Chrome 28 with new Blink engine and Rich Notifications


Google has released the stable version 28 of its Chrome browser. It is the first version to use the new Blink engine for rendering web pages and it appears that the new engine will allow web pages to be loaded about ten per cent faster. The developers say that the increased speed is also thanks to the new threaded HTML parser, which frees up the JavaScript thread, allowing DOM content to be displayed faster. The HTML parser also takes fewer breaks, which is said to result in time savings of up to 40 per cent. Another contributor to the faster working speed is the optimized V8 JavaScript engine.

Rich Notifications are another new Chrome feature. Chrome already supported basic notifications, but with the new notifications users can be shown, and can interact with, tips and information outside of the browser. For example, a pop-up window in the Windows task bar can inform users when a new email arrives. Notifications can contain pictures, buttons and URLs as well as text. The notifications are handled by a notification center outside the browser, which not only allows the information to be displayed without a running browser but also serves as somewhere a user can consult to see what notifications they have missed.

Chrome’s new Rich Notifications in action
Source: Google

Rich Notifications replace HTML-based notifications in the Chrome extensions: HTML-based notifications are no longer supported in version 28. Comprehensive instructions for developers are available. At the moment, Rich Notifications only work in Chrome OS and Windows – support for Mac OS X and Linux is said to be coming.

Version 28 also closes various security holes including a richly rewarded use-after-free issue with network sockets and a well-rewarded fix to a HTTP/SSL man-in-the-middle attack. Other rewarded bugs included two use-after-free issues in input handling and resource loading, plus an out-of-bounds read in SVG, all found by Chrome bounty regular miaubiz, a screen data leak through GL textures with Windows and NVIDIA cards, and a lack of entropy in renderers.

The updated browser is available to download for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X or, for existing users, will arrive automatically. Chrome has also seen its Flash player updated to version 11.8.800.97 as noted in Adobe’s patch day.

Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 [Download Links]

Internet Explorer 10 is available worldwide in 95 languages for download today.

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Opera Switches to WebKit and Chromium

After many years of dealing with site compatibility issues, Opera found the solution: it will switch from its proprietary rendering engine (Presto) to WebKit and will be powered by Chrome’s open source version, Chromium.

“Presto is a great little engine. It’s small, fast, flexible and standards compliant while at the same time handling real-world web sites. It has allowed us to port Opera to just about any platform you can imagine. (…) It was always a goal to be compatible with the real web while also supporting and promoting open standards. That turns out to be a bit of a challenge when you are faced with a web that is not as open as one might have wanted. Add to that the fact that it is constantly changing and that you don’t get site compatibility for free (which some browsers are fortunate enough to do), and it ends up taking up a lot of resources – resources that could have been spent on innovation and polish instead,” explains an Opera employee.

“For all new products Opera will use WebKit as its rendering engine and V8 as its JavaScript engine. It’s built using the open-source Chromium browser as one of its components. Of course, a browser is much more than just a renderer and a JS engine, so this is primarily an ‘under the hood’ change. Consumers will initially notice better site compatibility, especially with mobile-facing sites – many of which have only been tested in WebKit browsers. The first product will be for Smartphones, which we’ll demonstrate at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona at the end of the month. Opera Desktop and other products will transition later,” mentions Bruce Lawson.

The problem with Opera is that it has a low market share on the desktop (about 1-2%) and not many web developers bother to test their sites in Opera. Google’s sites have always had issues in Opera and most Google web apps don’t officially support Opera (check the system requirements for Google Drive). Gmail’s help center actually mentions that “We don’t test Opera, but believe it works with all of Gmail’s features.” Probably Google doesn’t want to allocate resources for testing sites in a desktop browser that’s not popular, but it has a completely different rendering engine.


In a perfect world, browsers and sites would just follow the standards and everything would work well, but it takes time to create the standards and browsers implement their own version in the meanwhile. Not to mention that browsers have all kinds of quirks.

Google launched Chrome in 2008 and one of the reasons why it chose WebKit was that “we knew we didn’t want to create yet another rendering engine. After all, web developers already have enough to worry about when it comes to making sure that all users can access their web pages and web applications.”

WebKit started in 2001 as an Apple fork of KDE’s KHTML engine, it was used to build Safari, a few years later it was open sourced and Nokia ported WebKit to Symbian. WebKit is now the most popular mobile rendering engine, since it powers Safari Mobile and all iOS browsers (other than thin clients like Opera Mini), Android’s stock browser, Chrome for Android and many other mobile browsers. WebKit’s combined market share is now more than 40%, according to StatCounter and Wikimedia’s stats.

Credit: Google Operation System blog

Google updates all Chrome editions

new-chrome-logoh-online: Google has updated the Stable, Beta and Developer Channels of the desktop version of its Chrome browser with a number of bug fixes and improvements. The Stable Channel update closes seven security vulnerabilities, three of them rated High, and includes bug fixes. New stable Chrome versions for iOS and Android have also been released and include minor improvements. The iOS version of the browser now supports Apple’s Passbook application.

The update to the Stable version of Chrome for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Chrome Frame (for running Chrome inside of Internet Explorer) brings it to version 23.0.1271.91. The update closes a security vulnerability in the Mac OS X version of the browser that is caused by a severe rendering bug with the operating system’s driver for Intel graphics cards. This problem was rated by Google as High priority, as was a buffer underflow problem in libxml and a use-after-free bug in the browser’s SVG filters, which have also been fixed.

The Beta Channel of Chrome for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and Chrome Frame has been updated to version 24.0.1312.25, which includes a number of bug fixes for running applications within the browser, fixes stability issues, and solves two problems with the taskbar in Windows 8. The Beta version of Chrome for Chrome OS is now 23.0.1271.94; the update improves network stability and updates the included Pepper Flash plugin.

In the Developer Channel, Chrome for Windows, Mac OS X and Chrome Frame has been updated to version 25.0.1337.0 which includes a number of fixes and improvements, most noticeably improvements to the Live Tiles functionality for Windows 8 and bug fixes for Flash on Mac OS X. Chrome for the Chrome OS Developer Channel is now at version 25.0.1324.1, which includes a firmware update.

Chrome for iOS has been updated to version 23.0.1271.91 which has introduced the ability to open PDFs in other applications and enables users to save their airline boarding passes and tickets in Apple’s Passbook. The update also brings some security and stability improvements. Chrome for Android is now at version 18.0.1025469 on ARM and version 18.0.1026322 on x86 devices; both updates fix stability issues.

An overview over the different desktop Chrome release channels and platform is available from the Chromium Project, the open source upstream of Chrome. The listing includes download links for the different versions of the browser. All versions of Chrome should update themselves automatically; on some mobile platforms the user will be prompted to perform the update.


Internet Explorer security hole: Use other browser

TheTelegraph: Internet Explorer users might want to consider upgrading or switching to another browser after a massive security hole was discovered in Windows’ native web browser.

internetexplorer9logoAccording to security forum, Rapid7 , Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9 operating on Windows XP, Vista and Seven contains what is known as a “zero day exploit” which allows attackers to gain access to your personal data while you browse.

The forum claimed the exploit would give cyber criminals “the same privileges as the current user”.

It claimed that 41 per cent of US and 32 per cent of global Internet Explorer users could be affected.

Microsoft confirmed that it was aware of the targeted attacks “potentially affecting some versions of Internet Explorer”.

Director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computer, Yunsun Wee, told Fairfax that Internet Explorer 10 is not affected by the issue.

“We recommend customers deploy Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit 3.0, which provides effective protections without affecting the web browsing experience,” he said. “We will continue to investigate this issue and take further actions as appropriate.”

Download Firefox 15 and Thunderbird 15!

Cross-copied from BetaNews:


Mozilla has quietly placed major new versions of its open-source, cross-platform web browser and email client onto its download servers ahead of an official release.

Firefox 15 FINAL benefits largely from behind-the-scenes performance tweaks, while Thunderbird 15 FINAL introduces a few new features, including a new curvy user interface.

Firefox 15 FINAL’s most notable changes are performance-based. There’s faster startup on Windows PCs, plus incremental garbage collection and better management of plugins to prevent memory leaks. Other performance improvements surround WebGL enhancements.

Version 15 also introduces a new Maintenance Service for Windows users that’s installed by default, and which ensures all future Firefox updates are delivered promptly. This feature can be toggled on and off via the Options dialog — select Advanced and switch to the Updates tab.

Developers get a new JavaScript debugger and new Responsive Design View option that allows them to toggle between mobile and desktop views of websites. An additional layout view providing details about the size and shape of an element is now accessible from the Inspector; click the Style button to see the dimensions of the currently selected element, then click the up arrow to reveal more details.

One feature that didn’t make it through to the final release is the inline PDF browser — although present in Firefox 15 Beta, it appears its appearance has slipped back to version 16. Neither can we confirm the existence of Mac accessibility improvements — one thing is certain, however, VoiceOver support is not yet available outside of the Nightly builds.

Those users willing to delve into the about:config portion of Firefox will find they can now toggle between showing Firefox’s options in a separate dialog box (the default) and in its own tab in the main Firefox window. Search for browser.preferences.inContent and double-click it to set it to true to enable the feature.

Similarly, the option for setting plugin content on websites to “click to play” still hasn’t been implemented by default; instead users should search for plugins.click_to_play and double-click it to switch it on.

Thunderbird Updates

Thunderbird 15 FINAL meanwhile has three major changes of note. The most obvious is the implementation of a new user interface called Australis. This introduces itself immediately with the rounded tabs at the top of the screen, but extends to redesigned lines, a repositioned toolbar and categorized filters.

The unified global search now covers the chat module, which supports Facebook, Twitter and Google Talk among others, while the “Do not track” option introduced in Firefox has been added to Thunderbird too. This option, accessible from the Web Content tab in the Security section of Thunderbird’s Options screen, is of less relevance to email users, but may stop some emails from tracking the user if they’ve signed up for the voluntary code of practice.

From November 12, Thunderbird’s code base will be split into two separate editions: Thunderbird and Thunderbird ESR. See here for details.

Both Firefox 15 FINAL and Thunderbird 15 FINAL are free, open-source downloads for Windows, Mac and Linux.

IE 9.0.9 Available via Windows Update


internetexplorer9logoThe August 2012 Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer is now available via Windows Update. This security update resolves four privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer. An attacker who successfully exploited any of these vulnerabilities could gain the same user rights as the current user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights This security update is rated Critical for Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, and Internet Explorer 9 on Windows clients and Moderate for Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, Internet Explorer 8, and Internet Explorer 9 on Windows servers For more information, see the full bulletin.

Most customers have enabled automatic updating and do not need to take any action. We recommend that customers, who have not enabled automatic updating, enable it (Start Menu, type “Windows Update”). We recommend that administrators, enterprise installations, and end users who want to install this security update manually, apply the update immediately using update management software or by checking for updates using the Microsoft Update service.

—Tyson Storey, Program Manager, Internet Explorer

Chrome 20 update fixes high-risk security vulnerabilities

Google_Chrome_LogoGoogle has published a new update to the stable 20.x branch of Chrome to close a number of security holes in the WebKit-based web browser. Version 20.0.1132.57 of Chrome addresses a total of three vulnerabilities, all of which are rated as “high severity” by the company.

These include two use-after-free errors in counter handling and in layout height tracking that were discovered by a security researcher by the name of “miaubiz”. As part of its Chromium Security Vulnerability Rewards program, Google paid the researcher, who is number three in the company’s Security Hall of Fame, $1,000 for discovering and reporting each of the holes. A third high-risk problem related to object access with JavaScript in PDFs has also been corrected. As usual, further details about the vulnerabilities are being withheld until “a majority of users are up-to-date with the fix”. Other changes include stability improvements, and updates to the V8 JavaScript engine and the built-in Flash player plug-in.

Google also updated the Stable Channel of its ChromeOS operating system, currently available only on Samsung and Acer’s Chromebook notebooks, to version 20, just over two weeks after Google released the Chrome 20 browser on 26 June. ChromeOS 20.0.1322.54, based on the open source Chromium OS project, includes the security and stability improvements from Chrome, while also adding support for Google Drive, using Google Docs offline and other enhancements.

Chrome 20.0.1132.57 is available to download for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from; existing users can upgrade via the built-in update function. Chrome is built from Chromium, the open source browser project run by Google.

Chrome 20 closes 23 security holes

new-chrome-logoGoogle has closed a total of 23 vulnerabilities with the release of Chrome 20. Of those vulnerabilities, 14 are rated critical, enabling attackers to execute code in the browser’s sandbox, among other things. Integer overflow vulnerabilities in the code for processing PDF files and Matroska containers (.mkv) have also been fixed. Chrome 20 also includes the latest version of Adobe’s Flash Player on Linux, using the new cross-platform Pepper API. In testing at The H, it was confirmed that the Flash Player support also works on 64-bit Linux systems.

Google has also embedded the “Chrome to Mobile” feature that was previously available as an extension; if the Google account that is registered with Chrome is also linked with an Android phone, the current web page can be forwarded to the smartphone by clicking on the mobile phone symbol in the address bar. This feature only works with a phone running the beta of Chrome for Android, which requires Android 4.0 or higher.

Chrome usually updates automatically in the background. Users can find out whether the current version has already been installed by clicking on the wrench icon and selecting “About Google Chrome”. If required, a manual update can be triggered this way.

Opera 12 has been released

Opera-logo-new200Norwegian company Opera Software has released Opera 12.00 just a few minutes ago. Opera users who start the browser on their system should see update notifications displayed to them in the next couple of hours. Those who do not want to wait that long can run a manual check for updates with a click on Opera > Help > Check for Updates. The update should then be picked up by the browser and downloaded automatically to the local system.

The announcement over at the Opera Desktop Team blog highlights twelve major changes in Opera 12 that Internet users may be interested in. Among them performance improvements during the start of the browser, hardware acceleration and faster loading of pages, improved stability with out-of-process plugins, and improved support for new technologies.


Here are all improvements that the development team has highlighted on the blog post.

  • Faster startup with many tabs
  • Out-of-Process plugins
  • Experimental hardware acceleration and WebGL
  • Opera:cpu
  • Improved loading performance
  • Improved performance on security connections
  • RTL (Right-to-left languages)
  • Improved HTML5 support
  • Improved extensions support
  • 64-bit Windows and Mac versions
  • Do not track
  • Improved address field suggestions.

Some of the features mentioned by the team need to be enabled before they become available in the browser.

Opera 12.00 is a big step for the web browser, especially in terms of performance improvements. HTML5 Test results have made a big jump overtaking Firefox in the process. While still behind Google Chrome and Maxthon, the score differences have been reduced considerably.

Opera has also made available 64-bit editions for all supported desktop operating system, something that neither Mozilla nor Google have managed to do just that if you discount development builds.


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