Tag: Chrome

Google works out how to make Chrome faster

mercedes_benz_slr_mclaren_9qiu5Google announced that it has worked with Facebook and Mozilla to make page reloads in Chrome for desktop and mobile  about 28 percent faster.

The big idea is that if you can cut down the number of network requests the browser makes to see if the images and other resources it cached the first time you went to a site are still valid you can speed things up rather a lot.

Writing in his bog, Google engineer Takashi Toyoshima said that users typically reload pages because they either look broken or because the content looks like it should have been updated. When browser developers first added this feature, it was mostly because broken pages were common. Today, users mostly reload pages because the content of a site seems stale.

Google simplified Chrome’s reload behavior and it now only validates the main resource. Facebook, just like other pages, says its pages now reload 28 percent faster, too.

Google admits that is a very minor change but the effects aren’t so minor. They estimate that the new method reduces the number of validation requests by as much as 60 per cent, making pages reload 28 per cent faster. And the sooner the browser finishes reloading a page, the sooner it can stop using data and hardware resources.

Chrome will suck less RAM

SheepGoogle has announced that it has finally sorted out Chrome’s tendancy to suck up RAM as efficiently as a Dyson vacuum when visiting javascript heavy sites.

The search engine outfit said that it will roll out an update on December 6 that will slash the amount of RAM Chrome uses by up to half.

By using less RAM, Chrome will let keep more open tabs and run more apps without slowing down your computer as much.

It could also help if your computer is on the low-end in terms of memory, which ranges from four gigabytes and below.

Chrome 55 will include an upgraded JavaScript engine which requires less RAM to work. Given that many modern websites thrive on JavaScript, this should lead to some dramatic improvements.  Google says it has a few other ideas in mind which will also speed up Chrome and should make an appearance in future versions.

Google’s well minging plans to kill Flash

flash_gordon_2From the end of next month Chrome will block that irritating Flash content that loads behind the scenes.

Google claims that this sort of flash rubbish accounts for more than 90 percent of the Flash on the web. In December, Chrome will make HTML5 the default experience for central content, such as games and videos, except on sites that only support Flash.

It is one of the nails in the coffin of Flash as the web slowly moves away from plugins in favor of HTML5. Since last year Chrome 45 began automatically pausing less-important Flash content (ads, animations, and anything that isn’t “central to the webpage”).

As Mozilla and Microsoft are expected to follow.  However it looks like Google is already planning to move ahead. In an email the search engine outfit said:

“The end goal for all these browser makers is to push as many sites as possible to HTML5, which is better for both performance (lowering memory and CPU usage while boosting battery life) and in terms of web standards (which makes life easier for developers). Given Flash’s various vulnerabilities, there are obvious security gains as well.”

Google plans to have Chrome serve HTML5 by default in Q4 2016. Now the timeframe has been narrowed to December.

Nazis get a taste of their own spying medicine

Golden-Dawn-rally-011Neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white nationalists have been using a Google Chrome detector to hunt down those who it thinks might be Jewish.  However now it seems the device is being turned against them.

The so called “Coincidence Detecto” was supposed to out Jews who were “hiding in plain sight”. But Coder Daniel Sieradsk has created the Nazi Detector, a Chrome extension that takes a database filled with Nazis and puts swastikas in front of and after their names as they appear online.

He used the nazi code, for their “Coincidence Detector” and hacked away at it until he could turn it around.

Using lists from organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League coupled with followers of major anti-semitic Twitter accounts, Sieradsk was able to populate a database of nearly 9,000 people.

“No one is accusing these Nazis of hiding their online identities — though obviously, they’re hiding their real identities because they’re cowards who don’t have the courage of their convictions.”



Opera mocks Microsoft’s Edge claims

opera460Earlier this week Microsoft claimed that its Edge browser was much kinder to battery life than Chrome, Opera and Firefox.  Now Opera has called Microsoft out on its claims.

The browser-maker Opera has mocked Microsoft’s much-publicised claim that its Windows 10-exclusive Edge browser provides significantly less battery drain than competitors Chrome and Opera – and its own tests put Edge firmly in second place for battery efficiency.

Writing in his bog, Opera lead singer Błażej Kaźmierczak revealed the result of the company’s own tests, which put Google Chrome in third place at two hours and fifty-four minutes, Edge in second at three hours twelve minutes, and Opera ahead of that by obtaining three hours and fifty-five minutes of battery life under identical tests.

To be fair though this is not purely a test of browser efficiency – in March Opera instituted a native adblocking feature, which it claimed works 45 per cent faster than analogous plugins on either Chrome or Firefox. The feature does not merely hide downloaded and rendered ad elements, but prevents them engaging with the user at URL source – a significant advantage in terms of page rendering.

Although AdBlock Plus is available for Edge, Vole has no public plans to mirror the adblocking feature.

Opera claimed it has not paid much attention to Edge due to its exclusivity to the Windows 10 platform. However, Edge is currently estimated to have less than five per cent share in the browser market (versus 50 per cent across versions of Chrome), this still puts it ahead of Opera, which carries little more than a single percentage of share.

Opera accuses Microsoft of a lack of transparency in its testing methods. It notes that Opera’s own repudiating test, which puts its developer version 22 per cent ahead of Edge, runs a more standard gamut, using a variety of types of browsing situations, including video and news, along with an algorithm to effect authentic scrolling behaviour. The scrolling is something that Firefox is pants at.

Opera optimises its performance, by reducing activity in background tabs, optimise JavaScript timers to limit CPU access, pauses dormant plugins, and reduces video frame rates to 30fps and forces hardware acceleration of video playback where feasible.

Microsoft’s claims for Edge were carefully specific to Windows 10.


Chromebooks now outsell Macs

c04808585Google’s low-cost Chromebooks are now outselling the Apple range of Macs in the US for the first time.

IDC analyst Linn Huang has been adding up the numbers and concluded that Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16.
Apple sold 1.76 million Macs in the latest quarter, with nearly 2 million  Chromebooks sold by Dell, HP, and Lenovo combined.

Over the pond, Chromebooks are extremely popular as they are supplied to students in schools.

Google recently announced that Android apps are on the way to the Chrome platform so it looks like the technology is getting as large and stable as Android.


Browsers block Pirate Bay

pirate-bayChrome, Firefox, and Safari are blocking access to The Pirate Bay torrent site and posting a “Deceptive site ahead” error.

This error message is seen on dangerous sites that may attempt to collect user credentials with fake login pages, show deceptive ads, or push unwanted downloads. Kickass Torrents almost a month ago, when the same three browsers displayed the same error for at least three days to their users.

Kickass said it happened because of the intermediary confirmation screen that appeared every time users navigated away from the site. But Pirate Bay does not use this type of external link confirmation system and has not used one for years.

The cause is probably the presence of links that lead to phishing websites or malicious ads that use forbidden redirection tricks.

This is the second time in two weeks that Pirate Bay has been in trouble. Malwarebytes discovered malicious ads on the portal, redirecting users to exploit kits that were delivering the Cerber ransomware.

At the moment Chrome users will see the “Deceptive site ahead” error, Firefox users will get a “Reported Web Forgery!” and Safari users will see “Suspected Phishing Site” in their browsers.

All roads lead to Chrome

firefox-on-chromeThe big cheeses at the Mozzarella Foundation appear to think that the rival Chrome is the future.

Senior VP Mark Mayo has announced that the Firefox team is working on a next-generation browser that will run on the same technology as Google’s Chrome browser.

Writing in his bog, he said that his team were working on browser prototypes that look and feel almost nothing like the current Firefox.

“The premise for these experiments couldn’t be simpler: what we need a browser to do for us – both on PCs and mobile devices – has changed a lot since Firefox 1.0, and we’re long overdue for some fresh approaches.”

Dubbed Tofino, the project will not use Firefox’s core Gecko technology in favour of Electron, which is built on the technology behind Google’s rival Chrome browser, called Chromium.

Since he posted his blog Mozzarella Foundation has blocked the project for a year. Possibly because punters were mortified that Google’s Chrome could end up powering Firefox.

Mayo said that he should have been clearer that Project Tofino is wholly focused on UX explorations and not the technology platform. We said that he was working with the Platform team on technology platform futures too, and was excited about the Gecko and Servo-based futures being discussed.

However it seems that Electron might not be going away.  Mozilla has announced a new project called Positron which takes the Electron API and “wrap it around Gecko.”  The idea is that it takes the guts out of Chromium and gives it to Gecko, of course this is not the same thing at all.


AVG Web TuneUp stuffs Chrome security

face palmThe AVG Web TuneUp Chrome extension which it adds to Google Chrome browsers when users were installing the AVG antivirus has a feature which allows attackers to read the user’s browsing history and cookies.

The bug was spotted by Google Project Zero researcher Tavis Ormandy, who worked with AVG for the past two weeks to fix it. Apparently the AVG Web TuneUp extension, which lists over nine million users on its Chrome Web Store page, was vulnerable to trivial XSS (cross-site scripting) attacks.

“This extension adds numerous JavaScript APIs to Chrome, apparently so that they can hijack search settings and the new tab page,” explains Mr. Ormandy. “The installation process is quite complicated so that they [AVG] can bypass the Chrome [Store] malware checks, which specifically tries to stop abuse of the [Chrome] Extension API,” Ormandy said.

Ormandy discovered that many of the custom JavaScript APIs added to Chrome by this extension are responsible for the security issue, being broken or poorly written, allowing attackers access to personal details.

He said that AVG’s developers appear to have forgotten to protect their users against simple cross-domain requests, allowing code hosted on one domain to be executed in the context of another URL.

It would mean that attackers would access to data stored on other websites, such as Gmail, Yahoo, banking websites. All that attackers had to do was to convince a user to access a malicious URL, which is not that tricky.

The extension tiggered HTTPS connections making websites hosted on HTTPS susceptible. For some reason the extension users end up with “SSL disabled.”

Version of AVG Web TuneUp fixed this issue. In the meantime, Google blocked AVG’s ability to carry out inline installations of this extension. This means that users daft enough to want to install the extension have to go to the Chrome Web Store and trigger the download with a click.


Chrome upgrade claims data saving

51ydDxVB1NL._SL1001_Google claims its latest Chrome upgrade will help users save up to 70 percent of the data used on their smartphones and it is based on a trick learned from the days of 56k modems.

The new release removes images when loading pages over a slow connection, only requiring the user to tap the placeholder if they wish to see the image.

Chrome product manager Tal Oppenheimer explained in a blog post that people have the option to view a few images, rather than the entire collection of images displayed on one page. This selective image option enables lower data consumption, speeding up the internet connection for smartphones using the updated mode.

The new feature will initially be available to Android users in India and Indonesia and if no one dies then it will be rolled out to other countries over the next few months. The move has left the Tame Apple Press without much to say.

One paper pointed out that you did not need it because Safari had ad-blocking to help reduce data consumption but had to admit that a data-saving option has yet to be invented by Apple. It is running late, Opera also does it. Still when Apple does introduce the technology the Tame Apple Press will claim that their favourite company invented it.

Data Saver debuted in January 2014 and has now become a popular addition to both Android and iOS Chrome apps.

In March, this year, Google extended the feature to desktop and laptop. It aims to reduce data bandwidth by compressing web pages through Google’s servers before they are downloaded to a user’s device.

Originally the setting claimed to save up to 50 per cent of the user’s bandwidth, but now with added competition from browser rival Opera, Google has been spurred to improve its compression capabilities.