Proving the Old World can still be positively refreshing when it comes to some things, the unstoppable decline of Internet Explorer in the motherland has finally left Firefox with the European pole position.
Internet Explorer, across all versions, lost about 8% of its market share between December 2009 and 2010. Firefox, on the other hand, by losing just 3% of its share, has ended up on top. The biggest winner, and seemingly the only browser to gain market share, is Google's fleet-footed Chrome browser, which began the year at 5% and ended at almost 15%.
In the rest of the world, Internet Explorer is still by far and away the most popular browser (at least according to StatCounter). In fact, the only other territory where Firefox is in the lead is Antarctica...
The bookmark sync extension is now available in the Android Market and ready to keep your Dolphin HD favorites marching in step with desktop browsers -- including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari. There's not much to see in the Dolphin HD version of Xmarks. Enter your login details, choose whether you want to merge your bookmarks or replace your current Dolphin HD data, and enable auto-sync if you desire. If you have multiple sync profiles configured in Xmarks, you'll be able to select which one you want to use in Dolphin.
It works very similar to the voice input system that Google has built into Android. A microphone icon will show up in your browser's extensions area, as well as near any HTML5-powered search box on websites that it can be used for. To search for "kittens", the developer says, just click on the microphone and say "kittens". To search Google Images for kittens, say "google images kittens". To search Wikipedia, say "wikipedia" followed by your query.
Voice Search can search using the following sites by default: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and Wolfram Alpha. However, you can also add other search engines that you like.
This is at a very experimental stage at the moment, and as such you may find that you need to start Chrome with the flag --enable-voice-input for the add-on to even work. Instructions on how to add the flag are available on the app's page in the Chrome Web Store, which is also where you can download Voice Search for Chrome for free.
Fans of Quora, the web's most useful and addictive question-and-answer site, now have a new way to get their fix: a Quora Chrome extension. Developer Andrew Brown recently posted his spiffy Chrome add-on in response to (what else?) a Quora question. It adds a Quora button to your toolbar, giving you one-click access to the Quora search field, as well as showing your current number of unread Quora notifications.
Brown says that he's working on an option to pop up your actual notifications when you click on the toolbar icon, and he's even posted a work-in-progress screenshot of what those notifications will look like. For now, you can install the extension or follow its development via a GitHub repo.
As with Google Chrome, your tabs will only move to the topmost area of the window when maximized. The feature has yet to be delivered to the Firefox 4 nightly builds, but you can download experimental versions from developer Bill Gianopoulos. Windows and Linux versions are available at the moment. Gianopoulos states "These builds are essentially the same as the corresponding Official Trunk Nightly Builds" but notes that his builds include "not yet landed fixes for some MathML issues, and User Interface changes planned for Firefox 4, as well as bugs that I am currently working on or find particularly annoying."
60,559,541 (yes, that's more than 60 million) tabs were opened by those who had installed Chrome for a Cause in the four days that it counted. This number of tabs apparently amounted to raising $1 million (Google never mentioned how much each tab was worth), so it looks like each tab you opened, while having the extension installed, resulted in a contribution of about 1.65 cents.
Since you were able to choose which charity the money you helped raise would go to at the end of each day, here's how the $1 million will be split: $245,278 will go to planting trees in the Atlantic Forest, an endangered Brazilian tropical forest; $232,791 will help get clean water for communities in developing nations by building wells; $112,078 will help build shelter for poor families in Latin America; $267,336 will fund vaccinations against meningitis in Africa; $142,518 will go toward publishing books by local writers and illustrators, that will be donated to schools and libraries in Africa and Asia.
The donations will be made at the end of the year. You can keep the extension installed and, if so, it will notify you about future opportunities to work together with other Chrome users for good causes.
These days, you no longer have to be an esoteric nerd to sport a dual-monitor setup. Heck, many of us use three monitors, and some have been known to use entire walls. Now, when you have such a setup and try to watch a YouTube video in full-screen, you quickly discover an irritating fact: While you're watching a video in full-screen on one monitor, any click on another monitor collapses the video back to its tiny windowed size.
There are ways to get around this by replacing specific Flash DLLs with tweaked versions, but really, who wants to mess with system files like this? Window Expander for Chrome is a far less invasive solution. It adds a button to Chrome's Omnibar which you can click to display a full-screen window with the video you're currently watching. Since Chrome has so little, well, chrome, it's the next best thing to full-screen. Window Expander is simple, and it works. Go give it a try!
The two games are Poppit and Entanglement, and if you're running the Dev channel, by now you should have noticed them in your New Tab page. They just showed up there, without any prior notice or you having to do anything. What's next Google, a McAfee trial version with Chrome 11? Although unlike pesky anti-virus trials, the two games can easily be uninstalled if you so wish.
But since they're there, perhaps you should give them a try. They are supposedly HTML5-heavy, so besides being worthy time-wasters, they might also serve as useful showcases of what can be accomplished with the next generation of Web technologies. Or not. Your call.
Chrome: If you've ever been on a site and wanted a more immediate form of communication than, say, comments can offer, Chrome extension Talkita lets you live chat with users that are currently viewing the same web site. More »
Okay, so we're not quite at the point where you're going to be playing the next Crysis sequel in your browser, but still -- the arrival of WebGL in Chrome's beta channel is kind of a big deal. Apart from being able to play around with cool demos like the ones offered up by Google in its official announcement, WebGL is another important step in bringing more desktop-like functionality to the Web.
In addition to cloud-y 3D support, hardware acceleration support is due to arrive at some point -- presumably before Chrome 9 gets pushed to the stable channel. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but we'll know soon enough thanks to the six-week release cycle.
Check your Chrome wrench icon for the update notification, or hit About Google Chrome to force a check.
Anyone else up for some WebGL Quake action?
Google's Chrome for a Cause extension promises to donate money to a charity for every new tab you open in Chrome until this Sunday, December 19. At the end of each day you can choose where the money will go, and you have five charities to pick from:
As a quick follow-up article to the Adobe Flash 10.2 beta announcement, we thought we'd show you how to disable Google Chrome's built-in Flash plug-in so that you can use a pre-release build like the 10.2 beta. It's a quick and simple process, but please remember that once you've disabled Chrome's built-in Flash you won't get the benefit of Chrome's internal Flash updates.
1. Download the Flash plug-in that you'd like to use with Chrome (10.2 can be found here).
2. Fire up Chrome and type about:plugins into the address bar; hit enter.
3. Click on Details in the top right of the window to expand the plug-in details.
4. Find the Flash plug-in that's listed as being in the Chrome directory and hit Disable (shown above).
5. Check which version of Flash you have by heading here.
That's it -- now you can jump on over to Adobe's Stage Video demo and watch as your CPU basically idles as you play HD video. If you want to reverse the procedure, just re-enable Chrome's built-in Flash plug-in and it'll take priority over the pre-release version.
Making its debut on the Stable channel with this release is Chrome's built-in PDF viewer, that uses Chrome's sandboxing and has been available in the Beta channel for a while now. Also straight from the Beta channel comes support for the upcoming Web apps that Google will host in the Chrome Web Store, when that launches. Sync options have also been expanded to include apps.
The Flags menu has also made it into Chrome 8 Stable, complete with (possibly unstable) options for tabbed settings, side tabs, Google Instant Search, automatically disabling outdated plugins, cross-site scripting protection, GPU accelerated compositing, WebGL 3D canvas rendering, remoting, and cloud print.
Chrome 8 also has over 800 bug fixes and stability improvements added compared to the Chrome 7. So the update is clearly worth it. And in any case, because of Google's update mechanism, you'll be getting it automagicallly even if you do nothing. If you're itching for the new features, just click on the Wrench > About Google Chrome > Update Now.
The Google Chrome Dev channel received an update yesterday, and while its changelog was a lengthy one, most of the changes were stability fixes and interface polish. There was, however, an interesting note on one of the less significant entries.
Revision 67228 removed some un-needed text from the channel changer in Chrome OS -- which lets you choose to listen for updates to the stable, beta, or dev build. The removed text was Canary, which isn't needed since Chrome Canary currently only runs on Windows.
The revision, however, reads "Remove 'canary' as it's not yet supported as of now." Now, this is just a comment in the Chromium code at the moment -- but it could well indicate that Canary is headed to other OSes. What do you say, Mac and Linux users? Would you install Chrome Canary if it was available for your OS?
Sandboxing in Chrome is currently only available for Windows, where it's particularly important for the relatively insecure Windows XP, and is rolling out to all Chrome Dev installations on Windows automatically. If you have a particular aversion to sandboxing your Flash experience, you can easily disable it with the flag --disable-flash-sandbox. For those of you who are running the beta or stable release of Chrome, but want to try out the developer version with Flash sandboxing for Windows, then head on over to Chromium.org and grab yourself the 'Dev channel' and install it over the top of your current Chrome version.
Google Chrome can already create application shortcuts for your favorite sites via the wrench menu. The option had disappeared for a while, but made its return earlier this year. Adding Gmail to your taskbar is as simple as loading it in a tab, clicking the wrench, choosing tools and then clicking create application shortcut.
Recently, Chromium added that same functionality to Chrome Web apps. If you've got any apps installed, you can right click its icon on your new tab page and choose create shortcut. A menu like the one pictured above will appear, and you can then pin your Chrome Web app the Windows 7 taskbar or slap a shortcut on your desktop or start menu.
This is currently only available in Chromium, but expect to see Web app shortcuts make their way to the Canary and Dev builds in short order. Google is making a push to get the Chrome Web Store launched, and polished app support in Chrome will need to be in place prior to, well, whenever that happens.
Take the awesome power of Wolfram Alpha; add the convenience and intelligence of Google's built-in calculator. Now mix them up and serve in a piping hot Chrome add-on: Chromey Calculator.
When you click the extension's humble button, it opens a quick prompt pane (you can also pop it out to its own separate Chrome window). You can then feed it with any expression Wolfram Alpha or Google Calculator understands, and even mix those expressions up.
Chromey Calculator decides whether to use Google or Wolfram Alpha. You can see what engine it used for your calculation by hovering over a result; clicking the logo takes you to the source page (handy mostly for Wolfram Alpha calculations, which usually yield interesting graphs).
The add-on even supports variables. One proposed example goes like this:
@Everest = height of Everest
@K2 = height of K2
@Everest - @K2 in meters
So this basically takes the height of Everest and of K2 (the world's second-highest mountain) and calculates the difference - all within your Chrome window, without opening any other sites or tabs.
This is very powerful stuff; the only limit is your imagination - I would love to hear any interesting examples in the comments.
Chromium's wrench menu now displays how many background Web apps are currently running in your browser (or browser-OS, if you're using Chrome OS). Clicking view background apps will bring the Chrome task manager into view, where the CPU, memory, and network utilized by your Background Apps and Extensions is displayed.
Chrome Web apps, of course, will be very similar to the extensions you can currently install from the Gallery. Similar enough, in fact, that many popular extensions will require only a minor tweak to their manifest files to "evolve" into apps. They'll have access to additional APIs and have different permission options, however, which will allow Chrome Web apps to go beyond current extension functionality.
If you ever share a computer with a friend or family member, you've probably experienced the challenge of remembering who is logged in to accounts on Google or other services. Users of Google's excellent Chrome browser will be happy to hear that now in the works is a simple feature that will allow multiple browser windows to run different Google Profiles with a simple click of a button.
The feature is not yet available but was spotted in developer documentation and first reported on by the watchdog blog Google Operating System. While this might seem like a simple matter of convenience, it also represents the convergence of a number of other trends in online computing.
Above, a mock-up of how the Mac version of Chrome might display which account is running in a particular window. New browser windows will use the same account that the last active window was using, and all browser extensions will be common across all windows regardless of account.
Incidentally, speaking from one ad-supported company to another, it's hard not to notice that there's Ad Block Plus running in the mock-up screenshot of this browser. Thanks, Google.
Android and Chrome: If you don't like the small, hard-to-use bookmark manager on your Android phone, Chrome extension and Android app PhoneMarks lets you manage them from Chrome on your computer. More »