Browser Wars: Firefox Overtakes Internet Explorer in Europe

January 4, 2011 · Filed Under Browsers, Software News · Comment 

Internet Explorer loses crown in major market for first time

Firefox overtook Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) to become the number one browser in Europe in December 2010 according to StatCounter, the free website analytics company. The firm’s research arm StatCounter Global Stats reports that in December, Firefox took 38.11% of European market share, compared to IE’s 37.52%.

“This is the first time that IE has been dethroned from the number one spot in a major territory”

“This is the first time that IE has been dethroned from the number one spot in a major territory,” commented Aodhan Cullen, CEO, StatCounter. “This appears to be happening because Google’s Chrome is stealing share from Internet Explorer while Firefox is mainly maintaining its existing share.”

Google Chrome in third place is gaining market share in Europe and has grown to 14.58% compared to 5.06% in December last year. “We are probably seeing the impact of the agreement between European Commission competition authorities and Microsoft, to offer EU users a choice and menu of browsers from March last,” added Aodhan Cullen.

In North America IE still retains a clear lead in the browser market with 48.92% followed by Firefox (26.7%), Chrome (12.82%) and Safari (10.16%).

StatCounter Global Stats is based on aggregate data collected by StatCounter on a sample exceeding 15 billion page views per month (4.9 billion from North America) collected from across the StatCounter network of more than 3 million websites.

Internet Explorer 9 Beta Release

September 16, 2010 · Filed Under Browsers, Internet Software, Software News · Comment 

Beta version of Internet Explorer 9 available worldwide today is accompanied by new experiences from some of the world’s top sites reaching over two-thirds of active Internet users.

Microsoft Corp. announced the worldwide beta availability of its new Web browser, accompanied by over 70 top websites and global brands that created new experiences to show off the capabilities of Windows Internet Explorer 9, at the Beauty of the Web event in San Francisco. The new browser delivers a fast, clean, trusted and interoperable online experience that takes full advantage of Windows 7, putting the focus on the sites and applications people care about. Developers and designers from partners around the world are showcasing how they have used the capabilities of Internet Explorer 9 to tap into the power of the PC hardware, Windows 7, a new user experience, and support for modern standards such as HTML5 to create immersive sites that feel increasingly like native PC applications. Together these partners reach more than 800 million visitors, or about two-thirds of the active people on the Web. Users can download the new Internet Explorer 9 Beta and experience many of these new sites at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/.

“Internet Explorer 9 uses the power of Windows and the whole PC to bring you a better Web,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows and Windows Live Division at Microsoft. “We’re proud to join our partners in releasing the beta of Internet Explorer 9, delivering a more beautiful Web to Windows customers across the globe.” Read more

Maxthon releases Alpha Version of Max-3, soon to be the world’s first automatic hybrid browser

July 27, 2009 · Filed Under Browsers, Software News · Comment 

Maxthon today released alpha version 4 of its new browser, Max-3, for public download and testing.

The alpha is available at http://dl.maxthon.cn/mx3/msetup3.0.0.139.exe . When the complete version of the browser is released, early next year, Max-3 will be the Internet’s first browser to use automatic-detection hybrid technology to power its display of Web pages.

Max-3 will contain two rendering engines. One is the Trident engine already in the current version of Maxthon, as well as being used by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

The second rendering engine, Webkit, is newer than Trident, and used by Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari. Both of those browsers have won praise in reviews for their rendering speed. Early benchmark tests of Chrome found it to be 42 times faster than Internet Explorer 7, and nine times faster than Firefox 3. Max-3 is expected to have similar speed advantages.

A rendering engine is a collection of code that translates the text-based HTML and Javascript instructions into signals used to correctly display a Web page that could include photos, graphic decorations, video, and text.

Trident is relatively little changed since it was introduced several years ago. Since then, design trends have introduced such innovations as CSS with different functions, the W3C standard, and different aesthetics. The result is that a page rendered by Webkit may look fine. When Trident tackles the same page, it doesn’t understand the newer instructions and botches the display.

Webkit, however, may not properly construct one of the millions of older Web pages originally designed to display on systems running only Internet Explorer.

Max-3 is designed to provide the best of both rendering engines.

Shifting Gears

In Maxthon’s hybrid rendering engines, running display commands through Webkit is called Ultra Mode in recognition of its extreme high speed and its ability to work with the latest Web design fashions. Ultra Mode significantly improves JavaScript execution and page loading speed. It has also much better support for the W3C standards, as evidenced by Max-3’s passing the W3C’s Acid2 and Acid3 tests.

Most of the time, Max-3 will operate in Ultra Mode. Max-3 may encounter pages, such as certain online banking sites, that Webkit cannot display. When that happens, Max-3 automatically suspends Ultra Mode and engages the Trident engine to put the browser into Retro Mode. As the name suggests, Retro Mode will function to display correctly Web pages that have used the same design commands that originated some 20 years ago. The switch from Ultra to Retro is seamless and ordinarily goes unnoticed by the user.

If the browsing mode is not switched automatically, the user can make the switch manually by clicking the Browsing Mode button next to the address bar. Maxthon makes a data entry about the mode selected by the user, and automatically activates that mode during return visits to the page.

The hybrid engines are available for testing in the new alpha. Other major updates to the alpha code include:

  • Auto-Update Module, allowing Max-3 to be updated online.
  • Address Bar Optimization. The bar now supports smart sorting of its drop-down list and shortcuts for completing URLs. For example, users may type the first part of a URL and complete it with Ctrl+Enter for .com, Shift+Enter for .net, and Alt+Enter for .org.
  • Added Favicons for display in the Address Bar, Tab Bar, Favorites Bar, and Favorite List.
  • Smooth Scrolling Support. Web pages will move smoothly when scrolling the mouse wheel.
  • Enhanced Javascript performance by about 10 percent.

Source: Maxthon

Mozilla advances the web with Firefox 3.5

Major update to browser delivers significant performance improvements, privacy enhancements, support for new Web standards, and greater customization options

Mozilla, a public-benefit organization dedicated to promoting choice and innovation on the Internet, today released Firefox(R) 3.5, a major update to its popular, free and open source Web browser. Coming one year after the launch of the critically acclaimed Firefox 3, Firefox 3.5 introduces cutting-edge features, as well as new support for a wide variety of Web standards.

Firefox 3.5 is the best performing browser Mozilla has ever released and delivers radically improved JavaScript performance, a new Private Browsing mode, native support for open video and audio, and Location Aware Browsing. The newest version of Firefox is more than two times faster than Firefox 3 and ten times faster than Firefox 2 on complex websites. With extensive under the hood work to support new technologies, Firefox 3.5 is the most powerful and complete modern browser and helps upgrade the Web experience.

Firefox 3.5 was built through Mozilla’s global, open source development process. The Mozilla community comprises thousands of passionate contributors, including experienced developers, security experts, localization and support communities in more than 60 countries, and tens of thousands of active testers. With more than 300 million active users, Firefox is the only popular Web browser created by a non-profit organization.

“So much is happening on the Web right now, it’s a great time for browsers. Firefox 3.5 brings together the most innovative Web technologies and delivers them in the most complete and powerful modern browser,” said John Lilly, CEO, Mozilla.

What’s New in Firefox 3.5:

Firefox 3.5 makes surfing the Web easier and more enjoyable with exciting new features and platform updates that allow Web developers to create the next generation of Web content. Native support for open video and audio, private browsing, and support for the newest Web technologies will enable richer, more interactive online experiences.

Performance. Firefox 3.5 includes the powerful new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine, which delivers unprecedented performance with today’s complex Web applications. Firefox 3.5 is more than two times faster than Firefox 3 and ten times faster than Firefox 2.

Open Video and Audio. Enjoy video and audio content from within your browser, without the need for plugins. Video is a vital part of the modern Web, whether it’s used to communicate, educate, or entertain. Firefox 3.5 delivers the first native integration of audio and video directly into the browser. Now everyone can easily watch open format Ogg Theora videos.

Web developers can use these technologies to design pages that interact with video content in new and exciting ways, offering richer interactive experiences beyond controlling playback and volume.

Privacy Controls. Firefox 3.5 includes features designed to protect your privacy online and provide greater control over your personal data.

While using the new Private Browsing mode in Firefox 3.5, nothing you encounter on the Web will be stored from that moment on during your browsing session. Unique to Firefox 3.5, the new Forget this Site feature can remove every trace of a site from your browser. If you want to remove all private data or activity from the past few hours, Clear Recent History, another Firefox-only feature, gives you full control over what stays and what goes.

Location Aware Browsing. Location Aware Browsing saves you time by allowing websites to ask you where you are located. If you choose to share your location with a website, it can use that information to find nearby points of interest and return additional, useful data like maps of your area. It’s all optional – Firefox doesn’t share your location without your permission.

How to get Mozilla Firefox 3.5:

Mozilla Firefox 3.5 is available now for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X operating systems as a free download from http://www.getfirefox.com/. It is also available in more than 70 languages at: http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/all.html.

Safari 4 downloads top 11 million in three days

June 13, 2009 · Filed Under Browsers, Downloads, Internet Software, Software News · Comment 

Apple announced that more than 11 million copies of Safari 4 have been downloaded in the first three days of its release, including more than six million downloads of Safari for Windows.

Safari 4 is the world’s fastest, most innovative browser and is built on the world’s most advanced browser technologies including the new Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript nearly eight times faster than IE 8 and more than four times faster than Firefox 3. Safari quickly loads HTML web pages more than three times faster than IE 8 and three times faster than Firefox 3.*

“Safari 4 is an incredible success on Mac and Windows with more than 11 million downloads in the first three days,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Safari users love the incredible speed and innovative features like Top Sites, Full History Search and Cover Flow.”

Starting with the development of the open source WebKit browser engine, Apple has been leading the industry in defining and implementing innovative web standards. Safari 4 includes HTML 5 support for offline technologies and support for advanced CSS Effects, enabling an entirely new class of web applications that feature rich media, graphics and fonts. Safari 4 is the first browser to pass the Web Standards Project’s Acid3 test, which examines how well a browser adheres to CSS, JavaScript, XML and SVG standards that are specifically designed for dynamic web applications.

Safari 4 includes Top Sites, for an incredible visual preview of frequently visited and favorite pages; Full History Search, to search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages; and Cover Flow(R), to easily flip through web history or bookmarks. Other innovative features include Smart Address Fields for automatically completing web addresses from an easy to read list of suggestions; Search Fields, to fine tune searches with recommendations from Google Suggest or a list of recent searches; and Full Page Zoom, for a closer look at any website without degrading the quality of the site’s layout and text.

In Mac OS(R) X Snow Leopard(TM), available later this year, Safari runs as a 64-bit application, boosting the performance of the Nitro JavaScript engine by up to 50 percent.** Snow Leopard makes Safari more resistant to crashes by running plug-ins in a separate process, so even if a plug-in crashes, Safari continues to run and the user simply has to reload the affected page. Safari running on Snow Leopard also delivers HTTP streaming, making it easy to deliver high-quality audio and video in industry standard formats from any web server without the need for browser plug-ins.

Pricing & Availability

Safari 4 is available for both Mac OS X and Windows as a free download at www.apple.com/safari. Safari 4 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X Leopard(R) v10.5.7 or Mac OS X Tiger(R) v10.4.11 and Security Update 2009-002, a minimum 256MB of memory and is designed to run on any Intel-based Mac(R) or a Mac with a PowerPC G5, G4 or G3 processor and built-in FireWire(R). Safari 4 for Windows requires Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, a minimum 256MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor. Full system requirements and more information on Safari 4 can be found at www.apple.com/safari.

*Performance will vary based on system configuration, network connection and other factors. All testing conducted on an iMac(R) 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system running Windows Vista, with 2GB of RAM. JavaScript benchmark based on the SunSpider JavaScript Performance test. HTML benchmark based on VeriTest’s iBench Version 5.0 using default settings.

**Performance will vary based on system configuration, network connection and other factors. Testing conducted by Apple in May 2009 comparing prerelease Mac OS X Snow Leopard v10.6 with shipping Mac OS X Leopard v10.5.7. Testing was conducted on a shipping MacBook(R) 2.0 GHz system and a shipping iMac 2.66 GHz system, both configured with 2GB of RAM. JavaScript benchmarks based on the SunSpider Performance test comparing Safari running in both 32-bit and 64-bit modes.

Source: Apple

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