No – it’s not April Fool’s. Microsoft has announced it will phase out its Internet Explorer browser. It’s desktop market share had fallen to 53%, and perhaps Microsoft saw this as writing on the wall. According to the Motley Fool, it will continue work on a new browser, code named Project Spartan to be used with Windows 10.
R.I.P. Internet Explorer: Microsoft Corporation Kills Off One of Its Signature Products, Eric Volkman, The Motley Fool (Apr 6)
Meantime, Microsoft is also removing from its browser the automatic “do not track” that prevented browsing data from going to advertisers: Users will have to find the option and turn it on themselves.
Microsoft Removes Do Not Track Default, Don’t Push The Button, & More… [Tech News Digest], Dave Barrack, Make Use Of (Mar 31)
The right extensions to a browser tailored to your needs will make all the difference. There will surely be a couple from this list for privacy, for access, for clipping content (Evernote), managing passwords, and even photo editing.
Google Gold: 15 Essential Chrome Extensions, Dave Parrack, Make Use Of (April 1)
The designers of the Chrome browser are experimenting with a reader-mode button that will make a web page more readable on both mobile and desktop. Hallelujah – an antidote to cluttered pages with crazy fonts, boxes, and ads.
Google is working on a Chrome reading mode, try it out, Jessica Condiit, EnGadget (Feb 25)
Posting has instructions on how to activate this using the DOM Distiller in Chrome.
There is also the Readability app.
Microsoft is introducing a new browser called Spartan that is to be “lightweight, standards compliant, available on multiple platforms”.
Microsoft’s reported ‘Spartan’ browser will be lighter, more flexible than Internet Explorer, Mark Hackman, PC World (Dec 29, 2014)
“Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet reported Monday that Spartan could ship alongside Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10, due sometime in the latter half of 2015. The purpose of Spartan is twofold, Foley reports: first, as a lightweight alternative to IE, but with the foundation for third-party extensions; and as a marketing “do-over” for Internet Explorer, to do away with Internet Explorer’s legacy once and for all.”
Most people resist changing browsers. Spartan is going to have to be very fast and flexible to get a following (IMO).
Here’s irony – a PC World article on How to stop autoplay videos (Jan 1, 2015) has an autoplay video that launches into how-to save videos. But no matter – it means you’re all the more motivated to follow the instructions for Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. Basically – change browser settings so that you have to “click to play”. What a relief!
Startling news – Yahoo will be the default search engine in the Firefox browser for US users rather than Google (and one presumes the same will be true in Canada). This means getting search results from the Bing index. It is possible to adjust the search bar to default to whatever search engine you really want to use.
Yahoo to replace Google as Firefox’s default search engine in U.S., Michael Liedtke, AP via Globe and Mail (Nov 20)
The five-year alliance announced Wednesday will end a decade-old partnership in the U.S. between Google Inc. and the Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the Firefox browser. The tensions between Google and Mozilla had been rising since Google’s introduction of the Chrome browser in 2008 began to undercut Firefox.
Mozilla has this handy guide with screenshots and screencasts – Search bar – add, change and manage search engines on Firefox
Mozilla will begin showing ads in the Firefox browser – in the tiles on a new tab, and on its homepage. Good news is that AdBlock Plus will likely block.
Mozilla Firefox Will Display Ads on Homepage & New Tabs, by Jennifer Slegg, The SEM Post (Nov 14)
Good combo – the new Firefox browser has DuckDuckGo pre-installed as a search engine. DuckDuckGo does not collect search history or any other data about its users.
DuckDuckGo Added To Firefox As Part Of Enhanced Privacy Options by Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Nov 11)
Firefox has also added a forget feature to erase recent browsing history.
Mozilla’s Firefox browser is nearly 10 years old. In 2004 the one to beat was Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. That’s done. Now the challenge is to counter Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android
Ten years in, Firefox fights on — now against Google and Apple by Stephen Shankland, CNet (Nov 10)
Instead of just taking on a browser, Mozilla now is competing against two operating systems, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Mozilla’s alternative is Firefox OS, a browser-based operating system. The goal remains the same, though: give people choice about what technology they use on the Internet and give them control over their data.
It might be a rough road: mobile usage is increasing rapidly, and Firefox’s share of that market is very small. It’s become a matter of operating systems. Here’s hoping for a Firefox OS.
Lots of addons to make Firefox look even better – and maybe the most useful is to get back the “classic” theme. Also the Font and Size Changer – mostly size.
These Add-Ons Let You Make Firefox Look However You Want by Justin Pot, MakeUseOf (Oct 31)