The NSA is watching your every move (not really) and malicious hackers are trying to steal your data at every turn (really), so the last thing you need is for your own Web browser to start working against you as well. Following recent revelations that some Chrome extensions were packed with adware, Google quickly responded and removed them from the Chrome Web Store. The problem apparently goes much further than the few extensions Google axed, however, and How-To Geek recently ran a post to help bring the issue to light. More →
Mozilla has developed a Firefox add-on called Lightbeam that could change the way you look at your daily Internet activity. Mozilla says that Lightbeam “enables you to examine individual third parties over time and space, identify where they connect to your online activity and provides ways for you to engage with this unique view of the Web.” As you browse, your activity is constantly being monitored by third parties on the websites you visit, often without any signs or warnings whatsoever. More →
Anyone looking to search the web without being tracked by advertisers will soon be able to use Mozilla’s Firefox browser without worries. The Washington Post reports that Mozilla is moving ahead with plans to implement a “Do Not Track” system that will let users opt out of the most common types of tracking that advertisers use. Advertisers are predictably unhappy with Mozilla’s decision, of course, but the Post says that Mozilla executives are confident about “the growing sophistication of tools they are building to limit the placement of cookies in users’ browsers” such as their plan to “add limits on cookies placed by sites users intentionally visit, such as Facebook, to prevent tracking when users sign off and go to other sites.” Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich said that the organization’s efforts to carry out a strong Do Not Track policy were the best way “to change the dynamic so that trackers behave better.”
Mozilla is out to show that it wasn’t just blowing smoke when it said it wanted to bring console-quality games directly to your web browser. Per Engadget, Mozilla has posted a demonstration video of Android game Epic Citadel that’s been ported over to Firefox using the Unreal Engine 3. While the video is just a straight scenic walk-through with no combat or interaction with non-player characters, it does show that it’s possible to have high-quality graphics run at a solid frame rate of 16 frames per second within a desktop browser. The Unreal Engine 3 is used to power such A-list games as Bioshock Infinite, Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Arkham City, and porting it to a browser would be a major accomplishment for Mozilla engineers. Mozilla’s full demonstration video is posted below. More →
The past two months have been difficult for Google’s (GOOG) Chrome Web browser, as TheNextWeb reports that Chrome lost market share for the second month in a row in October as Microsoft’s (MSFT) Internet Explorer 9 browser continued to grow. The latest numbers from Net Applications indicate that Google’s browser market share fell by 0.31% from September, while Internet Explorer gained half a percentage point, and both Firefox and Safari declined slightly by 0.09% and 0.05%, respectively. Internet Explorer 8 remains the most popular browser with a 24.5% market share and when combined with IE9′s 20.1% share along with previous versions, Microsoft controls a dominating 54.1% of the market. Firefox’s overall 19.9% market share is good enough for second place, followed by Chrome and Safari at 18.5% and 5.2%. Microsoft’s lead is expected to continue with the addition of Internet Explorer 10, which comes preloaded with Windows 8.
Mozilla messed up last week when it released Firefox 16 with what it described as a “serious security flaw.” But quick action on the organization’s part and effective patching have helped Firefox 16 gain rapid adoption among Firefox users, according to new data from Chitika. Overall, Chitika found that “Mozilla caught the issue before a large portion of their users had updated to the new version, limiting the number of individuals who were operating with security vulnerabilities.” As a result, Chitka says that “Firefox 16 is on track to be just as successful as previous versions in terms of adoption rate.”
This is why it’s always good to wait a bit before downloading new versions of browsers. In a post on Mozilla’s official security blog, the organization says it has discovered a “serious security flaw” in the latest version of its Firefox browser and has stopped offering it to users so that it can be fixed. The company has already released a patch for the Android version of Firefox 16 and has created a webpage that will help Firefox users temporarily downgrade their browser to the previous version. Mozilla says that the Firefox 16 security flaw “could allow a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited and have access to the URL or URL parameters.” More →
Mozilla announced earlier this month that the HTML5-based mobile platform it’s currently concocting will launch in early 2013 as Firefox Mobile OS. The platform will focus on open Web standards, and Mozilla has already partnered with Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint (S), Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor to support the platform. TechWeek Europe recently published a gallery of screenshots depicting various areas of Firefox Mobile and it definitely looks, well, like a familiar mashup of Google’s (GOOG) Android OS and Apple’s (AAPL) iOS software. Considering the two platforms are completely dominating the smartphone space right now — just ask Nokia — we suppose this could be a good path to take in terms of giving users a UI they’ll already be familiar with. As aggressive as companies like Apple are getting with software and design patents, however, Mozilla would definitely be wise to tread lightly.
UPDATE: A Mozilla spokesperson contacted BGR via email with the following statement: “While those screenshots are of Firefox OS, they are outdated. We’ll share new images soon. As an open source company developing products in the open, you can expect to see in-progress mock ups and screenshots of all of our projects as they evolve. These are not any indication of the final product.” More →
Firefox fans who are turned off by frequent browser updates aren’t alone, as a former Mozilla developer says he shares their pain. Via Neowin.net, former Mozilla developer Jono DiCarlo on his own personal blog goes into detail about why he thinks his ex-employer’s strategy of pushing out rapid updates to the Firefox browser has been a major mistake. More →
Computer World's Gregg Keizer writes that two firms have put out two wildly different sets of numbers for which browsers were the most used in June 2012. First, the numbers from Net Applications, which say that Microsoft's Internet Explorer took the top spot this past month with a 54% market share, followed distantly by Mozilla's Firefox with 20% and Google's Chrome with 19%. Analytics firm StatCounter, however, showed vastly different results with Chrome taking the top spot with a 32.8% share, followed by Explorer with 32.2% and Firefox with 24.6%. The reason for the large swing in results is that StatCounter relies on page view totals while Net Applications uses unique visitors and only counts one visit per day to determine browser usage. So who's right? Without a deep look into each firms' methodologies it's impossible to say, although it seems realistic that more people still use Internet Explorer than alternatives.
One of the downsides of being an Android user is having to scrounge around for a mobile browser alternative since the Android default browser is so woefully lacking. I use MoboTap’s Dolphin browser on my Android device because it provides a nifty swipe-based approach to bringing up menus and bookmarks, it has a lot of terrific add-ons such as the “Browse Faster” extension that lets you close apps on your device, and it does tab-based browsing better than most other mobile browsers I’ve tried. The downside, though, is that Dolphin can be slow and is very prone to crashing. Mozilla’s newest version of Firefox for Android released Tuesday offers some significant improvements over Dolphin and the default Android browser but still has some areas that can be improved. Hit the jump for more. More →