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Browsers and extensions

Firefox update delivers new home page for Android

The latest Mozilla Firefox updates debut an overhauled home page for the Android browser and heightened security on the desktop one.

Firefox for Android 26 offers a new home page design that makes it easier to get at key browser features. When you open a new tab or tap on the location bar, the new page appears with a menu that you can swipe through to see your Top Sites, History, Bookmarks, and the Reading List of sites saved to read later.

The new version now offers Bing and Yahoo search as default search options, and the password manager supports … Read more

Mozilla takes another stab at elusive multiprocess Firefox

Firefox may offer a lot of competitive features in a tight browser marketplace, but one thing it lacks is the kind of sandboxed, multiprocess architecture under its hood that other browsers have had for years.

Changing to a multiprocess architecture for Firefox would result in numerous benefits, wrote Firefox engineer Bill McCloskey on Thursday, in the three key areas of performance, security, and stability. A multiprocess architecture splits various browser functions into multiple tasks on the computer, instead of bundling them all together as one process for the browser.

While Firefox's performance now is significantly faster than it was … Read more

Adobe and Java vulnerabilities leave Windows open for exploitation

A recent report by the AV-Test Institute found that exploits in Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Java account for 66 percent of Windows systems affected by malware.

In a 10-year-plus study, AV-Test uncovered that one exploit for Adobe Reader had nearly 37,000 recorded variants that exploited user machines with high levels of precision. Users with outdated software or versions known to be susceptible stood virtually no chance of avoiding malware damage without some form of protective software.

The biggest offender? Java, which had a whopping 82,000 attacks spread across different versions, making it one of the most vulnerable … Read more

Mobile Chrome Apps closer than you think

Running Chrome apps on your smartphone isn't quite the app singularity that people want, where any app runs on any platform. But Google's about to take a big step toward that future in 2014 with Chrome apps for Android and iOS.

Google is working getting its Web-based Chrome Apps to run on smartphones and tablets with a new project called Mobile Chrome Apps. Google developer advocate Joe Marini told The Next Web that Google would like to have a beta version ready in January.

Erik Kay, Chrome's engineering director, told CNET when Chrome Apps launched in September … Read more

Big changes to little-known Chrome OS Camera app

Webcam support has not been one of Chrome OS's leading features, but that could change with a Camera app update due to make its way to the public in the coming week.

Chrome's official "happiness evangelist" François Beaufort, an open-source and developer advocate on the Chromium project, wrote on Google+ on Tuesday that an update to the Chrome OS Camera app will bring video recording, direct posting to YouTube and Google+, and automatic photo sync support across Chrome devices.

Chrome OS owners who don't want to wait for the automatic update that will … Read more

Chrome, Opera pass Epic Citadel demo's Web graphics test

Chrome and Opera have become the first browsers to match Mozilla Firefox's support for Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 and the Web-based Epic Citadel demo that's built on the 3D graphics technology. The demo's computing challenges include 3D graphics covered with 2D textures, rustling leaves, flowing water, reflective stone floors, lens flare, and shadows and other lighting effects.

Mozilla and Epic Games demonstrated the advanced Web programming in March using a combination of Mozilla technologies: Emscripten that converts C or C++ software into JavaScript, and asm.js that can run a specialized subset of JavaScript much faster. … Read more

Mixbook sees 'perfect storm' for Google's Dart language (Q&A)

Google's Dart programming language, an attempt to outdo JavaScript for writing Web apps, has had a polarizing effect on the Web.

Mozilla and Microsoft don't like it, preferring to focus on improvements to the incumbent technology, JavaScript. But Google, which just released Dart 1.0, aims to speed up Web-based software and the programmers who write it.

One company, Mixbook, which is firmly in the pro-Dart camp, is betting on Dart with a service that stands to offer millions of dollars in annual revenue.

"Google has set up a perfect storm for a new language," said … Read more

Chrome beta disses plug-ins, speeds tapping on Android

Google released a beta of Chrome 32 on Thursday, fulfilling a promise to block many plug-ins and speeding up some tap operations on Android.

And Imgur fans will be eager to know that the new release also brings support for animated WebP images, a feature already added to Google's image format but that had to overcome hurdles before finding a place in Chrome, too. Some advocated for a shift to plain old video, but animated GIFs have attained newfound popularity. Google promises smaller file sizes with animated WebP as an alternative, said Urvang Joshi, the Google programmer who championed … Read more

Google building Spark, a Web-based development tool

Google likes Web apps, but one area where native software remains dominant is programming tools. A Google project called Spark that came to light Thursday could change that.

Spark is a Web-based IDE (integrated development environment) that runs in a browser for developers writing Chrome apps, according to Google's Francois Beaufort, who tracks Chrome developments closely. That means, among other things, that Chromebook coders would have a way to be productive without having to move to a Windows, Mac, or Linux box.

"This is still the very beginning," Beaufort said on Google+. "There's not much … Read more

What Mozilla is doing with its big pile of new money (Q&A)

Mozilla has embarked on an expensive new effort to build an entirely new mobile operating system, Firefox OS, despite the dominance of Apple's iOS and Google's Android. It's a good thing Mozilla's got piles of new money on hand.

On Thursday, the nonprofit organization revealed a big upward jump in financial results for 2012, information it discloses to tax authorities. Its revenue increased from $163 million in 2011 to $311 million in 2012, and its net cash from operations increased from $13.4 million to $70.3 million.

Mozilla's money comes chiefly from driving search … Read more