard format to the HTML5 spec. The battle lines are, in fact, now more pronounced than ever, with Google today announcing that the H.264 codec will no longer be supported in its Chrome web browser. Instead, Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support will be restricted to only open source codecs. However, its own WebM (V8) and OGG Theora are currently the only ones on its list of supported codecs.
“Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies,” announced Mike Jazayeri, a Google product manager, on the Chromium blog. “These changes will occur in the next couple months but we are announcing them now to give content publishers and developers using HTML <video> an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their sites.”
With this announcement, Google joins the ranks of Mozilla and Opera as a browser vendor who has completely shunned the rival, royalty-saddled H.264 codec. But H.264 is not short of backers either, with the eminent likes of Microsoft and Apple owning patents in the H.264/AVC patent pool. Moreover, H.264 is not only the default video codec in IE9 – the next major release of the world’s most popular browser, but most modern GPUs now feature H.264 decoding.
The confusion created by these competing standards is surely great news for Adobe, whose Flash Player plug-in is the most popular way of delivering video on the internet. The plug-in already supports H.264 encoded video and VP8 support is on its way. If the deadlock persists, as is most likely, support for both these rival codecs will guarantee Flash’s popularity long into the future.
What to do you make of Google’s move? Do you think the internet giant has done the right thing by withdrawing H.264 support from Chrome on the pretext of promoting open web technologies, especially when the very same browser comes with Adobe’s not-so-open Flash Player built into it?
For those of you rocking the Internet Explorer 9 beta browser, Microsoft just released an update that should help with any quirky behavior you might be experiencing.
"Today we released a recommended update for all Internet Explorer 9 beta customers via Windows Update (KB2448827). This update includes stability fixes for the beta build," Microsoft stated in a blog post.
This isn't a new beta build, just a patch for existing ones. If you have automatic updating setup, then you're all set. Otherwise, you can check for updates and install the patch manually.
Microsoft on Wednesday released the seventh platform preview of its upcoming web browser Internet Explorer 9 (download link). Comparatively less stable than beta builds, platform previews are aimed at acquainting developers with new features and gathering valuable feedback.
According to Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Internet Explorer, who wrote a copious blog post to discuss the latest platform preview release, improving real world site performance, and not “subsystem microbenchmarks,” remains the real focus of company’s development efforts.
But he soon clarified: “We’ve been consistent in our point of view that these tests are at best not very useful, and at worst misleading. Even with the most recent results in the chart above, our motivations and our point of view remain unchanged.”
“We’ve focused on improving real world site performance. We’ve made progress on some microbenchmarks as a side effect. Focusing on another subsystem microbenchmark is not very useful.”