News and Information about Internet Browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Flock, Safari. Extensions, Add-ons, User Scripts, Tips and Tricks for all the Internet Browsers available today.
Mozilla has put up the first release candidate of Firefox 4 as promised. Even though the promise was of the 12th beta being the last, the transition over the last few months has been fast-paced and it would be time for skeptics to shed off their doubts of whether Firefox will be able to deliver a version 7 by the end of 2011, as planned in the roadmap. A brand new decisive release system already tells us how Firefox is hellbent on reaching this goal.
A complete list of new features in this RC is outlined at this page. Out of these changes , the remarkable ones are design UI, organizing tabs, managing add-ons and better a syncing UI. Behind the scene changes include better HTML5 support and better WebM support.
To download the Firefox 4 RC installer sized at 12.6 MB, go to this page and follow the link.
The download provided above was for the beta 12 of Firefox 4 and not the RC release as written on the download page at Mozilla. The RC release is not publicly out yet, but you can catch the untested version here (English version). Keep an eye on this page for updates on the RC release.
Mozilla has a tough year ahead of it. The Firefox roadmap boasts of gamechanging updates and it will be a pleasure to see them come through. However, people are apprehensive about the roadmap, since it claims four major versions in a year which is so unlike Mozilla. Though, recent updates have outlined how Firefox will achieve this feat.
Following Google’s announcement of releasing new features as and when they are ready, Mozilla has decided to put Firefox through the same process. The addition of features will be made irrespective of versions and this eliminates the need for all the hoopla around major version releases. The new system will be put in place only after the release of Firefox 4. That makes Firefox 4 the last major release in its true essence.
Jay Sullivan, the VP of Productions at Mozilla responded to pcpro saying,
What we want to do is get the power into users’ hands more quickly. For example, the video tag was shippable in June – we should have shipped it. Meanwhile, we’re waiting for this whole package. Why wouldn’t we ship the video tag when it’s ready? We’re moving on web time now, and we’ve been shipping a little bit on desktop time. It’s not necessary, so we’re undergoing some process changes, and we’ll do smaller bundles more quickly.
The new system, in Sulllivan’s words, is all about “fewer features and more releases, like Chrome“. This can be seen in Firefox 4, which had 12 betas. Mozilla plans to release a new version every three weeks in this new process. What remains to be seen is how many actual features and fixes go into those releases or whether the system is just a faux pas. Firefox has seen extremely slow development over the last one year and the new system should at least bring some transparency into the development of Firefox, if not pace it up altogether.
If you would like to speculate further, catch some info on the Firefox 5 concept here.
I download a lot of apps and music for my iPod Touch thanks to some useful services I use to find free apps. However, searching for particular apps is a little bit hard thanks to the fact that there isn’t a proper web interface for the iTunes store.
The only way I can find apps is by using the search on the iPod Touch itself or opening up iTunes which is bulky and does not provide me with a good experience. Though there are ways to browse the iTunes store online, it is not perfect.
If you face a similar problem an extension for Google Chrome called Quick iTunes will help you solve your problems. As the extension name suggests, Quick iTunes allows you to quickly and easily search for music, videos, apps and more in the iTunes app store with an easy to use interface.
Once you install the extension you can click on the icon in the toolbar to bring up the search interface. Finding apps or music is very easy too and you can search the iTunes store and narrow down the results based on different categories.
I found this extension to be pretty useful and would suggest that you download it too if you download and install apps frequently. Download the Quick iTunes extension.
Mozilla will be releasing Firefox 4 in the next few weeks. Firefox 4 sports a complete overhaul from the previous versions and is very similar to Google Chrome. However, Mozilla is now working on the next version Firefox 5 which might be released in late 2011.
CNET got hold of some concept pictures which show the future of the browser. The concept pictures can be seen at http://areweprettyyet.com/5/. One of the main focus of Firefox 5 will be desktop apps which will contain site specific features in them.
For example, if you use the Twitter app, you will see options such as creating a new tweet, checking your direct messages and more. This feature will also be available for other sites like Facebook and IMDb.
Internet Explorer 9 has a similar feature where they allow websites to define tasks when a website is pinned to the taskbar. It is not yet known whether the site specific features in Firefox 5 will have their own tasks or rely on websites to define those tasks.
In addition to the site specific features, Firefox 5 will also have a new visual appearance for the search box, where the color of the button would change based on the search engine the user is using. This color could either be specified by the search engines themselves or will be fetched from the favicon of the search engine.
Firefox 5 will also promote the Firefox Sync option to users so that they can sync their passwords, bookmarks and more in the cloud and use it on any mobile device or PC.
Mozilla will also be revamping it’s add-on manager which is used to install and manage Firefox add-ons in the browser. Firefox 4 introduced a new add-on manager, but it looks like they will be revamping it again in Firefox 5.
These are just some of the key features from Firefox 5 which are available as concepts. It looks like Mozilla will continue building on Firefox 4 and add these new features to it, so the look and feel of Firefox 5 may not be any different than Firefox 4.
So what do you think about the new Firefox 5 concepts? Do you like them? What else would you want to see in Firefox 5? Do share your opinions and views about it.
If you are someone who does not like to use development software but can use beta software, here is some good news. Google just announced that they are releasing Google Chrome 10 to the beta channel with the new Crankshaft technology.
As I had confirmed earlier, this new build is twice as fast as Google Chrome 9 and makes browsing a breeze. Chrome 10 beta also introduces GPU-accelerated video which makes uses of your graphics hardware to display videos and decreases CPU usage. Google claims that full screen video will decrease by almost 80% in Chrome 10 beta.
Google Chrome 10 also includes the ability to sync your passwords along with bookmarks, preferences, themes and extensions. Google also provides users with the ability to encrypt the passwords with your own sync passphrase ensuring security for your stored data.
The settings/preferences has also been moved to its own page just like it is in the Google Chrome OS that is used on the Cr-48 netbooks. Overall, the release of Google Chrome 10 beta brings a lot of goodies your way and brings it close to a stable release. If you are using Google Chrome beta, go to Settings -> About and Check for Updates to upgrade to the latest version.
After releasing Opera 11, the team at Opera are working hard to push for the next release touted as Opera 11.10 "Barracuda"; named after a fish known for its large size and fearsome appearance. Today, the Opera team have released the first snapshot of the latest version.
Don’t get put off by the large size of the fish though. My first impression was something that I have hardly seen with browsers. The installation of Opera 11.10 "Barracuda" was blazing fast, it hardly took 10 seconds, this is not the case for other browsers.
Other than that I found an improved experience in browsing webpages and watching videos including HTML5 videos. There aren’t any more visible changes with this build and it does support Opera extensions as in Opera 11.
In this release, Opera has upgraded Core from version 2.7.62 to 2.8.99 which includes the implementation of the Web Open Font Format (WOFF) which is a font format for use in web pages. The new format hasn’t been ratified by the W3C yet, but once it is done, it will become the interoperable font format which will be supported by all browsers.
In addition to that, there are several other changes in this build, which include:
Disable Cookie2 by default, with an option to enable it again
Send more compatible Accept header on second request
Disable TLS 1.1 and 1.2 by default
Make sure redirects from http to https are labeled secure
Remove the use of master password for client certificates
Added a preference to disable cross-network protection
The Alpha release of Opera 11.10 "Barracuda" is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux/FreeBSD. You can download the files from the links below.
Alpha software is usually not advisable to install for regular users, however, unlike other browsers, you can install multiple version of Opera on your PC. Each version has their own profile, better still you can just install Opera as a Portable Software. I am still using the browser to find what improvements have been made over Opera 11. Will do a review of the Alpha release soon.
Win Rumors spotted the downloads for the Internet Explorer 9 and posted links to the downloads before Microsoft made them available officially. Internet Explorer 9 includes tracking protection which was also recently included by Firefox and Google Chrome. Using this privacy feature, users can opt-out of advertising tracking cookies and analytic software tracking.
Internet Explorer 9 will most likely see a full public release by the end of February and it might roll out after the Windows 7 service pack 1 has been made available to users.
You can download the Internet Explorer 9 RC from the links below, courtesy Win Rumors.
After seeing a sluggish development and embarrassing speed improvements over time, Firefox has finally set its biggest overhaul plan ever, this time. This 2011, Firefox is planning to go right from version 3 to 7.
Ship Firefox 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the 2011 calendar year
Always respond to a user action within 50 ms
Never lose user data or state
Build Web Apps, Identity and Social into the Open Web Platform
Support new operating systems and hardware
Polish the user experience for common interaction tasks
Plan and architect for a future of a common platform on which the desktop and mobile products will be built and run Web Apps
The disgustingly slow speed on Firefox has led many users to move to better alternatives like Chrome and Opera. This problem will be resolved with the 50 ms response time.
Apart from this, other features like saving of sessions and states will prevent users from losing important work. With the recent beta of Firefox 4, Android support has also improved drastically.
The sole reason for users to stick to Firefox was the support for add-ons. Now that has been incorporated into both Google Chrome and Opera, Firefox is losing users gradually. In short, users have no reason to stick to Firefox as most other browsers offer what it has to offer. However, what is disturbing, is that users do have a definite reason not to use Firefox anymore, as it is slower than both Chrome and Opera.
The roadmap is only as far as paperwork goes. We expect the developers to follow the roadmap too, and get back a significant number of users Firefox lost to its competitors over time.
Looks like several people have been facing frequent crashes with Firefox and the Firefox add-ons team is on the case. The Skype Toolbar for Firefox is an extension that detects phone numbers on webpages and allows you to call them using Skype desktop application.
The add-on is bundled with Skype desktop and is automatically installed in Firefox. Mozilla has pinpointed that the current version of Skype toolbar is one of the main culprits behind Firefox crashes. For instance, according to data collected by Mozilla (when users send crash reports to them), the Skype toolbar accounted for 40,000 crashes last week.
Additionally, depending on the version of the Skype Toolbar you’re using, the methods it uses to detect and re-render phone numbers can make DOM manipulation up to 300 times slower, which drastically affects the page rendering times of a large percentage of web content served today (plain English: to the user, it appears that Firefox is slow loading web pages). We believe that both of these items constitute a major, user-facing issue, and meet our established criteria for blocklisting an add-on.
Starting today, Mozilla will add the Skype Toolbar to their blacklist and soft block it. With soft blocking they will automatically disable the extension while giving users an option to re-enable it. Mozilla has already blocked several add-ons in the past, some of them include the Bing Bar, Apple QuickTime Plugin, AVG SafeSearch and more. You can view the entire list of blocked add-ons.
Back in 2009, Mozilla had blocked Microsoft .NET and WPF extensions terming them as unsafe for Firefox. Unlike the Skype block, the Microsoft block was hard block, wherein users were not given an option to turn it on. There are only a few extensions which have been hard blocked since then.
There is no official statement or update on this issue from Skype. We will keep you posted when more information becomes available.