[Update: Out of beta] Mozilla launches a standalone VPN service for Android and Chromebook
Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, has announced that it’s bringing a private VPN to Android, Chromebook, and Windows as a standalone service.
Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, has announced that it’s bringing a private VPN to Android, Chromebook, and Windows as a standalone service.
Firefox for Android is a great alternative if you don’t want to use the pre-installed Google Chrome, but the browser has had a relatively confusing number of releases in the Play Store. Now, Firefox is simplifying, and as a result, ditching Preview releases on Android.
Earlier this week at AMP Conf 2019, Google announced that it was now possible for their Accelerated Mobile Pages to display the original page’s URL, despite the site not actually being “served” from that URL. However, in the months that Google has been planning that announcement, Apple and Mozilla have been sharing their concerns about the feature’s impact on the future security of the web.
For the privacy conscious, Firefox Focus is a fantastic mobile web browser for ensuring your data is safe. Today, an update to the Android version of Firefox Focus has delivered integration with Google’s Safe Browsing service.
Mozilla brought its privacy-centric web browser called Focus to Android last month, and in less than 30 days, the application has already been downloaded over one million times. To celebrate, Focus is being updated to include three new features that users have been asking for. These include the ability to watch videos in full-screen, download content from the web, and more actions from the app’s notifications…
Pocket, the popular read-it-later bookmarking service, has been acquired by Firefox developer Mozilla, according to Recode. Pocket has client apps on Android and Chrome including a browser extension.
Late last year, Mozilla announced a joint five-year partnership with Yahoo that saw the default search engine in Firefox change from Google to Yahoo. It seemed unlikely at the time that Google would notice too big of a loss from that deal, but following contrary reports from earlier this month, Search Engine Land has also noticed that the company has started trying to convince Firefox users to switch to Google Search.
Firefox for Android received a major update this evening, bumping the app to version 34 and adding a handful of new features. Firstly, the update adds mirroring support for the Chromecast. This means that users can now mirror their browser to Google’s streaming stick. This feature was previously available in the beta build of Firebox for Android, but was incredibly buggy. Early reports say that the feature works as expected with today’s stable channel update, however.
Mozilla and Yahoo today announced a joint five-year “strategic” partnership that will see the Firefox browser’s default search engine change to Yahoo. Since 2004, Google has been the default search engine for Firefox, but when the agreement came to an end this year, Mozilla said that it decided to make a change.
While it has yet to become a significant player in the smartphone market, Mozilla is hoping that its open-source Firefox OS will be a game changer when the mobile operating system gains a larger presence in countries like the United States and United Kingdom. In the meantime, the software maker has gone on the offensive against rival platforms Android and iOS. Expand
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but what about a fox? Better yet, what about a Firefox? Cheesy introductions aside, today Mozilla announced a new video streaming feature for Firefox’s Android web browser. This Chrome alternative can now push videos from your mobile device to your TV via Google’s Chromecast media stick or a Roku set-top box.
A few months ago, reports started circulating that Mozilla was developing its own streaming stick to compete with the Chromecast. The device was reportedly going to be marketed as a more open alternative to Google’s offering, but despite these reports, Mozilla today added Chromcast support to its Firefox browser on Android. For the time being, you must be running the nightly build of Firefox to use it, however.
You can download the nightly build of Firefox for Android from this page. Once you get the APK installed, Mozilla offers a test video casting page for users to visit. If a Chromecast icon appears on that page and your device offers the ability to cast the video, then you’re good to go.
Download the Firefox nightly APK here to get going.
Video gia GigaOm
Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, is working on a stream stick set to directly compete with Google’s Chromecast and other similar products, according to GigaOm. The device runs Mozilla’s own Firefox OS, originally designed for smartphones, and is apparently referred to as “Netcast” within the Firefox browser.
Unlike Google’s current offering, the Netcast would allow developers to integrate the technology into applications on a wide variety of operating systems and hardware devices, including many platforms not currently supported by the Chromecast. In a statement to GigaOm, Mozilla noted that anyone is welcome to work with Firefox OS and that hardware running that system does not necessarily have to come from that company.
Mozilla announced a major overhaul of its desktop browser today and Firefox’s Android build isn’t being left behind. Now available to download from the Play Store, Mozilla’s refreshed mobile browser ships with several technical tweaks, but the standout here is Firefox Accounts for Firefox Sync.
Microsoft’s latest smear campaign against Google services kicked into full gear earlier this month with the launch of several online video and print ads as part of its “Scroogled” campaign. Privacy is at the heart of the issues with Gmail depicted in the commercials, with the majority highlighting how Google scans the bodies of emails to serve up relevant ads in Gmail. According to a report from Datamation, Google executives commented on the claims during a panel discussion yesterday with heads from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla at the RSA Security conference.
Challenging Microsoft’s claims, Google’s Senior Privacy Counsel Keith Enright said the following:
Microsoft alleges that Google’s contextual ads, which show up alongside user email, is a violation of user privacy. Google does not agree. Enright noted that the use of automated algorithms is commonplace across multiple facets of technology and is not an issue of privacy. He added that automated algorithms are used to make the contextual ads more relevant. “The idea that doing that (contextual advertising) is in any way detrimental to privacy, or is antithetical to the interests of our users, I think is misleading and intellectually dishonest,” Enright said.
Enright continued: Expand
Mozilla refreshed its Firefox for Android app today and promised an “a snappy and dynamic upgrade” that will improve everything from page load times to performance of web apps. On top of the performance upgrades that Mozilla claimed make Firefox “two times faster” than the stock Android browser, the newly updated app also received a few new features.
First, you will notice the UI has been streamlined, and it now includes a “personalized start page” called the “Awesome Screen.” The new start page, as highlighted in the video above, allows you quick access to bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, and data from your device that are stored in Firefox Sync. Mozilla also gave us an update on changes to the web platform:
Mozilla’s Firefox browser will kick Yandex to the curb this winter in favor of Google as its default search option in Russia.
Yandex became the primary search engine in Russia for Firefox builds roughly three years ago, and it currently sports a 60 percent market share. Their agreement is now set to expire Dec. 31, with Google slated to take the reins. The Mountain View, Calif.-based Company maintains the lead as the world’s dominating search engine; although, it only has a meager 26.5-percent of the market share in Russia.
According to TheNextWeb:
A Yandex spokesperson says they were notified by Mozilla of the imminent change on June 1, and points out that the company will continue to develop and distribute its own Yandex-branded, customised Firefox browser (at least until the end of this year, under the terms of the aforementioned agreement).
The latter version evidently sports Yandex as the default search engine.
Yandex also says Mozilla’s decision will likely not impact its market share in Russia significantly (they estimate a 1.5 percent loss over the next few months).
[…] Yandex adds that the impact on its revenue and profitability will be negligible.
Google and Mozilla’s global, three-year deal allegedly runs around $900 million. The agreement is a win for Google, after Twitter notably teamed with Yandex in February.
The microblogging service gave the Russian search engine permission to meld its pipeline of public tweets for real-time search results. Google paired with Twitter in 2009 to offer the same function, but the Internet powerhouses failed to renew their partnership in July 2011. The search engine now prefers its own Google+ social network combined with personalized search results, rather than integrating tweets into aggregated searches.
Following announcements from Microsoft that it will restrict third-party browsers in its upcoming Windows 8 release for ARM devices, Google has weighed in and expressed concerns by claiming the decision restricts “user choice, and innovation.” Mozilla, makers of the Firefox browser, recently expressed similar concerns in several blogs posts (here and here). Mozilla project manager Asa Dotzler, who is leading development of Firefox for Windows 8, claimed, “Microsoft is trying to lock out competing browsers,” and he called it a “direct violation of the promises they made to developers, users, and OEMs.” Today, Google provided the following statement to CNET mirroring Mozilla’s complaints:
It looks like Google tripled its spending to keep its search engine the default choice in Mozilla’s Firefox browser. The usually well-connected Kara Swisher reportedt on the AllThingsD blog that Google had to up its spending, because the other contenders, namely Microsoft and Yahoo, were looking to replace the default Google.com choice in Firefox with their own search products.
It is worth noting that Yahoo’s search engine is powered by Microsoft’s technology. Furthermore, although Chrome recently surpassed Firefox as the second most frequently used browser in key markets, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer remains the leading web browser. The Windows maker also teamed with Mozilla on the “Firefox with Bing” initiative a few months ago. It is reasonable to assume that all those factors combined have led Google to outspend its rivals to keep its search engine the default choice in the Firefox browser.
According to Swisher:
Mozilla, the open source organization behind the Firefox browser that is receiving a beating from Google’s Chrome, announced in a blog post today that it has signed a new search agreement with Google.
We’re pleased to announce that we have negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement with Google. This new agreement extends our long term search relationship with Google for at least three additional years.
The deal, like similar previous agreements, will mandate Mozilla to make Google the default search engine in Firefox’s search box and Awesome bar for at least 3 more years in exchange for an unknown sum. Mozilla said it is “not at liberty” to disclose the terms of the deal. In addition to individual and corporate donations and grants, the majority of Mozilla’s revenue comes from its default search deal with Google.
Along with the release of Firefox 7 on the desktop, Mozilla has released Firefox 7 for Android. Sadly, the mobile release doesn’t feature as many changes as the desktop, but we’re sure they’ll be more to come. Change log:
- Improved copy and paste: Copy any site content and paste to other applications, SMS, or text fields
- Built-in language detection on first run
- WebSockets API: Powerful tool for Web developers to build responsive Web apps and sites
Hit up the download link after the break: (via Android Central)
Chrome and Android, the two crucial weapons in Google’s assault on mobile and desktop, are showing no signs of stopping. We already reported today that Android passed iOS globally. When it comes to browsing the web, Google’s Chrome zoomed past the 25 percent mark for the first time this weekend, ConceivablyTech observed. More precisely, Chrome grabbed 25.02 percent share this past Sunday, per StatCounter Global Stats data.
The software has been growing rapidly, registering global market share of 18.29 percent in April, 19.36 percent in May 2011, 20.65 percent in June and 22.14 percent in July. Apple’s Safari grew marginally, adding just 0.02 percentage points to its 5.17 percent share in July. The latest StatCounter data, which may not be representative of the entire market, really spells trouble for Mozilla’s Firefox. Mozilla’s browser used to be the preferred alternative to Microsoft’s market-dominating Internet Explorer not that long time ago. How times change…
Firefox’s share is declining five times faster than Internet Explorer’s, indicating that Chrome is slowly but steadily chipping away at Firefox’s market position, which is now within spitting distance. Firefox scored a 27.49 share for the month of August versus 41.89 percent for Internet Explorer. The fact that only 14.5 percent of web users, or 54 percent of Firefox users, have upgraded to Firefox 6 is another indicative of shifting tides as Google gains significant ground in the web browsing space.
Google also benefits from the silent updating mechanism, a computer process that sits in the background to automatically keep your Chrome installation up to date, without any intervention on your part. Did the latest StatsCounter numbers surprise you? The writing has been on the wall for some time.
Apple and Google are clearly the two front-runners competing for market share in the mobile world, which is why it’s no surprise we think of iOS and Android when we think of apps. With the growth of the smartphone industry also came the resurgence of native apps (thanks largely in part to Apple’s App Store which still dominates the space). However, Mozilla hopes that web apps will soon mature to provide a comparable experience for end users and an even better alternative for developers.
“We are aiming at providing all the necessary APIs to build a basic HTML5 phone experience within the next 3-6 months”
While Chrome OS has shown promise, it isn’t the only browser-based platform planning on entering the web app space… If Mozilla has its way, developers can use the results of their new WebAPI project to build an “HTML5 phone experience” that’s compatible across all operating systems (whether it’s Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc).
A report from CNET claims Mozilla has plans for the APIs to “interact with a phone’s dialler, address book, contacts list, and camera”, essentially giving you access to the same functionality of native apps but directly in your device’s browser.
The WebAPI project certainly isn’t trying to create a full-blown operating system. However, working hand in hand with Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko project, which aims to build a “complete, standalone operating system for the web”, it could create a potentially compelling alternative to Google’s browser-based Chrome OS.
It appears that Mozilla is serious about the project, as a report from CNET claims they’re in the process of hiring full time programmers and plan to have the basics in place by February. Expand
Firefox 6 was officially released on the desktop today, and along with it comes Firefox Mobile 6.0 for Android. The 6.0 browser offers a great alternative to Android’s stock browser and other browsers like Opera. Full release notes: (via Pocketnow)
1. Higher-quality image rendering and smoother zooming
2. First wave of optimizations for tablets and large-screen devices
3. Improved interaction with touch-optimized sites (e.g Google Maps, games)
4. Improved form helper
5. Visual refresh for phones running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
6. Continued performance and memory management enhancements
A new extension called Start Google Plus brings functionality of Twitter and Facebook to Google+. The extension not only allows you to post to all three social networks, but puts Twitter and Facebook into your Google+ stream too.
Another cool feature Start Google Plus offers is the ability to import your Facebook photos. SGP is available on Chrome and Firefox. Check out a few photos of the extension after the break. (via Lifehacker)
A big milestone today as Google’s Chrome hits a cool 20 percent web usage share according to StatCounter numbers for the month of June (via TNW) based on aggregate data collected from their network of three million websites.
For the first time ever, Chrome passed the 20 percent mark globally, accounting for 20.65 share of all web browsing the world over. Compare that to just 2.8 percent in the year-ago period. Google’s browser is now chasing Firefox which fell from 30 percent in June 2010 to 28 percent in June 2011. All versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have also fallen to 44 percent globally, down from 59 percent in June 2010.
In the United States Chrome’s rise was less rapid, hitting 16 percent in June while Microsoft’s and Mozilla’s browsers scored 46.5 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively. What’s especially interesting is Chrome’s share in South America where it grabbed 29.72 percent of the market, beating Firefox (24 percent) to the browser punch (Microsoft’s browser had 44.1 percent share). An indication of things to come globally?
WebKit – an Apple-developed, open-sourced rendering platform – is picking up steam on desktop. On laptop and desktop computers, WebKit-powered browsers are closing in on Mozilla’s Firefox, which is the world’s second most-popular browser. Look no further than Net Applications’ numbers derived by monitoring more than 40,000 websites in their network (see above chart). Adding May 2011 web usage share numbers for Safari (7.28 percent) and Chrome (12.52 percent) brings us to the combined 19.8 percent market share.
That’s just shy of one fifth of all desktop browsing, putting WebKit within spitting distance of Firefox’s 21.71 market share. Trends do not favor browser vendors who have been pretty much bleeding market share to Google and Apple in past months. Chrome and Safari have managed to grow their user base over the past couple of months at the expense of Mozilla’s Firefox, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Opera Software’s Opera. A StatCounter survey supports those findings (see below). Why is Mozilla failing?