While I keep the list short this year, it wouldn't be U.S. Thanksgiving without my writing about gratitude, and why some tech company's executives, employees, and partners should prostrate and pray "Thanks".
Let's start off with Google, which continues a great run that started with Larry Page's return as CEO in April 2011. If he's not all smiles this Turkey Day, someone should slap that man aside the head. I could tick off a hundred things for which he should give thanks. For brevity's sake, so you can get back to the big game and bigger bird, I select some things that might not come to mind.
Google is one of the best search engines, providing relative results with a clean design. There is a problem though -- Google also offers a web browser. Why is that a problem? Well, it is a strange thing for a competing web browser to use the Google search engine. It's like Ford using Chevy parts in its cars -- blasphemy!
A great example of this is Mozilla Firefox. The Chrome web browser is slowly eroding Firefox usage share, so it has felt odd that Mozilla was sticking with Google's search engine for so long. Well, today everything changes, as Mozilla selects Yahoo as the new default search engine in Firefox for both desktop and mobile. Will users applaud or decry the announcement?
Installed apps are becoming a thing of the past. Microsoft is just one of a raft of technology companies gradually moving to the cloud and the latest display of this is a new beta version of Skype for Web. The messaging tool has been designed to be used in a web browser without the need for plugins, extensions or other software. At least that is the aim. During the beta stages you'll still have to install a small plugin.
Work being carried out by the Internet Explorer developers should bring plugin-free Real-Time Communications (RTC) to browsers in the near future, and Skype for Web will be able to take advantage of this. The beta is not being made available to everyone straight away, so you'll need to check your account to see if you can try it out.
The web browser is a very under-appreciated program. While the web is not the Internet in its entirety, for many people, the web is all they know. In other words, people live in the web browser, and enjoy it immensely, but don't think about the software that is acting as a portal to their favorite websites.
Mozilla's Firefox is certainly not the first web browser, but it is responsible for many design cues and technologies found in other browsers. Not to mention, Mozilla is on the forefront of fighting for an open web and Firefox shares that ideology -- by using the open-source browser, you are choosing to support a free web. Today, Firefox celebrates its 10th Birthday and to celebrate, I ask you to think of it fondly. Well technically, Firefox's Birthday was yesterday, but who cares, let's party!
The update adds a new Forget button for wiping activity over a user-defined period at the click of a button, plus introduces DuckDuckGo searching, which allows users to search without being tracked.
Currently being referred to as something "unique but familiar", Mozilla has a new browser on the way. Based on Firefox, the new web browser has been designed specifically with developers in mind. In a post of the Mozilla Blog, the company explains that the up-coming browser will include built in tools such as WebIDE and the Firefox Tools Adapter.
The browser is due to launch on 10 November and comes after Mozilla looked at Firefox "through a completely new filter to put developers' interests first". The idea of an "independent web" is also being pushed, and Mozilla has commandeered the #ChooseIndependent and #fx10 hashtags to celebrate Firefox's tenth birthday.
OPSWAT has announced the availability of Metascan Online for Firefox, an addon which allows the browser to scan downloads, websites and web connections for threats.
Checking a link is as easy as right-clicking it and selecting "Scan with Metascan Online". If the link is a file, then it is uploaded to VirusTotal competitor Metascan Online and checked with 40+ commercial antivirus engines. A detailed report will tell you which -- if any -- are detected as a threat.
Google yesterday disclosed a major security vulnerability it has found in the SSL 3.0 encryption protocol, that is still employed by many sites across the web, despite long being superseded. Dubbed POODLE (Padding Oracle On Downgraded Legacy Encryption), it allows attackers to steal private data, like cookies, and, possibly, use it to access user accounts on vulnerable sites. The search giant says its Chrome browser should be safe, but warns that others may be vulnerable.
Firefox is one of the vulnerable ones. To address this issue, Mozilla reveals that the upcoming version -- Firefox 34, to be exact -- will feature code which makes it immune to the POODLE attack. For those who use lesser versions of the open-source browser -- most users, basically -- the organization provides an optional fix.
Like the previous release, the desktop build of Firefox 33 boasts no major new features, but its Android counterpart gains vastly improved tab management tools as well as the ability to send videos to both Chromecast and Roku devices.
Moonchild Productions has released a major update to its Firefox browser variant for Windows with the release of Pale Moon 25.0 and Pale Moon x64 25.0, which sees the browser drop support for Windows XP.
Version 25.0 sees the version number jump for the first time since the browser forked away from its Firefox parent due to major changes in the way the browser identifies itself.
There's one more smartphone platform on the market, although it's far behind the big, established names. Mozilla has released Firefox OS, which is aimed at emerging markets. Now the organization is taking it to one more, adding an Asian nation to its resume.
Telenor Group is bringing the platform to Bangladesh after hitting India just a few weeks ago. "At a press conference in Dhaka, Grameenphone, the local operator for the Telenor Group, announced that sales of the GoFox F15 (produced by Symphony) will start this week", says Mozilla.
Get engrossed in your latest web research project and you’ll soon be navigating an array of browser tabs, each one with some vital piece of information -- it’s very easy to lose track.
Firefox offers a few very basic options to help you maintain control. Clicking History > Restore Previous Session will reopen whatever you were viewing last time, for instance, or you can bookmark all open tabs for reference later.
While there are no jaw-dropping new features in either Beta or Aurora (alpha) builds, both contain a number of minor additions and some useful improvements that help keep the web browser’s evolution ticking over.
After the relatively disappointing Firefox 30, version 31 adds some notable new features, including the ability to block known malware downloads as well as a new search box to the New Tab page.