Latest version of Firefox, 3.6, is faster, has new theme feature, Personas

mozilla firefox 3.6Mozilla has released the latest version of Firefox, 3.6, and it claims a 20% speed improvement over v3.5. I just installed and startup certainly seems a lot faster. I’ve also noticed an improvement in memory usage.

New features include improved security features like anti-phishing and anti-malware detection and warning, improved JavaScript performance, support for new CSS features like gradients.

But the feature that I particularly like is a new type of theme called Personas which you can preview and install without a restart of the browser. Just visit, browse the over 30,000 themes, then simply roll your mouse over a swatch to see your browser immediately take on that theme.

If you don’t already have Firefox, you can download it for PC, Mac or Linux from

Opera 10 now has Opera Unite built in

We first reported on Opera Unite when version 10 of the Opera web browser was released in September.

At the time, Unite was not yet built into the browser, but is now with this latest release.

According to Opera:

Opera Unite is a new technology platform allowing you to share content directly with friends without having to upload anything to a Web site. You can stream music, show photo galleries, share files and folders or even host your own Web pages directly from your browser.

It will be interesting to see if the other major browser makers start to employ similar ideas into their products.

Webcast of Google’s intro of Chrome OS and open source announcement

No, not a release of the much blogged about Chrome OS, but a webcast given by a VP of Product Management, Sundar Pichai. He starts off by talking about Chrome, the browser, then gets into Chrome OS itself.

Perhaps the biggest news of all is that the Chrome OS has been open sourced. Kudos again Google. Just one little detail, the open source version is called Chromium OS.

If you don’t know what Chrome OS is, then take a look at this entertaining video which explains what it is, and more importantly why.

Opera 10 Web browser released today

Opera Software released version 10 of their Opera Web browser today [download]. New features include page compression (using their servers), a faster rendering engine (Presto 2.2), a remodeled tab bar, and synchronization of bookmark and other browser data. Opera is available for Windows, Macs and Linux.

Soon to come built into Opera 10 is a new technology called Opera Unite which aims to turn your browser into a server as well. Unite lets you share your content – files, folders, music, video, etc from your own computer. You can snag a test build here if you’d like.

While this seems like a cool piece of new technology, it’s debatable whether this will entice users away from current social sharing mechanisms and services.

However, Opera is quietly doing a lot of interesting research and product development. Just take a look at their Labs. It’s a shame that they only have about 2% of the browser market, as they have had a solid product ever since they started.

Web developers may have a new Web browser to worry about

A startup called RockMelt is set to build yet another new Web browser with the backing of former Netscape founder, Marc Andreesen’s venture capital firm.

No real details on what they have in plan, although they initially let slip that their browser will probably integrate Facebook info in some seamless way.

You can sign up for their mailing list to get news as they release it.

via NY Times

Google launching its own operating system – Chrome OS

google-chrome-logoGoogle has taken the much rumored step of creating its own OS. Named Chrome after the browser of the same name, this new OS will have a windowing environment based on a Linux kernel (of course) and will naturally contain the Chrome browser as its browser-of-choice.

Google expects Google Chrome Operating System to be available in netbooks in the first half of 2010, and has been working with OEMs to make this a reality. This OS is really meant for those users who use computers mainly to access and use Web applications – e-mail, documents, social networking, shopping, etc. You probably won’t find too many power users switching to this OS, although it’ll be fine if it was on the family room netbook.

Is Microsoft worried? You bet they are, and if not, they should be. The scarier thing is that Google probably isn’t even doing this to ‘compete’ with Microsoft per se. They just want to get the Web in front of as many people as possible, because that means more people viewing and potentially clicking on their ads. This is not a direct revenue maker for Google, but would result in a revenue losses for Microsoft.

And if Google succeeds in creating an OS that is faster, more lightweight, more secure (with few or no bugs, viruses and malware), than current MS platforms then more people (and developers) will gravitate towards the OS.

GfG’s Article Recap for Week Ending May 29, 2009

This week saw us yearning after some ‘appliance 2.0’ technology including ‘connected’ washers/dryers and a freezer failure sensor kit.

We reviewed a poster printing service which we thought was pretty good.

The Easy iPod Media Sharer‘s name says it all – useful family gadget. We do love our Gmail; their new lab is cool – an Inbox Preview feature.

We feel that President Obama is taking the right approach in creating a Cyber Czar position.

Google’s Chrome 2 Web Browser – faster?

Google recently released version 2 of Chrome, their Web browser. Although not a major release, it incorporates new versions of WebKit, the browser engine, and V8, the JavaScript engine.

Two new features include Fullscreen mode (F11) and Auto-Fill for web forms.

As much as we like Chrome from a pure Web browser perspective, we’re not about to stop using Firefox. The sheer number of extensions that we now can’t live without is too much to let go.

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