Critical Security Update for Internet Explorer Available via Windows Update

As part of the Cumulative Security Update for July 2012, Microsoft has released a crtical security update for Internet Explorer 9. The security update addresses the vulnerabilities by modifying the way that Internet Explorer handles objects in memory.

The security update resolves two vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Internet Explorer 9 users on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 are affected with the issue. This security update is rated Critical for Internet Explorer 9 on Windows clients and Moderate for Internet Explorer 9 on Windows servers. The vulnerabilities addressed by this update do not affect Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2008 R2, when installed using the Server Core installation option. However, the update is available for the Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows Server 2012 Consumer Preview.

The Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (2719177) will be available to all the customers who have automatic updating enabled. Customers who have not enabled automatic updating need to check for updates and install this update manually.

Internet Explorer 9 Is The Fastest Browser On Windows

According to a study conducted by New Relic which measures browser speeds on both mobile and desktop platforms, Internet Explorer 9 takes the cake for the fastest browsing experience on Windows with load times of around 3 seconds, while Firefox 14.0 and Chrome 17 tied at 3.5. Safari for Windows 5.1 took 4 seconds to load the same page.

On the Mac side, Chrome is the winner with Chrome 13 reporting load times of 2.4. Chrome 19 on the other time has load times of around 2.7, tying it with Safari 5.1. In the survey, a total of 7 Chrome versions were tested. Firefox 11 for Mac took 2.8 seconds.

The mobile browser speed results are quite interesting. Apparently, Blackberries are in fact good for one thing; BlackBerry Opera Mini 6.5 took around 2.6 seconds to load pages, compared to Safari (iPad) 5.1’s load time of 5 seconds, and Safari (iPhone) 5.0’s load time of 6.2 seconds. The load time for Safari (iPhone) 5.1 was around 6.6 seconds. Opera Mobile 12 for Android’s load time was around 7.3 seconds.

The study was conducted in March 2012 over the course of one week, in which New Relic surveyed and measured the speed of 5 billion global page loads across PC and mobile browsers.

In conclusion, here’s a statistical tidbit: This year’s average page load is 5.5 seconds, compared to last year’s time of 6 seconds.

So You Want to Kick the Google Habit? [Editorial]

Google-Logo

 

Google Everywhere

It is hard to go online today without touching one or more Google products or services. If it is not search, it may be email, YouTube, Blogger, Picasa, Docs, or Calendar. Google has truly blanketed us with their web-based app offerings. Heck, even the Google Doodle is a conversation topic!

In this editorial, I shall discuss how you can kick the Google habit, what I am using now as alternatives and why you probably won’t be able to replace certain Google products today. Ready to move away from Google? First, some background.

Why un-Google?

Some of the reasons I personally decided to look for alternatives:

  • Google became a part of virtually everything I did online. I used GMail, Google Reader, Google Finance, Blogger, Picasa, Picasa Web, Google Docs, Google Search, Google Calendar and Google Maps. I felt uncomfortable putting such a large portion of my online life in Google’s hands.
  • Google morphed from the cool little startup building fun stuff for consumers, to a dominant public company whose revenues essentially came from just one product. That’s the key most (96%) of its revenues (and profits) came from search advertising. In other words, it needed other ways to make money. The most obvious way to do so would be to extend the arm of advertising, their main revenue-generating product, into other products. I realized I was the merchandise.
  • Google seemed to get Apple and Facebook envy. Apple was growing rapidly across all their product lines and at very high profit margins, and Facebook was taking eyeballs and key talent away from Google. This led to some bad attempts to mock Apple and Facebook publicly, which of course delighted the Google developer and enthusiast community but came off as being negative to me. If you make a great product, you don’t need a negative campaign.
  • Aside from philosophy, some of the competing products started becoming better, and Google’s products started getting worse (more on that within my descriptions) prompting me to start Project Un-Google which was an effort to use fewer and fewer Google products, hopefully reaching a point where I did not depend on any Google product at all.

Whether it is for philosophy, or hedging your web app bets, it is good to know there is life outside Google when it comes to products and services online and offline. There is usually a strong resistance to change, especially if you have a long history with a product. There is a high cost for transferring the old stuff, and learning your way around a new product/service. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, and I hope you take a look at some or all of the products I list here as an alternative to Google. If you have ideas of other products I may not have mentioned, please let me know!

Popular Google products

Here are some of the Google products/services I will be comparing to competition:

  • Search
  • Picasa
  • GMail
  • Calendar
  • Documents
  • Groups
  • Finance
  • Blogger
  • Chrome
  • Maps/Directions
  • Talk/Chat/Voice

I realize Google has many more products, appsand services, but I did not look at products like Book Search which are very niche. My attempt here is to look at the commonly used products and services only.

How Google Chrome is Growing in India and Hurting Microsoft and Mozilla [Editorial]

India has had a history of being a tech savvy country for more than a decade now. The adaption rate of newer technology in India has been higher than many other countries, which is why there are around 840 million mobile users (TRAI data – PDF File). However, hardly 10-15% of the Indian population have access to internet.

Indian Internet Penetration

According to public data available in Google, the total internet users in India was over 61 million in 2009. This should be more than 100 million now. However, this is a really small number considering a population of 1.2 billion. Nevertheless, this is still 1/3rd of the population of U.S. on which most of the metrics and measurements are made.

This definitely makes India a very lucrative market and considering the growing economy and purchasing power there it should definitely be. Consider this, when I bought my first mobile phone in 2002 or so (it was a Motorola), I parted with Rs. 4500 (~$115) with a heavy heart. This was a second hand phone with no contracts etc. Coming back to 2011, I see people splurging Rs. 20,000-30,000+ for a mobile phone without blinking an eye. This shows how the spending power has increased in India.

Looking at some of the public data available today, I was intrigued to look at who is dominating the market and guess what, it is none other than good old Google. I did some research and here are some facts on how Google is dominating the browser market which was once the forts of Microsoft and Mozilla.

Browser Growth in India

browser_global_stats_june

Recently, there were quite a few blog posts about overtaking 20% market share worldwide in the Internet browser market. In those cases, people were measuring Global traffic (U.S market share is still below 20%). However, one region where Google Chrome is really putting the pressure on Internet Explorer  and is India.

Browser Stats - April to June 2011 India

Take for example the above chart which displays the usage for Google Chrome in India for the past three months. The total usage for IE was around 36%, Firefox was around 33% and Chrome was around 27%.

Browser Stats June 2011 India

The scenario remained the same if you take June 2011 into consideration. No surprises there.

Browser Stats July 2011 India

However, if we now take a look at the stats for July 2011 (which is only for 8 days), you will see a huge jump in the number of users who are using Google Chrome. Of course, this data is premature, but it does reflect a huge jump. What could be the reason? It could be anything any everything including more and more users shifting to Google Chrome thanks to .

The %age gain in the above graph may not look significant, but even a 1-2% jump might mean that around 2 million users switched to Google Chrome in the last 8 days, that is a significant number in itself. The loser was Internet Explorer which shed their percentage. Firefox remained almost stagnant.

Browser Versions in India

Browser Versions India June 2011

In June 2011, was the most used browser in India followed by Google Chrome 12 and . Firefox 5 which launched last month was at 8, followed by Internet Explorer 9 which launched earlier this year. There were several other users who were using outdated browsers, but the growth of the latest stable version of Google Chrome is significant.

Browser Versions India July 2011

However, July 2011 tells a completely different story altogether. Chrome 12 has jumped to become the number 1 browser in India by a huge margin followed by Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 5. The traffic measured during this period might not add up when we see monthly stats at the end of July 2011, but it is definitely surprising that there is such a huge difference.

Looking Back and Summarizing the Future

In 2009, Google Chrome had a 8% market in India even though it was released only in September 2008. This says a lot because it took market share from both Firefox and IE and jumped who have been languishing at the bottom for quite sometime now. A new browser gaining so much traction was unknown prior to that. During that same period, Google Chrome’s worldwide market share was around 2%.

In 2010, Google Chrome had a 10% market share worldwide, whereas in India it had a 18% market share. The growth rate more than double for Indian users. Since January 2011 till date, Google Chrome has a 26% market share in India whereas the worldwide usage is still less than 20%.

All in all, Indian users have adapted Google Chrome at a much higher rate than any other country and this definitely means that they are moving ahead towards newer technology. The adaption rate for Firefox in these periods have either remained the same or have dropped, similar for Internet explorer.

India is definitely a lucrative market for Internet Browsers, Mobile Phones and Operating systems. This goes on to show where these companies will invest in the future. Even if the internet usage in India grows by 20-30% all these companies will be vying for around 300 million users, and that is not a small number by any denomination.

So how did this happen? Money power, sheer brilliance or the power of Google? I will leave that to another editorial I will write in the next few days. Till then, tell me your thoughts through your comments.

(All stats in this post were collected using Google, TRAI and Stat Counter)

Easily Pin Your Websites in Internet Explorer 9

If you are on Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9 allows you to pin a website to the Windows taskbar, and access the website pages directly without having to open Internet Explorer first. The unmatched visibility on users’ desktops results in increased traffic for a website. This also gives an app-like feel to the website or web app.

To pin a website, just grab the tab and drag it down to your taskbar. Apart from the one-click access, a pinned site also allows you to right-click on the icon to get a list that directs you to particular content on the site. Some pinned sites can also notify you that content has changed on the site. While pinned Facebook alerts you of the Facebook notifications for your account, pinned Hotmail notifies with a number corresponding to the new email in your inbox.

ie9-pinned-site

Microsoft has now launched a new service Pin My Website to encourage website owners to add the pinned site functionality to their websites. The site provides an online wizard to guide you to few steps that would give you a code snippet that you can use on your website to take advantage of this function. Microsoft claims that pinned sites gain traffic, and these steps take an average of only 36 seconds to complete!

In the first of a total of four steps, all you need to provide is your contact details and basic site information like site’s name and URL. You will also need to provide an icon for your main site.

PinMyWebsite - Basic Site information

Jump List items act as entry points into the website even when the browser is not running. The next step requires you to list the commonly used destinations and tasks that apply to the whole site.

PinMyWebsite - Jump list tasks

A dynamic Jump List can contain items that will automatically change over time, to give access to periodically updated information like news updates. To use this feature, your site must expose an RSS feed with the items that you want to show on the Jump List.

PinMyWebsite - Jump List tasks and Notifications

The last optional step enables you to add a pinning notification bar on the  top of your webpages. This bar prompts IE9 users to pin your site.

PinMyWebsite - Drag-and-drop site pinning bar

Once you complete the four steps, you can generate the code to use on your site and allow IE9 users on Windows 7 to pin your site to their taskbar.

Internet Explorer 9 Being Rolled Out Through Windows 7 Update

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 to the world last month to much fanfare and millions of downloads. However, the rollout was only done through direct downloads for users.

Internet Explorer 9

However, not each and every user has upgraded to the latest browser from Microsoft and they do have a way to get it out; through Automatic Updates. Microsoft has confirmed that they are now rolling out Internet Explorer 9 to all users through the automatic update channel.

IE9 Windows 7 Update

The update will be rolled out as an important update to all users. It is not clear yet whether users have to upgrade to it compulsorily or not. I am unable to confirm this since I have already upgraded to IE9 but will do so shortly on another PC. The update will be a part of the regular updates rolled out by Microsoft.

If you haven’t used Internet Explorer 9 yet, you should definitely upgrade to it and check out our of tips and trick for IE9.

Google Toolbar 7 Adds Instant Search To Internet Explorer 9

Some good news for Internet Explorer users.

Google has recently released a new version of Google toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Google Toolbar 7 making your web browsing faster, simpler and instant.

The newer UI of Google Toolbar 7 for Internet Explorer and Firefox is sleek and hides all the options under a drop down menu, as shown in the following screenshot

google-toolbar7-internet-explorer

 

Enabling Instant Search In Google Toolbar 7

After you have downloaded and installed Google Toolbar 7, you will be first asked to choose your default search provider. You may either choose Bing or Google as your default search engine, hit OKand restart the browser for the changes to take effect.

search-provider

To enable Instant search in Internet Explorer 9, go to the toolbar options panel by clicking the tiny wrench icon at the top right of Google Toolbar and choose Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing

enable-instant-search

Once you have turned on Instant search for Internet Explorer 9, you can preview search results on Google.com by typing the keywords on the Google search box of Google Toolbar.

Since I am a regular Google Chrome user, I confused this with the address bar of Internet Explorer only to find out that I have to type the same words in the Google search box of Google toolbar (and not in the address bar of Internet Explorer 9). You can also type Alt+G to get to the Toolbar search box more quickly.

Here is how the Instant search interface of Google toolbar looks like

enable-instant-search1

To clear your search terms, hit the Escapekey on your keyboard and the search box will be highlighted, waiting for you to type the new keywords you want to search for.

With this new update, Google wants to push their instant search features deeper and let IE users get the feel of “Instant” search without having to use Google Chrome at all.

Privacy Options

Many features in Google Toolbar send anonymous usage information to Google, in order to improve your browsing experience.

If you’re concerned about the privacy of your system and don’t want to share anonymous usage data with Google, you can turn off specific privacy features from the preferences panel

google-toolbar-privacy

Other features are quite the same as before, it’s just that Google has revamped the overall look and feel of Google toolbar by removing unnecessary UI clutter of buttons and icons from the toolbar panel. To customize which buttons and options appear in the toolbar panel, click the wrenchicon, go to Custom buttonsand choose the buttons you want to see in the toolbar area.

Overall, the new Google Toolbar adds a hint of Google Chrome in Internet Explorer 9. While I continue to use Google Chrome as my default browser, those who want Google’s Instant search feature on Internet explorer, can try the improved Google toolbar 7 here. The following video gives a short introduction of what Google toolbar 7 is all about:

You might want to check our ultimate list on Internet Explorer 9 tips and tricks

Hey Microsoft, HTML5 isn’t Native, Because the Web isn’t Supposed to be Native!

As you must have read by now, Microsoft introduced the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at the MIX11 conference. The announcement surprised many, including yours truly, since Microsoft is known for dragging its heels over Internet Explorer. There was a gap of five years between Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7, and a further gap of three years between Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8. Say what you want about Internet Explorer, but a significant portion of internet users still rely on Microsoft’s browser for surfing the web. Rapidly evolving IE augurs well, not only for Microsoft and IE users, but also the entire web. It’s all well and good if Opera or Chrome or Firefox implements cutting edge standards, but not many developers are going to use those features unless Internet Explorer also supports it.

Internet-Explorer-10-Platform-Preview

Over the past year or so, Microsoft has largely been saying the right things, and making the right moves. Internet Explorer 9, which was a huge improvement over Internet Explorer 8, introduced support for several HTML5 and CSS3 standards. With Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft is continuing to focus on making IE even more developer friendly and standards compliant. The first developer preview itself has a fairly impressive changelog. CSS3 Multi-column Layout, CSS3 Grid Layout, CSS3 Flexible Box Layout, CSS3 Gradients, and ES5 Strict Mode are some of the major new features Microsoft has implemented. These are changes that should thrill developers, and excite general web users. IE 10 platform preview should be winning accolades. Instead, Microsoft has once again managed to annoy developers and web standards enthusiasts.

In the past, Microsoft has been heavily criticized for twisting facts, spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), and talking out of its behind. Microsoft has been trying to turn over a new leaf, but old habits die hard. Yesterday’s announcement was full of buzz-words and half-truths meant to influence the average joe. Microsoft’s official announcement proclaimed:

The only native experience of the Web and HTML5 today is on Windows 7 with IE9. IE9’s approach to taking advantage of what the operating system offers from the native graphics stack to jump lists in the shell maximizes performance, usability, and reliability.

The trouble is that no one is quite sure as to exactly what Microsoft means by native web and HTML5 experience. The phrase native webis by itself is an oxymoron. The web isn’t supposed to be native. The web is supposed to be operating system and hardware independent. The web is supposed to be open and uniform. While HTML5 and CSS3 strive to deliver a native app like experience, there’s definitely no such thing as native HTML5.

Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate VP of Internet Explorer, wrote, The best HTML5 is native to the operating system, so Web sites have the fewest translation layers to pass through. Like all PR-speak, this statement is purposefully ambiguous, and conveys a false sense of superiority.

Microsoft is also making a lot of noise about “full hardware acceleration” support. However, as far as I know, Firefox 4 supports hardware accelerated compositing on most platforms, Chrome has been testing this for a long time through the beta channels, and Opera has demoed it in a labs build.

Dismayed at Microsoft’s shady tactics, people have already begun speaking out. While Haavard from Opera Software lambasted Microsoft, Mike Beltzner (ex-director of Firefox) decided to be cheeky and sarcastic.

Native-HTML5

The use of dubious and shady marketing speak wasn’t Microsoft’s only blunder. In an attempt to justify the lack of Window XP support, Dean Hachamovitch wrote, Others have dropped support on Windows XP for functionality that we think is fundamental to performance. Others here implies Google Chrome, which removed GPU acceleration and WebGL for Windows XP in Chrome 10. However, what Hachamovitch ignored to mention was that Google intends to re-enable these features in Chrome 11 on Windows XP systems with reasonably up-to-date drivers. He also forgot to mention Firefox and Opera two browsers that have already demonstrated that Windows XP is fully capable of running modern browsers.

Through its reckless behavior in the 90s, Microsoft almost become synonymous with evil. It has been desperately trying to rebuild its image over the past few years. Internet Explorer 10 has lots of stuff that are worth getting excited about. Sure, a lot of it is stuff that other browsers have already implemented. However, the IE team has clearly been doing a pretty decent job over the past year or so. Cheap antics like this will only tarnish the efforts put in by the Internet Explorer developers, and antagonize users. We are already well into the new decade. It’s high time that Microsoft stops treating every one of us like a moron, and lets the products speak for themselves.

Mozilla Engineer Calls IE9 Launch Miserable & Starts Abusing When Asked For Stats

If there’s something that ticks me off the most, it is the marketing/PR of a company fudging statistics to suit their needs. Both Microsoft and Mozilla announced new versions of the browsers this month and number of downloads in the first 24 hours were used to showcase how awesome the browsers are.

Microsoft did a blog post claiming 2.35 Million downloads for IE9 and Mozilla announced 7.1 Million downloads. Woah! That’s a huge difference! I mean really that’s almost 3 times but. Yes, there’s a capital BUT here. IE9 is only for Windows Vista and Windows 7 whereas Firefox is available for all desktop operating systems. This little piece of information has been conveniently skipped by all. Why IE9 is not available on Windows XP is Microsoft’s decision, they’ve talked about that and I shall not get into that since it has nothing to do with the download numbers.

Today Romit Mehta asked Asa Dotzler if he could share OS specific numbers for the downloads since that would give a clearer picture as to who wonif the first 24 hour download numbers were the scale. The discussion had several analogies exchanged but Asa did not talk numbers, much like a PR professional he danced around but not being one he lost his cool and shit hit the roof. Here are some quotes:

image

image

Since I follow @Rawmeet and these statistics have been something of an issue for me since everyone started talking about them, I jumped into the discussion and here’s how that went:

image

Getting a PR response meant I had to take a dig at Mozilla:

image

I just got complimented by Asa for my persistence (and my blunt truth):

image

With that done, I decided to look at numbers. They weren’t going to come from Asa or Mozilla so the next best public source, Statscounter and here’s what I found:

The 28 days of March 2011

  • Windows Vista 13.74%
  • Windows 7 30.63%
  • Total download base for IE9 = 44.47% (2.35 Million Times)
  • Compared to the 100% marketshare Firefox had, they managed 7.1 Million downloads.
  • This is 55.53% more and they got 3 times the downloads.

Windows XP has 47.22% of the marketshare which means if IE9 were available on Windows XP the download numbers would’ve well been close. Or in other words, Firefox 4 didn’t exactly do a hell lot better than IE9 despite the 3x downloads.

image

So much for the BS Mozilla and you might want to get your engineers some anger management therapy. Maybe the congratulatory cake Microsoft sent Mozilla wasn’t his  favourite  flavour.

Ultimate List Of Tips And Tricks For Internet Explorer 9

Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft’s latest browser which was launched on 14th March 2011 has quite a few improvements when compared to it’s previous versions. IE9 has a sleek new interface which is less cluttered and provides rich browsing experience.

IE9 Ultimate List of Tips and Tricks

There are no intrusive toolbars, unnecessary navigation buttons and other eye tiringbuttons or graphical elements. Moreover, Internet Explorer 9 is way faster, has improved performance standards and hardware acceleration support. And yes, Internet Explorer 9 is the latest version of the browser that’s supports HTML5 technology.

We tipped you with a list of tips and tricks for Internet Explorer 8, now here is another comprehensive list of tips and tricks for Internet Explorer 9 which is worth bookmarking. Don’t forget to visit our section to find more such useful and comprehensive lists for different software and browsers.

Note: This list will be regularly updated as we come across new posts.

Download, Installation And Getting Started With IE9

Download Internet Explorer 9

If you haven’t tried the newer Internet Explorer 9 yet, we suggest you download Internet Explorer 9 final version or try the RC download here. There are separate download links for Windows7, Windows Vista and Windows Server, so make sure you download the right setup installer.

You might also want to check out IE9’s brand new website at beautyoftheweb.com

ie9-download

Prerequisites For Installing Internet Explorer 9

When you install Internet Explorer 9, additional prerequisite software and components are also installed. The prerequisites vary, depending on the operating system you use.

Microsoft has put together a support and FAQ page for installation compatibility fixes for Internet Explorer 9, so if you’re having problems installing IE9 on your computer, head over to this support page to learn more about the required software and components required for Internet Explorer 9 installation.