The latest version has been bumped to 12.0.701.0 whereas the current development build is at version 11.0.696.3. I haven’t seen any new changes to the user interface or settings in this build, but I do know that there are some really big changes in them.
I will continue looking at what changes have been pushed to this build and will update this post with more information about them. One thing I am happy though is that couple of bugs I had reported have been fixed in this build.
History repeated itself, once again, on the first day of pwn2own, an annual hacking competition where hackers try to break through the defense of modern browsers and operating systems. Safari and Internet Explorer were once again successfully exploited by hackers, while Chrome remained unchallenged and undefeated.
Safari, which was the first browser to be challenged, fell within five seconds. The French security firm VUPEN managed to both execute arbitrary code (launch the Calculator), and bypass sandbox protection (write file on the hard disk). The technique used by VUPEN required development of tools from the scratch and took about three weeks to put together. VUPEN’s success is notable because shortly before the contest began, Apple patched as many as 62 vulnerabilities in a massive security update.
Next up was Internet Explorer, which met a similar fate at the hands of Stephen Fewer. Fewer exploited three separate vulnerabilities to execute Calculator and write a file to the disk. Unlike Apple, Microsoft hadn’t even bothered to issue any security updates last week.
The final browser that was supposed to be tested today was Chrome. However, the single contestant who had signed up to take a crack at Chrome didn’t turn up. So Chrome finished the day unchallenged and undefeated. Like Apple, Google had also released a major security update to Chrome in which at least 24 vulnerabilities were patched. It’s likely that the contestant dropped out because the zero-day vulnerability he planned on using was fixed by Google.
Firefox is slated to be challenged tomorrow. Should it fall, Google Chrome will be the last browser standing for the third consecutive year. Opera is not included in the competition as the organisers are of the opinion that its current user base of 53 million is not large enough.
YSlow along with Google Page Speed provide a good way to find out how your website is loading and which components are slowing it down. In addition to that, it also provides several suggestions to make your website load better.
YSlow for Google Chrome works similarly to the Firefox add-on and displays users with performance ratings and grades for a website. Most of the interface will be familiar to regular users, however, there are some new features in YSlow for Chrome which includes the ability to compare YSlow results for multiple results. Some of the other feature highlights include:
User experience consistent with YSlow for Firefox.
Added the ability to detect post onload components, including for pages that prevent itself from being embedded and/or iframed. (experimental)
Support for 3 main rulesets: Default YSlow V2, Classic V1, and Small Site or Blog as well as the ability to create new ones based on these 3.
Offenders in CDN rule are now listed as domains only.
Runs multiple YSlow instances (new windows). This feature is excellent for comparing YSlow results for different pages side-by-side as shown below.
This is definitely great news and one more reason to use Google Chrome. It has definitely come a long way to become one of the best browsers available today and will further increase market share.
Last month Google released the beta version of Google Chrome 10 to the public. Chrome 10 used the new V8 engine which made it 2 times faster than the previous version. In addition to that, it also included a new settings page which is similar to what is found on a Cr-48 Netbook.
Today, Google has released Google Chrome 10 to the stable channel, making the update available to everyone. Google Chrome 10 also supports password sync, so you can sync your passwords and access it on any computer. In addition to that you can also set a secret passphrase for the sync to secure your synced data. Google Chrome 10 also comes integrated with the latest Flash player, so you will be using Flash 10.2.
If you are using the stable update, this new version should automatically be pushed to you shortly. You can also go to Settings -> About and check for updates. Alternatively, you can download Google Chrome 10 from http://www.google.com/chrome.
So go ahead and experience the latest and greatest browser from Google. It’s fast and you won’t be disappointed.
Last week Twitter released a new update to their iOS based app where they introduced a new floating bar in the app to display trending topics (read ads) to users.
This new update created an outrage in the tech sphere and even on Twitter itself. Much of the problem with this new bar lay in the fact that it overlapped tweets. This dedicated site http://dickbar.org/ explains what really happened and how this sparked an issue and the new hashtag #Dickbar.
If you aren’t an iPhone user, you might have been spared these recent changes, but if you want to know what this looked like you can try out an extension for Google Chrome which brings the #Dickbar to the web interface. Interested? Go ahead and download it from 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.
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.
Facebook recently rolled out a new Photo viewer which provided users with a theatre like view for viewing photo albums. Though the new Theatre view for Facebook works well, it is definitely not liked by everyone.
So what if you don’t want to view photos using the new Facebook Theatre view? Well, you cannot disable it directly using Facebook but you could use a Greasemonkey userscript for Firefox and Google Chrome to disable the theatre view in Facebook.
The "Facebook Photo Theater Killer" userscript kills the annoying new photo theater on Facebook and allows you to browse the photos the old way. This script works on Google Chrome and Firefox only for now.
So go ahead and install the script to get rid of the new annoyance created by Facebook. Thanks Binoy.
Update: If you use Google Chrome, you can also use these extensions to disable the new Facebook photo viewer.
There are sometimes when you may come across websites whose content may not really be that good but who show up in the Google searches you undertake. Now, there is no easy way to get rid of those results unless you filter them out using some sort of user scripts.
However, starting today, Google is making it easier for users to start blocking websites from their search results with the help of a Google Chrome extension called Personal Blocklist. Using this Google Chrome extension users can easily block websites from appearing in search results. Once a website has been blocked, they will not appear in Google searches you make in future.
When you block or unblock a website, the extension will send information about the URL to Google. There is no way you can change this behavior.
You can also unblock the websites by clicking on the extension icon and unblocking the website. Overall this is a good feature if you want to remove some sites from search results.
If installed, the extension also sends blocked site information to Google, and we will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results.
This would definitely not be a really great idea, because people will then just start paying others to install the extension and start blocking their competitors websites. If Google starts using such data for ranking search results, it would be a disaster at best. I would prefer using the extension as a personal choice rather than overall Google rankings.
If you are interested in trying out the extension you can download it from here.
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.