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Chrome

Google Will Kill Chrome Apps For Windows, Mac, and Linux In Early 2018 (venturebeat.com) 102

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today announced plans to kill off Chrome apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux in early 2018. Chrome extensions and themes will not be affected, while Chrome apps will continue to live on in Chrome OS. Here's the deprecation timeline:

Late 2016: Newly published Chrome apps will not be available to Windows, Mac, and Linux users (when developers submit apps to the Chrome Web Store, they will only show up for Chrome OS). Existing Chrome apps will remain available as they are today and developers can continue to update them.
Second half of 2017: The Chrome Web Store will no longer show Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Early 2018: Chrome apps will not load on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
There appears to be two main reasons why Google is killing Chrome apps off now. First, as Google explains in a blog post: "For a while there were certain experiences the web couldn't provide, such as working offline, sending notifications, and connecting to hardware. We launched Chrome apps three years ago to bridge this gap. Since then, we've worked with the web standards community to enable an increasing number of these use cases on the web. Developers can use powerful new APIs such as service worker and web push to build robust Progressive Web Apps that work across multiple browsers." Secondly, Chrome apps aren't very popular: "Today, approximately 1 percent of users on Windows, Mac and Linux actively use Chrome packaged apps, and most hosted apps are already implemented as regular web apps. Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux will therefore be removing support for packaged and hosted apps over the next two years."
Chrome

Google: Chrome 53 Will 'De-Emphasize Flash In Favor of HTML5' Next Month (venturebeat.com) 68

Google announced in a blog post today that Chrome will officially start to "de-emphasize Flash in favor of HTML5." VentureBeat reports: "In September 2016, Chrome will block Flash content that loads behind the scenes, which the company estimates 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." Google detailed next month's plan (design doc), when Chrome 53 will be released: "In September 2015, we made 'Detect and run important plugin content' the default plugin setting in Chrome, automatically pausing any cross-origin plugin content smaller than 400px in width or 300px in height. This behavior has an exception for any plugin content that is 5x5 or smaller or is an undefined size, because there was no canonical way of detecting viewability until Intersection Observer was standardized and implemented. We would now like to remove this exception and instead not load tiny, cross-origin content. If the user has their plugin setting set to the default of 'Detect and run important plugin content,' the browser will not instantiate cross-origin plugin content that is roughly 5x5 or smaller or has an undefined size. An icon will be displayed in the URL bar indicating that plugin content is not running, allowing the user to reload the page with plugin content running or open settings to add a site-wide exception. Other choices of the plugin content setting are unaffected by this launch."
Chrome

Ask Slashdot: Best Browser Extensions -- 2016 Edition 195

Reader LichtSpektren writes: Almost eleven years ago, Slashdot featured an Ask titled "Favorite Firefox Extensions?". I thought it might be worthwhile to ask the question again (Editor's note: we couldn't agree more!), but expand the query to all web browsers now that there's more choices available.

Right now my main browser is Firefox, which I use with uBlock Origin, Disconnect, HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, NoScript, Self-Destructing Cookies, Decentraleyes, Privacy Settings, and Clean Links. (N.B. the first four of these are also available in Chromium-based browsers.) I use Chrome as a secondary browser, with the first four of the aforementioned extensions, plus also Clear Cache and occasionally Flashcontrol.

This one has nothing to do with security or privacy, but Reedy on Chromium is a really nice tool for speed reading.

What do you use?
Let's get this going.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu-Based Peppermint 7 Released (peppermintos.com) 74

Softpedia reports on the newest version of Peppermint OS, "a lightweight, stable, elegant, and fast computer operating system based on GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies." An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes their report: It's a bit earlier than expected, but the Peppermint OS 7 GNU/Linux distribution has been officially unveiled...based on the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system [with] a lot of packages from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS distro, which means that it will also be a long-term support release.... "Along with the shift to the 16.04 (Xenial) code base, Peppermint 7 continues our policy of choosing the best components from other desktop environments, wherever that may be, and integrating them into a cohesive whole with our own software," reads today's announcement.
"Team Peppermint" says they're switching to Firefox as their default browser for site-specific browser functionality (similar to Chrome's -app mode) after Google dropped their 32-bit version of Chrome and moved to PPAPI plugins "which effectively ends Flash support in 32-bit Chromium"... But you can also still choose Chrome or Chromium for site-specific browsing (and the OS comes in 32-bit and 64-bit editions).
Chrome

Google Chrome To Disallow Backspace As a 'Back' Button (independent.co.uk) 348

An anonymous reader writes: Google Chrome is going to stop people from accidentally deleting everything they've been doing. A future version of the app will stop the backspace button from also functioning as a "back" button. The change has already been rolled out in some experimental versions of the app, and has upset some users. Developers have said that the feature is only being partly enabled for now, in case there is "sufficient outcry" and it needs to be rolled back. People regularly press the button thinking that they're deleting a word from a form, developers said, but then find that they weren't actually typing into that form and so accidentally go back, losing everything they've done.
Chrome

Google Devs Planning Flash's Demise With New 'HTML5 By Default' Chrome Setting (softpedia.com) 131

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Softpedia: In a Google Groups thread named "Intent to implement: HTML5 by Default," the Google developers announced initial plans to implement a new feature in the Chromium core that will disable the playback of Flash content by default, and use HTML5 instead, if available. The feature is scheduled to ship with Chromium builds in Q4 2016, according to the current timeline. To avoid "overprompting," a whitelist will allow ten major websites to continue to show Flash content by default without pestering users with "Allow domain.com to run Flash Player" prompts. The whitelist will be in effect one year only. The list includes the domains of YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, VK, Live, Yandex, OK.ru, Twitch, Amazon, and Mail.ru, the biggest sites running Flash content today. Previews of the settings and prompts UI are also available.
Chrome

Google Updates Chrome Web Store Policy, Requires Devs To Be More Transparent About User Data 13

An anonymous reader writes: On Friday, Google announced it is making changes to Chrome Web Store's User Data Policy to ensure developers are more transparent about how their extensions handle customer data. The company has notified developers and is giving them three months to comply with the changes. Come July 15, 2016, company says, extensions that violate the policy will be removed from the Chrome Web Store.The announcement comes amid a report that pointed out a rogue extension in the Chrome Web Store. The incident was one of many we have seen in the past few months. Following are the requirements that a developer must meet: 1. Be transparent about the handling of user data and disclose privacy practices. 2. Post a privacy policy and use encryption, when handling personal or sensitive information. 3. Ask users to consent to the collection of personal or sensitive data via a prominent disclosure, when the use of the data isn't related to a prominent feature.
Chrome

The Future of Firefox is Chrome (theregister.co.uk) 243

An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla seems to think a new future for Firefox [lies in Chrome]. While they claim that it is only about new ways of browser design, it is also an open secret that they are running into more and more problems lately with web compatibility. [Senior VP Mark Mayo caused a storm by revealing that the Firefox team is working on a next-generation browser that will run on the same technology as Google's Chrome browser. The project, named Tofino, will not use Firefox's core technology, Gecko, but will instead plumb for Electron, which is built on the technology behind Google's rival Chrome browser, called Chromium.] The benefit of Chromium/Electron would be that it is a solution they could pull much faster forward than their own Servo plans [Servo being Mozilla's Rust-based web engine]. What the real outcome of all this will be, only Mozilla knows so far. But inside Mozilla there is much resistance against such plans... Interesting times are ahead.
Google

Chromium Being Ported To VC++, Scrubbed of Compiler Bugs 93

jones_supa writes: Moving a big software project to a new compiler can be a lot of work, and few projects are bigger than the Chromium web browser. In addition to the main Chromium repository, which includes all of WebKit, there are over a hundred other open-source projects which Chromium incorporates by reference, totaling more than 48,000 C/C++ files and 40,000 header files. As of March 11th, Chromium has switched to Visual C++ 2015, and it doesn't look like it's looking back. The tracking bug for this effort currently has over 330 comments on it, with contributions from dozens of developers. Bruce Dawson has written an interesting showcase of some VC++ compiler bugs that the process has uncovered. His job was to investigate them, come up with a minimal reproduce case, and report them to Microsoft. The Google and Microsoft teams get praise for an excellent symbiotic relationship, and the compiler bugs have been fixed quickly by the Visual Studio team.
Google

Google Is Experimenting With Article Recommendations In Chrome (venturebeat.com) 71

Google is working on a feature that would recommend articles directly in its browser. The suggestions would appear on the new tab page in Chrome for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. "We're always experimenting with new features in Chrome, but have nothing new to announce at this time," a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat. It's not clear what the new functionality will be called, though multiple tickets on Chromium Code Reviews mention a "Morning Reads" service and a "ChromeReader" feature.
Security

Chromodo Browser Disables Key Web Security (thestack.com) 54

An anonymous reader writes: A Google Security Research update has claimed that Comodo's internet browser Chromodo, based on the open-source project Chromium, contains significant security failings and puts its users at risk. This week's Google alert suggested that the Chromodo browser – available as a standalone download, as well as part of the company's Security package – is less secure than it promises. According to analysis, the browser is disabling the Same Origin policy, hijacking DNS settings, and replacing shortcuts with Chromodo links, among other security violations.
Software

Former Mozilla CEO Launches Security-Centric Browser Brave 223

rudy_wayne writes: Former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich has launched a new Chromium-based browser called Brave. "Brave blocks everything: initial signaling/analytics scripts that start the programmatic advertising 'dirty pipe', impression-tracking pixels, and ad-click confirmation signals," Eich wrote on the Brave site. Former Mozilla CTO Andreas Gal said in a blog post that "the web is broken," with current browser vendors unwilling to tackle the dilemma of blocking ads, while looking at alternative mechanisms for funding content. Gal said it was ironic Brave was a for-profit operation that can make money from reducing advertising.
Chrome

Google To Drop Chrome Support For 32-bit Linux 175

prisoninmate writes: Google announces that its Google Chrome web browser will no longer be available for 32-bit hardware platforms. Additionally, Google Chrome will no longer be supported on the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) and Debian GNU/Linux 7 (Wheezy) operating systems. Users are urged to update to the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) release and Debian GNU/Linux 8 (Jessie) respectively. Google will continue to support the 32-bit build configurations for those who want to build the open-source Chromium web browser on various Linux kernel-based operating systems. Reader SmartAboutThings writes, on a similar note, that: Microsoft is tolling the death knell for Internet Explorer with an announcement that it will end support for all older versions next year. Microsoft says that all versions older than the latest one will no longer be supported starting Jan. 12, 2016. After this date, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or technical support for older Internet Explorer versions. Furthermore, Internet Explorer 11 will be the last version of Internet Explorer as Microsoft shifts its focus on its next web browser, Microsoft Edge.
Software

Vivaldi Hits Its First Beta (vivaldi.com) 140

An anonymous reader writes: Following well over 50 developer snapshots and 4 technical previews (Alpha), the new browser upstart has hit its first Beta release today. Following almost a year of work on alpha, Vivaldi is coming out with many unique features such as tab stacking and tiling, notes, and quick commands for navigating and feature use. Other features are in the works, such as sync and built-in mail client that will be introduced when they hit a more stable state. It's a refreshing take on the browser: as many others are diverging to a common design template, Vivaldi is taking a more feature-rich and customization-heavy approach. (We linked to a hands-on report about Vivaldi earlier this year, too.)
Chrome

eFast Malware Hijacks Browser With Chrome Clone (malwarebytes.org) 183

An anonymous reader writes with a report at The Stack that: eFast Browser, a new malicious adware which disguises itself as Google Chrome, has hijacked internet users' systems in an apparent effort to serve its own ads and harvest user activity to sell to third-party advertisers. It is able to mirror the aesthetics of Chrome as it uses the same source code, available across the open-source project Chromium. Once installed, eFast places ads across existing web pages, linking to third-party e-commerce sites or other malicious platforms.
Chrome

Google Is Removing the Desktop Notification Center From Chrome (chromium.org) 116

An anonymous reader writes: Google today announced it is removing the notification center from Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The reason the company is giving for the change is simple: "In practice, few users visit the notification center." The notification center in Chrome OS will remain. Google said this change will take effect for Windows, Mac, and Linux users "in the upcoming release." To be clear, this is not in reference to yesterday's Chrome 46 launchthe notification center is still there. We thus expect that the notification center will thus be removed in Chrome 47, which is slated to arrive in about six weeks.
Encryption

Browser Makers To End RC4 Support In Early 2016 40

msm1267 writes: Google, Microsoft and Mozilla today announced they've settled on an early 2016 timeframe to permanently deprecate the shaky RC4 encryption algorithm in their respective browsers. Mozilla said Firefox's shut-off date will coincide with the release of Firefox 44 on Jan. 26. Google and Microsoft said that Chrome and Internet Explorer 11 (and Microsoft Edge) respectively will also do so in the January-February timeframe. Attacks against RC4 are growing increasingly practical, rendering the algorithm more untrustworthy by the day.
Software

Why Your Software Project Is Failing 119

An anonymous reader writes: At OSCON this year, Red Hat's Tom Callaway gave a talk entitled "This is Why You Fail: The Avoidable Mistakes Open Source Projects STILL Make." In 2009, Callaway was starting to work on the Chromium project—and to say it wasn't a pleasant experience was the biggest understatement Callaway made in his talk. Callaway said he likes challenges, but he felt buried by the project, and reached a point where he thought he should just quit his work. (Callaway said it's important to note that Chromium's code is not bad code; it's just a lot of code and a lot of code that Google didn't write.) This was making Callaway really frustrated, and people wanted to know what was upsetting him. Callaway wanted to be able to better explain his frustration, so he crafted this list which he called his "Points of Fail."
Chrome

Chrome 44 Launches With Tweaks To Push Messaging and Notifications 67

An anonymous reader writes: Google has launched Chrome 44 for Windows, Mac, and Linux with new developer tools. Aside from a host of security fixes, this release focuses mainly on developer features. The API for push notifications was updated to match the specification, a new implementation of multi-column layout was added, and they've extended support for Unicode escapes in strings. The full changelog notes a number of performance improvements as well.
Chromium

Google Criticized For 'Opaque' Audio-Listening Binary In Debian Chromium 85

An anonymous reader writes: Google has fallen under criticism for including a compiled audio-monitoring binary in Chromium for Debian. A report was logged at Debian's bug register on Tuesday noting the presence of a non-auditable 'hotword' module in Chromium 43. The module facilitates Google's "OK, Google" functionality, which listens for that phrase via a Chrome user's microphone and attempts afterwards to interpret the user's instructions as a search query. Matt Giuca from the Chromium development team responded after the furore developed, disclaiming Google from any responsibility from auditing Chromium code, but promising clearer controls over the feature in release 45.

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