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We take a look at the performance and features of the big four internet browsers to see which one will serve you best in 2017.

The web browser is by far the most important piece of software on your PC—at least for most users. Unless you’re at a workstation crunching numbers or editing the next Star Wars you probably spend the majority of your computer time staring at a web app or a website.

That’s why it’s important to make sure you’ve always got the best tool for the job, and in 2017 that does not include Internet Explorer. If you still want the built-in option for Windows that would be Edge, but it’s hard to stick strictly with Edge when you’ve got other choices including Google’s Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera.

Let’s take a look at the four major (and modern) browsers to see how they stack up in 2017.

(If none of these internet browsers strike your fancy, head over to PCWorld's roundup of 10 intriguing alternative browsers.)

Browsers in brief

Chrome

chromelogo

The current people’s champion, Google Chrome tops the metrics charts of both StatCounter and NetMarketShare by a huge margin. Google’s browser has built a dedicated fan base thanks to its massive extensions library, and the fact that it just gets out of your way to put the focus on web content, not the browser’s trimmings.

Chrome isn’t quite as simplistic as it once was, but it’s still very easy to use. There isn’t much to Chrome except a huge URL bar—known as the OmniBar—plus a space for extensions, a bookmarking icon, tabs, and that’s it.

Yet Google still finds a way to hide all kinds of features inside the browser, including deep integration with Google’s services. This allows you to sync your bookmarks, passwords, open tabs, and more across devices. Chrome also has multi-account support if you need it on a family machine, a built-in PDF viewer, built-in Google Translate functionality, a task manager, and the always handy Paste and go context menu item.

If there’s one complaint people have about Chrome it’s that the browser eats up available memory. Our browser testing in 2015 showed that Chrome was definitely a memory beast, but two years later it fared pretty well in our tests.

Firefox

 

mozilla firefox logo

 

For users who love extensibility but want greater privacy than a Google-made browser can provide, the open source Mozilla Firefox is your best bet. Firefox paved the way for other browsers to become extensible, and while Firefox’s add-on catalog is pretty good, it now pales in comparison to the Chrome Web Store. Like Google, Firefox has a sync feature.

Where Firefox has really shined in recent years is with the browser’s incognito mode. All browsers have a private mode that lets you browse without any of your activity being logged in your saved history. But most of the time these private modes still allow websites to track your activity for that specific session. Firefox does away with this by including an ad and tracker blocker when using incognito mode.

Opera

 

operabrowser

 

Before Chrome, Opera was a popular choice among power users—a position former Opera CEO Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner is trying to take back with Vivaldi. Opera today is really one of the more under-rated browsers around. It’s based on the same core technologies as Chrome (the Blink rendering engine and the JavaScript V8 engine), which means it can run many Chrome extensions—there’s even an extension for installing extensions from the Chrome Web Store.

Opera’s also got a few unusual features like Turbo, which saves on load times and bandwidth by compressing webpages on Opera’s servers. It’s also got a nice security feature called domain highlighting that hides most of the URL so that users can see easily and clearly if they’re on Google.com or google.com.scam.com—with scam.com being the actual website.

More recently, Opera introduced its own take on the social sidebar with one-click access to services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram. Like Chrome and Firefox, Opera also has its own cross-device syncing feature.

Microsoft Edge

 

microsotedge

 

Microsoft Edge is still a work in progress. You'll see below that its performance is getting better, but that’s not all there is to the browser in 2017. The Edge extensions library is tiny, its sync functionality is near nonexistent, and it doesn’t get updates nearly fast enough—though that is expected to change with the Fall Creators Update.

Despite its shortcomings, Edge has several helpful features that will appeal to some. Edge is deeply integrated with Windows 10’s inking capabilities, as well as with OneNote, making it easy to clip a webpage, annotate it, and save it to a notebook. Cortana is also a big part of Edge. You can use Microsoft’s digital assistant to quickly search for information, compare prices, or get a quick calculation.

Like Chrome, Edge has a casting feature. There’s also a nifty set-aside tabs feature to stash a collection of websites, the ability to read ebooks (great for tablets), and an MSN.com-ish new-tab page.

Benchmarks

That’s enough of an overview for our four contestants, let’s get down to business. To see which browser is worthy of your bandwidth in 2017 we used a variety of testing tools. For judging JavaScript we used JetStream, and the now unsupported Octane 2.0 and SunSpider 1.0.2 benchmarking tools. Then we turned to WebXPRT 2015 and Speedometer to challenge our browsers under simulated web app workloads.

Finally, we took a look at CPU and RAM usage. Similar to what we did in 2015, we loaded a set of 20 websites in a single window in quick succession using either a batch file or the command line depending on the quirks of the browser in question. Once all tabs began loading, we waited 45 seconds, and then checked the CPU and RAM usage. The idea was to see the amount of system resources the browser would use during a heavy workload.

One difference from 2015 is that Flash was turned off for each browser—benchmarks were done with and without the plugin in 2015. In recent years, most browser makers have de-emphasized Flash, enabling it as “click-to-play” and blocking nonessential website elements that use Flash. Since the web is moving to a Flash-free existence we decided to live the dream right now.

For these tests our rig was an Acer Aspire E15-575-33BM laptop loaded with Windows 10 Home (Creators Update), a 1TB hard drive, 4GB RAM, and an Intel Core i3-7100U. Each browser was tested over a hard line internet connection.

Edge makes big gains

Looking at both Jetstream and SunSpider, Edge won top marks by a wide margin. SunSpider has been deprecated for some time and is no longer supported, but the result was still surprising. For Octane 2.0, which is also no longer supported, Firefox and Opera vied for top spot, with Chrome the laggard by a wide margin. For this set of benchmark scores higher is better with the exception of SunSpider.

browser performance jetstream2

The JavaScript test Jetstream shows Microsoft Edge hanging tough.

browser performance sunspider

SunSpider also shows Microsoft Edge with a performance edge, loading JavaScript quite a bit more quickly than others.

browser performance octane

 

Chrome makes the poorest showing in the Octane test.

Moving on to the more modern Speedometer test, which quickly iterates through a bunch of HTML 5-based to-do lists, Chrome came out on top. Google’s Blink-based cousin Opera came in second, with Edge and Firefox way behind. The numbers were much closer for WebXPRT 2015, which uses a wide number of web apps, from photo collections to online note-taking to data sets. Edge came out on top there, while the others were closer together with only a few points separating the back three. Again, higher is better for these tests.

browser performance speedometer

Chrome narrowly edges out Opera in HTML-5-based tasks.

browser performance webxprt 2015

Edge makes another good showing in the web apps realm.

Finally, we come to the memory and CPU test. Slamming an average PC with 20 tabs of mostly media rich sites all at once is certainly going to chew up a good chunk of CPU and memory. These browsers did not disappoint in that respect.

Despite its reputation, however, Chrome was tops here, using less than 40 percent CPU power, followed by Edge. The results were similar for memory with Chrome using the least. Take those impressive Edge numbers with a healthy dose of skepticism, however, as during testing the PC froze, and we couldn’t access task manager as swiftly as with the others. The fact that the whole PC slowed to a crawl suggests Edge’s numbers don’t tell the whole story. Based on that experience, power users with multiple tabs open in Edge would feel some serious pain trying to get work done.

browser performance cpu usage2

It's true that running media rich content in multiple tabs will tax your system's CPU.

browser performance memory usage

As with the CPU test, Chrome's reputation as the biggest resource hog is undeserved these days.

As for Firefox, you may notice that the browser chewed up CPU usage, but was relatively low in memory usage. The reason for that, as Mozilla reminded us, is that Firefox alone is transitioning from one browser process to four. Whereas Chrome and Edge use multiple processes for each tab. The idea behind the latter is that individual tabs running on separate processes won't take down the whole browser if they crash. That approach does use more memory, however. Mozilla is trying to find a middle ground. On the one hand, Firefox helps maintain overall PC performance under heavier workloads, but it's not great if you want dozens of sites to load as quickly as possible. 

And the winner is...

So who wins? Here’s the way we see it.

Once again, Edge gets honorable mention for making some serious gains in performance and earning some truly impressive scores. But when you factor in customizability and how Edge fared in the live site stress test, it still has some work to do—like offering a wider extension library and the ability to sync across devices. 

As in our previous showdown, Chrome continues to capitalize on these strengths, and even improves in the performance department by addressing its past resource issues, making it, once again, our first choice.

Opera again earns second place since it performed relatively well in the live stress test, and can be set up to take advantage of nearly all the same conveniences Chrome can.

As for Firefox, it’s also a fine choice. Mozilla’s browser definitely gets the job done, it’s very customizable, and its open source roots puts the browser in a league of its own.

Source: This article was published pcworld.com By Ian

Categorized in Search Engine

Whether it's Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge, here’s how to enable private browsing on every major browser.

Private browsing is a way of masking your online search habits and history, allowing you to surf the internet without your browser saving data to onto your computer. Although it hides superficial search data, it lacks the secure encryption of a VPN and should be considered only as a means of preventing other users from seeing what pages you have visited.

These capabilities are built into everyday web browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Apple's Safari, and Mozilla Firefox, which normally involves opening a new window in a mode that prevents data capture.

Depending on the browser you use, the private browsing tool will have a different moniker - Google Chrome has its 'Incognito' mode while Internet Explorer uses 'InPrivate'. Here's our guide to private browsing and how to enable the tools on every major browser.

Google Chrome

As we mentioned above, Google Chrome calls its private browsing mode Incognito Mode. This can be accessed by simply selecting “New Incognito Window” from the menu when in Chrome. You’ll be able to tell you're using it by the "secret agent" icon in the top left corner of the window.

In Incognito Mode, Chrome won't keep track of the pages you visit, the data you enter into forms, or any searches you submit. However, it’s worth noting that Incognito mode only prevents Chrome from saving your site visit activity. It won't stop other sources from seeing what sites you’ve visited, including: your ISP; your employer (if you're using a work computer); and the websites you visit themselves.

If you use Chrome’s Incognito Mode to download files, the browser won't remember what files you download, but those files will stay on your computer after you close the Incognito tab. You'll have to manually delete them from your hard drive if you don’t want anyone to see them.

Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge

Internet Explorer and Edge’s private browsing mode comes in the form of InPrivate browsing. To access this, select the More icon, which is displayed as three small dots in the top right of the window, and then select New InPrivate window.

As with Chrome, the same search history isn’t saved, such as temporary internet files like cookies, browsing history, form data, and downloaded files and bookmarks stick around even after you close the InPrivate window.

Microsoft's browsers also disable any third-party toolbars you might have installed when you start an InPrivate session.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla’s private browsing feature in FireFox is simply called ‘Private Browsing mode’ and offers the same privacy tools as Chrome and Edge. However, FireFox offers an additional tool that others browsers don’t to make browsing even more safe, and that’s called Tracking Protection. This is said to prevent companies from tracking your browsing history across multiple sites so they can’t record your browsing habits.

There are two ways to open a new Private Window in FireFox.

You can either click the menu button, which is presented as three horizontal bars in the top right corner of the window, and then click New Private Window. Or you can open a link in a new Private Window by right-clicking on any link and choose Open Link in New Private Window from the context menu.

Once in Private Browsing mode, the browser window will have a purple mask at the top.

Safari

To enable Private Browsing in Apple’s Safari browser, simply go to File > New Private Window. A window that’s using Private Browsing has a dark Smart Search field with white text.

Safari's private browsing mode also removes temporary files when you close the window. Browsing history, form data, and cookies are all wiped by default.

Opera

Opera is a noteworthy browser when it comes to surfing privately on the web because, unlike its rivals, its Private Mode offers a VPN connection to add another layer of secrecy to your browsing activities. It's not a silver bullet in keeping your activities totally private, but it does provide additional protection.

To enable this feature, you can either go through the menu: File > New Private Window. Or, you can use keyboard shortcuts: Ctrl+Shift+N for Windows and ⌘+Shift+N for Mac.

Author : Lee Bell

Source : http://www.pcauthority.com.au/Feature/454469,how-to-enable-private-browsing-on-any-browser-to-keep-your-search-history-secret.aspx

Categorized in Search Engine

What's the best web browser for Windows? Find out with our in-depth testing.

The web browser is one of, if not the, most-used applications on your computer. Where once Internet Explorer was synonymous with the web, now many people just fire up Chrome without a second thought.

But why should Google enjoy a monopoly on such an important program? There are plenty of alternatives, all of which bring their own innovations to help you make the most of your time online. We test the top six browsers to help you decide which is best for the way you surf the web.

We've tested them for performance using both real-world and benchmarking tests, battery consumption using Netflix. We've also evaluated their privacy features and extra goodies so you can easily choose for yourself which is the best for you. Let's get started.

Best web browser 1

6 / 6

OUR SCORE:

MICROSOFT EDGE

Key features:
  • Low power consumption
  • Cortana integration
  • Web notes
  • Good performance
  • Sync is half-baked
The days when Microsoft’s browsers ruled the roost are long gone. Despite Windows 10 now being installed on nearly a quarter of computers worldwide, only 5% of users prefer Edge – the default Windows 10 browser. 

We have to admit that, faced with a fresh Windows 10 installation, the first thing we normally do is load up Edge and use it to install Chrome. This is a little hasty, since Edge actually has plenty to offer. 

INTERFACE

Edge’s interface is clean to the point of being bland. The only hint of colour comes from the favicons on the left of each tab: everything else is just two shades of grey. The rest of the design is browser business as usual, with tabs on the top, then toolbar and optional bookmarks bar. The Home button is off by default, but can be enabled in Settings. 

One thing that may immediately annoy is the lack of a title bar for the Edge window. This means that if you want to drag an Edge window around your desktop, you need to use the blank bit on the right of the tabs bar, which isn’t always convenient. 

STARTUP PAGE

You have four options for what loads when you start the browser: your previous session, a web page you specify, the Start page, or the New Tab page. The Start page is in danger of being a huge time-sink. 

Along with a search box at the top and a weather, sports and stock market sidebar, the page contains a newsfeed of stories from various publications, from the Mirror to Cosmopolitan to Autocar. It’s definitely a cut above your usual clickbait, and it’s easy to get sucked into: we went from a story about Debra Messing to reading about Alfonso Arau to watching Three Amigos clips on YouTube. There's also some horrible sponsored content links that feel a little out of place.

By default, the search box uses Bing. It isn’t immediately obvious how to change this. First, you go into Settings and Advanced, and scroll most of the way to the bottom to find the Change Search Engine box. If you’ve only just started using Edge, you won’t see any search engines to change to, or any way to add your own. You first need to visit the homepage of the search engine you want to add, which will make it mysteriously appear in Edge’s Settings marked as “discovered”.

Adding a search engine in other web browsers can be a confusing process, so we actually welcomed how simple it was to do in Edge – once we’d worked out how. It’s a shame there’s no way to temporarily change search engine using a drop-down menu, however.

NEW TAB PAGE

The only difference between the Startup and New Tab pages is that New Tab has a Top Sites section. This has thumbnails for some sponsored content, such as the Windows Store and Amazon, but will chiefly fill up with your most-visited sites. If a website (Facebook or Netflix, for example) has its own Windows 10 app, an Install app link will appear under that site, which you may find useful.

There’s no way to change what the New Tab page does, and no extensions available to change its behaviour, either – if you like your new tabs to go straight to a homepage, you’re out of luck. You can at least customise the page, selecting from six areas of interest to customise your newsfeed, or turn off the feed and the weather, sports or stock market sidebars entirely.

TAB HANDLING

Edge’s tabs worked as we expected. They’re dead square for space efficiency, and we particularly liked the dropdown thumbnails that appear as you hover over each tab. There’s no option to bookmark all open tabs and save them to a Bookmarks folder, which is something we’re used to seeing. The New Tab page opens instantly and is ready for your searches straight away, and there’s no hesitation when flicking between open tabs. 

BOOKMARKS AND HISTORY

Apart from the lack of a “bookmark all open tabs” option (see above), we like the way Edge deals with your bookmarks. Clicking the star button provides a dropdown menu with the option to add the bookmark to one of your Favourites folders or your Reading List. The Reading List is like a Bookmarks folder, but provides a thumbnail and a short description of the page, so you can see which entry is which at a glance.

You access your bookmarks using a tabbed sidebar that also contains your history and downloads. Bookmarks are arranged in collapsible trees, which is neat, but there’s no option to open an entire folder at once in separate tabs. Likewise, the History sidebar’s collapsible tree view is easy to use, but there’s no way to add a page from your history to your bookmarks directly – another missed opportunity. We do like the option to delete all pages from a particular subdomain, though.

CORTANA AND WEB NOTES

As you’d expect, Microsoft is keen to use Edge to point you towards its other services, as is Google – if you visit its web pages using Edge, they nag you to install Chrome, which doesn’t happen with Opera, Firefox or Vivaldi. If you select a word on a web page and right-click, there’s no option to search for that word with your current search engine – you can only “Ask Cortana” (or Bing if you’ve disabled Cortana). 

Cortana does come up with some interesting info, but you may prefer to use Google or DuckDuckGo for your searches – you should be given the choice. Another feature we feel is too Microsoft-orientated is Web Notes. These could be fantastic: scribble all over a web page, highlight things, make notes, then send to others to look at. However, the recipient won’t receive your annotations on a live web page. Instead, when you click the “share” button you receive only a screenshot of the annotated web page, which you can send using Windows’ official Mail or Twitter clients, or store with Cortana Reminders or OneNote. 

There’s no way to send the Web Note with a program of your choosing (such as your own email client), save it to Dropbox, or use another Notes application such as Evernote – even if you install the official Microsoft Evernote app. It’s a limited feature that you may find useful only occasionally. 

READING VIEW

Next to the Favourites button is one for Reading View. After a page has loaded, you can click this to strip out all adverts and page furniture, leaving you with an easy-to-read body of text and pictures. It’s a great way to make web news stories more pleasant to read, while still making sure the page gets some revenue from adverts. However, it only works on a limited number of pages (such as those in your newsfeed). On sites such as BBC News and The Guardian, the icon is simple greyed out and listed as “unavailable”. 

SYNC

Most major browsers have a built-in synchronisation service; you sign up for a Google/Firefox/Opera account and your history, open tabs, favourites, passwords and so on will remain synchronised between browsers on different machines. Edge has a sync service, but will only sync your Favourites and Reading List; and, crucially, only if you’re signed into Windows 10 with a Microsoft account. 

You may prefer to have a local account for Windows, so no sync for you. We’d rather you could sign into a Microsoft account just for Edge.

Best web browser 4

PERFORMANCE

Edge feels like a seriously quick browser. Although its time of 5 seconds to load www.trustedreviews.com is one of the longest we measured – and identical to Firefox – it has the smoothest scrolling of any browser we’ve used, which makes browsing around web pages a pleasure. Its MotionMark graphics and Speedometer web application benchmark scores of 193.42 and 47.99 are below average, but 225.56 in the JetStream JavaScript benchmark is a huge score. 

Edge feels fast, but its benchmark performance is a mixed bag. It’s also a memory hog, requiring nearly 1.4GB of RAM with our six test tabs open – 500MB to 900MB more than the competition. It’s easy on your laptop’s battery, though: one hour of Netflix used 23% of battery, compared to between 26% and 32% for the competition. 

EXTENSIONS

Extensions are only a recent addition to Edge, and there are very few: only 20 in the Microsoft Store at the time of writing, including several ad blockers, LastPass and the Pocket save-it-for-later tool. One extension, called Turn off the Lights (below), darkens the entire screen while you’re playing a video, with the exception of the video itself. It’s a cracking alternative to full-screen mode. 
Best web browser 3

VERDICT

There are many things to like about Edge. It feels fast, we love its super-smooth scrolling, and it’s generally easy to use. Microsoft needs to add some extra features to keep up with the competition, though, such as the ability to save all open tabs as a Bookmarks folder and then open that folder’s bookmarks all at once. The Sync function is also limited, and being restricted to Bing when right-clicking to search is annoying. If Microsoft would just loosen its grip a little, Edge could be great. For now, those after a no-nonsense browser should stick with Chrome.
Best web browser 2

5 / 6

OUR SCORE:

MOZILLA FIREFOX

Key features:
  • Detailed privacy settings
  • Customisable
  • A little slow
  • Relatively high battery usage
Ten years ago, Firefox was the browser to beat, dwarfing Google’s upstart Chrome. Now the picture is rather different: Chrome is dominant, and Firefox is slipping towards a mere 10% market share. 

Firefox is far from dead, though, and still has some tricks up its sleeve. It’s serious about privacy, with technology to stop companies tracking the pages you visit even if they ignore a “Do not track” request. It has a library of extensions to rival that of Chrome, and while it’s no Vivaldi, it’s still possible to customise the interface to a certain degree. 

INTERFACE

Nowadays, Firefox looks very much like Chrome: tabs at the top, a combined address and search bar, and an optional bookmarks bar. The interface is busier than Chrome’s, but as we discuss below, Chrome’s clean look can come at the cost of functionality. 

By default, there’s a home button and a dedicated search box – although we’re not quite sure why this separate search box is necessary. In Vivaldi, it’s a privacy feature; you can turn off search suggestions for the search box, so text you enter isn’t sent direct to the search provider’s servers before you even press enter. In Firefox, you can’t configure the address bar and search box separately – both either have search suggestions enabled or disabled. 

Fortunately, Firefox makes it easy to customise the interface and remove such clutter. By right-clicking on the toolbar and clicking Customize, you can drag and drop various interface elements around and add or remove shortcut icons to suit your way of working.  

Best web browser 5

The customisation is limited to which shortcut buttons you require, and whether you want them on the left or right of the address bar, but we still appreciate being able to add one-click buttons for History and Private Browsing, as well as the ability to remove the redundant search box mentioned above. Having History or Bookmarks on the toolbar also provides you with a much wider, easier-to-use menu than when you access them through Firefox’s main menu button. 

The customisation section is a good way to add the Firefox “Forget” button. This is another signature privacy feature: with a click Firefox will close all windows and tabs and delete your cookies and history from the past five minutes, two hours or 24 hours. Other browsers let you delete you history selectively, but not with a single click.

Best web browser 6

STARTUP AND TABS

By default Firefox opens with the Mozilla Firefox Start page, which has a Google search box and a selection of shortcut buttons to various program features. It isn’t particularly useful, but it’s easy to change. The New Tab page is simple but effective: it features a search box for whatever provider you have chosen in Settings, and thumbnails for your most-visited sites. 

We hunted high and low in Settings for a way to change what happens when you open a new tab, but to no avail. We eventually noticed the cog icon at the top-right of the New Tab page itself. This provides you with a choice of a blank page or a page with suggested sites, but an extension such as New Tab Homepage will sort that out. 

Right-clicking on a tab displays the usual close/mute/pin tab options, and you can save all open tabs to a specific Bookmarks folder. Firefox doesn’t have a menu to let you see at-a-glance which tabs you have open, but pressing Ctrl-tab flicks between the two most recently used tabs, and keeping the control key held down after you press the tab key brings up an Alt-tab-style thumbnail view of all open tabs.

BOOKMARKS AND HISTORY

On the whole, we like the way Firefox’s bookmarks and history work. Clicking the History button offers a dropdown menu with recently closed tabs, your most recent history and the useful option to restore the entire previous browser session. Clicking Show All History brings up a pop-up resizable window with all your visited web pages, and you can open them in new windows or tabs, or add history entries to your Bookmarks folders. 

You can also bring up a sidebar with your history arranged in a list, and it will stay open as you click through the entries trying to find the right page. It all works fine, but we wish Firefox used a less compressed font to make things easier to read. 

The Bookmarks button provides quick access to your bookmarks toolbar, and clicking Show All Bookmarks brings up a window that’s similar in look to the All History window – it isn’t pretty, but it works. There’s also a Bookmarks sidebar, with all your saved pages arranged in a tree format. 

PERFORMANCE

Unlike Chrome, Opera and Vivaldi, Firefox doesn’t use the Chromium project’s Blink engine. Instead, it uses Mozilla’s Gecko engine, and it just doesn’t feel quite as fast. It takes the browser 5 seconds to render www.trustedreviews.com, compared to 2.8 for Chrome and Opera, and Firefox lags behind Chrome, Edge, Opera and Vivaldi in the MotionMark graphics benchmark and JetStream JavaScript benchmark. It’s also the second-slowest browser we tested in the Speedometer web application test, behind Edge. 

These slow benchmark scores are reflected in general use. There’s a very slight delay when flicking between tabs, and things become rather jerky when you drag tabs to rearrange them. Scrolling through pages can sometimes feel like there’s something clogging up your mousewheel, too. It isn’t terrible, by any means, but if you’re used to the smoothness of Chrome and Opera then you may feel your browsing experience is compromised. 

We did notice that Firefox gradually became slower over time as we filled its history and loaded it up with bookmarks. This was fixed with the “Refresh Firefox” option in the about:support section, but we haven’t experienced such a slowdown with other browsers. 

Firefox consumed the most battery in an hour of Netflix streaming, eating up 32%. That's more than all the other browsers on test here.

EXTENSIONS

Firefox was the first browser to support extensions, and as you’d expect, there are plenty available. DownThemAll, to save multiple files from an HTTP server, is particularly useful, as is Textarea Cache, which automatically saves any text you enter in a textbox, in case your browser crashes. 

SYNC

Firefox isn’t behind with Sync, either. Once you’re signed in with a Firefox account, you can sync your tabs, bookmarks, passwords, history, extensions and settings between devices. You can also synchronise bookmarks and history with mobile devices. However, when tested this with an Android phone, we found that sync kept pausing, and we had to go into Settings | Accounts & Sync to kick-start it manually.

VERDICT

Firefox is a competent browser, with some great features such as the bookmarks and history sidebars, customisable toolbar and the Forget button. However, it’s one of the slowest browsers we’ve tested, and some aspects of the interface, while useful, could do with an overhaul to make them more attractive and easier to use. Apparently, there’s an improved rendering engine on the way, which should help matters. In the meantime, though, you should stick to Chrome for outright speed and Vivaldi for interface innovation.
Best web browser 4

4 / 6

OUR SCORE:

TOR

Key features:
  • Privacy focussed
  • Loaded with security features
  • Lots of add-ons
  • Relatively slow
  • Slows down connection speeds

When it comes to online anonymity, Tor is the real deal. The combination of a specially modified version of Firefox and a network of anonymous relays makes it extremely hard for anyone to identify you and the websites you visit. 

Instead of connecting you straight to a server on the internet, Tor wraps the data you send with multiple encryption layers, then bounces this data through a network of relays. Each relay decrypts an encryption layer to reveal the next relay in the chain, or Tor Circuit. The final relay decrypts your data and sends it to its destination – but since this relay doesn’t know where the original data came from, it's extremely hard for the destination server to learn anything about you, such as your IP address.

Tor isn’t perfect, and has been compromised in the past, but it's the best method we have to keep the websites we visit safe from prying eyes. 

INTERFACE

Tor is remarkably easy to use. It's a portable application, and the installer just unpacks the browser's files to a folder of your choosing. From there, just run the Start Tor Browser shortcut. When you first run Tor, you can choose whether you have a direct connection to the internet – such as at home – or whether you're behind some kind of firewall or proxy and will need to fiddle with some settings to connect. 
Best web browser 11

On our home broadband connection, the direct connection worked perfectly: Tor connected, and up popped the familiar shape of Firefox. The Tor Start page offers up a DuckDuckGo search box – DuckDuckGo being the search engine that prides itself on not tracking you. 

There are also some tips on staying anonymous. Using the Tor browser isn’t enough to stay safe from prying eyes; you should also avoid using applications that bypass the Tor network, such as torrent software, or plugins such as Flash that can be "manipulated into revealing your IP address". In addition, never open files downloaded through Tor – such as DOC and PDF – in external applications, since these can connect to external services outside the Tor network and reveal your IP address. 

After maximising the browser window, we were intrigued to see a warning message that this could identify us on the internet: the reason being that a maximised browser window can give away your monitor's resolution and so help build a fingerprint of your machine to help outside parties track you. Tor recommends you keep the application at its default windowed size to avoid this. Scary stuff.

Tor's Bookmarks work in the same manner as standard Firefox, but History is interesting, in that Tor doesn’t save it. As you'd expect for a privacy-focused browser, Tor is set to always be in Private Browsing mode, so it won’t save your history or accept any cookies. You can disable this in Settings easily enough, though. 

SECURITY ADD-ONS

There are a couple of Tor-specific additions to Firefox. The most obvious is the small onion icon on the left of the address bar. This gives you the relays your web connection has jumped through to reach the current site, their IP addresses and the countries in which they reside. An option to create a new Tor Circuit for your current site will connect you to a new selection of relays: we found this useful when we were being routed through Taiwan, for example, and the connection was very slow. There's also the nuclear option to choose a New Identity, which restarts the browser and provides a new Circuit at the same time. 

It's worth exploring Tor’s Security Settings option. This takes the form of a slider with Low, Medium and High security levels, with progressively more content blocked as you go up the scale. For example, Medium and High levels would even block some of the images on www.trustedreviews.com. The onion menu shows you what content has been blocked, and you can re-enable it as you wish: granting permission for a couple of video codecs let us play YouTube videos, for example. 

Aside from the Tor network itself, the Tor browser has a couple of add-ons to keep you safe. These are the NoScript and HTTPS Everywhere plugins. NoScript blocks JavaScript – and plenty of other technologies, such as Java – on any websites you don’t add to a whitelist. Many malicious websites use scripts to attack a visiting machine, so simply having scripts blocked by default is a good way to remain safe online. 

HTTPS Everywhere is an attempt to force all connections to websites to use the encrypted HTTPS protocol, to help prevent data passing between your computer and the site from being intercepted. Some sites default to unencrypted HTTP when you type their URL into your browser's address bar, or have pages full of links back to the unencrypted HTTP version of the site. HTTPS Everywhere finds those links and redirects to the secure version of the page automatically. 

Both are useful tools, but they’re also available for standard browsers: Chrome, Firefox and Opera for HTTPS Everywhere, and Firefox for NoScript. 

PERFORMANCE

As you'd expect from the way it works, Tor isn’t a fast browser. All that bouncing around the world takes its toll on download speeds. Using standard Firefox, speedtest.net reported our internet connection as 47Mbits/sec download and 7.2Mbits/sec upload, with a 9ms ping. With the Tor browser, we saw just 8.7Mbits/sec download and 1.9Mbits/sec upload speeds, with a 100ms ping. 

This would be fine for normal web surfing, but the connection speeds are erratic – some sites would just grind to a halt before loading CSS, leaving a bare skeleton of a page. In addition, some sites found the traffic profile created by Tor suspicious, asking you to fill in a CAPTCHA to check you're not a robot, or flat-out block you. For example, Google wouldn't let us search due to “unusual traffic” (although if you're using Tor for Google, you should rethink your privacy priorities). Netflix is also deeply suspicious, but this could be because it didn't know what content to offer us from one session to the next as we hopped around the globe.

This is the price you pay for unrivalled privacy, however – and you're unlikely to use Tor to do your Tesco shop. It's more likely to come into its own when you want to look up something that the authorities don’t want you to see, or if you want to visit a site that, for whatever reason may be banned in your country. Tor is invaluable in countries without the kind of internet freedoms we enjoy in the UK, where it's often the only way to get hold of news sources outside the grip of the government. 

VERDICT

In the way that it manages to do something complicated in a manner that’s both straightforward and transparent to the user, Tor is a triumph. There’s no better way to safeguard your privacy online, there are no VPNs or subscriptions to worry about, and no complicated configuration. A single 50MB download and you're safe from all but the most determined. 

Performance issues mean you'll still want to use a normal browser for most of your surfing, but keep that Tor shortcut handy; you never know who's watching.

Best web browser 3

3 / 6

OUR SCORE:

OPERA

Key features
  • Built-in free VPN
  • Modest extension library
  • Good performance
  • Sync service

Opera has always been a niche player in the browser market, but loyal users have appreciated its commitment to innovation. It was the first major web browser with tabs, for example – fancy going back to a pre-tabs browser now? Thought not. 

Its focus has changed recently, however. The latest versions no longer use Opera’s own rendering engine, instead relying on the Chromium project’s Blink engine, and it’s no longer possible to customise the browser’s interface. 

SPECIAL FEATURES

Opera may have lost some of its distinctiveness, but it’s still a modern-looking browser with an impressive interface and one killer feature: built-in VPN. This is incredibly easy to set up: just tick a box and you’ll connect to websites via a proxy server, which will help mask your location and IP address. 
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You can choose whether you want to connect via a VPN in Canada, the US, Germany, Holland or Singapore, or choose an optimum server (Holland, in our case). The VPN let us look at the US versions of sites such as Netflix, as well as sites that are banned in the UK, and impressively didn’t slow down our connection speed at all. Opera doesn’t even set a bandwidth cap. It’s quite an extra. 

Opera also comes with a built-in ad blocker. You may not agree with ad blockers, but some people value their ability to speed up web page loading and protect from tracking. You enable the ad blocker by ticking a box in Settings, and can add sites that the ad blocker will ignore (in case they don’t load properly, or you’d rather not deprive them of revenue). 

INTERFACE

Opera has a clean and modern interface. All is where you’d expect to find it. Tabs are at the top, with a combined search and address bar, as well as an optional bookmarks bar. The address bar will return Google’s suggestions for web addresses and search terms as you enter text, but you can also turn on a dedicated search box. The dedicated box doesn’t offer suggestions – useful if you don’t want what you’re typing to be sent straight to Google’s servers as you type it. We’d have liked to be able to select a search engine directly from this box, rather than having to go into Settings to change all our search defaults. 

A couple of interface elements stand out. The first is that there’s no Home button, and no way to enable one. Browsers are moving away from Home buttons, but as heavy users of multiple Google services, we still find it useful to have a single, immutable button for the Google homepage. 

TAB HANDLING

Opera’s almost-square tabs are space-efficient, and inactivate tabs fade to a subtle grey, so it’s easy to see which is active. You have a few standard right-click options (clone tab, close all other tabs, and so on) but there are fewer ways to manipulate your tabs than in Vivaldi. The tabs menu on the right is neat, showing you all open as well as recently closed tabs, and hovering over an entry displays a large thumbnail of the web page. We wish Opera would also display a thumbnail when you hover over a tab on the tab bar, as is the case in Edge and Vivaldi. 

Where you’d expect to find a Home button, Opera has Speed Dial. This is a selection of most-used sites, with each presented as a designed card, rather than a thumbnail. This is prettier, if less useful. The Speed Dial is initially populated by a number of commercial sites such as Facebook, Amazon and eBay, but it takes little time to remove these. There are also a selection of Speed Dial suggestions, which are mainly based on your browsing history. You can even create folders to keep your Speed Dial organised.  

As in Vivaldi, your Speed Dial pages are treated as a Bookmarks folder, which makes it easier to move pages between folders and edit and delete them. You can also right-click on a tab and save all open tabs as a Speed Dial folder. 

If you’re going to use Opera, you’ll need to learn to love Speed Dial, since it’s the only choice you get when you open a new tab – unless you install an extension such as New Tab Start Page Pro. This isn’t a problem, since the sidebar makes Speed Dial a useful one-stop shop for everything you need to do within the browser. The sidebar provides access to your bookmarks manager, history, extensions, downloads and settings, so you’ll rarely need to use the application’s main menu. 

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We have few complaints about how the various sections are laid out: you can right-click and add items from your history to your bookmarks, but only one page at a time, and the Settings menu is clearer than that of Edge and Chrome, if still a little sprawling. The Bookmarks view is easy to navigate, with drag-and-drop animations helping you move bookmarks exactly where you want them. However, we’d like to see a list of all bookmarks in the tree view on the left, rather than just folders. 

One interesting aspect is the Personal news section. This aggregates stories from around the web, according to Opera’s “Top 50”, or news stories you pick from a catalogue. This is limited to a number of publications chosen by Opera, and includes many of the big names you’d expect: the Guardian, Economist and Telegraph, for example. It’s a fine way to keep tabs on what’s going on and allows you more control than the Edge browser’s newsfeed. 

EXTENSIONS

Opera has its own family of extensions, but the library is far smaller than that available for Chrome or Firefox. However, since Opera used Chromium project technology, it’s easy to add Chrome extensions, as long as you first install the handily-named 'Download Chrome Extension' extension. This even changes the install button on the official Chrome extension store from Add to Chrome to Add to Opera. Not all extensions will work, so you’ll need to deploy trial and error: animatedTabs wasn’t happy, for example, but Grammarly worked fine. 

PERFORMANCE

Opera feels quick. New tabs open instantly, and there’s no sign of the hesitation when flicking between tabs that we saw with Vivaldi. The browser acquitted itself well in our browser benchmarks, too. A score of 267.89 in the MotionMark graphics handling benchmark is second only to Chrome, and 68.65 in the Speedometer web application test is above average. 

The browser could render www.trustedreviews.com in just 2.8 seconds, making it just as fast as Chrome and far quicker than Firefox, Edge and Vivaldi. Scrolling around web pages is beautifully smooth, too. The only downside is that Opera uses a lot of RAM: 826MB with our selection of six tabs open, making this the biggest memory hog we’ve seen apart from Edge. 

Opera also has a special Battery Saver mode. With this enabled, an hour of Netflix watching used 26% of our test laptop’s battery, compared to 28% with the mode disabled – this is such a small difference that we’re tempted to put it down to statistical variation. 

SYNC

Opera has its own Sync service. You need to create an Opera account and password, and all or any of your bookmarks, settings, history, open tabs and passwords will be synced across all your devices, including smartphones. When you have multiple Opera-running devices synced, the Tabs menu gains an Other Devices sub-menu, with each device’s open tabs listed in its own section.

VERDICT

Opera may no longer be particularly customisable, and Vivaldi (founded by ex-Opera employees) has certainly stolen its crown for innovation, but it’s still a cleanly designed and fast browser. Opera does find itself caught between two stools: it has neither the outright speed of Chrome nor the power features of Vivaldi. However, if the VPN, ad blocker and newsfeed features appeal, it’s a fine alternative.
Best web browser 5

2 / 6

OUR SCORE:

VIVALDI

Key features:
  • Incredibly customisable
  • Tab stacking and tiling
  • Based on Chromium
  • Best for power users
  • A little slow

Vivaldi was created by former employees of Opera software and, similar to the Opera browser, is designed with customisation in mind. You can tweak this browser to work in a way that suits you, and it’s brimming with innovative features. 

INTERFACE

The Startup wizard rams the message home. It lets you choose your theme (Human is very Linux; Redmond very Microsoft), decide whether you want your tabs to go at the top, bottom, left or right, and choose a background picture for your Start page. It’s a useful introduction to just how many parts of Vivaldi’s interface you can tweak. You’re then pointed towards some introductory YouTube videos – the developers want to make sure you don’t miss out on unique features such as Tab Stacks. 

The Settings menu is colossal, but is logically organised with a search function. We like that the Settings window can remain open and any changes you make happen in real time to the main browser – it makes it easy to fiddle around with Vivaldi’s appearance. 

Vivaldi features are a couple of controls missing in most browsers: mouse gestures and Quick Commands. You can hold down the right mouse button and draw various patterns to perform functions such as opening and closing tabs, and going back and forth through your history. You can even draw your own patterns, although if you make one that’s already assigned to another feature, Vivaldi will tell you the pattern is in use, but not by what. 

We don't use mouse gestures, but there are doubtless many who would. We much preferred Quick Commands. You press F2 to bring up a search box that will look through your bookmarks and history, as well as program commands and settings, as you type. It’s a quick way to navigate all the information stored in your browser from a single place. 

TAB HANDLING

Vivaldi’s tab handling is one of its most impressive aspects. For a start, you don’t have to have tabs along the top. If you’d rather mimic the Windows start bar, then place it at the bottom. Want to take advantage of a widescreen monitor? Put it to the side. Having your tab bar at the left or right also gives you a useful thumbnail of each page. 

A movable tab bar is only the beginning. Move one tab onto another and Vivaldi will group them together to form a Tab Stack. Hovering the mouse over the Stack shows you thumbnails of all the pages it contains, so you can choose the one you want. You can also Ctrl-click to select multiple tabs, then right-click and add them to a Tab Stack. 

A particularly useful feature is Stack Tabs by Host, so if you have multiple pages from www.trustedreviews.com open, you can make a Tab Stack with a single click. Oddly, this wouldn’t work with Google sites, and we wish clicking on the Tab Stack would bring up the thumbnails – it would feel more natural than just hovering over the top. 

Right-clicking on a tab, multiple tabs or a Tab Stack provides brings up a number of useful options. You can move a tab or a Stack to a new window if your tab bar is getting overwhelming. You can bookmark a single tab, all open tabs or a Tab Stack, and multiple tabs will be given their own folder stamped with the time the bookmarks were created. 

Best of all, you can tile tabs within a single browser window. It’s great for multi-tasking – when you have a couple of websites open and are typing into a Google Doc, for example – and, once again, is a great way to take advantage of a widescreen or ultra-widescreen monitor. We wish there was a way to resize the tiles, however. 

Best web browser 14

There’s one last feature we found particularly useful: the tab trash can. Click this icon and you’ll see all the tabs you’ve had open previously, so you can restore them with a click – and the browser will even remember your tabs after a restart.

NEW TAB PAGE

You have plenty of options when it comes to new tabs: the Start page, your homepage, a blank page or a page you specify. Most browsers only offer the option of a blank page or a special New Tab page. Since we access so many different services, from email to documents to maps, from the Google homepage, we liked having that open automatically with every new tab. 

The Start page itself stands out. It’s split into Bookmarks, History and Speed Dial – similar to Bookmarks, but with thumbnails. You can create as many Speed Dial sections as you need; you can have a section for social media, news, shopping, messaging and anything else you can think of. 

Speed Dial doesn’t automatically fill up with your most-visited sites in the way that Chrome’s New Tab page does, but it does provide suggestions for Speed Dial entries based on your browsing history. You can also turn a Bookmarks folder into a Speed Dial with a click. 

ADDRESS BAR

As with all modern browsers, you can search from the address bar, and as long as you enable the option, you will receive suggestions to complete web addresses and search strings as you type. Those concerned about privacy may wish to disable this option, as it means data is sent to a search provider such as Google before you even press return. You can get around this by enabling a dedicated search box with suggestions disabled, so you can use this box instead when you’re concerned about privacy. 

One problem we had was that Vivaldi would return search suggestions when we had Bing set as the default search engine, but not Google. This is apparently a known bug. 

BOOKMARKS AND PANELS

The browser comes with a number of shopping bookmarks, which is presumably one of the ways in which the Vivaldi developers make money. It takes little time to remove them if you’re not interested. Adding a bookmark is easy with the button next to the address bar, or a right-click on a tab. You can also drag items from your history straight to a Bookmarks folder. 

You can either manage your bookmarks with the Start page, where a tree view makes it simple to create folders and move bookmarks around, or use the tree view in the Bookmarks Panel. The Panels live on the left or right of your monitor, depending on your preference, and there are sections for Bookmarks, Downloads, Notes and Web Panels. 

Bookmarks and Downloads work as you’d expect, but Notes and Web Panels are particularly interesting. As well as adding text, Notes lets you screenshot the current page or a portion of it to attach to the Note, and will automatically add the page’s URL to the note’s metadata. It’s a powerful and well-integrated feature, and the only thing missing is any kind of sync capability – but that’s apparently coming soon. 

Web Panels are a way to keep various web pages open in your browser as sidebars. It’s particularly useful for frequently updated sites that you flick to occasionally, such as a news site or Twitter. Any site can be a web panel, but some get confused about the device you’re using and ask you to install an app.  

EXTENSIONS

Vivaldi currently doesn’t have any native extensions, but since it’s based on the Chromium browser project, most Chromium extensions should work. It’s such a feature-packed browser that you shouldn’t really need too many add-ons. One extension we did need was the User Agent Switcher for Chrome (below). Without it, Netflix refused to play anything. Once I fooled the service into thinking I was using Chrome, everything was fine. 
Best web browser 13

PERFORMANCE

This is the one area where Vivaldi falls down, If only very slightly. Despite competitive scores in the MotionMark animation benchmark, Speedometer web app test and JetStream JavaScript benchmarks, it didn’t feel quite as smooth as Chrome or Edge when scrolling through web pages. There’s also a very slight pause when opening the Start page, especially if you have a background image turned on. However, memory usage with six web pages open was the lowest of any mainstream browser here, at just 524MB, so this is no resource hog overall. 

In the Netflix test, it consumed 28% battery in an hour, putting it firmly in the mid-table.

VERDICT

There’s no doubt Vivaldi is an excellent browser. There’s no need to hunt around for extensions: if you can think of a feature you need, it’s probably already there. The only thing currently missing is sync, but that’s on the way. Those with more modest requirements should stick with the super-fast Chrome, but if you’re a power user who deals with huge bookmark libraries and likes to keep plenty of tabs open, you’ll love it.
Best web browser

1 / 6

OUR SCORE:

GOOGLE CHROME

Key features:
  • Deeply integrated with Google services
  • Decent performance
  • Easy-to-manage site privacy controls
  • Loads of add-ons
  • Excellent sync
  • Slightly confusing interface
Since its launch in 2008, Chrome has grown to the point where nearly 60% of desktop users surf using Google’s browser. 

It’s easy to see why it’s so popular. At launch Chrome was a revelation, thanks to its clean interface and incredible performance. It’s had its ups and downs since, but Google has recently stripped out some of the bloat to make Chrome quick and intuitive once again. 

INTERFACE

The reason Chrome is the go-to browser for so many people is obvious: it’s just so easy to use. It loads quickly – start typing into the address/search box and results will appear instantly from your history, alongside Google’s own suggestions, to complete your web searches. These suggestions take the form of web addresses (type in www.gu and you’ll get suggestions for The Guardian, Gumtree and Guildford Council, for example) as well as search strings. In effect, you can be on a specific web page or have a page of Google results within moments of opening the browser. 

Of course, this is advantageous to Google as well as its users, since the company relies on collecting information. And it’s this very reason that causes many folk to worry about using. What you type into the address box is sent direct to Google before you’ve even pressed return, in order for the company to provide you with search suggestions. Unlike Opera and Vivaldi, there’s no option to have a dedicated search box with suggestions disabled; you have to disable suggestions entirely in the browser’s settings. 

There isn’t much else to Chrome – just tabs, address bar, navigation and bookmark buttons and a menu. There are plenty of hidden features, which bolsters the browser’s clean look but doesn’t always aid usability, as we’ll explain later. 

Best web browser 1

The browser does an excellent job of helping you manage your interaction with websites. Click the icon on the left of your current web address, and you can view information about the current site –whether your connection is encrypted and how many cookies are in use, for example. You can also choose whether you want to allow or deny technologies such as JavaScript or Flash, or let the site access your computer’s camera or microphone. It’s the easiest site security control we’ve seen. 

NEW TAB PAGE

You don’t get a Home button by default, but it’s easy to enable in Settings. We like to have a home button set to google.co.uk due to our reliance on multiple Google web apps – it’s simple to access these from the Google homepage. 

This being a Google browser, there are other ways to access Google’s services too. The first is with the Apps bookmark, which is set up on the Bookmarks Bar by default. This sends you to chrome://apps, and has large icons for the Web Store (for more apps and browser extensions), Google Drive, Gmail and YouTube, among others. The difference between apps and extensions is that extensions change or extend the way the web browser itself works; apps, on the other hand, are services or web programs you access through that browser. 

You can also access Google’s apps/services using the New Tab page. As with Opera, there’s no way to change what appears when you open a new tab, unless you use an extension such as New tab URL. A bar at the top of the New Tab page includes a menu for Google’s services, and if you’re signed in it will let you access your profile information. 

The New Tab page also consists of a Google search box and eight thumbnails for your most-used sites. This looks a little like Opera or Vivaldi’s Speed Dial, but without either’s level of customisation. The only thing you can do is delete sites from the page, rather than organise them in any particular fashion. 

TAB HANDLING

Chrome opens tabs instantly and flicks between them without hesitation. Everything about the browser performs with great alacrity. There’s nothing fancy about Chrome’s tab handling, but it’s slick and intuitive, whether you’re rearranging tabs or pulling them out to create new windows. Right-clicking a tab brings up standard options – such as pinning a tab (so it will survive a browser restart), duplicating or closing that tab or all other tabs – as well as the option to bookmark all open tabs and save them to a folder. 

Our only real niggle with Chrome’s tab handling is that pressing Ctrl-tab clicks through the tabs in order, rather than between the last-used tabs. This can be fixed using an extension such as CLUT (Cycle Last Used Tabs), but is an example of where the competition is pulling ahead. There’s also no tabs menu, where you can see a list of open tabs at a glance, or thumbnails when you hover over a tab. There is a least a list of recently closed tabs, hidden away in the History section of the main menu. 

HISTORY AND BOOKMARKS

This brings us to another gripe with Chrome: useful features are hidden away, with no effort made to integrate them with the main interface. You access both your history and bookmarks from awkward fly-out sub-menus in the application’s main menu. We’d recommend learning the keyboard shortcuts instead (Ctrl-H and Ctrl-Shift-O). 

We did find we missed the fancy ways other browsers have of making your history and bookmarks accessible. Chrome just opens them in a new tab, which is fine, but it isn’t a patch on Firefox’s pop-up history sidebar or Vivaldi and Opera’s Speed Dial. For bookmarks, we find Chrome works best if you enable the Bookmarks Bar and are fastidious about arranging bookmarks in folders. The Bookmarks Manager does make it simple to organise your bookmarks, thanks to a folder hierarchy view and drag-and-drop. Unfortunately, you can’t create a bookmark direct from your history. 

EXTENSIONS

Chrome has a huge library of extensions, so if there’s something about the browser’s behaviour you want to tweak, there’s probably an extension out there to make it happen. Again, there’s no easy way to access installed extensions; you need to go Menu|More tools|Extensions, then click the Get More Extensions link at the bottom. It makes them feel like a bit of an afterthought. 

SYNC

Chrome’s Sync uses your Google account, and is as comprehensive as you want it to be. You can choose to sync your installed apps, extensions, settings, themes, history, bookmarks and open tabs across devices, and even your passwords and autofill information (for web page address fields and so on). It’s useful to have this data synced, but think carefully about the possible consequences of having so much information shared between all your PCs and mobile devices – even if you do trust Google itself. 

PERFORMANCE

Chrome feels fast, and is fast. It came top of the MotionMark graphics benchmark with a huge 380.84, and was comfortably the fastest browser we tested in the Speedometer web application benchmark with 117.3. Its score of 184.36 in the JetStream JavaScript benchmark was beaten only by Microsoft Edge. It could render TrustedReviews.com in 2.8 seconds, so shares top honours with Opera. Its memory usage is average, at 704.5MB with our six test pages open.  

It consumed 26% of our test machine's battery in an hour of Netflix streaming, which isn't the worst but comes in behind Microsoft Edge.

VERDICT

Chrome remains an excellent browser. In the past, some versions have been sluggish or buggy, but the current edition (56, as tested) is fast and stable. Once you’re used to how quickly Chrome responds, other browsers can feel slow, even if there’s very little difference in reality. 

However, what Chrome has in speed it lacks in extra features, and its interface, while clean, hides many of its useful features away. We’d happily take a little more clutter for easier access to our bookmark manager and history, for example, or to have a more customisable New Tab page. If you’ve always used Chrome, it’s worth installing an alternative such as Vivaldi, Opera or Firefox, just to see what you might be missing. 

Author : Chris Finnamore

Source : http://www.trustedreviews.com/best-web-browser_round-up

Categorized in Science & Tech

NETRALNEWS.COM - The number of internet users world-wide has roughly doubled in the past eight years to around 3.5 billion. The people who have come aboard in the past few years are spending their time in something that was overshadowed long ago in developed countries by apps: the mobile web browser.

Single-purpose apps like Facebook and Snapchat are the product of markets where monthly data plans and home Wi-Fi are abundant. App stores require email addresses and credit cards, two things many new phone owners just don’t have.

In places like India, Indonesia and Brazil, it’s easy to buy an Android phone for as little as $25—even less for older second-hand (or third-hand) refurbished phones. But there’s likely to be little onboard storage, and the pay-as-you-go data plan is too precious to waste on apps, especially those that send and receive data even when you aren’t using them.

Browsers are popular again, not just because typing a URL has become simpler, but also because they work harder to compensate for the nature of wireless access in emerging markets.

Southeast Asia, South Asia, South America, Mexico and Africa are all areas where the dominant browsers—Alibaba’s UC Browser, Opera Mini by Opera Software and Google Chrome from Alphabet Inc.—have the ability to compress browsing data, by up to 90% in some cases, so people burn up as little as possible. UC Browser and Opera Mini also have robust built-in ad blocking, further cutting down on data costs.

On Friday, Jana, a mobile-ad company, entered this browser market with another incentive: free daily data. By delivering 10 megabytes (or about 20 minutes) of free data a day through its mCent Browser, Jana hopes to build a following and pay for it by charging for conventional ads and sponsorship of the browser. It also intends to charge partners to be their browsers’ default search engine.

In terms of the scale of the users they have accumulated—UC Browser had more than 400 million users as of last April—these browser businesses are making a virtue out of the constraints of mobile-telecom systems in rural areas and emerging markets, where infrastructure is generations behind what it might be in richer countries.

As the global middle class continues to rise in emerging markets, browser makers are racking up users nearly as fast as Facebook did in its highest-growth period. And they are figuring out how to keep their users occupied while monetizing them through mobile advertising.

Google, Facebook and other internet giants are well aware of these trends. Two-thirds of Facebook’s users are in emerging markets, and while the company’s Free Basics program—part of Internet.org —was banned in India for favoring some websites over others, it is available in many countries in Africa and South America. And Facebook says it has upward of 200 million users on Facebook Lite, an app for low-bandwidth users.

As for Google, it benefits inherently from rapid global internet adoption, which would be impossible without Android. And while Google’s mobile Chrome browser remains dominant in many emerging markets, it also pays Opera, among others, to direct search traffic to ad-supported Google services.

It’s logical that as people in emerging markets become wealthier and their mobile infrastructure becomes better, they’ll follow the same trends as their richer peers, and their internet consumption will shift to apps. India, with its 1.3 billion people, is projected to increase its per-capita income by 125% by 2025, according to Morgan Stanley.

But for the foreseeable future, Opera, UC Browser and Jana are all betting that the ranks of these “next billion” people coming onto the internet will continue to refresh themselves—and experience constraints that mobile browsers are uniquely capable of alleviating.

“In India, the raw growth numbers are just huge—it’s both a lot more people coming online but also usage, because data is getting cheaper,” says Nuno Sitima, an executive vice president and head of mobile business at Opera Software, founded in 1995 and based in Oslo, Norway; it was sold last year to a consortium of Chinese investors for $575 million.

In terms of new downloads, Africa is growing fastest, Mr. Sitima says, while Southeast Asia, with more than 600 million people, is another huge market for these browsers. For Alibaba, which acquired UCWeb in 2014 for north of $1.9 billion, UC Browser isn’t just a browser, but a beachhead.

The company is rolling out ways to make its browser sticky, like a sprawling, aggregation-fueled news site in India, where it is the No. 1 browser. While mCent Browser is just launching in beta, Nathan Eagle, Jana’s chief executive, says the prospect of free internet is extremely appealing to users in the developing world.

To date, Jana’s core product has been an ad-powered payment system, also called mCent, on which its new browser depends. Basically, mCent pays for the airtime of users who watch ads or redeem promotions. Through relationships with 311 mobile operators in 90 countries, Jana is connected to the billing back-end of more than 4 billion mobile accounts and has leveraged that access for 30 million mCent payment users so far.

Mr. Eagle says he wants to bring a billion more people online. Google and Facebook have been working on the same problem, in part by launching balloons and drones to create airborne communication networks. “The way we’re trying to go about solving the free internet problem is a lot less sexy,” says Mr. Eagle. But by leveraging existing mobile infrastructure, along with the desire of brands like Unilever, a client of Jana’s, to reach customers in emerging markets, he argues his solution is more viable.

After all, which is more likely—getting another billion people online by flying cellular radios over their heads, or by making it more affordable to connect to cell towers that are already in range but whose cost is out of reach?

Source: http://www.en.netralnews.com/news/business/read/2500/web.browsers..not.apps..are.internet.gatekeepers.for.the....next.billion

Categorized in News & Politics

Web browsers of today are basically from the last millennium, a time when the web was full of documents and pages," says Krystian Kolondra, Head of Opera browser. "With the Opera Neon project, we want show people our vision for the future of the web.

Since it's inception twenty years ago, the internet has become an essential part of our lives. Every day, billions of people access it using their favorite web browsers. But the internet keeps changing, and so must the browsers.

In the past year, Opera has stepped up the game for browsers, introducing novel features such as free VPN and native ad-blocking, but the company has realized it's now time for someone to properly challenge the browser industry.

What is Opera Neon

Opera Neon is a concept browser built from the same browser engine as the Opera browser; it's designed to allow users to focus on the most important part of the internet: the content. Opera Neon will provide users with fun ways to interact with web content, including the ability to drag and push things around, and even to even pop content out from the web.
A completely new user interface debuts in Opera Neon. It includes:

  • New start page using users' current desktop background image.
  • A left sidebar with video player, image gallery, and download manager.
  • A new visual tab bar on the right side of the browser window that makes it easier to distinguish between tabs.opera-neon-envisions-future-web-browsers_602

  • An intelligent system that automatically manages tabs; like gravity, frequently-used tabs float to the top, while rarely-used tabs will sink to the bottom.
  • A completely new omnibox, supporting top search engines and open search.

Also, new ways of enjoying web content have been added:

Video pop-out, which lets users to watch videos while browsing other web pages.opera-neon-envisions-future-web-browsers_601
Snap-to-gallery, which allows users to snapshot and crop any part of a web page and save to the gallery for later use.opera-neon-envisions-future-web-browsers_600
A split screen mode which allows for two pages to be used simultaneously.opera-neon-envisions-future-web-browsers_604

Opera Neon and Opera browser

Opera Neon is a concept browser, meaning a vision for the future of browsers. It will not replace the current Opera browser. However, some of its new features are expected to be added to Opera this spring.

Opera Neon is available for testing as a free download for Windows and Mac.

Watch the product video and the behind the scenes video.

About Opera

With two decades of history, Opera has grown up, side-by-side, with the internet. From browsers, data managing and security apps, to news apps, we connect more than 350 million users and industry partners to the internet, giving more experiences, more data, more money saved, more ideas, more control, more content, and more of what they like. Opera Software AS is a privately held company and is headquartered in Oslo, Norway.  

Follow our news at http://www.opera.com/blogs/news/.


Source : http://www.tweaktown.com/pressrelease/10986/opera-neon-envisions-future-web-browsers/index.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

Min is a Web browser with a minimal design that provides speedy operation with simple features.

When it comes to software design, "minimal" does not mean low functionality or undeveloped potential. If you like minimal distraction tools for your text editor and note-taking applications, that same comfort appeal is evident in the Min browser.

I mostly use Google Chrome, Chromium and Firefox on my desktops and laptop computers. I am well invested in their add-on functionality, so I can access all the specialty services that get me through my long sessions in researching and working online.

However, I sometimes prefer a fast, uncluttered alternative on-ramp to the Internet. With multiple projects in progress, I can amass a wide collection of open tabs or even separate windows of the powerhouse browsers in no time.

I have tried other browser options with little success. The alternatives usually have their own sets of distracting add-ons and features that tend to pull me into more off-task behavior.

The Min browser does not do that. It is a GitHub-sourced Web browser that is easy to use, and it keeps the typical interruptions from distracting me.

Min browser

The Min browser is minimal-design Web browser that provides speedy operation with simple features. Just don't expect to take its tour any time soon.

What It Does

The Min browser comes in versions for Debian Linux variants, Windows and Mac machines. It can not compete with the functionality available in the mainstream cross-platform Web browsers.

It does not have to compete, though. Its claim to fame very well might be supplementing rather than replacing them.

One big reason for this is its built-in ad blocking capability. Out of the box, the Min browser needs no configuration or hunting for compatible third-party apps to do end-runs around ads.

In Edit/Preferences, you have three options to click/unclick for content blocking. It's easy to modify blocking tactics to suit your preferences. The Block Trackers and Ads option uses EasyList and EasyPrivacy. If nothing else, keep this option checked.

You also can block scripts and block images. Doing both maximizes the website loading speeds and really ramps up your protection against rogue code attacks.

Have Search Your Way

If you spend considerable time doing online research, you will adore the way Min handles searching. It is a top-notch feature.

Search functionality is accessible right in the browser's URL bar. Min utilizes search engine DuckDuckGo and Wikipedia entries. You can enter search queries directly into the Web address field.

This approach saves time since you do not have to go to the search engine window first. A nice bonus is the ability to search your bookmarks.

In the Edit/Preferences menu, choose your choice for default search engine. The list includes DuckDuckGo, Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Wikipedia and Yandex.

Try making DuckDuckGo your default search engine.

Min is built around that option but does not impose it on you.

Min browser search function

Min browser's search functionality is part of the URL bar. Min utilizes search engine DuckDuckGo and Wikipedia entries. You can enter search queries directly into the Web address window.

The search bar displays answers to your questions very rapidly. It uses information from DuckDuckGo including Wikipedia entries, a calculator and more.

It offers quick snippets, answers and Web suggestions. It sort of substitutes for not being in a Google-based environment.

Navigating Aids

Min lets you jump to any site quickly with fuzzy search. It throws suggestions at you almost immediately.

I like the way the tabs open next to the current tab. You do not have to set this preference. It is there by default with no other choice, but it makes sense.

Min browser Tasks

One of Min's really cool operations is the ability to organize tabs into Tasks that you can search anytime. (click image to enlarge)

Tabs you have not clicked on for a while dim. This lets you concentrate on your current task without distractions.

Min does not need an add-on tool to keep numerous tabs under control. The browser displays a list of tags and lets you split them into groups.

Stay Focused

Min has an optional Focus Mode hidden in the View menu. When enabled, it hides all tabs except the one you have opened. You must return to the menu to turn off Focus Mode before you can open new tabs.

The Tasks feature also helps you stay focused. You can create tasks from the File menu or with Control+Shift+N. If you want to open a new tab, you can select that option in the Files menu or use Control+T.

Call the new task whatever fits your style. I like being able to organize and display as a group all the tabs associated with a work project or a specific portion of my research. I can recall the entire list at any time to easily and quickly find where I was in my browsing adventure.

Another neat feature is found under the paragraph alignment icon in the tab area. Click it to enable Reading Mode. This mode saves the article for future reference and strips away everything on the page so you can focus on the task of reading.

Not Perfect

The Min browser is not a perfect alternative to high-powered, feature-bloated alternatives. It does have a few glaring weaknesses that developers have taken too long to rectify.

For instance, It lacks a solid developer website stocked with support forums and detailed user guides. That may be partly due to its home being GitHub rather than an independent developer website. Still, it's a weakness that is glaring to new users.

Without website support, users are forced to struggle with lists of readme files and hard-to-follow directories on GitHub. You can access them from the Min browser Help menu -- but that's not much help.

A case in point is the Welcome to Min splash screen that loads from the menu when you launch the browser. It displays two buttons. One says "Start Browsing." The other says "Take a Tour." Neither one works.

However, you can start browsing by clicking on the menu bar at the top of the Min window. There is no workaround for the missing tour, though.

Bottom Line

Min is not a full-featured Web browser with bells and whistles galore. It is not designed for add-ons and many other features you typically use in well-established Web browsers. However, Min serves an important niche purpose by offering speed and distraction-free browsing.

The more I use the Min browser, the more productive it is for me -- but be wary when you first start to use it.

Min is not complicated or confusing -- it is just quirky. You have to play around with it to discover how it works.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software application or distro you'd like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and I'll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!

Author: Jack M. Germain
Source: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/84212.html

Categorized in Science & Tech

When we talk about the Internet technology, we must not forget to mention the kinds of crucial disadvantages that are present with its use. Even though the numbers of advantages like, instant connectivity, where users can connect with each other and globally on the go, round the clock are unforgettable. The Internet technology sometimes can become a big hassle in your everyday routine. This does not mean that we aim to not rationalize how important the Internet is in today’s day and age, but we are trying to offer a different perspective to it. Just like any other technology in the world, which comes with its pros and cons, the Internet world is no different. When a user is online, he might be enjoying some of the undeniable opportunities and possibilities, but he is also putting himself at a lot of risks on different levels and points.

Just for the brief discussion, let’s focus on those risks and points that an average Internet user can put himself at while sitting online. The number one risk is access to illegal or banned content. Since the Internet is largely used unsupervised, one can have access to almost everything, this is why it is so important for parents to understand this phenomenon and impose parental controls when their children are using the Internet.

Similarly, another major risk factor involved is the stealing of confidential information for the exploitation purpose. Countless times we come across instances where people have found their credit card information to be explicitly used for hacking and fraud purposes. If we go onto the social side of the Internet, sexual harassment, sexual blackmailing and abuse are some of the most dangerous forms of risk imposed with the use of the Internet technology. When we talk about posing risks of different kinds on the Internet, it is also important to talk about ways to counter it in order to maximize the beneficial use of the online world.

There are default methods and mechanisms that are set on browsers to allow users to have some sort of leverage against those risks, but there can be different automated settings that users can place in order to make their Internet experience safe and ensure protective measures while they are interacting with the online world. One of those ways is to implement the concept of private browsing. Today’s guest post will attend the use of private browsing in great detail and talk about 20 ways through which users can use this concept as a protective measure against the imposing Internet risks.

Understand the concept of private browsing

browse-in-incognito-mode

When we talk about using private browsing as a mechanism, it is important to first understand the premise of this concept as it can often be very tricky. When you use the Internet, your browser starts saving up pages and links that you frequently visit, the downloads that you save and passwords or forms that you fill and even the payment transactions you make. This helps your browser speed up the same process the next time you repeat. However, when you select private browsing, your Internet browser will stop saving this information and this way you can introduce a protective measure if you think your information is putting you at a risk.

Enable private browsing

chrome-private-browsing

Once you understand the potential and aspects of private browsing, now it is time to enable it in order to test out if it really works for you. So go on to your browser settings and get your private browsing enabled.

Do not save your passwords

If you think your computer is accessed by a lot of people or online for long hours unattended, then it is best to enable the private browsing to not save your passwords. You can select not to auto-fill or sign in automatically to the websites you are registered at.

Do not save your business transactions

When you enable private browsing, it is important that you select not to save your business transactions. This means that any credit card payment you make, any online banking transaction you perform or sign in to your bank accounts sitting online should not be tracked by your browser. This helps you stay away from banking frauds.

Private Browsing hides you

Private browsing helps you stay anonymous on most of the websites. Sometimes this can be beneficial in the sense that if you are visiting a website which is new and you are aware of it, you can keep your IP Address and identity hidden while visiting the site and ensuring full trust on it.

You can be selective in private browsing

Another important feature of private browsing to understand is that you can actually be selective in your private browsing mechanisms. If you think there are certain sites that you trust enough, visit often to have your information saved and save you the time or trouble to sign in again and again, you can exclude them from private browsing sessions by having a completely different non-private browsing tab for it.

Private Browsing is different than Firewalls

Sometimes users often confuse private browsing with firewalls. It is important to note that both these things are completely different to each other. Firewalls are like protective walls against complete website or platforms, while private browsing is using those websites anonymously rather than disabling them.

Learn to adapt

Private browsing can be a different experience, here you will have to do a lot of tedious tasks like signing in again and again because your information will not be saved, so learn to adapt to this kind of browsing.

Private browsing is better on certain browsers

Not all browsers are extremely effective with private browsing, it is important to know which ones are so you only use those. Google Chrome and Safari are said to be the most effective browsers with private browsing settings.

Private browsing is different on different computers or software

If you are using Microsoft Windows, private browsing might have different settings compared to if you are using iOS on Apple.

Always ensure you know the difference

A user must know when he is using the private browsing session and when he is not in a private browsing mode.

Private browsing saves you from identity thefts

By not saving your information, private browsing can help you save yourselves from frauds like identity thefts and misuse of information.

Private browsing can save your computer

Private browsing can help you save your computer from different malware programs staying hidden through the saved pages.

Use effective private browsing settings

You can allow your computer to have some exceptions while in private browsing sessions and not use all the features that come with it.

Private browsing is different on different platforms

Private browsing is different on computers and on mobiles. So you have to adjust your likeability and settings accordingly.

Use private browsing from alien locations

Private browsing might not be the best solution when you are working from home or office. It is best when you use it from alien locations or other countries while travelling.

Use other security measures as a backup

Just using private browsing might not suffice depending on the environment you operate on and the sensitivity of your activities online.

Use private browsing for legal purpose

People often use private browsing to access banned or illegal content and sites, which is a big felony and sometimes can put you at a risk.

Private browsing can be monitored

If you intend to use private browsing to hurt someone, then remember there are stronger sources online who can easily monitor your private browsing activities.

Keep consistent settings

Use the same private browsing settings all the time, so you have the idea of what kind of information will be saved and how will your Internet activities work rather than changing it all the time.

Author : Frank Clair

Source : http://www.quertime.com/article/20-tips-how-to-browse-the-web-privately-and-anonymously/

Categorized in How to

Browsing the web on your mobile device doesn’t have to be an exercise in futility. Sure, some of the stops along the information superhighway butcher its best practices, as anyone who’s had the displeasure of encountering undissmissable ads, oversized typography, and confusing graphics can tell you. But a good browser app can make even the least intuitive webpage or website better. Unlike the smartphone browsers of yesteryear, some of which omitted even basic pinch-to-zoom controls and support for tabbed browsing, the modern cream of the crop augment perusal in ways that were previously inconceivable. Some speed up the web by compressing unoptimized images and code on the fly, or by retrieving stored usernames and passwords from the cloud. Others convert content encoded with Flash, a proprietary plugin, into a form interpretable by smartphones. And still others offer support for third-party plugins — e.g., note-taking apps and sharing tools — that further beef up your browsing experience.

Indeed, perhaps the most overwhelming element of the mobile web today isn’t taking care to avoid its many tangles, but choosing from the wealth of browsers that do so exceedingly well. They run the gamut from refined to prototypical, from proprietary to open-source, and from privacy-oriented to data dependent. There’s Opera, a desktop stalwart that’s made the successful jump to mobile; Chrome, Google’s long-in-development effort which is matched in polish and flexibility perhaps only by its desktop namesake; and Firefox, a mobile effort by nonprofit foundation Mozilla with a focus on simplicity. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Choosing a browser is a challenge, to be sure, but hardly an insurmountable one. To simplify things, we’ve picked the most streamlined, intuitive, and robust mobile browsers we could find. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means, nor a definitive one — after all, like the web, the number of mobile browsers grows by the hour. But it’s a good starting point.

Chrome

Chrome, the internet browser nearly as synonymous with the web as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, launched on Android back in 2012. It wasn’t the first third-party browser on the platform to market, but it more than made up for its tardiness with a veritable cornucopia of features. Among the highlights? The ability to quickly initiate searches from the address bar with your voice or keyboard, browse the web in relative privacy with Incognito mode, and autofill lengthy forms with saved info such as names, credit card numbers, and addresses. And since its debut, it’s only become more compelling.

Chrome really shines if you’ve got a Google account. Once you’ve signed in, it synchronizes your bookmarks, tabs, and history across devices. It also remembers your usernames and passwords, if you allow it, and autocompletes your search inquires with a personal dictionary of learned spellings. But you needn’t sign in to benefit from Chrome’s other, labor-saving conveniences. It grants all users tabbed browsing and a rendering engine that sandboxes individual web pages, ensuring that the instability of one doesn’t affect the rest.

Last but not least, Chrome features Data Saver, a relatively new feature which conveniently taps Google’s servers to compress images, fonts, and other web objects. It confers the dual advantage of speeding up browsing and reducing your data usage, both of which are greatly appreciated when using a cellular connection.

Best for: Those already heavily immersed in the Google ecosystem.

Download now for:

ANDROID

Opera

Opera is nothing if not a resilient company. Despite its single-digit share of the browser market and a $1.2 billion takeover by a Chinese consortium, the firm’s mobile efforts are very much alive and kicking. That’s dedication.

Opera Mobile, the Android-compatible derivative of the long-in-development Opera browser for PC, continues to receive slews of new features through successive, regular updates. The most recent is a built-in ad blocker which, as you might expect, blocks pop-ups, interstitials, and banner ads you’d otherwise encounter on any given website. Opera’s new search bar supports the standard array of queries — i.e., web, pic, video searches — but also supports QR code scanning. And Opera Turbo, a feature comparable to Chrome’s Data Saver, compresses data — up to 80 percent, Opera claims — in order to boost your browsing.

Opera Mobile is otherwise standard fare. It supports tabbed and private browsing, includes a password manager and auto-complete tool, and, if you sign in with an Opera account, the app syncs your browsing session between other signed-in devices. Performance is about on a par with Chrome, which makes sense considering the two use almost identical rendering engines.

Best for: Those who seek balance between features and ease of use.

Download now for:

ANDROID

Firefox

Firefox, the product of the nonprofit Mozilla foundation, is, like Chrome and Opera, hardly new to the internet browsing block. The open-source browser made its debut in 2002. The Android variant, appropriately dubbed Firefox for Android, got a later start — in 2012 — but now packs the same functionality as the rest. Perhaps the undisputed headliner is support for extensions, or third-party tools that augment browsing in a variety of ways. There’s the pop-up suppressor AdBlock Plus, for instance, along with the text-to-speech engine Speechify and password manager LastPass. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Extensions aren’t Firefox’s only unique contribution to mobile browsers. Its night-viewing mode dims the colors of webpages in order to minimize eye strain. Firefox for Android also features a robust set of privacy controls that allow you to, among other things, block advertising networks from tracking your browsing habits. And the seamlesness of Firefox’s bookmark, history, password, and tab synchronization are second to none.

But Firefox for Android tends to rest on the laurels of extensions — it lacks a native data compression feature, for example, and sports only a basic home page. Rest assured there’s an extension for practically everything, but you’ll have to resign yourself to tracking them all down.

Best for: Those who don’t mind a bit of tinkering.

Download now for:

ANDROID

Puffin

If you aren’t familiar with CloudMosa’s Puffin browser, not to worry, as it doesn’t have quite the same pedigree as some of its heavyweight competition. But what it lacks in sheer force of brand it makes up for in novelty with one of the oddest collections of esoteric, albeit useful, mobile browser tools. It’s able to emulate a mouse cursor or trackpad. It has a virtual gamepad and a built-in virtual keyboard. And it lets you customize its themes.

What truly separates Puffin from the crowd, though, is its support for Adobe Flash content. It uses remote servers to download, process, and stream Flash games and videos to your device, and, more often than not, does so splendidly. It’s not perfect, however. Video content restricted by geography is often out of the question thanks to CloudMosa’s US-based servers, and the browser’s free tier only allows Flash streaming up to 12 hours a day. Still, if there’s a stalwart site or player out there yet clinging desperately to the internet plugin past, Puffin’s Flash remains one of the best ways around it.

Puffin also has a privacy mode, data compression, and a handful of add-ons like Twitter, Facebook, and Pocket.

Best for: Those who favor Flash above all else.

Download now for:

ANDROID

Dolphin

Dolphin debuted to much fanfare as one of the first browsers on Android to support multi-touch gestures. The mobile landscape is a bit more competitive nowadays, but Dolphin has managed to avoid drifting into obsolescence with a robust set of time-saving tools. The cleverly named Dolphin Sonar lets you perform complex voice queries like “search eBay for Nike Shoes” and “go to Google.com.” Moreover, gesture browsing allows you to associate finger-traced characters with websites (e.g., “T” for Twitter). And Webzine, an answer of a sorts to Flipboard, aggregates more than 300 web sources in a variety of disciplines within an offline, “magazine-style” digest.

Dolphin’s competitive in other ways. It, like Firefox and Puffin, supports add-ons. It features tabbed browsing, too, plus private browsing, form autocompletion, and password management. And it supports syncing via Dolphin Connect, too. Log in with your Google or Facebook, install the corresponding Chrome or Firefox extension on your computer, and your tabs, history, and your bookmarks will automatically sync silently in the background.

Best for: Those seeking a kitchen sink’s worth of features.

Download now for:

ANDROID

Source : http://www.digitaltrends.com/

Author :  

Categorized in Science & Tech

The makers of Firefox are today introducing a new mobile web browser for iOS users that puts private browsing at the forefront of the user experience. Called Firefox Focus, the mobile browser by default blocks ad trackers, and erases your browsing history, including your passwords and cookies.

The end result is a simplified browser that may load web pages more quickly, the company claims, given that ads and other web trackers can bog down pages and impact performance.

The app was originally launched on the App Store almost a year ago, but at the time was designed as an ad-blocking utility that could remove ads and trackers from iPhone’s Safari browser. That feature is still available in the revamped app, but it’s now aiming to compete more directly with Safari, too.

The browser itself doesn’t have any bells and whistles compared to its rivals, however. There are no tabs, no list of favorite sites, or numerous other configuration options. Instead, a trip to the Settings section only lets you toggle on or off the data you want to block, like ad trackers, analytics trackers, social trackers, other content trackers and web fonts.

Oddly, given the widespread privacy issues Yahoo is facing in the wake of one of the largest data breaches of all time, Firefox Focus has opted to use Yahoo Search as its default search engine. There doesn’t appear to be a way to change this in the current version, which is frustrating. (Update: Mozilla says search engine choice will arrive in a later release. Other markets outside the U.S. may have a different engine than Yahoo.)

Pointing users to Google may seem counterintuitive for a company focused on protecting personal data, but eliminating user choice in such a Big Brother-like fashion under the guise of knowing what’s best is off-putting, as well.screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-10-57-11-am

After you complete a web search, you can erase that activity with a simple press of an “erase” button. Firefox Focus could have automated this, but there’s something about manually clearing a search that feels cathartic.

Despite an increased interest in privacy — especially now, following this period of tumultuous political upheaval here in the U.S. — Firefox may again be too late the game to compete. Already, the top mobile browser makers offer private browsing modes, and there are a number of third-parties that have made private browsing a focus for years, like Tor. The App Store, too, is filled with utilities for private browsing, including a number of startups like Ghostery, Dolphin, Brave and others.

Once one of the world’s top browsers in the desktop era, Firefox didn’t really weather the shift to mobile. Instead of jumping to produce a mobile-friendly browser for the dominant platforms, it protested against the App Store’s restrictions, refusing to build an iOS versionfor years. That finally changed, and Firefox for iOS launched to all around a year ago. But it simply was too late to matter.

The new Firefox Focus is a free download on the Apple App Store. No word on if or when an Android version will be ready.

Author:  Sarah Perez

Source:  https://techcrunch.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Citing the dangers of a digital world that thereatens to spill beyond the user's control, Mozilla has launched the Firefox Focus last Nov. 17. The company promised it will let the public use the internet without any trace, and it is only available to iPhones and other iOS devices.

New Private Browser

Firefox Focus is essentially a private browser that recalls Google Chrome's Incognito mode.

"Firefox Focus is set by default to block many of the trackers that follow you around the Web. You don't need to change privacy or cookie settings," Mozilla said in a blog post. "You can browse with peace of mind, feeling confident in the knowledge that you can instantly erase your sessions with a single tap — no menus needed."

Based on Mozilla's description, however, it seems that it might be offering an advanced private browsing in the Firefox Focus. Chrome's Incognito Mode does not prevent websites from tracking your activities.

"You aren't invisible," Chrome tells you when opening an Incognito window. "Going incognito doesn't hide your browsing from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit."

Blocking Web Trackers

Firefox Focus blocks websites that are tracking visitors' activities, which also sets it apart from a VPN tool. According to Mozilla, its algorithm is designed to target web tracking technologies, and websites that rely on tracking will simply not work. If a user does not mind tracking or wants to go to a blocked website, Firefox Focus will direct him to Firefox or Safari.

It is important to note that there is a Firefox Focus serving as a Safari content blocker extension. With the introduction of a stand-alone Focus browser, that feature became an option within its range of functionalities. In its Settings menu, there is an option to integrate Safari and enable tracking blocker.

Like Chrome's Incognito browsing, Focus will erase all traces of the user's sessions when the app is closed.

Firefox Focus Interface

The user interface is another notable feature in the Firefox Focus. The options and elements are essentially barebones. Users, for instance, can only use one tab or essentially no tab because you only have the main Focus window. There are also no menus, ad popups, bookmarks and configuration options.

Some observers, however, found it strange that Mozilla has decided to use Yahoo as Firefox Focus' default search engine. The company has been involved in one of the largest data breaches to date. There is no way of changing the search engine yet, but Mozilla said that it will be offering more choices in the next update.

Focus On Speed

According to Mozilla, because Focus blocks website trackers and is not outfitted with all the features in conventional browsers, it is able to load pages faster.

There are those who could say that the Firefox Focus is at risk of being a mere appendage of a more full-fledged internet browser. Blocking web tracking technologies could make contents such as videos disappear, or they will simply not work. However, users can still do something about this. In the Settings menu, they can toggle the type of data that they want to block.

Author:  Chris Loterina

Source:  http://www.techtimes.com/

Categorized in Internet Privacy
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