How we test Web browsers

The Web browser is the most-used kind of software in the world, having become the de facto way that people access the Internet. Today, virtually all computing tasks can be completed in the browser.

Testing browsers can veer from incredibly complex to shockingly simple, depending on what you're looking for and why. At CNET, we prefer a holistic approach to browser benchmarking, looking at a combination of tests that benchmark general browser behavior, as well as several "real-world" tests that look at browser performance in common scenarios.

Note about mobile testing: We are still finalizing our standards … Read more

Add expiration dates for shared Google Drive folders

It's easy to forget you've shared a folder from Google Drive with someone. There are visual indicators that show a folder is shared, but if you're busy working, or don't spend a lot of time logged into Google Drive, you may not notice them.

When you come across a situation where you want to limit the amount of time that your folder remains shared, there's a script that can help you add an expiration date to the sharing status. The way it works is by creating a duplicate of what you originally shared (minus the … Read more

Use MagicScroll Web Reader for a better reading experience

Do you love reading articles online, but find yourself losing your spot often? The developer of MagicScroll Web Reader, Richard Wallis, proposes that the problem isn't social media and other computer distractions -- it's the way you scroll through large blocks of text online.

To combat the issue of scrolling and making your eyes search for where you left off, Wallis wrote a browser bookmarklet that changes normal scrolling to page-turning style. This means that instead of scrolling down a really long page, you can flip through it, just like you would do with a book.

Here's … Read more

Opera to sing WebKit's tune on mobile -- report

The Opera Browser will be rebuilding its mobile browsers using WebKit and a new interface that nearly entirely ditches the traditional browser buttons called Opera Ice, according to a leaked video acquired by Pocket-Lint.com.

Ice is not Opera's first dalliance with WebKit, as its current iOS offerings are also built with the WebKit engine. However, the current iOS Opera runs its server-side compression with Opera's Presto engine. It's not clear that that will continue with Ice, which apparently will debut at Mobile World Congress in February.

The video shows off Opera Ice, a browser that looks … Read more

'The Hobbit' 3D tech divides our CNET reviewers

Now that Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" has opened in theaters around the world, the most controversial thing about it isn't even that he somehow is making three 3-hour movies out of a 300-page children's story. No, it's the way the movie has been shot that has the most people talking.

The "Hobbit" trilogy has been captured using James Cameron's 48-frames-per-second 3D technology (HFR 3D), which Jackson says leads to less eyestrain and a sharper picture.

Only a limited number of cinemas will be showing the movie in HFR -- Jackson says it's only 1,000 out of 25,000 theaters.

"On the first day of shooting 'The Hobbit' in 48 frames, there was not a single cinema in the world that could project the movie in that format," Jackson said, according to CinemaBlend.

While we're not going to go into how the technology works here, CNET editors David Katzmaier and Ty Pendlebury have just come out of a showing in HFR 3D and wanted to share their thoughts.… Read more

Put a powerful browser in your pocket with Opera Portable

Take one of the fastest, most modifiable browsers on a portable drive and use it on any computer. With Opera Portable Edition you'll never have to settle for using onboard options like Internet Explorer on any public computer again.

Opera Portable Edition behaves like most modern browsers and its sleek interface is a delight to look at. It works with practically no setup and pages load incredibly quickly. This portable browser can be personalized through various add-ons and apps. One thing you don't need to download is a pop-up blocker, as Opera has one already installed for you. … Read more

Browse the Web with Opera Mini app

Opera Mini is perhaps the most compact Web browser you can use for your Android device. It's smart, has easy-to-access options, and best of all, pages accessed in Opera Mini load very fast, even when compared to other browsers with the same data transfer speed.

Upon launch, Opera Mini takes you directly to the Quick Launch menu. When presented in its live link feed mode however, it instead displays links to Web pages that are related to the ones you have visited using the app. It is, after all, touted as the smart Web browser app that adjusts and … Read more

Microsoft's SkyDrive accidently freezes out Opera users

After a SkyDrive debacle over the weekend, which caused Opera users to be blocked from the cloud storage service, Microsoft has said it's working quickly to fix the problem.

The problem began when Opera, which is a Web browser, received a bug report showing that Microsoft's cloud storage service froze out all users when it was being loaded. Instead of being able to see their saved files and photos, users could only see millions of characters of code.

After some poking around, Opera's Hallvord Steen realized that the problem was "some strange bug in the Microsoft … Read more

TokBox gives WebRTC chat standard a real-world boost

A nascent Web standard called WebRTC just got a notable boost from TokBox, a provider of online chat services for companies such as Ford Motor and Coca-Cola that need a mechanism to communicate with customers.

WebRTC is designed to enable real-time video and audio chat with a Web browser, enabling Skype-like services on the Web. TokBox released a version of its software that adds WebRTC support, a move timed to coincide with today's release of Chrome 23, which includes WebRTC.

Having browser support for a standard is crucial to its success, obviously. But developers wanting want to use it … Read more

Fast and small Web browser for mobile devices

Opera Mini is a Web browser designed for the mobile device, which means it's intended to be small and fast. Opera Mini installs quickly, and anyone who's ever used a Web browser will have zero trouble using it. The Opera Mini interface is simple, with search and URL fields, and drop-down menus for things like bookmarking and history.

Opera Mini works by redirecting through an Opera server, which compresses content before it is sent. Due to this compression, Opera Mini works fast. We compared it with a couple of other more popular Web browsers on both iPhone and … Read more