Google to fix some WebP image format shortcomings

Google is on the cusp of fixing some initial shortcomings of its WebP, an image format it hopes will speed up browsing.

A new version of libwebp, the library that software can use to display and create WebP images, adds support several features, some of which were the subject of criticism when Google announced WebP in 2010:

Metadata handling so people can see camera and exposure information stored in the file with the EXIF and XMP technologies.

ICC (International Color Consortium) color profiles for more accurate color rendering.

Animated WebP images, a new spin on a once-once obscure GIF technology … Read more

Microsoft backs away from Flash ban in IE10

An about-face in Internet Explorer 10 shows Microsoft is not merely backing off from its hostility toward Flash Player, but actually warming up to the Adobe Systems browser plug-in for competitive reasons.

In September 2011, Microsoft declared that browser plug-ins are a relic from the Internet's early days, calling them bad for battery life, security, reliability, and privacy, and said that it would ban them when IE10 was running with Windows 8's Metro user interface, now called the "immersive UI."

But Microsoft gave Flash a reprieve in May 2012 by building a special version of Adobe'… Read more

Coming to an e-book or car near you: The Web

BARCELONA, Spain--You're used to the Web on your PC. You're getting used to it on your smartphone. So what's next?

Publishing and automobile industry players have just begun spinning up efforts at the World Wide Web Consortium, said W3C Chief Executive Jeff Jaffe in an interview here at Mobile World Congress. So don't be surprised to see proprietary technology for e-book readers and in-dash computer systems slowly disappear in favor of software based on Web technology.

Books are perhaps an obvious area for Web technology, given that in electronic form they're just formatted documents and the Web began its life as a way to share formatted documents. But the two domains have taken years to reach today's level of convergence.

"The Web equals publishing," Jaffe said. "There's really no difference anymore."

Among the inroads Web technology has made into publishing:… Read more

The 404 1,217: Where it's kind of hot in these rhinos (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Discussion: Are you spoiling a movie for yourself by listening to the soundtrack before watching the movie? Inspired by Clint Mansell's new "Stoker" score available to stream.

- Discussion: Which programs are still shown in standard definition?

- The New York Times warns against sitting at work.… Read more

Do Not Track browser standard: Back on the rails

It looks like development of Do Not Track, an effort to create a standard that'll let people tell Web sites not to track their online behavior, has resumed after a months-long logjam.

Peter Swire, the newly appointed leader of the World Wide Web Consortium's work on Do Not Track, has been attempting to find common ground among very different constituencies including privacy advocates and advertisers. But there's been progress, he said in a blog post.

"Over the past two days, the group has successfully managed to identify a path toward fulfilling our W3C charter: we now … Read more

Chrome for Android gets adventurous with WebGL

Google has released a new beta of its Chrome browser for Android that gives people the option to try new features such as WebGL and CSS graphics features.

The update, the third since the inaugural version of the Chrome beta for Android, shows not only more of the browser team's ambition but also a faster pace of change.

The unbranded stock browser that shipped with Android for years moved comparatively glacially, but in particular with the new Chrome beta releases for Android, Google is pushing for a broader feature set. And the code base is evidently an offshoot of … Read more

Best video tech for Web chat? Showdown set for March

After a fractious false start last year, Web standards makers will reconvene in Orlando, Fla., this March to try to settle a debate about the best video technology for browser-based chatting.

The Web-based chat standard, which holds the potential to bring Skype-like audio and video communication services to the Web, is called WebRTC. The debate about it centers on how best to compress video: the widely used industry-standard H.264 codec, or Google's royalty-free, open-source VP8 codec?

The discussion took some surprising twists and turns late last year -- including Google's last-minute action to postpone discussion because of … Read more

Microsoft hopes demo will woo Web-based chat allies

Sometimes code speaks louder than words.

That's why Microsoft today published software demonstrating its own proposal for a Web standard enabling browser-based audio and video chat. In the demo, the CU-RTC-Web (Customizable, Ubiquitous Real-Time Communication) technology is used to set up a real-time voice communication link between Chrome on Mac and IE10 on Windows.

Microsoft has an uphill battle getting CU-RTC-Web to catch on: it showed up late to the game, well after the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) began work standardizing a different approach called WebRTC.

But Microsoft thinks its own proposal … Read more

Google revs Chrome for Android with new beta release

Android users who want to live an edgier life now can try a beta version of Chrome.

Google yesterday released the Chrome 25 beta for Android 4.x for smartphones and tablets, a version number in sync with the release for personal computers. Previously, the only option was the stable version of Chrome for Android, which is still way back at version 18.

The Chrome for Android beta is available on the Google Play app store, but only by following that link -- it's not visible in Google Play's search, Google said. The beta version can be installed … Read more

Chrome 24 brings math formatting, better offline abilities

Google released the stable version of Chrome 24 today, adding support for IndexedDB for apps that work better offline, mathematics formulas formatted with MathML, and faster JavaScript.

The new version also comes with a range of security fixes, including two $1,000 bounties and one $4,000 bounty paid to people who found high-severity vulnerabilities. Because Chrome automatically downloads updates by default in part to patch holes as fast as possible, people just need to restart the browser to update it.

IndexedDB, under development for years, is geared to store data for use even if a Web site or Web … Read more