browser

To protect users from malicious attacks, Google has implemented a change to the Chrome browser so that extensions can now only be installed if they are downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. For end users, this means that you cannot download an extension from another source and try to install or force the browser to run it. By going through the Chrome Web Store, Google is hopping that this will prevent malicious developers from releasing extensions that are harmful to unsuspecting Chrome users.

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For those of you who are fans of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, there continues to be a long wait as we anticipate a Windows 8 version of the application. The company had planned to launch their Windows 8 browser almost two years ago in quarter one of 2012 – that never happened. According to a new revised schedule on the Mozilla’s development Wiki, the release is now slated for March 18 of this year.

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UC Browser, the flagship product of UCWeb, claims to have over 400 million users in more than 150 countries around the world. The popular Windows Phone alternative to the default Internet Explorer has just been updated to version 3.2 with key enhancements like background downloads, enhanced download management, and UDisk branded cloud storage service.

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Windows Phone gets a popular cloud-based web browser to reduce data and make things faster

Internet Explorer isn't necessarily a slow web browser on Windows Phone, but there are alternative web browsers from third parties.

Maxthon (www.maxthon.com) is one of these alternatives, and what a second choice it is. If you're looking at a free way to improve your web browsing experience and boost your Windows Phone into space, download this app right now. 

Head past the break to see our hands on video and tour of this fantastic browser alternative!

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When it comes to data plans on your mobile device, mileage varies from carrier, to region, to country. Some people might be grandfathered into unlimited data plans and now eat as much as they can on blazing fasts LTE networks. Others might be in an emerging market and are just experiencing 3G speeds for the first time. One way or the other, Nokia has an app that recently left beta to help people with tighter data budgets. Nokia Xpress is ready for the limelight.

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Three screens and a cloud is a powerful idea that is moving the technology industry forward. Each ecosystem has its own idea of how that cloud should look and function. If you’re in the Microsoft camp you’re probably using SkyDrive as your cloud. The latest update for the web version of SkyDrive just became even more awesome with high DPI support and much, much more.

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Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 Consumer Preview introduced their latest version of the Trident based web browser, Internet Explorer 11. Today the company has released the developer preview of IE11 for those still on Windows 7.

Internet Explorer 11 promises to bring improved performance, faster page load times, new standards support for next generation sites, and a completely redesigned “F12” developer toolkit.

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Popular security provider AVG has announced and released an update for its Family Safety app, which now supports Windows Phone 8. If you've not already used the app before, it's been available on Windows Phone 7 since last year, providing a protective solution for those who have children surfing the web on mobile devices. It's a free app that acts as a web browser, blocking known threats using the AVG Linkscanner technology. Anything relating to violence, drugs, weapons, pornography and more is blocked.

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SurfCube 5 for Windows Phone 8 is now available to consumers. This major release of the popular web browser introduces a number of new features, including support for the new speech API in Windows Phone 8. The app is a popular choice for those who require that little bit extra which Internet Explorer doesn't quite provide. So what joins speech in version 5?

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We haven’t been following the Mozilla Foundation’s progress too much on a Windows 8 browser—we just know that they were working on one.

So either we missed it or this is hot off the presses but they have released a “nightly build” of their Windows 8 App (Modern Style) Firefox browser for x86 devices. That means you Surface RT (ARM CPU) folk will have to wait a bit, but if you’re on full-fledged Windows 8, you may want to take a look.

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While the majority of you are perfectly content with the default Internet Explorer browser on your shiny new 8X or Lumia 920, others like to be contrarian and use something else. For those folks, SurfCube has been a popular browser since Windows Phone 7 first hit the market. Since then it’s had a few updates, the latest bringing some new features just for Windows Phone 8.

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We’re not sure if this is just a temporary error or something more nefarious but Google appears to have changed something whereby Windows Phone users are now blocked when trying to access maps.google.com.

Granted, it’s not clear why you would want to use Google’s less-than-awesome mapping service through a browser, but humor us for a second. The move appears to be a continued approach to lockout all Google services from those who adopted Windows Phones. Or it’s just poor service.

We were able to verify on our Windows Phones that when going to maps.google.com we are redirected to www.google.com/m for mobile, regardless of IE10’s settings i.e. Desktop mode. Reports suggest that maps.google.co.uk still works for some folks but for us that too redirects, making this an in-motion change that is evidently occurring worldwide.

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UC Browser, an alternative web browser for Windows Phone, has been available on the platform for some time now. Since then the app has been updated a number of times and has now been bumped to version 2.7. It's worth noting that this is not a simple IE wrapper either. UC Browser is the real deal, offering a serious solution for those who wish to use something other than Internet Explorer. 

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Now that the Windows Phone 8 SDK is nearing full-public release and the OS is RTM, we can get a better idea of some of the HTML5 benchmarks.

We last compared these numbers a few months ago and while HTML5 compatibility has greatly increased from IE9 to IE10, it’s still not as robust as Android (ICS), iOS6 or BlackBerry 10.

The current build of Windows Phone 8 scored 319 (+ 6 bonus) on the HTML5 Test with iOS6 (via the iPhone 5) coming in at 360 (+9 Bonus). Of course all of that is ironically trumped by RIMs in-gestation BlackBerry 10, which has a super high score of 447 (+10 bonus) and while that is high, 3rd party browser Dolphin for Android (currently in beta) gets 450 (+3 bonus).

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The highly missed 'Find on Page' feature which was present in Internet Explorer 8 on Windows Phone but subsequently removed in the Mango update, is making a return in Apollo if a demonstration from the Lumia 920 announcement is anything to go by. The ability to locate text loaded on the webpage was a useful tool that plays an important role in finding information on a cluttered website. 

Microsoft -for whatever reason- decided this feature had no place in the Windows Phone Mango update that included IE9 and removed it from the mobile browser. The company then received countless complaints from Windows Phone owners questioning why the feature was removed. We were eagerly awaiting Tango to see if the menu entry in IE would be restored, but alas it was never to be.

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Internet Explorer 10 is good but is it the best?

Although Windows Phone 8 is still a few months away from release, it doesn’t mean we can’t start to gather information about it or one of its main new features: Internet Explorer 10.

The new browser was revealed back at the Summit in June and it will match the desktop component found in Windows 8 Desktop, due in late October. Featuring a new JavaScript engine, better performance, twice the HTLM5 compatibility, advanced privacy features and optional data-compression, the browser should really be a step up for consumers.

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The European Commission announced plans today to open an investigation to determine whether or not Microsoft has failed to comply with its browser choice commitment, which was applied in 2009. The commitment saw the software giant presenting customers of its Windows operating system with a screen listing available alternatives to Internet Explorer (see above). This was put in place due to Microsoft being found guilty of abusing its dominant position with IE in the browser market.

Joaquín Almunia, Vice President of the Commission in charge of competition policy, had the following to comment.

"We take compliance with our decisions very seriously. And I trusted the company's reports were accurate. But it seems that was not the case, so we have immediately taken action. If following our investigation, the infringement is confirmed, Microsoft should expect sanctions"

Competing browsers have previously spoken publicly about the potential antitrust violations Microsoft is dancing around by preventing third party browsers access to the same APIs IE uses in Windows 8. With the down-spiral of IE and the massive increase in users for both Firefox and Chrome, is it worth penalising Microsoft heavily for a ballot box screen, which arguably adds little value to the user experience? 

According to the announcement, the EC believes that Microsoft may have failed to implement the browser choice screen from February 2011 onwards with the release of Windows 7 SP1. It'll be interesting to see the outcome of this investigation, especially from a financial standpoint, with a possible fine of up to 10% of Microsoft's total annual turnover, should it be found guilty of breaching the commitment.

How do you feel about the bundling of software in Windows 8? Do you believe Microsoft still has a duty to provide such choice to customers regarding web browsers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Source: European Commission, via: The Verge

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