Browser Saturday: Browser Security Woes, Firefox Account Manager, Opera Mini for Android and More

Welcome to another edition of Browser Saturday – the weekly roundup of all major browser related news. Without further ado let us get started.

Internet Explorer

This was a particularly rough week for Internet Explorer users. Early in the week, Microsoft released a security advisory warning users about a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6 and 7, which could result in the execution of malicious code. Soon, multiple security product vendors confirmed that the vulnerability was indeed being exploited by hackers to attack unsuspecting users. To make matters worse Israeli researcher Moshe Ben Abu published the exploit code. Check out our original article to learn more about this issue.

Microsoft also tweaked the browser ballot screen – which has already given a boost to alternate browsers, to remove any inherent bias.


Rock-Your-FirefoxMozilla publically launched RockYourFirefox – a central repository for users looking to enhance their browsing experience. RockYourFirefox would regularly feature some of the best Firefox extensions along with reviews, feedback and insights from Firefox users around the web.

However, the most exciting development of the week was the announcement of Mozilla Account Manager. It is a new Mozilla Labs project, which aims to make managing accounts on different websites simpler by allowing users to sign-in/sign-out from the toolbar itself. Check out our in-depth coverage to get an idea about this possibly revolutionary product.

Mozilla also started pushing Firefox 3.6 more proactively to users, while continuing impressive work on the latest development builds.


This was a comparatively quiet week for Google Chrome. The most significant development was Google deciding to do away with the unique client ID present in all installations of the browser. In the future, Chrome will be getting rid of the unique identifier after the first automatic update check.

Although there weren’t a lot of new stuff from Google, there were plenty of new extensions. If you are a cricket fan, go ahead and install the IPL on YouTube extension for Chrome to get lives scores, commentary and match reminders.


OperaOpera Software had a fairly dramatic week thanks to all the hoopla about the malformed Content-Length header security issue. The initial proof of concept code turned out to be non-exploitable. However, a modified scenario presented by Secunia was (at least theoretically) revealed to be a security risk.

However, things were not all gloomy for Opera. Carakan JavaScript engine continued its impressive showing – it proved itself to be not only the fastest but also the best behaved.

Meanwhile, Opera Software kept churning out releases for various platforms. UNIX and MAC users received new 10.50 snapshots while Windows users got a chance to try out a 10.51 build. Opera Mini 5 beta for Android was also released this week.


Apple pushed through as many as 16 security updates for Safari, ahead of the Pwn2Own hacking contest.

Firefox 3.5 Users Will Get Upgrade Prompt for Firefox 3.6

It has been a while since Firefox 3.6 was released, and Mozilla has delayed prompting users to upgrade from Firefox 3.5 to Firefox 3.6. However, starting today Firefox 3.5 users will be prompted to upgrade to Firefox 3.6.


Users will get this prompt only if the browser has been in idle state for 10 minutes or more. Users can also upgrade to Firefox 3.6 manually through the help menu.

If you are not too keen to upgrade to Firefox 3.6, the upgrade prompt will give you an option to deny the upgrade, however, you can always upgrade Firefox manually.

For the stats junkies, Firefox 3.6 has been downloaded over 115 million times, if you are not one of them, go ahead and upgrade to Firefox 3.6 right away.

Rock Your Firefox

On March 10th 2010, Mozilla announced the launch of Rock Your Firefox. Rock Your Firefox is a place where Firefox users can customize their web experience and learn about cool new add-ons.
The release note says,

We are excited to launch Rock Your Firefox today as a place where Firefox users can learn how to customize their Web experience and discover cool new add-ons.

There are thousands of Firefox Add-ons to choose from and hundreds of millions of people worldwide have already downloaded nearly 2 billion add-ons.

At Rock Your Firefox, we can also find reviews and feedback from users who are using add-ons and this will provide us with different ways to customize our browsing experience. Seemingly new add-ons will be listed on the website every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The first add-on to make it to the site is Yoono.  It is featured on the homepage right now. Only one Monday has passed since the launch and a new add-on is expected this Wednesday. The site includes heavy details on the featured add-ons and on how to use them. This gives add-on developers a good exposure and users an insight into their favorite add-ons.

Rock Your Firefox is just another initiative from Mozilla to promote everything Firefox. With a concept this good, it is sure to be a hit.

Use Foobar to Combine Firefox Address and Search Boxes

Google Chrome has become one of the most widely used web browsers within a short span of time. One of its many user-friendly features is that the address box also doubles as a search box. For those of us who unfailingly type in a search command into the address bar of a browser by mistake, this feature is nothing short of a life-saver!   However, all the Firefox loyalists out there needn’t feel left out. With Foobar safely installed, you can now have the benefit of integrating Firefox’s address and search boxes, combining them into one functional box!

Once you install this add-on, every time you type in anything other than a valid URL, (an address having HTTP, FTP or ABOUT), your address bar functions like a search box and you are also given a list of possible choices to select from. Typing in a recognized address, on the other hand, takes you directly to that page. Very handy, right?

Moreover, when using the address box for searches, you also get to choose the search engine to be used. The featured search engines include Google, Yahoo, Amazon and Wikipedia among others. Thus, you experience great flexibility along with dual functionality!

Foobar has the capacity to easily become one of those extensions that you grow so used to that you take them for granted. It is simple, yet rather appealing in its effectiveness. I would highly recommend it to all Firefox users!

Split Screen Dual View Browsing In Google Chrome

Quite sometime back I had told you about a bookmarklet which will split the screen in Google Chrome and allow you to load multiple websites in a single tab or window in Google Chrome.

The bookmarklet still works perfectly fine, however, I also came across a similar which will allow you to split the screen and load two websites in a single tab. The extension which is called "Split Screen", opens up a new popup window and allows you to open multiple websites in a single tab.

Split Screen Dual View Browsing in Google Chrome

Techie Buzz Verdict

Split Screen is a handy extension when you are working on a single monitor and want to refer to some website or news while composing an article. However, there is a problem with the extension. When you want to re-load the URL in any one pane, it reloads both the pages, this in turn means if you are composing an email or writing an article, the composed content will disappear if you have not saved it.

It would be good if the extension developer allows users to load content in individual panes separately. Nevertheless, the extension is definitely worth downloading and will come in handy when you want to research data from multiple sites, without having to constantly keep flipping tabs.

Ratings: 3/5 (Good)

“Submit This To Google Buzz!” Does Exactly What It Says!

Not every webpage or blog has a “Buzz This!” button. Just like you tweet, you can now send any page to Google Buzz with a google chrome extension.

“Submit this to Google Buzz!” is a Google Chrome extension that helps you to buzz any page to Google Buzz right from the page you are on.

"Submit this to Google Buzz!" does exactly what it says!

This extension sits on the top right corner of your browser. It has the same functionality as a “Buzz This!” button.  It shares the link in Google Reader, which in turn, gets posted to Buzz

Note: Let me inform you here that you should have Google Reader connected to Buzz to post it on Google Buzz

Go ahead and download the extension here.

Reality of Microsoft’s Browser Ballot Screen, Adblock Plus: Best Add-on, Geolocation in Chrome [Browser Saturday]

The reality of Browser Ballot Screen

Windows 7 Browser Ballot Screen went live for European Union, and as expected Microsoft is not ready to lose the game so easily. Microsoft is tracking user clicks and the algorithm to decide random appearance of browsers is also being criticized.

Now, Download Squad has revealed another fact about Browser ballot screen: 5 out of 7 ‘secondary’ browsers featuring in ballot screen use Microsoft’s Trident rendering engine! A comment posted by richquick in a forum has attracted attention towards this fact. Avant, Green Browser, Maxton, Slim and Sleipnir use the Trident engine, and hence 6 (including IE) out of 12 (i.e.; 50%) browsers provided through the Browser ballot screen are powered by Microsoft technology.

Firefox, Flock and K-Melon run on Gecko, the open source browser rendering engine developed by Mozilla. Moreover, Sleipnir provides an option to switch to Gecko, and Maxthon is planning to support WebKit in future.

Adblock Plus is the Best Open Source Firefox add-on

Firefox add-on Adblock Plus is the most essential tool to browse internet safely. Recently , Adblock Plus has been awarded the Linux Media Award for the best open source Firefox extension. Congratulations to Wladimir Palant! :)

Google Chrome gets Geolocation capabilities

Geolocation in Chrome

Google Chrome dev channel has integrated geolocation APIs. It will help “location-aware” websites to track visitor’s geographical information and serve content accordingly.

Firefox Personas Are Coming To AMO Soon

Mozilla has decide to upgrade Personas by migrating the entire gallery to (AMO). Moving to the AMO will integrate Personas with the Firefox ecosystem to a greater extent. Featuring in AMO will enable many existing AMO features with the Personas; like ratings and reviews, usage statistics, designer profiles for developers, support for more languages, tagging and searching etc.

Mozilla is also planning to add more new features to the Personas, like:

  • Theme capability
  • Dynamic Personas
  • Personas for subwindows
  • Self hosted Personas, similar to recently introduced “Self hosted Add-ons”

Mozilla Home Tab Design Contest Winner

The Mozilla Home Tab design contest has ended and the winner just announced. The winning entry has been put on Youtube with an excellent video which explains all the features offered by this design. The design highlights four major aspects of browsing and aims at improving the browsing experience of the end user, not only the Internet.

The four focuses of this design are,

  • Identities: To manage online identities
  • Launchers: To create launchers for common tasks
  • Sessions: To manage browsing sessions
  • Task Oriented: Special features

    This video explains the features and provides an insight into the winning entry.

    Firefox 4.0: Alpha 2 with Electrolysis

    Electrolysis is the Mozilla project which deals with the out of process plugins and tab handling.
    This feature gives the tabs and plugins the ability to run out of process. So, in case of a misbehaving plugin or tab, it can be safely closed without disturbing the whole browsing session.

    Out of process plugins allow the browser to run the plugins in a separate sandboxed area.

    This change has appeared on the recent developer preview build released by Firefox. The Alpha 2 release of Firefox 4.0 is still named Firefox 3.7 though.

    Apart from the out of process plugin, the new features in Firefox 4.0 Alpha 2 are,

    • Link history lookup removed from main thread and made asynchronous.
    • Loading HTML5 spec no longer causes long pauses.
    • Layout performance improvements (DOM access time, color management, text area, etc.).
    • JavaScript engine improvements (better string handling, faster closures, support for recursion).
    • Many new features for developers.

    The layout improvement means faster rendering on web pages and the support for recursion and better string handling means more RAM consumption and faster JS rendering.

    The out of process plugin is a feature present in Google Chrome for a long time now. Chrome add-ons are catching up. Chrome definitely delivers pages faster and in the midst of all this, Firefox is going to lose out in the browser race if it does not do something awesome soon.

    Firefox Adds a new Dimension to Browsing, goes 3D

    RT Fact is a real time ray-tracing technology which makes rendering of 3D graphics easier. A group of researchers has recently achieved success in using this technology to render 3D graphics in the Firefox web browser. The browser was showcased at the Cebit Trade show on Wednesday, and has got a lot of positive response.


    The concept of 3D browsing is not new though. Some gaming companies have brought plugins which allow us to browse websites in 3D but with RT Fact, we will not need any plugin. The technology here will make use of the XML3D part of the HTML language. The only change the group has made is in integrating RT Fact into the Webkit engine.

    During a Cebit demo, a Wikipedia page was shown in 3D with a 3D view of the palaces. The modified browser will be made public in a few days and the group is checking with Firefox if they can call the browser Firefox. If that succeeds, the technology will be taken to the W3C which is responsible for setting web standards.

    If the proposal is accepted, we will have a revamped browsing experience, more work for designers and viewing pleasures for the avid web-surfers. If done right, this technology can bring a revolution.