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28 May 12 Facebook needs Opera – to rescue it from dependence on Apple


Analysis Facebook is reported to be interested in buying Scandinavian browser company Opera Software.

The facts are few, the sourcing criminally light, but the story arrives as Opera is also reported to have instituted a hiring freeze that some claim is a harbinger to putting itself up for sale.

Both firms refused to comment on the reports when contacted by The Reg.

Why would Facebook want to own its own browser, especially when Opera has minuscule market share and is better at generating publicity than desktop growth?

Facebook is also interested in buying Face.com and, again, preparing its own phone having poached six iPhone engineers and one from the iPad team at Apple.

A market once thought dead has been on fire in recent years, thanks initially to Mozilla’s Firefox: that led to Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s conversion to standards with IE9 and IE10. Things are so promising, even Yahoo! is making a play for a stake in browsers, with its Axis.

Why have a browser? As far as Microsoft was concerned at least, it was felt if you lost the browser you lost the desktop and MSN business. Microsoft likes to create what it calls “optimized experiences” and on IE today that means things like pinning web pages to the bottom of the Windows 7 screen to help you find them fast.

This sort of thinking comes from the type of company with a market to protect; today’s browser makers don’t have this but are trying to make themselves more relevant and the perceived way of doing that is performance for the end user.

Google launched Chrome despite partnering with Mozilla on Firefox because Firefox was slowing down, turning into big ol’ memory hog – although that’s been rectified now. Google added incognito browsing, search with sites from the toolbar and tabbed synching. Opera has also sped up browsing, with Turbo that compresses web pages by up to 80 per cent to serve pages to most devices – and a claimed 90 per cent for Apple’s iPhone and iPad – across narrow or spotty networks. Microsoft responded by making IE fast and look more like Chrome.

After awhile all this speed and performance goes unnoticed by the typical web user on the desktop. But this is not the target demographic; the new targets are those using specific apps, like gaming, and those on phones and tablets, which have limited onboard compute and are at the mercy of spotty networks.

That’s why Firefox and Chrome have been focusing on hardware accelerated graphics rendering; to offload traffic from the CPU and prolong battery life.

Hence, we also now have Firefox and Chrome for Android.

One company that doesn’t let you run your browser on the device unless it’s native is the company that’s got the best and most exciting market share: Apple’s insistence on native software has kept Firefox and Chrome off its phones.

The Opera Mini web browser is the exception; it’s permitted because Opera Mini caches web pages using Opera’s global network of servers to render and execute pages rather than this happening on the device. In that respect, Opera Mini is more of a service app so passes Apple’s rules without Opera needing to build one version for Apple’s phones and tablets, and another for everybody else.

Opera Mini isn’t restricted to iOS, though, and Opera claims 168 million users running on Java ME, Android, Windows Mobile, iOS, BlackBerry and Symbian, too. Importantly, they are largely in emerging markets: Opera has struggled in the US and Europe but is strong in growing markets such as Russia, Brazil, Africa and South East Asia.

Opera has another plus: an ad-serving network, bought early last year for $8m plus. Mobile ads aren’t owned by any single company at present, unlike the desktop. Ads are vital part of the newly IPO’d Facebook, as chief operating officer Sheryl Sandburg reminded us all as the stock slid south last week.

Given this, it’s credible that Facebook wants the engineers, the servers and the ads network owned by Opera. The former could speed the performance of its site on all devices, especially the iPhone and iPad – something it otherwise has no control over.

This might also explain why Facebook has poached Apple phone and tablet engineers, rather than the social network entering a phone handset business that’s demanding, expensive to fund and has barely sustainable margins.

Learn from Adobe

This is happening elsewhere: Adobe has stealth hired some hard-core language and Java Virtual Machine (JVM) experts from Oracle to make its ActionScript VM run better outside the Flash Player that’s been pariahed by Steve Jobs, in an increasingly browser-plug-in free internet universe of tablets and phones.

In that case, Adobe lured just four people. Opera has 700. Facebook plainly has the money to burn, having spent $1bn on Instagram lately only to launch an Instagram-like mobile camera app via iTunes. It’s believed Facebook bought Instagram to head off potential competition – Instagram had 50 million users, adding five million per week.

And therein lies a reason for Facebook to buy Opera: competition. Safari, thanks to Apple’s success with the iPhone and iPad, dominates mobile. That confers huge power on Apple; some newspaper publishers have realized this power hanging over their heads and walked away from the AppStore and gone to HTML5 rather than surrender their independence to Apple. Facebook, with an IPO under its belt and managers now answerable to shareholders, must look for ways to end its complete and utter reliance on one company to reach millions of users.

Sounds crazy? Don’t underestimate independence: it was the reason Oracle first dedicated engineering resources to improve the Linux kernel and put its ERP on Linux, in the late 1990s making it the first big software vendor to do so. It did so to end its utter reliance on the roadmap and direction of Windows on servers.

The question is: what price does Facebook attach to independence? ®

Article source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/28/facebook_to_buy_opera/

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28 May 12 Facebook needs Opera – to rescue it from dependence on Apple


Analysis Facebook is reported to be interested in buying Scandinavian browser company Opera Software.

The facts are few, the sourcing criminally light, but the story arrives as Opera is also reported to have instituted a hiring freeze that some claim is a harbinger to putting itself up for sale.

Both firms refused to comment on the reports when contacted by The Reg.

Why would Facebook want to own its own browser, especially when Opera has minuscule market share and is better at generating publicity than desktop growth?

Facebook is also interested in buying Face.com and, again, preparing its own phone having poached six iPhone engineers and one from the iPad team at Apple.

A market once thought dead has been on fire in recent years, thanks initially to Mozilla’s Firefox: that led to Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s conversion to standards with IE9 and IE10. Things are so promising, even Yahoo! is making a play for a stake in browsers, with its Axis.

Why have a browser? As far as Microsoft was concerned at least, it was felt if you lost the browser you lost the desktop and MSN business. Microsoft likes to create what it calls “optimized experiences” and on IE today that means things like pinning web pages to the bottom of the Windows 7 screen to help you find them fast.

This sort of thinking comes from the type of company with a market to protect; today’s browser makers don’t have this but are trying to make themselves more relevant and the perceived way of doing that is performance for the end user.

Google launched Chrome despite partnering with Mozilla on Firefox because Firefox was slowing down, turning into big ol’ memory hog – although that’s been rectified now. Google added incognito browsing, search with sites from the toolbar and tabbed synching. Opera has also sped up browsing, with Turbo that compresses web pages by up to 80 per cent to serve pages to most devices – and a claimed 90 per cent for Apple’s iPhone and iPad – across narrow or spotty networks. Microsoft responded by making IE fast and look more like Chrome.

After awhile all this speed and performance goes unnoticed by the typical web user on the desktop. But this is not the target demographic; the new targets are those using specific apps, like gaming, and those on phones and tablets, which have limited onboard compute and are at the mercy of spotty networks.

That’s why Firefox and Chrome have been focusing on hardware accelerated graphics rendering; to offload traffic from the CPU and prolong battery life.

Hence, we also now have Firefox and Chrome for Android.

One company that doesn’t let you run your browser on the device unless it’s native is the company that’s got the best and most exciting market share: Apple’s insistence on native software has kept Firefox and Chrome off its phones.

The Opera Mini web browser is the exception; it’s permitted because Opera Mini caches web pages using Opera’s global network of servers to render and execute pages rather than this happening on the device. In that respect, Opera Mini is more of a service app so passes Apple’s rules without Opera needing to build one version for Apple’s phones and tablets, and another for everybody else.

Opera Mini isn’t restricted to iOS, though, and Opera claims 168 million users running on Java ME, Android, Windows Mobile, iOS, BlackBerry and Symbian, too. Importantly, they are largely in emerging markets: Opera has struggled in the US and Europe but is strong in growing markets such as Russia, Brazil, Africa and South East Asia.

Opera has another plus: an ad-serving network, bought early last year for $8m plus. Mobile ads aren’t owned by any single company at present, unlike the desktop. Ads are vital part of the newly IPO’d Facebook, as chief operating officer Sheryl Sandburg reminded us all as the stock slid south last week.

Given this, it’s credible that Facebook wants the engineers, the servers and the ads network owned by Opera. The former could speed the performance of its site on all devices, especially the iPhone and iPad – something it otherwise has no control over.

This might also explain why Facebook has poached Apple phone and tablet engineers, rather than the social network entering a phone handset business that’s demanding, expensive to fund and has barely sustainable margins.

Learn from Adobe

This is happening elsewhere: Adobe has stealth hired some hard-core language and Java Virtual Machine (JVM) experts from Oracle to make its ActionScript VM run better outside the Flash Player that’s been pariahed by Steve Jobs, in an increasingly browser-plug-in free internet universe of tablets and phones.

In that case, Adobe lured just four people. Opera has 700. Facebook plainly has the money to burn, having spent $1bn on Instagram lately only to launch an Instagram-like mobile camera app via iTunes. It’s believed Facebook bought Instagram to head off potential competition – Instagram had 50 million users, adding five million per week.

And therein lies a reason for Facebook to buy Opera: competition. Safari, thanks to Apple’s success with the iPhone and iPad, dominates mobile. That confers huge power on Apple; some newspaper publishers have realized this power hanging over their heads and walked away from the AppStore and gone to HTML5 rather than surrender their independence to Apple. Facebook, with an IPO under its belt and managers now answerable to shareholders, must look for ways to end its complete and utter reliance on one company to reach millions of users.

Sounds crazy? Don’t underestimate independence: it was the reason Oracle first dedicated engineering resources to improve the Linux kernel and put its ERP on Linux, in the late 1990s making it the first big software vendor to do so. It did so to end its utter reliance on the roadmap and direction of Windows on servers.

The question is: what price does Facebook attach to independence? ®

Article source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/28/facebook_to_buy_opera/

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27 May 12 Opera is Facebook’s best browser play


Computerworld -

Facebook may acquire Norwegian browser maker Opera Software, developer of the Opera and Opera Mini browsers for desktops and mobile phones, according to a report.

The purchase of Opera would give Facebook a way to quickly create a dedicated browser customized for the social networking giant and its estimated 900 million active monthly users.

It would also put Facebook in the middle of a browser battle with Microsoft (Internet Explorer), Mozilla (Firefox), Google (Chrome) and Apple (Safari). Some of those companies — like Microsoft — have partnered with Facebook, while others — such as Google — compete in the social networking space.

U.K.-based technology website Pocket-lint first reported Friday that Facebook “is looking to buy Opera Software,” citing an unnamed source it described only as “trusted.” Other sites, including The Next Web, claimed that while their sources could not verify Facebook’s interest, they did say Opera’s management has been talking to potential suitors.

Both Opera and Facebook declined to comment on Pocket-lint’s report.

Opera is really the only top-five browser that Facebook, or anyone for that matter, could conceivably acquire.

Three of the five are locked into operating systems: Internet Explorer, with Windows; Chrome, with ChromeOS; and Safari, with OS X and iOS.

And Firefox, while not associated with an OS maker, is backed by the non-profit Mozilla Foundation, which has used the “open Web” mantra since its inception. It’s hard to believe that Mozilla would sell Firefox to Facebook, a company that has reaped billions from a self-contained ecosystem.

That leaves only Opera.

But while Opera is the one viable deal Facebook could make, the Norwegian browser comes with its own baggage: It’s the fifth browser, and a distant fifth at that, in a five-browser market.

Last month, Opera accounted for just 1.6% of the world’s in-use browsers, according to data from metrics company Net Applications. Opera has never cracked the 3% mark, never been in anything but fifth place on the desktop. Even No. 4 Safari has three times Opera’s usage share.

And on mobile, the numbers are little better.

Even though Opera claims about 210 million Opera Mini users worldwide, Net Applications pegged the browser’s share of mobile at 12% for April, just half what it was a year earlier. Most of Opera Mini’s losses have gone to Apple’s Safari, the default browser on the iPhone and iPad, whose owners have a voracious appetite for the Web.

(Net Applications’ Irish rival, StatCounter, showed Opera with a 21.5% share in April, with Safari at 23.7%.)

That’s not to say that a Facebook-owned Opera and Opera Mini wouldn’t change those numbers: In the U.S., Facebook collects about one-in-every-five page views. If Facebook branded Opera and Opera Mini with its own nameplate and pitched them to its members, it could quickly boost the browsers’ shares.

Opera Mini also has an edge that could play to Facebook’s advantage: Apple refuses to allow third-party browsers not built atop Safari into the App Store.

But Opera Mini is already in the iOS App Store, managing that feat because it really isn’t a browser, at least as Apple defines one. Rather than render HTML locally on the device, Opera Mini is essentially a proxy that shuttles page requests to Opera’s own servers, which render the page, then aggressively compress it before sending it back to the device.

More: Browser Topic Center

Article source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9227516/Opera_is_Facebook_s_best_browser_play

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20 May 12 How to make Android faster, more productive and more secure than iPhone


IPhone users love to brag about their phones. They line up around the block and stand in line for hours when a new one is released. Yet, for many users, Android is clearly the superior platform. Yes, its Achilles’ heel is a big one: security. Android’s openness and large market share mean that it’s a juicy target for attackers.

iOS vs. Android in the enterprise

[ Free download: The mobile security survival guide ]

Yet, Android’s openness also provides serious benefits. It allows for more customization; its apps are usually cheaper and various handset manufacturers are able to offer significantly different form factors, such as the smartphone-tablet hybrid, the Samsung Galaxy Note.

With a little tweaking, you can speed up and optimize Android in ways that will make iPhone users’ heads spin. Here are 10 ways to make Android faster, more productive and more secure than iPhone:

Make your Android faster

1. Get a better browser.

One of the major benefits of using the popular browser Opera Mini is that its cloud engine compresses data by as much as 90%. It features tabbed browsing, support for widgets and the ability to set advanced privacy features, such as the ability to automatically clear passwords, cookies and browsing history.

The advantage for Android users: the ability to use Opera Mobile instead of Opera Mini. Opera Mobile supports Flash and 3D graphics, has an HTML 5 engine and has a device-side web rendering engine for higher fidelity browsing. You can set up the rendering engine to work locally when on a Wi-Fi network and default to the cloud-based rendering engine when on a 3G or 4G network to minimize expensive data usage (if you’re not on an all-you-can-eat data plan). It also allows you to access your camera from your browser. Expect cool new widgets to start using this feature soon.

2. Install an Android optimizer.

Apps like Android Booster and Android Assistant give you the power to automatically kill apps that run in the background, gobbling up battery life and draining CPU. You can set a monthly data limit and monitor exactly how much data you’ve downloaded over 3G and 4G networks, and you can purge your cache, history, etc.

3. Conserve your battery.

Nothing slows you down more than a dead battery. One advantage Android phones have over iPhones is that you can swap out your battery. But proper power management can save you from that trouble. Apps like JuiceDefender and Battery Stretch help you regulate your power use.

With more than 7 million downloads, JuiceDefender is the most popular of these apps. It offers three different profiles: “Balanced,” “Aggressive” or “Extreme.”

The Balanced setting is the default and requires no configuration on your part. If you bump it up to “Aggressive,” the app will automatically disable data connections when the battery is low. If you’re really worried about a dead battery, the “Extreme” setting disables data connections by default. You can turn them back on manually, and you are able to whitelist apps that you want to have connectivity.

Make your Android more productive

4. Dig deeper into which apps hog data.

If you constantly go over your data limits, an app like Android Assistant may not be enough. Sure, you will be alerted when you are nearing your limit, but what exactly is causing the problem?

Is it Facebook, podcasting software, the MLB Gameday app? Who knows?

Article source: http://www.itworld.com/software/276921/how-make-android-faster-more-productive-and-more-secure-iphone

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14 May 12 How to Make Android Faster, More Productive and More Secure Than iPhone


IPhone users love to brag about their phones. They line up around the block and stand in line for hours when a new one is released. Yet, for many users, Android is clearly the superior platform. Yes, its Achilles’ heel is a big one: security. Android’s openness and large market share mean that it’s a juicy target for attackers.

iOS vs. Android in the enterprise

Yet, Android’s openness also provides serious benefits. It allows for more customization; its apps are usually cheaper and various handset manufacturers are able to offer significantly different form factors, such as the smartphone-tablet hybrid, the Samsung Galaxy Note.

With a little tweaking, you can speed up and optimize Android in ways that will make iPhone users’ heads spin. Here are 10 ways to make Android faster, more productive and more secure than iPhone:

Make your Android faster

1. Get a better browser.

One of the major benefits of using the popular browser Opera Mini is that its cloud engine compresses data by as much as 90%. It features tabbed browsing, support for widgets and the ability to set advanced privacy features, such as the ability to automatically clear passwords, cookies and browsing history.

The advantage for Android users: the ability to use Opera Mobile instead of Opera Mini. Opera Mobile supports Flash and 3D graphics, has an HTML 5 engine and has a device-side web rendering engine for higher fidelity browsing. You can set up the rendering engine to work locally when on a Wi-Fi network and default to the cloud-based rendering engine when on a 3G or 4G network to minimize expensive data usage (if you’re not on an all-you-can-eat data plan). It also allows you to access your camera from your browser. Expect cool new widgets to start using this feature soon.

See Related Slideshow: Smartphone Browser Alternatives

2. Install an Android optimizer.

Apps like Android Booster and Android Assistant give you the power to automatically kill apps that run in the background, gobbling up battery life and draining CPU. You can set a monthly data limit and monitor exactly how much data you’ve downloaded over 3G and 4G networks, and you can purge your cache, history, etc.

3. Conserve your battery.

Nothing slows you down more than a dead battery. One advantage Android phones have over iPhones is that you can swap out your battery. But proper power management can save you from that trouble. Apps like JuiceDefender and Battery Stretch help you regulate your power use.

With more than 7 million downloads, JuiceDefender is the most popular of these apps. It offers three different profiles: “Balanced,” “Aggressive” or “Extreme.”

The Balanced setting is the default and requires no configuration on your part. If you bump it up to “Aggressive,” the app will automatically disable data connections when the battery is low. If you’re really worried about a dead battery, the “Extreme” setting disables data connections by default. You can turn them back on manually, and you are able to whitelist apps that you want to have connectivity.

Make your Android more productive

4. Dig deeper into which apps hog data.

If you constantly go over your data limits, an app like Android Assistant may not be enough. Sure, you will be alerted when you are nearing your limit, but what exactly is causing the problem?

Is it Facebook, podcasting software, the MLB Gameday app? Who knows?

Well, with Onavo you can find out. The main menu displays statistics on your data use over the prior month, and it fingers the apps hogging the most bandwidth. Many of these are obvious, such as any video or streaming app, but I was surprised to see how much data Google Calendar used with its constant synching, and after consulting with Onavo, I decided to synch less frequently

You’ll also discover the apps that go online even when they haven’t been launched. Don’t be surprised to see that many games do this, so if you haven’t played them in a while, you might want to get rid of them. Otherwise, those free Android games may end up costing you money if they push you over your data limit.

For international travelers, Onavo can help you avoid (or limit) costly data roaming charges.

And Onavo is actually an app that has more octane on iPhone, for which it will also compress data. (On Android, this feature is currently limited to Ice Cream Sandwich users.)

5. Tether your phone.

So you’ve signed up for an expensive all-you-can-eat data plan, yet when you try to tether your laptop to your phone to use that 4G connection you paid a premium for, you are stymied. Carriers will try to charge you $20 or $30 a month for tethering privileges, meaning they’re trying to charge you twice for network access that you’ve really already purchased.

For most people, this is more of a nuisance than anything. Wi-Fi is available everywhere, but if you are using your laptop for business, wouldn’t it be smarter to stay on a 4G network rather than connecting to an open Wi-Fi one?

On iPhone, tethering is a no-go. On Android, tethering may technically violate your user license, but you can do it, and you no longer need to root your phone. Apps like Clockworkmod’s Tether will have you up and running in a few minutes.

Tether isn’t a free app, but at $4.99, one stay in a hotel that still charges for Wi-Fi will make this app a no-brainer.

6. Pick your own keyboard.

Siri has been getting all kinds of press lately, and, sure, it can be amusing to try to get Siri to say off-color things. Yet, when I’m using data on my phone, I prefer text-based input.

For years, one of the main reasons I’ve considered iPhone inferior is its hostility to apps like Swype. On Android, you have the ability to choose your own keyboard. (Well, iPhone users can jailbreak their phones to get Swype, but that fact reinforces my point.)

Many Android phones come with Swype pre-loaded, but it’s not usually the default keyboard. Just press any text entry area for a few seconds and a menu will pop up. Select “Input method” and then choose “Swype.” That’s it.

I used to avoid texting like the plague because I hated entering data on my phone. That all changed with Swype, which lets you drag your finger across the screen from letter to letter. Its predictive engine figures out what word you are going for (it gets better the more you use it), and you just keep chugging along.

I can’t Swype as fast as I type, but I’m a fast typist. Scroll around the Inter-webs a bit, and you’ll find plenty of people claiming to achieve 40 or 50 words per minute with Swype. And now that Swype has been acquired by Nuance, you should have even more input options coming your way soon.

Make your phone more secure

7. Turn on screen lock, but don’t use a pattern.

The easiest screen unlocking method is to trace a pattern on your screen. It’s easier and more convenient than entering a PIN or password. However, if you lose your phone or it is stolen, you better hope you just cleaned your screen.

The oil on your finger will leave a distinct pattern on your screen. Unless you wipe it down religiously after each unlocking, the pattern lock will only deter the stupidest criminals.

8. Install anti-virus software.

Why have you not done this already? Malware writers are flocking to Android. We’re seeing much of what happened in the desktop world being repeated with smartphones. Android is more open, has a larger market share and is a juicer target.

IPhone is a closed ecosystem and may eventually, like Mac, benefit from security through obscurity (though I doubt iPhone will ever shrink to Mac-like numbers). For iPhone users, this is good-news, bad-news scenario. Yes, Apple does more to lock down apps and prevent third-party software from exploiting key system resources, but you are trusting one company for your security. If Apple screws up, all iPhone users are in trouble. Exhibit A: the Path privacy fiasco.

Android, on the other hand, may be less secure due to its openness, but it’s welcoming to third-party security tools. There’s no excuse not to have anti-virus software on your phone. There are plenty of free options, such as Lookout, and with a simple download, you can significantly reduce your risks. Most of these antivirus apps also allow you to remotely lock and wipe your phone if it is lost or stolen, and some even allow you to set off an obnoxious alarm, which will either help you find the device if its tucked behind a couch cushion or convince a thief to toss it.

Of course, we’d like to see handset OEMs and the carriers bake antivirus into their various Android versions. It’s a simple step that would benefit them, carriers especially, saving bandwidth, protecting against fraudulent charges and so on. We would also like to see carriers adopt network-based mobile malware scanning, such as the solution from Kindsight Security Labs.

9. Stay away from App Stores you do not know.

Google has taken steps to tame the Wild West that was its Market. It now has a “Bouncer” that scans the Market for malware, and despite what Apple apologists may claim, Android was designed from the get-go to make malware less disruptive on phones than it is on PCs by sandboxing apps and forcing apps to ask for permissions (yes, the same permissions that everyone just ignores, but at least they tried).

The trouble is that Android users can download apps anywhere. Don’t be lured into doing this. If you aren’t using Android Market, make sure you are in a store you know and trust, such as Amazon. Most Android models come with the default setting that doesn’t allow you to download apps from “unknown sources.” If you’ve fallen for social-engineering attacks in the past, it’s best to leave that box checked.

When you download an app, try to get into the practice of checking permissions. If a game wants to send out SMS messages, for instance, that should be a red flag.

10. Stay away from mobile payments.

Mobile payments are starting to take off, especially in Europe and Asia, and consumers should be wary. The problem with mobile payments is that they are often simply added to your mobile phone bill, and if you find a suspicious charge, your liability will vary from carrier to carrier.

In contrast, if a hacker gets your credit card number and goes on a spending spree, under federal law, your maximum liability for credit card fraud is $50. In other words, credit card fraud is not your problem, it’s the bank’s. Until you have that level of protection for mobile payments, it’s probably smarter and safer to stick with the credit card.

Based in Santa Monica, Calif., Jeff Vance is the founder of Sandstorm Media, a copywriting and content marketing firm. He regularly contributes stories about emerging technologies to this publication and many others. If you have ideas for future articles, contact him at jeff@sandstormmedia.net or http://twitter.com/JWVance.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World’s Anti-malware section.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/255549/how_to_make_android_faster_more_productive_and_more_secure_than_iphone.html

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01 May 12 IE Makes Gains, iPad Traffic Eclipses iPhone


Internet Explorer continued to make gains in April, landing at 54.09 percent global market share ahead of Chrome and Firefox, according to data from Net Applications.

Microsoft’s browser share increased about 0.26 percent last month from 53.83 percent in March, which was also up from 52.84 percent in February. The most-popular version was IE8 with 26.22 percent market share in April, followed by IE9 with 15.91 percent.

Microsoft said that on Windows 7 machines, IE9 use hit 35.5 percent worldwide by the end of April. “The data is particularly encouraging for users and developers in the US, with IE9 growing 4 points of share on Windows 7, hitting 52.9 percent usage share in April,” the company said in a blog post.

Despite Microsoft’s efforts to kill off IE6, the browser version is still hanging on with about 7.11 percent market share.

Firefox, meanwhile, nabbed the number-two spot with 20.2 percent market share, down slightly from March’s 20.55 percent. The most-popular version of Mozilla’s browser is Firefox 11, which debuted in mid-March, with 11.35 percent.

Rounding out the top three is Google’s Chrome with 18.85 percent market share, up from 18.57 percent in March. Most users, or 13.97 percent, are on Chrome 18.

iPad Tops iPhone
Net Applications also examined traffic on the iPad and iPhone and found that with the release of the new iPad, Web traffic to the Apple tablet surpassed that to its smartphone.

“The iPad and iPhone have been close in browsing share for the last several months,” Net Applications said. “However, upon the release of the latest version of the iPad, its share has accelerated and now tops iPhone share 33.7 percent to 27.4 percent.”

The iPad and iPhone helped Safari nab the most mobile browser share, with 63.8 percent, followed by the Android browser at 18.9 percent and Opera Mini at 12.1 percent.

Most of those mobile Web surfers – or 63.2 percent – were on iOS devices, followed by Android at 19.3 percent.

For more, see PCMag’s full reviews of IE9 (slideshow below), Chrome 18, and Firefox 12.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.


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Start Installation


About Box


First Look at IE9


Gear Menu


For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2403812,00.asp

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02 Mar 12 Browsing behavior in February: Internet Explorer and Chrome down, Firefox up


For most of last year, it looked like Chrome was steadily catching up with Firefox and likely to overtake it in the first couple months of this year. But that hasn’t happened; for a third straight month, Chrome has slightly declined, and Firefox has ever so slightly gained.

Across the board, the changes were small. Internet Explorer dropped 0.12 points to 52.84 percent, Firefox gained 0.04 points to 20.92 percent, and Chrome lost the same amount, 0.04 points, to 18.90 percent. Safari saw the biggest swing, gaining 0.34 points to 5.24 percent. Opera also gained slightly, picking up 0.04 points for a total of 1.71 percent.

This means that Firefox is retaining a slender lead over Google’s browser. Last month we speculated that the halt in Chrome’s growth might be related to Google’s decision to penalize Chrome’s positioning in its search results due to an advertising campaign that contravened Google’s rules. The sixty day penalty will expire in the next few days, restoring Chrome’s prominent positioning in Google searches.

Another factor is that the source we use, Net Applications’ Net Market Share, has slightly altered the way it counts Chrome hits. Since version 13, Chrome has had a “prerendering” feature, in which it speculatively renders pages linked from the current one, so that if the user clicks one of those links, it will be able to show the destination page more quickly. In Chrome 17, this has been extended to even include pages indirectly referenced from search queries entered in the address box.

This pre-rendering tends to inflate the raw hit counts of Chrome users; visits are apparently made to sites even if the user never actually sees the resulting page. Net Applications estimates that about 4.3 percent of all Chrome hits on websites are due to this pre-rendering. The company is changing its tracker so that in future only pages that are actually seen by the user are counted, using an API offered by Google to detect the page’s visibility.

In mobile, for the second time in six months, Safari has surged, apparently at Opera Mini’s expense. Mobile usage is still very much in the minority; together, the mobile traffic makes up only 7.2 percent of the market.

Chrome users continue to be on the automatic upgrade treadmill. Many Firefox users still aren’t. Support for version 3.6 ends in the next few weeks, with Firefox 10 deemed the Extended Support Release that will be patched for about a year. Enterprise users were quick to complain about Mozilla’s rapid release strategy, and the Extended Support Release is Mozilla’s answer to these users.

Anyone sticking with 3.6, pending a long-life Firefox release, should upgrade to version 10. Whether people do or not remains to be seen.

Usage of Internet Explorer 8 and 9 grew last month, with versions 6 and 7 shrinking. Microsoft is slowly starting to deliver Internet Explorer 9 as an automatic update, at least to those users who have not previously rejected its installation, but so far this policy appears to have done little to accelerate the transition to Redmond’s current browser version.


Here at Ars, Chrome has cemented itself as the dominant browser.

Article source: http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2012/03/browsing-behavior-in-february-internet-explorer-chrome-down-firefox-up.ars?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rss

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02 Dec 11 Chrome usage almost at that of Firefox


If one in 50 people on the web move from Firefox to Chrome, Google’s browser will unseat Mozilla’s for the No. 2 spot in worldwide usage.

(Credit: Net Applications)

That’s because, according to Net Applications’ November browser usage measurements, Chrome is now within 4 percentage points of Firefox. With a 2 percentage-point increase in one and a 2 percentage-point decrease in the other, Google comes out on top.

Firefox dropped 0.4 percentage point to 22.1 per cent of usage in November, while Chrome gained 0.7 per cent to 18.2 per cent. If that rate was to continue, Chrome would outpace Firefox in March 2012, but fluctuations make such predictions difficult.

Firefox once was the prime challenger to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which for years languished in the doldrums of software development. Now it shares that role with Chrome and, to a lesser degree, Apple’s Safari. Microsoft is in high gear again, though, with IE9 a credible challenger and IE10 shaping up to be a strong competitor when it’s finished in 2012.

The browser market is now fiercely competitive as browser makers use the software to drive their agendas. For Microsoft, it’s about the Metro user interface in Windows 8; for Google, it’s browsing speed and web applications; for Mozilla, it’s a web built on openness and standards; and for Apple, the best mobile devices.

(Credit: Net Applications)

In November, IE’s steady decline stopped, with Microsoft’s browser holding steady at 56.2 per cent of usage. Microsoft has largely written off Windows XP users by requiring Windows Vista or Windows 7 for its current IE9. The company measures its performance by Windows 7 usage, where IE9 passed Chrome and Firefox in usage and now trails only IE8.

The vast majority of browser usage today is from personal computers — 92.2 per cent. But with smartphones and tablets, mobile-device usage is generally increasing. In November, it reached a record 6.7 per cent, according to Net Applications.

The top mobile browser by far is Apple’s Safari, but it plunged 7 percentage points to 55.0 per cent of usage in November. The Android browser had bumped Opera Mini aside in October for the second-place spot, but in November, Opera Mini clawed its way back. Opera’s lightweight browser, which runs on thousands of phones, surged 7 percentage points to 20.1 per cent, while the Android browser dropped 2.2 percentage points to 16.4 per cent.

Opera also offers a full-fledged browser, Opera Mobile, for higher-end smartphones. But that remains relatively rare at 0.4 per cent of mobile browser usage.

(Credit: Net Applications)

Via CNET

Article source: http://www.zdnet.com.au/chrome-usage-almost-at-that-of-firefox-339327207.htm

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01 Dec 11 Chrome usage within striking distance of Firefox


Chrome is within striking distance of Firefox for second place in worldwide browser usage.

Chrome is within striking distance of Firefox for second place in worldwide browser usage.

(Credit:
Net Applications)

If one in 50 people on the Web move from
Firefox to Chrome, Google’s browser will unseat Mozilla’s for the No. 2 spot in worldwide usage.

That’s because, according to Net Applications’ November browser usage measurements, Chrome is now within 4 percentage points of Firefox. With a 2 percentage-point increase in one and a 2 percentage-point decrease in the other, Google comes out on top.

Firefox dropped 0.4 percentage point to 22.1 percent of usage in November, while Chrome gained 0.7 percent to 18.2 percent. If that rate was to continue, Chrome would outpace Firefox in March 2012, but fluctuations make such predictions difficult.

Firefox once was the prime challenger to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which for years languished in the doldrums of software development. Now it shares that role with Chrome and, to a lesser degree, Apple’s
Safari. Microsoft is in high gear again, though, with IE9 a credible challenger and IE10 shaping up to be a strong competitor when it’s finished in 2012.

The browser market is now fiercely competitive as browser makers use the software to drive their agendas. For Microsoft, it’s about the Metro user interface in Windows 8; for Google, it’s browsing speed and Web applications; for Mozilla, it’s a Web built on openness and standards; and for Apple, the best mobile devices.

In the mobile market, Apples Safari dominates, while Opera Mini and the Android browser jockey for second place.

In the mobile market, Apple’s Safari dominates, while Opera Mini and the Android browser jockey for second place.

(Credit:
Net Applications)

In November, IE’s steady decline stopped, with Microsoft’s browser holding steady at 56.2 percent of usage. Microsoft has largely written off Windows XP users by requiring Windows Vista or
Windows 7 for its current IE9. The company measures its performance by Windows 7 usage. there, IE9 passed Chrome and Firefox in usage and now trails only IE8.

The vast majority of browser usage today is from personal computers–92.2 percent. But with smartphones and tablets, mobile-device usage is generally increasing. In November, it reached a record 6.7 percent, according to Net Applications.

The top mobile browser by far is Apple’s Safari, but it plunged 7 percentage points to 55.0 percent of usage in November. The Android browser had bumped Opera Mini aside in October for the second-place spot, but in November, Opera Mini clawed its way back. Opera’s lightweight browser, which runs on thousands of phones, surged 7 percentage points to 20.1 percent, while the Android browser dropped 2.2 percentage points to 16.4 percent.

Opera also offers a full-fledged browser, Opera Mobile, for higher-end smartphones. But that remains relatively rare at 0.4 percent of mobile browser usage.

Mobile browser usage is small but growing.

Mobile browser usage is small but growing.

(Credit:
Net Applications)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57334418-264/chrome-usage-within-striking-distance-of-firefox/?part=rss&subj=software&tag=title

Tags: , , ,

01 Dec 11 Chrome usage within striking distance of Firefox


Chrome is within striking distance of Firefox for second place in worldwide browser usage.

Chrome is within striking distance of Firefox for second place in worldwide browser usage.

(Credit:
Net Applications)

If 1 in 50 people on the Web move from
Firefox to Chrome, Google’s browser will unseat Mozilla’s for the No. 2 spot in worldwide usage.

That’s because, according to Net Applications’ November browser usage measurements, Chrome is now within 4 percentage points of Firefox. With a 2 percentage-point increase in one and a 2-percentage decrease in the other, Google comes out on top.

Firefox dropped 0.4 percentage points to 22.1 percent of usage in November, while Chrome gained 0.7 percent to 18.2 percent. If that rate was to continue, Chrome would outpace Firefox in March 2012, but fluctuations make such predictions difficult.

Firefox once was the prime challenger to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which for years languished in the doldrums of software development. Now it shares that role with Chrome and, to a lesser degree, Apple’s
Safari. Microsoft is in high gear again, though, with IE9 a credible challenger and IE10 shaping up to be a strong competitor when it’s finished in 2012.

The browser market is now fiercely competitive as browser makers use the software to drive their agendas. For Microsoft, it’s about the Metro user interface in Windows 8; for Google, it’s browsing speed and Web applications; for Mozilla, it’s a Web built on openness and standards; and for Apple, the best mobile devices.

In the mobile market, Apples Safari dominates, while Opera Mini and the Android browser jockey for second place.

In the mobile market, Apple’s Safari dominates, while Opera Mini and the Android browser jockey for second place.

(Credit:
Net Applications)

In November, IE’s steady decline stopped, with Microsoft’s browser holding steady at 56.2 percent of usage. Microsoft has largely written off Windows XP users by requiring Windows Vista or
Windows 7 for its current IE9. The company measures its performance by Windows 7 usage. there, IE9 passed Chrome and Firefox in usage and now trails only IE8.

The vast majority of browser usage today is from personal computers–92.2 percent. But with smartphones and tablets, mobile-device usage is generally increasing. In November, it reached a record 6.7 percent, according to Net Applications.

The top mobile browser by far is Apple’s Safari, but it plunged 7 percentage points to 55.0 percent of usage in November. The Android browser had bumped Opera Mini aside in October for the second-place spot, but in November, Opera Mini clawed its way back. Opera’s lightweight browser, which runs on thousands of phones, surged 7 percentage points to 20.1 percent, while the Android browser dropped 2.2 percentage points to 16.4 percent.

Opera also offers a full-fledged browser, Opera Mobile, for higher-end smartphones. But that remains relatively rare at 0.4 percent of mobile browser usage.

Mobile browser usage is small but growing.

Mobile browser usage is small but growing.

(Credit:
Net Applications)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57334418-264/chrome-usage-within-striking-distance-of-firefox/

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