The latest month-by-month figures from NetMarketShare show that Internet Explorer continues to be the most popular desktop browser. Indeed Microsoft's browser has increased its lead by around three percent since January and now has a 58.36 percent share of the market.
Next most popular is Firefox on 18.54 percent, down just over two percent from its 2013 peak in May. Chrome comes next, having been only half a percent behind Firefox in July it's now on 15.44 percent, two percent down on its January peak.
Opera Software has unveiled Opera 18, an interesting update which sees the browser gain new multimedia support, easier tab handling, speedy search engine creation, and more.
This starts with getUserMedia and webRTC-based support for your camera and microphone, which means sites can implement advanced features like video conferencing without the need for plugins.
Blocking unwanted web content -- cookies, scripts, images -- is a great way to speed up browsing and improve your security, and there are a host of browser extensions to help you get started. But there’s a problem. Most of these focus on just one content type, such as adverts, and more general tools are often tricky to use.
HTTP Switchboard is rather more interesting. Not only does this Chrome extension help you block a wide range of content -- cookies, images, plugins, scripts, frames, XHR and more -- but it allows anyone to do this just by pointing and clicking.
The need for more secure communication services has certainly spiked in the wake of the NSA spying revelations, with providers placing a higher emphasis on keeping their users' personal and work information safe from unwanted access. After all, those users expect (and demand) them to do so. As a result, it is not out of the ordinary to see the word "secure" being used as one of the many buzzwords that describe such services nowadays. The question is whether the presentation matches the behind-the-scenes reality.
Among the slew of services that promise secure communications is Perzo, which launched as a beta in late-August 2013. Perzo was founded by David Gurle, who is best known for his former roles as head of the Windows Messenger development and general manager and vice president of Skype for Business in the early 2000s. The service piqued my attention, and I chatted with the man to find out what sort of features and security options Perzo can bring to the table as a newcomer in the "secure communications application" market.
It’s a regular web annoyance: you’re busy online, a line of browser tabs open, when suddenly one of them starts playing a Flash video ad. Which one? Normally you’d have to check each tab in turn, but that’s all about to change with Google Chrome 32 beta.
The next time your concentration is disturbed by some unexpected sound, just glance at the tabs, and a speaker icon will appear next to any which are playing audio. Further icons highlight tabs currently using your webcam, or Chromecast, and we expect others will appear in future.
The days of some third party extensions for Chrome may be numbered. While most people will head to the Chrome Web Store as their first port of call for downloading extensions to add new features to the browser, this is far from the only means of obtaining add-ons.
But at the start of the new year, all of this is set to change. If you stick with the stable or beta channel of the browser, you'll be limited to installing extensions from the official repository only.
Microsoft has officially released the final version of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. The latest iteration of its evergreen web browser ships with a firm focus on performance, with the promise of a 9 percent improvement over IE10.
There’s little visible difference between Internet Explorer 11 and its immediate predecessor for Windows 7 users -- none of the added functionally in the Windows 8.1 release has found its way into this build.
Microsoft shows no signs of slowing down. After unveiling a major update to Office Web Apps, today the software giant releases the stable version of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 7. The latest iteration of the popular browser debuted alongside Windows 8.1 in mid-October and like its predecessor it forgoes supporting older versions of the operating system.
And because Windows 8.1 is being offered as a free upgrade to Windows 8 users, and Microsoft expects everyone to take this step, Internet Explorer 11 is not officially available for the latter OS either. It is a Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 affair only, which speaks volumes of Microsoft's ongoing efforts to drastically reduce Windows XP's market share and push the two Internet Explorer 11-supported operating systems to the forefront.
As promised back in August, Google launches Helpouts, an online video help service based on the idea of Hangouts. Or as Google puts it, "real help from real people in real time". There are numerous online help repositories -- Yahoo Answers et al -- but the thinking behind Helpouts is to make things live and instantaneous.
If you have a sudden yearning to make a soufflé, forget hunting through score of recipes sites for the best method, get someone to show you step by step.
Mozilla releases Firefox 26 Beta 1 and Firefox Aurora 27.0a2, concentrates on behind-the-scenes tweaks
Like version 25, version 26 has little in the way of visible new features other than that all plug-ins now default to "click to play" mode. Version 27 has no brand new features either, although some features -- notably optimized Windows 8 support -- remain exclusive to this build.
Security research firms frequently test browsers to see how good they are at protecting users from malware and phishing attacks. The results show you how secure (or otherwise) the latest versions are, but don't give you any real indication of how well they might perform in the future.
Identifying trends in performance is important, particularly for companies thinking of switching browsers, so NSS Labs evaluated the security of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari by aggregating results from phishing and socially engineered malware (SEM) attack tests conducted between 2009 and 2013.
Mozilla has released Firefox 25.0 FINAL for Windows, Mac and Linux. The big splash in version 25 is official support for the Web Audio API, which allows developers to manipulate and play audio assets within a web page or app using HTML5 rather than a plug-in.
Mozilla has also confirmed that it plans to continue supporting Windows XP. This means XP users will continue to be supported by two major web browsers -- Chrome is the other --– after Microsoft pulls the plug on support next year.
Apple took center stage this week. At a special event the new iPad Air, iPad mini, Mac Pro and a raft of free software were all revealed, and we liveblogged through the whole thing. Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Apple decided to give Mavericks away free of charge along with iWork and iLife. But it was the iPad Air and mini that stole the show, sharing the same innards as the recently announced iPhone 5s, but boasting a redesigned exterior -- at least in the case of the Air.
Of course, no tablet launch would be complete without matching cases. There was also the interestingly designed Mac Pro which looks delightful and is a serious powerhouse, but has a price tag to match. After the big launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple showed off the latest addition to the iPhone range in a TV commercial.
The name "Maxthon" likely evokes some memories for long-term Windows users. The browser, that was once known as MyIE 2, is among the oldest of its kind, having launched on Microsoft's OS more than a decade ago. It has never risen to the popularity of Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer, but it has been a perennial alternative ever since. To keep up with the changing computing landscape, the company behind Maxthon has also launched the browser on Android and iOS.
And, now, Maxthon arrives on Windows Phone 8 as well where, once again, its biggest rival is Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which the former has long struggled to surpass in market share. But, this time around, the balance can tip in Maxthon's favor as smartphone users are not as enamored with (or, better said, glued to) Internet Explorer as Windows PC users used to be. But there is one barrier to overcome: Maxthon has to clearly best Internet Explorer. And that may prove to be, once again, a difficult task.
It has served us well, but Windows XP is now considerably into old age; it's time to be put out to pasture. Microsoft is retiring the game-changing operating system on 8 April 2014 but this does not mean that people will not try to hang onto their beloved operating system for as long as possible.
One issue that XP diehards are going to face is support for apps. This is an old operating system, and it's not really reasonable to expect software manufacturers to keep pumping out new releases and updates. But just how long can you expect to receive updates and support? Google has nailed its colors to the mast in announcing that Chrome for XP will be supported for at least a year after Windows XP is retired.