Gaming in Your Browser is About to Get Interesting With WebAssembly

WebAssembly, it may be something that most of you have never really heard of, but it’s going to have a huge impact on the way we use or web browsers. WebAssembly is a compiling technology, which is capable of bringing browser output closer to that of native machine code; not even the best JavaScript compilers come anywhere near it in terms of performance.

Luke Wagner, a Mozilla developer, helped reveal the new additions as Mozilla Hacks this week, while also confirming the availability of WebAssembly ports of Unity’s Angry Bots. The game can now be played on a Chrome, Firefox, Edge and even Safari will be joining the party soon enough.

Below you’ll find a video released by Microsoft that shows the Angry Bots running in Edge using the Chakra engine via WebAssembly.

‘Despite being an early implementation, the demo starts-up significantly faster than just using asm.js as the WebAssembly binaries have a smaller file size and parse more quickly than plain JavaScript that needs to be parsed in the asm.js case.’ said Chakra Program Manager Limin Zhu.

The new format for native web applications supports all the functionality enabled by the asm.js JavaScript subset. Rather than replace Java, it’ll simply expand on what was already possible seamlessly, while allowing more direct access to processor instruction sets, and many other benefits.

‘Two upcoming changes will also significantly improve the developer experience. A standard textual representation of WebAssembly will enable developers to view the source of a WebAssembly binary like any other web script or resource. In addition, the current placeholder Wasm object will be redesigned to provide a more powerful, idiomatic set of methods and properties to instantiate and introspect WebAssembly modules from JavaScript.’ said V8 Java, while announcing their collaboration with WebAssembly.

So what does this mean for most users? Not much in technical terms, but it’s already leading to faster performance, more features and more functionality for or browsers and web applications, which is certainly no bad thing.

Mozilla Launches Firefox For iOS

Mozilla’s hesitance to offer their Firefox web browser on iOS devices stems from a bitter disagreement with Apple in 2013. During this period, Apple imposed hefty restrictions which prohibited Mozilla, and other browser makers to use their own rendering engine. As you might expect, Mozilla was outraged by these demands and believed they were completely unfair. However, with the soaring popularity of iOS, Mozilla has changed their approach and accepted Apple’s terms.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoAtBKmNUEY

Firefox is now available on iOS devices and incorporates a number of useful features including Intelligent Search, and Virtual Tabs. Firefox Accounts also allows you to easily sync passwords, internet history, and auto-complete forms on various systems. Private Browsing is another essential component which provides enhanced protection against data snooping. User privacy is such an important aspect of any modern browser and at the heart of Firefox’s ethos.

Unfortunately, I highly doubt the browser will make any serious impact on iOS as most people just use Safari. There are some exceptions who prefer Chrome, but I can see Firefox’s adoption being in the minority. Nevertheless, it’s a great piece of news if you prefer the Firefox desktop browser and want to continue that experience on an Apple device.

Which browser is your favourite and why?

AdBlock Has a New Owner and No One Knows Who

Popular Chrome and Safari browser extension AdBlock has been quietly sold, and no one seems to know who the new owner is. Yesterday, users of AdBlock – rebranded from its former guise as AdBlock Plus – may have seen a pop-up announcing that, in contravention of the entire principle of the extension, that advertisers were now able to buy themselves on to the AdBlock whitelist, through EyeO’s acceptable advertising, allowing their adverts to circumvent the block. A footnote at the bottom of the post, though, revealed that AdBlock is under new ownership. The name of the new owner was not revealed.

https://twitter.com/aahaworth/status/649702548358701056

Requests submitted to AdBlock, asking for the name of the new owner, have been met with a flat refusal, with the company revealing that the buyer wishes to remain anonymous. All the company was willing to reveal is that former CEO Michael Gundlach was no longer with AdBlock, the tool he created.

Couple the lack of transparency with the new policy of allowing rich companies to pay for their adverts to be forced upon AdBlock users, and we have a company that, within the space of a day, has done everything it can to erode the trust of its users.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

WebAssembly Hopes To Increase Browser Speed Up To 20X

Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox and Safari. These are the five big names when it comes to web browsing, and each of these comes with both their own strengths and their weaknesses. Engineers at Google, Microsoft, Apple and Mozilla however are putting their arms down and working together to create WebAssembly, a piece of code that looks to speed up web browsing up to 20 times.

The concept behind WebAssembly is that is will be closer to machine level code (a series of numeric codes) than it is to higher level languages (such as Java, C#, Python, ext..). With a lower level language the aim is that both desktop and mobile browsers will be able to read it quicker than your average web page.

While most pages currently use Javascript to create functionality and dynamic code, bytecode based systems are made to be faster. With the hope that once developed the language could be used as an industry standard, the results could see your web browsing being more similar to loading up and running apps than waiting for that page to load.

Currently, the plan is to use a filler to convert WebAssembly to Javascript to support browsers that don’t have WebAssembly compatibility.

Being able to browse the internet at 20 times its current speed would greatly reduce how much time people have to wait in your average day and with companies like Mozilla, Apple, Google and Microsoft taking the helm you know that they are serious about trying to get this technology developed. Personally………PLEASE WAIT WHILE LOADING

Thank you Ars Technica for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Statistics Show That Apple Dominates the Online Video Streaming Shares

We’ve all heard that Apple will not continue with its Apple TV products, but the latest statistics coming from Adobe prove that Apple might not need a new TV device after all. Statistics now show that the company already owns the majority of online video streaming shares as it stands, so this places it on a very important position in this market.

The old Apple TV now jumped from 5% to 10% shares and is now over Roku with only 1%, which means that people still enjoy their old Apple TV, even after all this time. Furthermore, iOS video streaming has now grown from 43% to 48% in shares, leaving Android behind at 15% shares.

If we are to break down iOS devices into iPhones and iPads, we see that 30% of video streaming comes from the iPad and 18% from iPhones. This is not good news for Microsoft too, since its Surface came in with just 2% shares.

Adding the Macs to the equation, we see that Apple products accounts for 62% of all online video streaming shares. To be noted is that Apple did not come on top in Browser video streaming shares, having Safari touching only 15% shares.

The latter market is still dominated by Google Chrome with 18% shares, but for how long? WWDC is coming and we are bound to see a lot of stuff aimed at getting Apple on top of everything in the end.

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

YouTube Live Streaming Now Available With HTML5 and 60FPS Support

It looks like the old Flash Player is going to be scrapped sooner than expected. After enabling support for HTML5 video playback, YouTube is now extending that support to live streaming sessions. This means that users can now watch live streaming videos on HTML5-enabled browsers and at 60FPS!

The slow process looks to have started late last year, when every video uploaded on the streaming service could keep its 60FPS ratio. Up until October last year, all videos were automatically converted to 30FPS once uploaded. In addition to the latter, YouTube quietly made HTML5 its default player early this year, so it would make sense for the company to continue towards fully integrating the HTML5 player.

The technology is now widely supported in all major browsers like Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari and even Internet Explorer. However, YouTube stated that the HTML5 playback for live streaming is still undergoing development, so don’t expect it to do miracles just yet. Still, the technology now is able to deliver 720p or 1080p at 60FPS and users can even skip backwards in a live stream or even play around with its play speed.

Let’s not forget about the hardware here. I mean as good as HTML5 player sounds, it still needs some hardware specs to have it run at 60FPS. This is why YouTube comes with an option to change playback to 30FPS, should 60FPS be too much for your device. Nevertheless, we are moving towards a 4K video playback era, so it’s likely everyone will upgrade their hardware sooner or later.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information

Safari Users Win Right to Sue Google Over Privacy Violation

Google has lost its appeal to stop a group of Safari users from suing the company over bypassing user privacy settings. The UK Court of Appeal loss means that the users of Apple’s proprietary browser can continue its legal action against the search engine giant.

A group of Safari users accuse Google of installing cookies, designed to target advertising, in spite of browser settings meant to block them. The Safari workaround allegedly used by Google allows it to bypass web browser settings to install cookies that gather personal data that is then used to generate personalised advertisement aimed at the user.

The Court of Appeal’s judgement reads:

“These claims raise serious issues which merit a trial.

They concern what is alleged to have been the secret and blanket tracking and collation of information, often of an extremely private nature […] about and associated with the claimants’ internet use, and the subsequent use of that information for about nine months. The case relates to the anxiety and distress this intrusion upon autonomy has caused.”

Google said it is “disappointed with the court’s decision,” while one of the defendants branded the ruling a “David and Goliath victory”.

Judith Vidal-Hall, one of the three claimants against Google, said, “The Court of Appeal has ensured Google cannot use its vast resources to evade English justice. Ordinary computer users like me will now have the right to hold this giant to account before the courts for its unacceptable, immoral and unjust actions.”

Source: BBC

Yahoo and Microsoft Compete to Become Apple’s Default Search Engine

As Google Search’s contract with Apple nears its end, Yahoo and Microsoft are both vying to replace it as Safari’s default search engine. Yahoo have already stepped into the vacant spot Google left at Firefox, becoming their search engine of choice, and now another lucrative partnership is due for negotiation when Google’s agreement with apple expires next year.

Safari is the core browser on Apple’s Mac and iOS devices, so as such has a sizeable market penetration, making this a potentially lucrative contract. Both Microsoft and Yahoo have ongoing relationships with Apple, the former providing search results via Bing within the iPhone’s Siri, and the latter providing stock data for iOS.

Source: electronista

NSA Saga Is Boosting Business Of Small Internet Browser Companies

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.

Image courtesy of Downloads Junction