In a three-way cage match, LifeHacker threw Chrome 4, Firefox 3.5, and Opera 10 into the ring and let the three browsers duke it out to see which would emerge as the fastest app for surfing the web.
See the full results here, then hit the jump and tell us which browser you like best.
Mozilla (Firefox), Microsoft (Internet Explorer), Apple (Safari), and Google (Chrome) have all recently released new browser versions for the next-gen browser wars, and soon Opera will join the pack. In the meantime, Opera Software today announced the first release candidate for Opera 10.
"The release candidate pushes us closer to the final launch of Opera 10," said Jan Standal, VP of Desktop Products, Opera. "We paid special attention to the mail client, which is one of our most enduring and popular features."
According to Opera Software, the RC is feature complete and sports a fresh look, a new application icon, and of course improved speed and performance over previous versions, up to 40 percent faster than Opera 9.6, the software maker claims. Other new features include an inline spell-checker, automated crash reporting, Web integration for email, a resizable search field, RSS Feed previews, and more.
Interested in giving Opera 10 a spin? Grab your copy here, or chill out until September 1st when the final version is expected to launch.
Last week we reported on the new concessions Microsoft was proposing to the EU in the hopes of quelling its ongoing antitrust battles in Europe. The solution was a simple ballot screen pushed out as a “high priority” Windows Update, but what we didn’t know at the time is that it will also be sent out to computers running Windows XP and Vista as well.
The exact lineup of browsers hasn’t been finalized yet, but it is said to include 10 of “the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows with a usage share of equal to or more than 0.5% in the European Economic Area”. Oddly enough, it’s still not even clear if Opera meets these requirements and given that they are the ones responsible for the antitrust woes facing Microsoft, would be bitter justice.
Opera officials overjoyed with the concessions, but never resting on their laurels, are said to now be pushing for an “icon-less ballot screen”. I suppose they are concerned that many users associate the “blue E” icon with “internet” and it still gives an unfair advantage to Microsoft. They are also said to be asking that this browser ballot be pushed out worldwide, but I somehow doubt Microsoft will take this approach. The browser ballot screen will include two links, one to the manufacturers website where they can learn more and an extra link directly to a download server.
Given the amazing amount of concessions being made by Microsoft, is Opera being unreasonable by asking for more?
"The European Commission can confirm that Microsoft has proposed a consumer ballot screen as a solution to the pending antitrust case,” EU revealed in a statement.
Microsoft had been hoping EU would allow it to ship Windows without a browser. EU had agreed to this solution when bundling of Windows Media Player was at issue, but the results proved that it was just a ruse. Had EU lent its seal of approval to Microsoft’s favorite solution, the company would have found it very easy to influence OEMs.
As we close up yet another month of freeware goodies, it's important to look back and reflect on some of the awesome programs that received a version bump in the past 30 days. It was tough to nail down five free applications that not only upgraded themselves to a new iteration, but ones that successfully packed new and interesting features into their latest builds. There's no overarching theme this week save for that. It's a grab-bag of awesome new software to install; if the lack of a unifying concept horrifies you, don't worry. I'll list out all of this month's freeware roundups in the article below, which you can use as a guide of-sorts to travel back to safer downloading waters.
Click the upgrade button (okay, the jump) and check out the best of this month's updated freeware!
Last night, Opera released an alpha build of Opera Unite and, to hear them tell it, reinvented the internet in the process. With a claim as big as that, we think it's important to take a good, hard look at Opera Unite
—what is it, what can it do, and will it really change the way we use the web?
So first, what is Opera Unite? Basically, it's a version of the Opera browser with built-in server software, which allows users of Opera Unite to send data (everything from text to multimedia) directly to other people on the web, even if they're using a different browser, and all without having to upload anything to a traditional server. Opera's billing this as a way to get free yourself from the tyranny of the datacenter, allowing you to share pictures without having to put them on a strangers computer, network socially without having to subject yourself to Facebook's terms of service, collaborate without relying on the Google Docs server and so on and so forth.
Available in alpha form for some time now, Opera Software has just released its upcoming Opera 10 browser as a beta 1 download.
Speed appears to be the main focus for Opera 10, which sports a new compression technology called Opera Turbo. According to Opera, this will provide "significant improvements in browsing speeds over limited-bandwidth connections." In general, the company claims up to a 40 percent performance boost in Opera 10 with its Presto 2.2 rendering engine.
Other new features include a customizable Speed Dial for storing 4 to 25 websites, a resizable search field, new visual tabs and sleeker design, an inline spell checker, and a boatload more.
Opera 10 is expected to be released in final form before the end of the year. In the meantime, you can read more about the new browser here, and grab the beta here.
Both Apple's Safari and Opera Software's Opera browsers have come under a bit of fire by Thomas Duebendorfer of Google Switzerland and Stefan Frei of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The two recently published a research paper on "Why Silent Updates Boost Security," noting deficiencies in how both aforementioned browsers go about rolling out security updates.
According to the paper, just 53 percent of users surfing with a 3.x version of Safari have applied a new update within the past three weeks, and only 33 percent of users had updated to version 3.2.1 three weeks after it had been released. The paper noted that Opera will check for updates weekly, but installing them requires "serious user activity," as the update follows the same procedure as if the installing Opera for first time.
"Opera browser users apparently don't update frequently," the researchers wrote. "After three weeks of a new release, a disappointing maximum of 24 percent active daily users of Opera 9.x have the newest Opera browser installed. It's a pity that 76 percent of Opera 9.x users currently don't benefit from the security improvements and new features of new Opera versions with three weeks of its release."
The paper went on to say that engineering time would be better spent on increasing update effectiveness rather than working on new features.
"All in all, the poor update effectiveness of Apple Safari and Opera gives attackers plenty of time to use known exploits to attacker users of outdated browsers," the researchers concluded.
A lot has changed in the browser landscape over the past 15 years, including some, like Netscape Navigator, going by the wayside. During that time, Opera has grown into one of the most web compliant browsers around, was one of the first to implement tabbed browsing, and introduced mouse gestures way back in 2001.
"Geir and I knew the web would forever change how people live, work, and play -- the web browser would be the tool to enable that transformation," said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera. "Today, I am humbled by what our company, together with the worldwide community of Opera users, has achieved. In the next 15 years, billions of people will jon the web. I am confident we will give them even more reasons to choose Opera."
Outside of the desktop, Opera has been used in both the Nintendo DS and on the Wii. A mobile version of the browser -- Opera Mobile -- has also found a home on several smartphones and PDAs, as well as Opera Mini being used on many mobile phones.
You can read more about what makes Opera tick in our recent Browser Battle feature, right after you wish it a happy 15th birthday.
The web browser is probably the most essential application on your PC; there is no better practical way of staying connected to news, your friends, and most importantly, the lulz. But whether you’re using Internet Explorer or newly minted Chrome, each of today's popular web browsers has different strengths and weaknesses. Mozilla Firefox is feature-heavy and relatively fast, but can get terribly unwieldy when crammed with juicy add-ons. The newest version of the once dominant Internet Explorer is a quantum leap above previous buggy versions, but remains slow. And while both Opera and Google Chrome are blazingly fast, they currently lack customization.
No matter which browser you use, you want it to fit your personal needs and tastes. With this guide, we will show you the essential initial tweaks everyone should make to “awesomize” their browser. Whether it’s accelerating browser page-load performance, boosting security, or just improving the look of the interface, we teach you the tweaks that we think should be implemented the first time you start up a browser after installation.
We cover comprehensive step-by-step instructions for Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox 3, Opera 9, and Google Chrome, starting off with general web optimization tips. So jump into the guide and start tweaking your web browser!