Articles about Browsers

The most popular stories on BetaNews this past week: June 22 -- 28

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The battle for dominance between Microsoft and Google continued, with Microsoft offering a huge storage boost for Office 365 and OneDrive users. This was quickly trumped by Google later in the week at 1/0 2014, when the company announced unlimited storage for Google Drive for Work users. Microsoft is basking in the glory of being heralded as cooler than Apple by Joe -- and stunts like offering cashback deals to sway MacBook Air owners into switching into Surface Pro 3 certainly helps. Microsoft opened a new store on Long Island, while Google branched out into new territory with a trial run of a new domain registration service. Microsoft also ventured into new waters with its first Android smartphone, the Nokia X2.

In something of an interesting twist, Microsoft opted to use Opera Mobile as the default web browser. Opera is also returning to Linux after the surprise release of Opera 24 Developer. Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" KDE was also released. Linux also managed to hit the headlines for facilitating the hacking of Google's Nest thermstats. If this hasn’t put you off, Logitech added support to its Harmony remotes.

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Opera decides to support Linux (again)

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Even though it has gone to the effort of switching to another rendering engine to reach more users, Norwegian software company Opera, in mid-2013, ceased to further update the Linux version of its browser, leaving users without new features, bug fixes and security patches. In the meantime, Opera's main competitors, like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, continued to give them the level of support that they deserve.

Now, after close to a one-year hiatus, the company behind the well-known browser announces the availability of Opera Developer 24 for Linux (and, of course, OS X and Windows). It is an unexpected release, and also great news for those hoping to witness the browser's triumphant return in the land of the open-source kernel.

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Internet Explorer Developer Channel adds GamePad, WebDriver support

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Microsoft has unveiled Internet Explorer Developer Channel, a special preview version of the browser which includes upcoming developer-oriented features and extended standards support.

One major highlight of this release is that it’s packaged as an App-V application, which means it runs in a virtualized environment and won’t affect your existing Windows or Internet Explorer setup at all. There are none of the usual dangers of installing an unfinished IE build. You can run Internet Explorer Developer Channel alongside IE11 without any conflicts, and uninstall it cleanly at any time.

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Flipora updates its discovery engine and this time it’s personal

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Relying on search engines or social networks to discover things you're interested in on the net can be a bit hit and miss. The things you see on your Facebook feed for example are influenced by your friends' interests as well as your own.

Flipora aims to change the process of following your interests online by using artificial intelligence to make recommendations related to the things you really want to see.

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Ramp up the resolution: Google and Bing can now use more detailed imagery on maps

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If you have ever bemoaned the fact that maps are too blurry on Bing, too grainy on Google, moan no more! US restrictions on the quality of satellite imagery that can be used by online services such as these has been lifted by the US government.

The ban is to be removed after satellite photography firm DigitalGlobe made an appeal to the US Department of Commerce. Security concerns meant that satellite images were limited to a 50cm resolution, but this is to be boosted to 40cm and beyond.

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LinkedIn to face lawsuit for spamming users' email address books

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A judge in the Northern District of California has paved the way for a lawsuit against the social network LinkedIn for violating the privacy of its users. The complaint was that LinkedIn "violated several state and federal laws by harvesting email addresses from the contact lists of email accounts associated with Plaintiffs’ LinkedIn accounts and by sending repeated invitations to join LinkedIn to the harvested email addresses". It relates to the fact that LinkedIn not only used the address books of those signing up for accounts to tout for business by sending out an email to that effect, but also sent follow-up email if there was no response.

US district judge Lucy Koh ruled that while users granted permission for LinkedIn to access their contact list it is this 'spamming' that is likely to land the company in court again. The judge outlined the process users were complaining about, explaining that LinkedIn sent an email to connected in users' address books -- albeit with initial permission -- sends the same email a week later if the recipient has not joined LinkedIn, and a third email if another week passes without a signup.

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Firefox 30 adds new Sidebar button, GStreamer 1.0 support for Linux

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Mozilla has released Firefox 30.0 FINAL for desktop, with Firefox for Android 30.0 also imminent.

Despite the landmark version number, Firefox 30 is a relatively minor release -- particularly on the desktop version -- with little in the way of new features for end users.

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Pale Moon overhauls rendering engine, adds animated panorama support

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Moonchild Productions has released a relatively major update to its Firefox browser variant for Windows with the release of Pale Moon 24.6 and Pale Moon x64 24.6.

Version 24.6 comes with a major overhaul of the graphics rendering engine to boost stability, plus a number of important fixes, including all latest security fixes. It also adds support for animated personas.

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Queen's speech proposes life sentences for cyber criminals in the UK

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Edward Snowden is on the run, living in exile as a means to evade the long arm of US law. The United States seems keen to have him prosecuted for leaking documents that have arguably put national security at risk. He acted in good faith, but has been branded a cyber criminal. Today in the UK, the Queen gave her annual speech -- well, it's really a speech written by the government, but dear Liz reads it out so she gets to call it hers -- and she revealed that cyber criminals could face life sentences for their endeavors, and that existing punishments for digital crimes cold become harsher.

Singled out for particular attention are those "cyberattacks which result in loss of life, serious illness or injury or serious damage to national security, or a significant risk thereof". Those committing such acts could be put behind bars for life. But the proposals do not end there. The aging Computer Misuse Act could be updated, so that criminals that cause "a significant risk of severe economic or environmental damage or social disruption" incur a 14 year term compared to the current 10.

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Dirty desktops and titillating tablets -- the browsers you use to get a porn fix

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Porn has always been big business, and online porn accounts for a staggering proportion of web traffic. The availability of always-on internet connections in the home, and near blanket use of internet-enabled mobile phones and tablets, means that it is now easier than ever to get a porn fix if you feel the urge. But have you ever wondered how all of this porn is being accessed? Well… wonder no more! Porn site (you don’t say!) PornHub conducted research after Gizmodo expressed an interest in seeing which browsers were most used by consumers of porn, and the figures make for interesting reading.

It perhaps comes as no surprise that desktop browsers prove the most popular. Some 51 percent of Pornhub's traffic comes from people using desktop computers. But, without wanting to put too many unpleasant images in your head, this leaves 49 percent of porn perusal that is enjoyed on mobile phones and tablets. You know, those devices that are easily transported to a quiet room and are rather easier to hold in one hand than a laptop...

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Google offers End-To-End encryption with new alpha Chrome extension

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Today, Google took the wraps off a new security tool for Chrome users. Currently available as an alpha release, End-To-End is an extension for Google's browser that offers... well... end-to-end encryption for data arriving in and departing from Chrome. As this is only an alpha version, the extension is not currently available in the Chrome Web Store, but Google has made the code available so the privacy-conscious and security-minded can take it for a test drive.

Based on OpenPGP and a newly developed, JavaScript-based crypto library, End-to-End can be used to encrypt, decrypt, digitally sign, and verify signed messages. Google is keen to receive feedback -- discover a problem and you could cash in, thanks to the Vulnerability Reward Program. In a post on the Google Online Security Blog, Stephan Somogyi, Product Manager, Security and Privacy explains that "we recognize that this sort of encryption will probably only be used for very sensitive messages or by those who need added protection. But we hope that the End-To-End extension will make it quicker and easier for people to get that extra layer of security should they need it".

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Google Chrome ships early versions for Windows 64-bit, promises better speed, stability and security

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In a move that could -- and maybe should -- have happened years ago, Google has finally released native 64-bit Windows builds into the Chrome release channel. While not yet available to stable or beta channel users, those wishing to take full advantage of their 64-bit processors can do so with the release of Google Chrome 37 Dev and Google Chrome Canary 37.

The 64-bit builds -- according to Google -- hit the spot with its three "core principles": speed, security and stability.

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Opera Coast: A new way of interacting with the internet [Q&A]

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Coast, from Norwegian developer Opera, is a browser designed specifically for iPhones and iPads. Unlike other browsers it’s been built for simplicity. Instead of buttons, the app uses swipes for navigation. Gestures have replaced the typical functions. Despite this ease, Coast offers most of the features you could want, including a powerful, intuitive search and address bar that suggests keywords and site thumbnails as you type.

I spoke to Coast's creator, Huib Kleinhout, about the browser and his plans for the future.

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Facebook listens to feedback and tightens up privacy settings -- a bit

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Privacy. It's something that we're all concerned about, particularly online. Facebook is one of many companies that comes in for scrutiny and criticism for the way it handles user privacy, and there have long been complaints about the fact that statuses and uploaded photos are made publicly accessible by default. Today that changes. After years of pestering, Facebook has listened to its user base and changed the default visibility setting to "Friends only". At least this is the case for brand new users.

Anyone signing up for a new Facebook account -- can there be many people left who do not yet have one? -- will be able to avoid accidentally sharing private photos with the world. "Going forward, when new people join Facebook, the default audience of their first post will be set to Friends. Previously, for most people, it was set to Public," says Facebook in a blog post. The first time a post is made, users will be asked whether it should be made public or limited to a smaller audience. If no selection is made, it will default to Friends.

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Finally! Task and todo list manager Any.Do gains a web app

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Today is a day of celebration for fans of Any.Do -- the todo list and task manager for iOS, Android and Chrome. Some four years after its inception -- and after many, many demands from the service's user base -- Any.Do has, at long, long last, gained a web app. Founders Omer Perchik, Yoni Lindenfeld, and Itay Kahana have successfully avoided a brouhaha from users by finally delivering what they describe as "the number one most requested feature by our users".

Any.Do has proved incredibly successful on mobile platforms -- as well as in Google's web browser -- amassing more than 10 million users. Perchik says: "Web is a huge market we haven't even touched yet. There's a world of people who haven't considered us because they need a full web experience, right on their computer screens" of the launch. "We're conquering mobile, now it's time to break out in a broader market".

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