A ferocious free-for-all among the top web browsers
The landscape is evolving and you can either change with it or be left behind. This is the position browser makers find themselves in as cloud computing and touch interfaces take center stage, as Windows 8 with its vastly overhauled UI continues to wiggle into more homes and businesses around the world, and as web developers push increasing amounts of rich content at site visitors.
Note: This article was originally featured in the December 2013 issue of the magazine.
Google pulls a 180 on the decision to block Google Maps on Windows Phone, but we are starting to notice a trend.
Google has a somewhat complicated business model. Countless books have attempted to describe how the search giant makes money, and what drives them to live by the motto “do no evil.” Their motives aren’t easy to compress down into a few words, but if we had to try, it would be simply to say that they want you to use the Internet as much as possible. With this in mind, Google’s decision to block Windows Phone users from their map service made absolutely no sense. Windows Phone isn’t a competitive threat to Google, at least not yet, but between this move, and the company’s decision to cripple contact and calendar management for Gmail users, we can’t help but wonder what’s going on.
Chrome plans to add a feature so obvious, we wonder what took so long.
If you’ve ever downloaded a free app to use on your PC, it’s probably happened to you. The installation goes great, the program works as advertised (or doesn’t), but it isn’t until you open a browser window that the true cost of using that free app is realized. Freeware tools love to install obnoxious tool bars, search engine replacements, and the most insidious ones install extensions with missions completely unknown to the user. For applications like Skype this can add useful functionality such as click to dial, but more often than not, silently installed extensions do more harm than good. That’s why we were ecstatic to learn that Google is finally tackling the problem head on with Chrome 25, and will hopefully inspire the other major browser makers to take action as well.
The lack of confirmation kept us from writing up a definitive post on this last week, however I think it’s now safe to finally report that Safari for Windows is officially dead. Apple released its newest operating system on July 25th, and along with it came Safari version 6, a full point ahead of the most recent Windows release. Since then Apple has removed any reference to Safari for Windows from its website, and is more or less acting like it never happened.
Browser options on Apple’s iOS platform are pretty grim, however one bit of defense Apple will no longer be able to use is a lack of demand. Chrome for iOS was released last week at Google IO, and since then it has shot like a rocket to the top of the app charts. The UI for iOS Chrome emulates pretty closely what we’ve seen over on Android, however it does have a few significant, and disheartening differences.
If you are one of the millions of brave souls who downloaded the Windows 8 Release Preview, but are looking for an IE replacement in Metro this PSA is for you. Google apparently began work on a Windows 8 Metro version of Chrome back in March, and the fruits of these labors are getting ready to enter beta. This first release won’t be compatible with Windows RT for ARM tablets, but just about any other x86 hardware should be good to go.
Google Chrome is rapidly winning the hearts and minds of tech enthusiasts everywhere not just for its blistering speed, but for its unrelenting commitment to security. Saying a browser is secure is easy, but making it so is something completely different. To help keep their developers on track the team has come up with a set of seven core security principles, and the complete list makes for a rather interesting read, and we’ll highlight a few of our favorites after the jump.
The Microsoft PR team in charge of Internet Explorer has a difficult job on its hands. Finding the upside of declining market share isn’t exactly the easiest job in the world you know. As a result of the overall trend working against IE, the message this year has been mostly focused around browser share in Windows 7. When you limit the dataset to this one narrow focus, Microsoft appears to be making at least some progress at bouncing back, though mostly at the expense of Mozilla.
Firefox is in big trouble, there’s no point trying to sugarcoat the truth here folks. In addition to slipping from 25% to 22% in the most recent market share results, we are now also hearing word that the search partnership with Google which made up over 84% of the company’s revenues is about to expire, and may not be renewed. The Google deal according to Mozilla’s financial statements was set to expire at the end of November, and so far nobody at the company has confirmed any extensions.
Mozilla fans who are happy marching to the rhythm of Firefox’s new franticly beating drums will be pleased to know that not only is Firefox 6 still on track for release this Tuesday, but here at Maximum PC we have the links to hook you up a whole two days early.