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”

Download Firefox 3.7 Pre-Alpha 2

Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 will be officially released in the next few days, however, the release schedule does not have the actual date of the release, but you can download Firefox 3.7 Pre Alpha 2 "Minefield" right now from their FTP Repository.

Firefox 3.7 Minefield Pre-Alpha 2

Firefox 3.7 Alpha 2 will come with the 1.9.3 Gecko engine, and also includes new icons and other features which makes Firefox a bit faster than the earlier versions. The Pre-Alpha does have a stable version of separate processes for Plugins which works better than my earlier tests.

Firefox 3.7 Acid3 Test Rating

However, Firefox 3.7 did fail the Acid3 test and was given a rating of 96/100 as compared to current version of and , which both received 100/100 in the Acid3 tests. Even Firefox 3.6 had a Acid3 rating of 96/100.

If you are a brave-heart and want to test the Pre-Alpha2 of Firefox 3.7, head over to the nightly build repository and download the appropriate version. FF 3.7 Pre-Alpha2 is available for downloads for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Download Firefox 3.7 "Minefield" Pre-Aplha2

JaegerMonkey, Opera 10.5 Beta, Mozilla Ubiquity And 3 New Chrome Extensions [Browser Saturday]

Welcome again to our weekly column Browser Saturday, where the Techie Buzz team will try to aggregate the latest innovations and updates around the browser world. Check the previous post here.

Mozilla Developers Working On A New JavaScript Optimizer: JaegerMonkey

Mozilla developers are now working on a new JavaScript optimizer for Mozilla based browsers like Firefox. This new project, named JaegerMonkey (or JägerMonkey), will replace Mozilla’s current JavaScript optimizer TraceMonkey. JaegerMonkey will have the features of TraceMonkey and Nitro (WebKit’s JavaScript engine) both.

Developers Dave Mandelin and David Anderson have blogged about this project. David writes:

Mozilla’s JavaScript optimizer, TraceMonkey, is pretty powerful. It carefully observes loops and converts them to super-fast assembly. We call this tracing. That’s great and all, but there’s a problem: sometimes tracing doesn’t work. Loops can throw curveballs that cause tracing to stop. Especially with recursion, or lots of nesting, it can be very difficult to build good traces on complex code. Other JavaScript engines, such as Nitro (present in WebKit/Safari), take a simpler approach. Instead of compiling loops to assembly, they compile entire methods (functions) to assembly.

We’re taking the tried-and-true approach of other vendors, and bolting trace compilation on top. Once the two are interacting seamlessly, you’ll have a much more consistent and fast JavaScript performance experience.

This project is in the initial phase at the moment, and the team is very excited about it. After its implementation, Mozilla based browsers will have super fast JavaScript rendering speed, similar to WebKit based browsers. :)

Opera 10.50 Beta For Windows And Mac

Opera 10.5 Beta for Mac platform has been released. This release includes some exciting features like Growl notifications, unified tool bar and Multi-touch gestures. The Opera team has also released 10.5 beta 2 for Windows.

Where is Mozilla Ubiquity?

Erez Zukerman of DownloadSquad has posted about the current development status of Mozilla Ubiquity.   This post was widely discussed among developers, and finally Aza Raskin, the head of User Experience for Mozilla Labs, has replied Erek’s post. Raskin writes on his blog:

Ubiquity is currently on the back burner, with the core Ubiquity people now working on Jetpack (myself and Atul Varma) and Test Pilot (Jono Xia). In the next couple of months I will be focusing on a new project that incorporates some of the learnings from Ubiquity and Taskfox.

Surprisingly, this post has been removed from Raskin’s blog (though accessible using Google cache). The homepage of Ubiquity project at Mozilla Labs has been updated now, and discusses the current status of Ubiquity: The purpose of an experiment is to learn something not necessarily to make a product.

3 New & Useful Chrome Extensions try them now!

  1. SEO Site Tools: A useful extension for web professionals. Pulls tons of on-page and off-page metrics, social media stats etc. for any site.
  2. Skeet: A brand new Chrome extension for twitter users. Attractive and simple UI, feels like Twhirl!! :)
  3. Chrome Lock: This extension claims to lock Google Chrome, and hence it prevents unauthorized use of the browser when you are not at your desk. Users can set their password to unlock the browser. Unfortunately, it is not working at my end (Windows, 5.0.335.0 build 39559), but many users have posted positive reviews. :)

Also Check: Best Chrome Extensions You Should Definitely Download

Mozilla JaegerMonkey – Bringing Speed Back To Firefox

Firefox-JaegerMonkeyMozilla was one of the first browsers to talk about native code compilation for JavaScript. In fact, this is what allowed Firefox and Chrome to zoom ahead of other browsers in terms of rendering speed. However, now that other browsers have also implemented similar features, Firefox has once again fallen behind.

Obviously, Mozilla isn’t pleased with the current situation. In most speed tests, current builds of Firefox end up getting trashed by every browser other than Internet Explorer. This has prompted Mozilla to begin work on a new engine called JaegerMonkey.

TraceMonkeygetting started and it will possibly take several months for this to appear even in the alpha builds of Firefox. Nevertheless, this gives Firefox users something to look forward to.

Firefox Private Browsing Mode Is Broken

Firefox’s Private Browsing Mode enables users to browse the web privately. It empowers users to surf websites without storing browsing data (URLs, cookies, page content etc.). But, now Mozilla has discovered that Private Browsing Mode (PBM) in Firefox is partially broken, and browsing data get stored even if a user has enabled PBM.

According to a blog post on official Mozilla Add-ons blog, this flaw generates because of Firefox Add-ons:

Add-ons have the ability to obtain and store browsing data, and some of these add-ons may not be taking PBM into account. This is a breach of the user’s privacy expectations when using PBM, so we will be updating our policies shortly, requiring add-ons to respect PBM.

Private Browsing Mode In Firefox

Mozilla has announced to update user privacy policies soon. To overcome this problem, Mozilla has planned two different levelsof privacy support:

  • If an add-on stores browsing data in any way, it must support PBM. This support cannot be disabled in any way.
  • If an add-on stores some other type of personal data, support for PBM is optional.

In the referred blog post, Mozilla has suggested add-on developers to ensure PBM support for their add-ons. This is another issue discovered with Firefox add-ons recently. Few weeks ago, two experimental add-ons were found to be infected with trojans. Although, later Mozilla informed that these reports were false.

Moreover, Google Chrome disables all extensions in PBM (incognito mode).

Browser Saturday: Firefox In Technology of the Decade, Arora is Alive, Chrome Flash Extension and MS Browser Ballot

Welcome to the first post of our new weekly column Browser Saturday, where the Techie Buzz team will try to aggregate latest innovations and updates around the browser world.

Firefox is one of the 25 Technologies that changed the decade

The has listed Firefox among the 25 technologies that changed the decade. Firefox is at 9th place. eWeek says:

Just a few years ago, the future of the Web and the browser looked bleak. Internet Explorer dominated the market, and Microsoft wasn’t interested in browser innovation. But when Mozilla released Firefox, we finally got real browser choice and innovation.

Firefox is the only software product in Top 10., Gmail, Ajax and iPhone are the other names in the list.

Arora is not DEAD!!

Arora is a light-weight cross-platform WebKit based browser, which comes with a unique feature: built-in Ad blocker. I personally appreciate Arora (& it is my alternate browser!). Unfortunately, the development process is too slow and users were suspecting if the project has been abandoned. But Benjamin Meyer, the main developer behind Arora, recently responded to a mail thread and explained his future plans. Meyer told:

I did suspend my own development for several months while I determined if I could actually work on Arora and related libraries at my new place of employment (My old company TorchMobile was bought by RIM).   At the end of the summer there was a ton of development mostly by me trying to get the adblock stuff in.   Going from that to nothing doesn’t look good in retrospect.     More recently I have been reviewing various patches and some have gone in.   I will be making another release in the near future.

Another Chrome Extension To Download Flash Videos in official gallery. Will Google remove it too?

Flash Video Download is a new extension for Google Chrome. It enables users to download flash videos from the sites like dailymotion and YouTube. The extension is hosted in the official Chrome extension gallery (owned by Google). In past, Google had removed such extensions from gallery because such extensions violate gallery policies to not create extensions that enable the unauthorized download of streaming content or media.

Interestingly, now there are many similar extensions featuring in gallery (another here). Will Google remove these extensions again?

Microsoft reveals browser ballot screen

Microsoft has revealed the browser ballot screen, which will be available to Windows users in EU soon. Download Squad reports that the rollout begins from the next week.

Techie Buzz has already told users about EU’s anti-trust complaint against Microsoft.

DYK Thursday: The Book of Mozilla

If you are a regular reader of Techie Buzz, you must have already seen posts like Twitter Tuesdays and Webby Wednesdays. In the same way, DYK Thursdays are themed posts that concentrate on bringing out amazing facts in the world to our readers, from various fields of technology. Every week, I will be gathering some of the most amazing facts in this section. Wishing myself best of luck!

P.S. DYK = Did You Know?

The Book Of Mozilla

Did you know that there is a book written by the world famous Mozilla group? Yes, this is true! Mozilla has created an easter egg for its users called “The Book Of Mozilla”. This book is a compilation of prophecies that refers to Mozilla. A new prophecy is added every time a new version of Mozilla is released.

At present, there are about 5 prophecies written about the Mozilla Browser – the first prophecy starting from the release of Netscape Navigator 1.0 (10th December 1994).

Apart from the official prophecy, there are some unofficial ones as well. These were associated with Flock browser.

These prophecies are written in apocalyptic literature as in Bible. If you want to see the present prophecy of this book from your Mozilla Firefox, direct your mouse pointer to the address bar and type in, “about:mozilla”. It would direct you to a page (maroon color) containing the prophecy associated with the latest release. You can even see all the prophecies written till date, through this page created by Mozilla or even the Wikipedia article here. The wikipedia article even has a screenshot of the unofficial Flock browser prophecy.

Every prophecy has a meaning hidden in it about the Mozilla. It can be understood if you have  good knowledge about the Mozilla history. Nevertheless, if you can’t crack the meaning hidden in those prophecies,  you can view the source code of this Mozilla page. (Click on the image to view it larger.)

The source code shows the details of every verse

A Wikipedia note on the prophecies,

The five verses all refer to the activities of a fearsome-sounding “beast”. In its early days,  Netscape Communications Corporationhad a green fire-breathing  dragon-like  lizard  mascot, known as  Mozilla (after the  code name for  Netscape Navigator 1.0). From this, it can be conjectured that the “beast” referred to in  The Book of Mozilla is a type of fire-breathing lizard, which can be viewed as a  metaphor  for, or  personification  of Netscape.

These prophecies were written by  Valerio Capello in May 2004 and were added to the  Mozilla Foundation site by  Nicholas Bebout in October that year.

So, this was today’s fact!

Did you know that Google has created a number of hoax pages on April Fool’s day to fool its vast base of users?! Do you want to know what those hoaxes are? Subscribe here to Techie-Buzz and stay tuned for the next “DYK Thursday”

Extension Manager Redesign Mockups for Firefox 3.7/4.0

The extension manager or add-on manager in Firefox has gone through some changes over the different versions of Firefox, however, it has not changed as much as people would have wanted it to. However, it looks like the next version of Firefox, which will be Firefox 4.0 instead of Firefox 3.7, will have a redesigned Extensions/add-ons Manager.

Firefox Add-ons/Extensions Manager Mockup

A new Wireframe for the extensions manager is being discussed at the Mozilla wiki. The new add-ons manager will have a sidebar which will provide easy access to installed add-ons, and also allow users to quickly search and browse other add-ons in the Mozilla repo.

Firefox Add-ons Manager Search Mockup

The new UI for the add-ons manager is definitely refreshing, and having something like this in the next version of Firefox would definitely be great. If you want to take a look at how the Wireframes and other design related changes in the new extension manager which is being planned, head over to this page at the Mozilla wiki.

Do let me know what you think about the new wireframes for the extension manager? Do you think it will improve your experience while dealing with add-ons in Firefox?

Block JavaScript in Google Chrome. NoScript’s features in Chrome!

If you have just migrated to Chrome from Firefox, you may have noticed that there is no Chrome version of NoScript the popular Firefox add-on to block JavaScript on web pages. NoScript blocks JavaScript, Java, Flash, Silverlight and several other executable contents by default and gives users a choice to allow these content from trusted sources only. Hence, it makes browsing faster and safer. I can’t imagine web browsing without NoScript, and this is one of the many reasons to stick with Firefox.

If you miss NoScript in Chrome, I have good news for you: Google Chrome will have similar content filter options soon. The latest Dev channel v5.0.317.0 for Windows has an option to selectively control cookies, images, JavaScript, plug-ins and pop-ups. Users can either block this content or opt to allow only certain trusted sources.

How to block JavaScript and other contents in Chrome?

disable javascript in google chrome

If you are using Dev channel of Chrome on Windows, you can access these features by updating it to latest release. Move to Options->Under the Hood->Content settings. This setting window provides better management of images, JavaScript, plug-ins, and pop-ups.

The recommended option is to block all JavaScript and add trusted hosts as Exceptions. Although, blocking JavaScript may result into unusual rendering of web pages. You can set options for cookies, images, popups and plug-ins similarly.

content setting icon in address barYou can also control your content settings from the address bar. If there is any blocked item on the current web page, a small icon will appear in the address bar, and users can manage settings by clicking on it. This feature is similar to NoScript, where you can control settings from the status bar icon.

I hope to see this feature in stable version of Chrome soon. :)

Firefox Add-ons Contained Trojans [Security Alert]

In a somewhat scaring discovery, two experimental Firefox add-ons were found to be containing Trojans. The add-ons included version 4.0 of Sothink Web Video Downloader and Master Filer.

Users who installed the infected add-ons would be affected when they restarted Firefox. When a user restarted Firefox the Trojan would be executed and take over the host machine. Version 4.0 of Sothink Web Video Downloader contained Win32.LdPinch.gen, and Master Filer contained Win32.Bifrose.32.Bifrose Trojan.

Both these add-ons have now been disabled by Mozilla, however users who have been using the above add-ons should disable them and run full system virus and spyware scans immediately. The vulnerability is known to affect Firefox on a Windows PC. According to Mozilla, around 5000 users have been affected.

Mozilla has not yet made it clear as to how the infected add-ons made it to the add-ons gallery, however, this is definitely scary and Mozilla should definitely run more checks and Antivirus scans on add-ons that they accept, since millions of people visit the add-ons gallery to find and download new extensions.