Browsers and extensions

Mozilla revamping Firefox OS's app launcher

Firefox OS, Mozilla's smartphone operating system, is getting a new app for launching apps.

"The app integrates the contextual adaptive app search from EverythingMe with the Firefox for Android Web browser to offer users a personalized and customizable Web experience that is fun and intuitive," Mozilla said Wednesday in a blog post. The non-profit organization showed a preview of new app launcher Tuesday.

Firefox OS already used EverythingMe's software for presenting a dynamically generated array of links to Web apps.

"We are happy to expand our work together with this new product to give people … Read more

Firefox 27 deepens its social integration

On Tuesday Mozilla announced the public release of Firefox 27 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. For this release, Mozilla adds more stacks to its social APIs, bringing new partners like Delicious onboard.

Delicious is a built-in tool that lets users save and organize content from the Web. Now users can access Delicious via the Firefox sidebar.

Web developers can use the new specification "all: unset" in style tags. Prior to the addition of the unset keyword, many developers popularized the use of reset style sheets that individually set all properties to a default value. The CSS keyword &… Read more

Facebook file-sharing app Pipe shifting from Flash to WebRTC

Pipe just launched a new version of its Facebook file-sharing app, illustrating that the shift away from Adobe Systems' Flash Player to Web standards is getting steadily easier.

The new Pipe app uses a newer standard called WebRTC for real-time communications on the Web, the company said Monday. That standard got its start for Skype-like video and audio chats, but it's got a data-sharing ability too. The brains of the new app run in JavaScript, the universal language of Web programming, with a boost from the AngularJS project that makes JavaScript more manageable.

Pipe lets people send files as … Read more

Google Now notifications now in Chrome beta

The notification cards that Google Now uses to keep you updated on your Android and iOS phones and tablets are a big step closer to your desktop, as Google makes them available to Chrome Beta users on Monday.

The notifications appear when you click on the bell icon in the Windows system tray or the Mac menu bar, or the numbered icon in Chrome OS. Currently limited to English, Google said that it plans to expand to multilingual support in the future. Google has spent more than a year porting Now notifications to Chrome.

The feature brings a level of … Read more

Browser makers get past high-resolution image impasse

It looks like browser makers have settled on a way to handle high-resolution images, which are now common with the arrival of screens like Apple's Retina displays.

Browser makers haven't offered Web developers a consistent, easy way to show the right image for a given screen's size and resolution -- an idea called responsive design. That's been a shame, because screens with high-pixel densities are increasingly common on laptops, tablets, and smartphones and can offer crisp, detailed photos and graphics.

The first breakthrough came in September when support emerged for a standard called srcset, which was … Read more

Mozilla adopts plain-vanilla password sign-in for Firefox sync

Mozilla has begun testing a simpler system for synchronizing Firefox's bookmarks, open tabs, Web site passwords, and other browser settings.

Until now, the not-for-profit organization had used a complicated mechanism in which you had to type a pairing code shown on one browser into another browser. Now it's begun a shift to a straightforward username-password approach to Firefox Sync, Mozilla said Saturday.

The old approach had the virtue of working without requiring Mozilla to maintain a database of its users, but it was complicated. Mozilla has lost that aversion and now offers Firefox accounts.

The initial version supports … Read more

Chrome fights back against settings hijackers

Google is taking aggressive steps to combat what it says is the No. 1 complaint in its Chrome browser: having your settings hijacked.

The company first took measures to address the problem in August when it introduced a "reset browser settings" button on the Settings page in Chrome, but that wasn't enough to fix things.

Now, Chrome will ask Windows users automatically via a pop-up if you want to reset your settings when it detects that they might've been changed without your permission. It will disable all extensions, themes, and Chrome Apps you have installed. It … Read more

Get ready for multicolor fonts -- maybe in motion, too

For a few decades now, fonts have been monochromatic -- just the thing for putting black ink on white paper. But publishing has gone digital, and the era of the multicolored font is beginning.

The Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) standards group last week began a project to standardize chromatic fonts -- those with multiple colors. Vladimir Levantovsky, a Monotype Imaging employee who serves as chairman of the group's font work, said he expects to merge technology from Mozilla, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft into a standard.

The impetus for the work was the need to support emoji, the colorful emoticons, icons, and pictures that gradually are expanding in use. But the work will expand to traditional typography, too, Levantovsky said. … Read more

Shoo, IE7: To escape aging browser, jobs site buys its clients new PCs

For some folks, that elderly computer saddled with out-of-date software just turned into a ticket to a shiny new machine.

That's because NursingJobs, a site that connects nurses with employers that want to hire them, said it'll buy computers for some of its customers who are still using Microsoft's old IE7 browser.

"We are offering to buy a new computer with a modern browser for any of our customers who are stuck with IE7," said NursingJobs' Robert Gentel in a blog post the other day. "We determined that it would cost us more to … Read more

That was fast: Chrome Apps ready to go mobile

The cold, hard walls between mobile native apps and HTML5 wobbled a bit on Tuesday morning, as Google announced that Chrome Apps will now work on the two most popular mobile platforms.

Chrome Apps are HTML5-based single-serving applications, more than just a mere Web site, that will work on Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS without having to open your browser first. However, because they're based in Chrome and can't function without it, they've been criticized for "breaking" the Web.

Google opened up a developer preview of the Apache Cordova "toolchain" for wrapping Chrome … Read more