Google Chrome to reach v4 before Firefox? Work begins on Chromium 4.0

Posted on August 13, 2009. Filed under: Google | Tags: , , |

 
google chrome
 
Version numbers probably mean more to the general public than to regulars at DownloadSquad. When it comes to Chrome, however, Google seems like they’re hoping to catch up with Opera by the end of next year.

After doing an install from Buildbot’s snapshots, I checked Chromium’s about screen. Lo and behold, build 23129 is tagged as 4.0.202.0. While it’s just a number, it means, of course, Chrome will likely hit v4 long before Firefox ever does.

Other than the version number I haven’t noted any obvious changes as of yet.

Technical Program Manager Anthony LaForge posted a note to the Chromium-dev board announcing that the move was made to reflect the code freeze on Chrome v3. “There is still a bit of work that needs to be done for 3.0 in terms of stability and fixes,” he wrote. “To that end we will be pulling changes into the 195 branch (what will become the stable release).”

This isn’t the first quick version-to-version jump Chrome has seen. Chrome 3 hit the dev channel less than a week after Chrome 2’s release back in May. Looks like I was off the mark about Chrome hitting version 8 or 9 before Google ditched the beta tag on GMail…

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Fast forward to 4.0 with a new Firefox theme

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

Mozilla firefox

Not long ago a DeviantArt user put together a Firefox 3/3.5 theme based on Mozilla’s concept for Firefox 3.7. Want to go the extra .3 and jump ahead to version 4? Take a look at Strata40.

By using the them in conjunction with a few Firefox addons – All Glass, Personal Menu, Fission, Omnibar, and Stylish – and following some lengthy but simple instructions you’ll have yet another slick, futuristic look for your browser. The complete rundown is available on SpewBoy’s DevArt page. I didn’t adhere strictly to the 4.0 look (I added bookmarks and downloads buttons), but you’re free to tweak the layout to your liking.

As before, don’t forget to change the FF window title text using Titlebar Tweak or Nightly Tester Tools to make the illusion even more believable. You’ll need NTT anyway to get the theme working on Firefox 3.6, so you may as well have some fun with it.

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Personas is live, and an uglier Firefox is easier than ever!

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

personas_for_firefox__gallery

Fans of other browsers have slammed Firefox’s rather plain appearance for ages. Now, at last, Mozilla fans have a weapon which they can proudly wield against their friends who run IE7 with bikini-clad Hotbar backgrounds!

Personas has gone live, complete with a gallery chock full of prefab styles that can be easily applied to your browser. As with any desktop theming, there are a few aesthetically pleasing creations but there are also a number of abhorrent designs.

Too many of them wind up making a cluttered, distracting mess of the menus. Strata, for example, puts an annoying orange line right through my bookmark buttons. With Cool Black, I can’t even read the labels. On the plus side, switching Personas doesn’t require restarting Firefox like traditional themes do.

Still, kudos to Mozilla for making themes easier for users to put together. Firefox’s easy and flexible personalization is one key advantage it has over competing browsers, so they may as well ride that horse ’till it drops.

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Search Cloudlet for Firefox brings tags to Twitter search

Posted on March 15, 2009. Filed under: Twitter News | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder, downloadsquad

search-cloudlet-twitter

Search Cloudlet is a plugin for Firefox that adds relevant tag clouds to searches you conduct using Yahoo! or Google. We first looked at the program a few months ago and were impressed with the way it helps refine your searches.

Now there’s a new version of Search Cloudlet that works with Twitter search as well. When you conduct a search using Twitter, a tag cloud will pop up with relevant terms. For example, if you search for “Jim Cramer,” you’ll find a lot of results for “Jon” and “Stewart.”

You can also filter your results by clicking ont he Authors, @To, or #Tags buttons. Or if you’d rather not see the tag cloud at all, just hit the Off button.

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Firefox 3.1 beta 3 released

Posted on March 14, 2009. Filed under: Internet | Tags: , , , |

By Jay Hathaway, D ownloadsquad

firefox3

Firefox 3.1b3 is out today, and the release notes list a few important improvements: faster Javascript with Tracemonkey, improvements to the new private browsing mode, faster rendering and native JSON support. Anecdotal evidence from folks on Twitter and some testing here on my MacBook says that 3.1b3 is noticeably faster than 3.1b2, but still not quite up to speed with Safari 4.

One small-but-welcome improvement in the latest beta is a much better looking “new tab” button in the default theme. I don’t know what they were thinking with that ugly plus-button all the way over on the right of the toolbar, but the new one looks more like a regular tab, and it sits near your existing tabs, where you’re likely to be clicking anyway. As usual, updating to a new Firefox beta will disable some of your plugins until they’re updated. You can force-enable them (at your own risk) with the Nightly Tester Tools add-on.

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Firefox Has Got a 100% Market Share…In Antarctica

Posted on March 10, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Software World, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Stan Schroeder, Mashable.com

firefoxlogoAnd they say it’s hard to conquer the browser market. Despite Microsoft’s global domination, there are some places where Firefox is a vastly dominant browser. One of them is Antarctica; according to StatCounter’s recently added feature, GlobalStats, in 2009, only one browser was used there.

I’m guessing the data comes from one user – and he’s using Firefox.

Don’t believe me? Check out the graph below. If you go a bit further back in time, you’ll find that Internet Explorer also came on top at times, perhaps because of those pesky Windows Updates. But, this year, it’s all about open source, baby!

firefox_antarctica1

Looking at the operating systems used, Windows 2003 stands at 80 percent, with Windows XP holding the other 20 percent. Unsurprisingly, Google is the only search engine used. As far as the mobile browser market is concerned, Antarctica is still virgin territory. So, if you have an iPhone, and you don’t mind the coldish weather…

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Flock Ditching Firefox, Moving To Google Chrome

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Michael Arrington

flocklogonewFlock, a social-focused browser startup that has raised nearly $30 million in venture funding, has ceased building on top of the open source Firefox browser, say multiple sources. The next version of the Flock browser will be built on Google’s open source Chrome browser platform. The last version of Flock was released in October 2008.

Flock first launched in October 2005 and has had 6 million or so downloads. But it still has less market share than even Netscape, which was discontinued over a year ago.

In the past Flock has said all it needs is a few tens of millions of users to score big dollars from the search engines (each active user generates $5 or so in search engine revenue). But after three years of trying, Flock hasn’t been able to achieve more than a fraction of that number of users.

As to why Flock is leaving Mozilla: sources say that they’ve become frustrated with Mozilla’s lack of attention to Flock’s needs. One source says Flock felt like the “red headed step child of the Mozilla development community.” Sources are also saying that Flock feels that Google Chrome is far easier to work with than Firefox.

One problem is that Chrome isn’t yet cross-platform and works only on Windows machines. But Google is actively working on Mac and Linux versions of Chrome and should release them in the next few months. Right about the time the next version of Flock is released.

Flock hasn’t yet returned a request for comment on this story.

Update: Flock CEO Shawn Hardin responds in the comments:Mike,I was responding to your email from only a few hours ago when I saw your article. It’s important to clarify a couple of things. We haven’t ceased development efforts on the Mozilla platform. Our upcoming release of Flock 2.1 is built on the Mozilla platform. Having said that, the browser space is heating up, and we’ve seen a variety of exciting technologies emerge over the last several months that are appealing.We always have and will continue to make architectural decisions that balance what’s best for our users and what’s best for Flock as a business. This has resulted in a healthy, growing user base and business for Flock, and we expect this to continue in 2009. In fact, with over seven million downloads almost entirely from word of mouth, Flock enjoys a highly satisfied user base with consistently over 92% customer satisfaction, very strong net promoter scores, and an average of four hours of usage per day.With a continuing focus on user-centered browser innovation, our team is in active research and development on a range of exciting new enhancements to Flock. It is still far too early to comment on anything specific, but we are very excited about this design phase…

Source: techcrunch

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Kutano Hopes To Draw Crowds In Crowded Online Commentary Space

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Leena Rao

kutanoWhy do online commenting start-ups keep beating their heads against the same wall? Kutano, a browser add-on that lets users read, write and search comments side-by-side with any webpage, launched at DEMO today. With over one-third of the 1.574 billion internet users worldwide participating in online commentary and forums, Kutano is joining a slew of other start-ups hoping to capitalize on this growing trend by providing a free and open stage for online discussion.

As we wrote about last fall, there have been many online discussion add-ons and services developed to allow users to share unmoderated commentary on webpages, but very little traction for most of them.

Kutano’s technology doesn’t appear to be vastly different than its predecessors. Once Internet Explorer and Firefox users (Safari and Linux versions will be rolled out in Q2 2009) download the free add-on, a Kutano, collapsable “window” will be displayed to the right of the browser, which will show the discussions and information related to the specific subject (not by URL) of the web page that is being viewed. The add-on lets users comment on the website and also allows users to search and exchange information on any related commentary on the web (much like Reframe It). This serves to broaden the discussion, but also risks showing disjointed conversations.

Kutano, which means crowd or gathering in Swahili, integrates with Facebook and Twitter, giving users the ability to broadcast commentary on social networks. While Kutano offers users the ability to create specific subject-based commentary, competitor Reframe It provides many more social-networking features, including the ability to follow comments in a RSS feed and upload Gmail and Facebook contacts into the application.

Kutano will undoubtedly confront similar roadblocks that other commentary and Web annotation applications have experienced. The chance of coming across a website with commentary from Kutano users is small, making the side-panel somewhat useless. Like Reframe It, Kutano’s comments can only be seen by users who have downloaded Kutano to their browsers. And as free and open commentary becomes a staple of blogs and media sites, users tend to look and read comments and discussion sponsored by the blogs and news sites themselves. I’m skeptical that users will be looking for yet another open forum for comments and discussion relating to, for example, articles on The New York Times website.

kutanoongooglepage

Source: techcrunch

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X Marks The Spot, Foxmarks To Become Xmarks

Posted on March 2, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Leena Rao

xmarks-beta-vFoxmarks, one of the most popular Firefox add-ons for social bookmarks, is re-branding itself as Xmarks and making significant additions to its functionality. Since Foxmarks has collected so many urls (600 million to be exact), the company is creating a search feature that turns up pre-qualified results. Since Foxmarks’ launch, the bookmark synchronization add-on has been downloaded over 14 million times, with most downloads originating from Firefox users, though the add-on launched Internet Explorer and Safari browser capabilities in early February.

The Xmarks feature produces search results based on what millions of users in its community are bookmarking. Users can view each result’s number of bookmarks, popularity ratings and reviews, and a user-generated description of the site. The search engine also recommends similar sites to the user. If the user downloads the Xmarks add-on, the technology will mark popular bookmarked sites (with an icon) in any Google, Yahoo or MSN Live searches. Users can hover over each icon to see a thumbnail view of the Xmarks reviews and information on the site. Users can also click an Xmarks icon in their address bar to learn more about any site they are currently visiting. Much of the information on Xmarks, such as site summaries and reviews is user-generated and the hope is that users will create a wiki for website reviews, according to CEO James Joaquin. Currently, the Xmarks add-on is only available for Firefox users but is expected to reach Internet Explorer and Safari users in the near future. They are also in talks to extend Xmarks capabilities to Google’s Chrome browser.

Founded by Mitch Kapor and Todd Agulnick, Xmarks competes with other popular social bookmarking applications like Delicious and StumbleUpon. While Delicious’s search feature is similar, Xmarks’ search result snapshot is more comprehensive and informative with summaries, reviews and similar sites included in the result. And the ability to see this comprehensive Xmarks snapshot in a Google search or in the address bar is unique.

Xmarks’ technology is undoubtedly innovative and useful, particularly to users looking to deepen the information-return of their searches. It is interesting, however, that the company has chosen to re-brand their product line after spending over two years building what could be called a Firefox-related brand around Foxmarks. Joaquin says that Firefox has created a rich environment for the company to distribute its add-on, but the company is now hoping to gain additional momentum from other browsers. Part of that effort includes a less Firefox-centric brand. And as Internet Explorer continues to lose market share and the battle of the browsers becomes more heated, it will be important for Xmarks to diversify its user base.

Here are a few screen shots of Xmarks’s web search features:

xmarks

xmarks1

xmarks2

Source: techcrunch

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Latest Chrome release gets full-screen browsing

Posted on February 28, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Josh Lowensohn

googlechromelogoOn the horizon for the next release of Google’s Chrome browser is something I’ve long lusted after: the option to browse the Web in full screen. On Wednesday, an early version of this feature came to the latest developer build of Chrome (v.2.0.166.1). Those running it can simply hit F11 on their keyboard to send the browser into full screen, which eschews any UI besides the side page scroller, and your Windows taskbar.

The full-screen mode is missing a few core features found in Firefox and IE7. For instance, there is no drop down top navigation. This means to enter a new URL or open up your favorites, you’ll need to hit F11 to return to normal browsing. You also can’t see what tabs you have open, but you can still switch between them using the Ctrl+Tab shortcut.

Compared to IE7 and Firefox 3, Chrome has the least reason to offer such a feature considering how little of your screen real estate its UI takes up. However, for users on ultraportable notebooks, that extra few pixels can make the browsing experience a far more enjoyable experience. It can also be incredibly helpful if you’re using an online photo editor, as you get more room to work.

Source: cnet

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Hype Check: Safari 4 can’t beat Google Chrome

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , , , |

By Lee Mathews

benchmarks-safd

Apple’s download page declares Safari 4 “the world’s fastest web browser.” Pretty strong words. That is, of course, if they had any actual meaning.

Perhaps they’re referring to a different world. On the planet Earth, however, Safari 4 still can’t surpass Google Chrome on the Sunspider, V8, or Dromaeo browser benchmarks.

If you’d like to see how it stacks up, take a look at my comparatives from Dromaeo – Safari 4 is the column labeled Webkit 528.16. Other browsers used were Chrome 2.0.160.0 (labeled Webkit 530), Chrome 1.0.154.48 (labeled Webkit 525), Firefox 3.0.6, Firefox 3.1 (labeled 60780) with Tracemonkey enabled, Opera 9.63, and Opera 10. It’s no longer news how slow Internet Explorer (both 7 and 8) are at processing Javascript, so I haven’t included its results here. Tests were run on an AMD quad 9550 with 4gb of memory running Windows Vista Ultimate x64.s?

graph-dwq

graph-dwq-qw

On Google’s V8 benchmark, Chrome 2 beats Safari 4 like a rented mule, and Firefox 3.1 barely puts up a fight.

Safari 4 does perform admirably when tested on Dromaeo, placing first in ten tests. Firefox 3.1 claims seven top marks and comes close on two more. Based on overall numbers, however, Chrome 2 still wins the Javascript speed title.

Wait, didn’t CNet just release “shocking results” that show Safari 4 coming in first? Sure they did. And Webware ran a post showing it coming in second in their battery of tests. I’m going to have to side with Webware on this one.

At this point, though, what do the numbers mean? Firefox 3.1 puts up a score three times the next best in the “bits in byte” test. Chrome 2’s 1057.765 in recursive number calculation is about 25 times what Firefox can manage. Safari’s Fannkuch result is 33% better than that of Chrome. Each browser seems to be very strong in certain areas and weak in others, so do the numbers really matter that much?

No.

They’re interesting to look at, but in actual use Chrome 1 and 2, Safari 4, Firefox 3.1, and even Opera 10 “feel” very similar in terms of performance to me. Ultimately, it boils down to using the browsers yourself to determine which one is best suited to your browsing habits.

Ignore the hype machine. Who cares what browser puts up the best test results if it doesn’t pass muster on your favorite sites.

Source: downloadsquad

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Want to enable 1password in the Safari 4 Beta? Here’s how.

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Greg Kumparak

1passwordAfter weeks of dealing with Firefox running like a pile of hot garbage on both of my Macs, I made the jump over to the Safari 4 Beta as soon as word of it broke this morning. All was well until I went to go log in to pay my gas bill, when I suddenly realized that I had no idea what the passwords were for my less frequently used services. 1password keeps track of all that junk for me, and suddenly 1password was no where to be found. I was alone. Fortunately, it’s a pretty easy fix.

Update: 1password now has a Safari 4 compatible version up on their Beta servers, so you have two options. If you’d rather stick with your current version, follow the steps below. If you don’t mind double-dipping in Beta territory, just go enable Beta downloads in 1password (Preferences » Updates, hit “Include Beta Versions”) and then click the “Check Now” button.

How to enable 1password in the Safari 4 Beta:
•  Close Safari
•  Go to the /Applications/ folder
•  Right click on 1password.app, hit “Show Package Contents”
•  Navigate to /Contents/Resources/
•  Double click on SupportedBrowsers.plist. If you have Apple’s development tools installed, it’ll open in the Plist editor. If not, it’ll open in plaintext.
•  If you’re using the Plist editor, expand the “Safari” drop-down (Just click the little arrow beside Safari).
•  Look for the MaxBundleVersion key with a value of 5528.1 – change it to 5528.16. Save.
•  Open Safari

You can now use 1password via the right click menu in Safari Beta 4. If you want to add the 1password button to your toolbar, go to View > Customize Toolbar in Safari and drag it over. Enjoy easy access to all of your junk!

safari4beta

Source: crunchgear

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European versions of Windows to include multiple web browsers?

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Software World, Tech News, Windows | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Brad Linder

browsers

The European Commission appears to be a few steps closer to forcing Microsoft to provide customers with a choice of web browsers as part of an antitrust measure. European regulators took similar measures a while back by requiring Microsoft to offer a version of Windows sans Windows Media Player. But simply unbundling Internet Explorer is a bit more complicated, since, as many readers pointed out when we first mentioned the possibility – it’s a lot easier to download an alternative browser if you have a browser to start with.

But a spokesperson for the European Commission says that it’s likely regulators will require Microsoft to offer customers a choice of competing web browsers in addition to Internet Explorer. So basically, when you run Windows for the first time, you may be asked if you want to install Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Google Chrome, or another browser as part of the setup process. Presumably the browsers you don’t install would be erased from your storage or wouldn’t be downloaded in the first place, which is a much better solution than installing each 5 browsers when most users will only need one.

It’s also possible that the decision could be left to computer makers. For example, Dell could decide to install Firefox, while Lenovo goes with Internet Explorer.

There’s still another round or two of negotiations to go, but it sounds like the European Commission is already pretty close to requiring Microsoft to do something to make it easier for customers to use competing web browsers.

Source: downloadsquad

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Pixlr plugin for Firefox turns your browser into an image editor

Posted on February 25, 2009. Filed under: Software World, Tech News | Tags: , , , , , |

By Brad Linder

pixlr-plugin

Pixlr is a web-based image editing application. We first discovered the site a few months ago, and it compares favorably to other web based graphics apps like Picnik and Fotoflexer. You can crop, resize, add effects, or paint your images. And now thanks to a Firefox plugin, importing images to Pixlr is even easier.

Once the plugin is installed, you’ll notice a little icon in the Firefox status bar that you can click to automatically import any web page you’re on to Pixlr for editing. Just want to edit an image from the web? No problem. Just right click and select Edit in Pixlr. The image editor will open in a new tab and load the picture automatically.

Source: downloadsquad

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