With the release of their new operating system, Windows 10, Microsoft has been keen on getting users to use their new software. Not just their operating system is new, though, with Edge replacing the demonised Internet explorer. One thing that has kept users from accepting and using the new browser is its lack of extensions, something that is set to change this year thanks to a tool Microsoft is currently working on.
It’s been clear for a while that rather than open another market for extension developers to create their tools in, Microsoft would look to bring Chrome’s extensions to Edge. In a tweet from Jacob Rossi, an engineer working on Edge, the picture becomes a little clearer on how they want to do this.
Lots of questions on this: yes we're working on a porting tool to run Chrome extensions in Edge. Not yet finished and not all APIs supported
So it would appear that they are working on a tool that will enable you to port your favourite Chrome extensions over to the Edge browser. While a further response showed that they would still be working on creating a list of extensions directly for Edge.
@jacobrossi extn's in Store will at first be a carefully selected set covering top scenarios and API coverage, opening up to more in future
When it comes to browsers there is always a lot of “usually” friendly rivalry between Microsoft, Mozilla and Google as the big three browsers jostle for top spot. However, with Internet Explorer as the default browser in all Microsoft operating systems of late, Microsoft is unsurprisingly still on top. That comes despite the recent antitrust ruling Microsoft faced for not offering Windows users the option to choose their browser upon first use. That ruling forced Microsoft to create a start-up prompt offering Windows users the option to choose between a variety of browsers, instead of relying entirely on Internet Explorer.
Google has 19.34% with its Chrome browser taking second spot and Firefox comes in third with 15.54% for its Firefox browser. Microsoft leads the way with a staggering 58.38% of the browser market as of last month. Microsoft’s IE8 is the most popular followed by IE11, the latest release of Internet Explorer. IE11 ships as the default browser on Windows 8 and 8.1 operating systems and uptake of that has been helped by the recent rise in notebook and desktop sales caused by the end of Windows XP support.
From today Microsoft is making its new Internet Explorer 11 browser available for download to Windows 7 users. IE11 was released alongside Windows 8.1 and was previously a Windows 8.1 exclusive, but now it has been made available to users of Microsoft’s most popular desktop operating system – Windows 7.
Microsoft is also boasting support for 25 new or improved modern web standards to allow developers to offer Internet Explorer 11 users more interactive experiences. If you’re interested in reading about some of the changes to IE11 for Windows 7 then you can do so here.
We already explained a few weeks ago how Microsoft wanted to make Internet Explorer 11 the fastest internet browser, it claimed to be 30% faster than any other browser on Windows 7. Now we have learned that part of that faster package will involve pre-rendered searches on Microsoft’s Bing search engine when using Internet Explorer 11.
What this means is when you’re using Bing and you start to type something Bing will intelligently predict what to pre-render (normally the top search results given what you’ve typed at that current point). The result is near instant page loading when using Bing with IE11. Microsoft claims to be doing this in a streamlined way that prevents battery life on mobile devices being eaten up. Microsoft’s blog post explains it all in more detail:
“Today we are introducing an improvement available for Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) that helps you accomplish your search tasks even faster. The next time you perform a search in Bing using IE11, you’ll notice that when you click on the top result, the associated page is almost instantly rendered. To achieve this, we leverage IE11’s pre-render tag to automatically download and render the top result page in the background – it does this in a streamlined fashion taking care to not waste your bandwidth and battery life.
With pre-rendering, you can now enjoy a faster end-to-end search experience, whether you are trying to navigate to a popular web destination (e.g. “New York Times”) or looking for movie reviews (e.g. “Django Unchained reviews”). Because half of people click on the first result on the search results page, pre-rendering that page is an important addition in our quest to improve the overall task completion time.”
Microsoft claims the new browser isn’t all about performance and they’ve improved compatibility with new standards. They also claim the browser is optimised for anything – the mouse, the keyboard, the pen or a touch screen.
“IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 includes updates to reflect the latest emerging Web standards. For example, now that the Pointer Events specification is a Candidate Recommendation at the W3C, IE11 supports an un-prefixed version of the emerging standard. With Pointer Events support across the full range of Windows devices (and soon to other browsers), Web sites can easily build experiences that work equally well with mouse, keyboard, pen, and touch.
IE11 Release Preview for Windows 7 adds new user controls for the Standard Delivery Profile for Closed Captioning. With the new control, accessible from the Internet Options menu, users can customize how captions appear in the browser, even overriding the default styling provided by the video source. This customization further advances IE11 as the best browser for professional-quality online video without plugins.”
You can read all the additional technical details about Microsoft’s new browser right here. Download links are also provided.
Softpedia reports that Microsoft’s ancient Internet Explorer 6 browser is still the most popular browser in the market 11 years after its launch. The Net Applications statistics show that with 6.08% market share the Microsoft browser is the single most popular browser. In fact it is more popular than Chrome 29 (3.53 percent), Safari 6 (3.45 percent) and Opera 12 (1.25 percent).
The reason there is still such a high uptake of IE6 is that it is Windows XP’s default browser. As we discovered in a previous story many people are refusing to leave Windows XP behind because they have coded custom programs and software which rely on IE6. Of course Microsoft is trying to shift people away from IE6 because it is old and vulnerable and means web developers have to spend more time coding for its ancient architecture.
The IE6Countdown.com website keeps track of the demise of IE6. Microsoft is of course trying to encourage users to upgrade to the newest supported version of Internet Explorer which will vary by OS.
StatCounter’s latest figures reveal that “non top-5” browsers are growing in popularity. Currently the top 5 web browsers in order of market share according to StatCounter are Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera while the “other category” incorporates everything else. In May “other browsers” accounted for around 2.18% of the browser market but today they now account for 2.69% with an estimated 2.84% for September. At 2.69% that means a 23% increase in the number of people using a non-top-5 browser since May and at 2.84% that would be a 30% increase since May. If you also consider the number of internet users grows every month that means so far this year the number of small browser users has been growing exponentially.
Some of the “other” browser solutions that are popular and regularly updated include Maxthon, Avant, Dooble, Lunascape, SeaMonkey and many more. Of course many smaller browsers are in fact based on the infrastructure of bigger browsers but that hasn’t stopped people moving elsewhere in disgust against the cooperation of big browser companies in the NSA scandal.
Opera has been coming under increasing pressure in recent times and despite having around 300 million users it is easily dwarfed by bigger browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. Yet the traditional saying goes “if you can’t beat them, join them”. Opera are doing exactly that and with Opera 15 they are using Google’s open source Chromium code to form their new browser. This essentially means it will be based off the same engine as Google’s Chrome browser as Opera ditch their previous “Presto” rendering engine in favourite of the WebKit supported Chromium solution.
Opera 15 does have a fair few features such as:
A newly designed UI
Discover feature – latest news/articles on categories/topics of your choosing
Revamped Speed Dial
Stash feature – store things to come back to
Off-Road mode – compressed web-surfing for low bandwidth conditions
Combined address and search bar
A new download manager
If you are a Opera user or feel like having a go at using Opera now it is essentially a Chrome alternative, then you can get the latest downloads here or you can visit here to learn more about Opera 15.
According to Opera’s official blog they have recently halted and contained a targeted attack on the company’s internal network. Opera’s Sigbjørn Vik said that on June 19th an attack took place which didn’t compromise any user data but stole at least one old and expired Opera code signing certificate. Hackers can then use this signing certificate to sign malware which allows them to distribute it as appearing to be either the Opera browser itself or a program verified by Opera.
“This has allowed them to distribute malicious software which incorrectly appears to have been published by Opera Software, or appears to be the Opera browser” said Opera’s Sigbjørn Vik
Apparently Opera are working hard to try and fix the problem by introducing a new version of the Opera browser that uses a new code signing certificate. Any users who used Opera between 1:00 and 1:36 UTC on the day of the breach (June 19th) could have had malicious software installed onto their computer automatically without their knowing.
As if Opera wasn’t having a hard enough time already of tempting users over from the “big four” (IE, FireFox, Chrome and Safari) this latest incident is sure to make things even harder for them.