At TED, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs demonstrated their newest web tool called “Collusion”, a firefox extension that watches and finds all those little web bugs and cookies that track you across the internet. But even more interesting is their interactive demo on their site (linked below) that visually shows the many networks working together to identify and track you in a nice animated graph layout.
Downloadsquad takes the four major browsers for the windows platform and compares them against one another in HTML5. It turns out that IE9 and Firefox 3.7 both use Direct2D to utilize the GPU’s rendering power. That makes them the best choices for HTML5.
The Mozilla Foundation is trying to match FireFox against other browsers feature-for-feature and has announced some of what we’ll see in the next few versions. In addition to Chrome-style process-separation, they are working to add GPU acceleration:
GPU acceleration is another hot topic and here Mozilla hopes to offer Direct2D support in an update for Gecko 1.9.3, slated for October launch. Unfortunately this release doesn't include the Direct2D acceleration, but will be added later on, but hopefully not that much later.
Odd to see them choosing Direct2D, a uniquely Microsoft technology, over something like OpenGL. Hopefully they’ll offer similar GPU acceleration options for Linux & OSX.
Firefox is my favorite web browser. That is until I have to interact with my companies website for watching training videos. Then I use Internet Explorer, or FireFox, or whatever it takes to make it work. (Don’t ask.)
Mozilla has taken a look what keyboard shortcuts and menu items are most used on Firefox and has posted some nice graphs on their website. You can also check out a heatmap based on the same data here.
In February, the Test Pilot team at Mozilla Labs rolled out a test to explore usage of the Firefox menu bar . This menu item usage study aims to help guide the UX team as they create a fully optimized design by answering 3 questions.
* Which menu items are the most commonly used?
* Which menu items are the least commonly used?
* How long do users spend exploring the menu bar contents before selecting each particular menu item?
Both YouTube and Vimeo announced last week that they would begin to support (on a limited basis) the new HTML5 ‘Video’ tag that allows video playback without relying on Flash. The technology is impressive, but users quickly noticed that it didn’t work with FireFox. Odd, since FireFox is 3.5 compliant, but it seemed to only work with Safari and Chrome? Mozilla has finally come out with a response, and the big problem is that while YouTube and Vimeo are supporting a public standard (the HTML5 Video tag), they’re using it with a non-public proprietary codec, the classic H264. Mozilla believes that using this proprietary codec is a bad idea for both providers and consumers, and is instead pushing something more open like the OggTheora codecs.
Apart from the issues with H.264 support in clients, there are also huge issues around H.264 for Web authors and content providers. Currently providing H.264 content on the Internet is zero-cost, but after 2010 that will almost certainly change. (…) We won/t know much about the terms until the end of this month. The key issue is not exactly how much it will cost, but that if you want to publish H.264 you will probably have to hire lawyers and negotiate a license with the MPEG-LA. If you just want to put a few videos on your Web site, or add a help video to your Web application, or put a video cut-scene in your Web game, that is probably not something you want to do.
I particularly love this comment from Robert O’Callahan:
But the MPEG-LA won’t bother suing me or my project, we’re not worth bothering with. Perhaps true, but I hope “remain irrelevant” is not the favoured strategy for most free software projects.
A new FireFox extension from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab collects web browsing behavior and compiles some interesting graphics showing your usage history.
Eyebrowse [csail.mit.edu] is an add-on for Firefox developed by the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, which has the ability to record, visualize, and share one’s browser history in real-time. The resulting data is represented as a collection of insightful data visualizations, such as individual profiles, tickers, page stats or more data-heavy bar graphs, timelines and dot charts that highlight day-by-day usage patterns (e.g. top URLs, #websites over time and time patterns respectively).
Such data could one day supplement (or replace) information from search engine companies like Google & Alexa, making targeted information and detailed analytics more accurate.
Today is launch day for FireFox 3.5, and Mozilla servers are already feeling the strain. You can see just how popular it is with their newly deployed Real-Time Download watcher. They combine a simple spreadsheet view with linegraphs showing downloads over time, with a geographical map that shows the various downloads geolocated across the globe. Currently I see alot of traffic in the US & Europe, with the occasional blip in South America and Asia.
Check it out, see what you find!