Despite hosting this blog on a Google service, Blogger, I am really not a fan of Google Chrome. I am a paid supporter of Mozilla FireFox and I prefer Apple’s Safari. Google already has amassed a massive profile of pretty much all of us who use the Internet, that I do not want to make it any easier than it already is for them to get an even better view into how I use the Internet.
If the NetMarketShare.com desktop browser usage trending is even remotely close to accurate, I may not be able to maintain my objection to Google Chrome much longer.
Consider the embedded graphic above. It shows that between December 2015 and March 2016 Internet Explorer dropped down to 39% from about 46% – a dead heat with Google Chrome. But looks what happens between March 2016 and June 2016. The downward trend of Internet Explorer accelerates, and as of about two weeks ago, stands at just below 32%. Some of that decline, I am sure has to do with the aggressive push by Microsoft to get anyone still using Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows 8.1 over onto Windows 10, which we all know favors the new Edge browser. If we add Edge’s 5% share to that of Internet Explorer’s 32%, we get 37% vs Chrome’s 49%.
The bottom line here is that if there are some corporate web based tool or commercial website that is flaky or if it is not supported, it probably won’t be anytime soon. As an old Vulcan proverb goes, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. (Or the one.) I’m just not happy with all of the tracking and profiling.
Yesterday, news broke of a new Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, vulnerability that both Google and Apple have begun working on patches for.
ZDNet described the security problem by saying:
“The FREAK bug disclosed yesterday is the latest in a series of vulnerabilities affecting the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols used to encrypt traffic between an HTTPS website and a browser.”
At the root of the problem, it is possible for a hacker to compromise a website that allows their computer to be inserted into what is suppose to be a private communication between your browser and a web server for things like online banking or shopping. In end, you don’t get what you want and the hacker gets your personal information.
ZDNet goes on to say that the National Security Agency, the very same United States government agency spearheading the charge to weaken encryption security, is also vulnerable to this problem.
Here’s my favorite part:
“Thousands of sites are vulnerable, including that of the US National Security Agency – the same agency that pushed for weaker export grade encryption, according to Ed Felten, director of Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy.
“There is an important lesson here about the consequences of crypto policy decisions: the NSA’s actions in the ’90s to weaken exportable cryptography boomeranged on the agency, undermining the security of its own site twenty years later,” Felten wrote on his blog yesterday.”
Apple is working on updates for Safari for both iOS and Mac OS X and are expected to be deployed as updates next week.
For more, see the full ZDNet.com article.
A new report on ZDNet by longtime Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley, if true, suggests that Microsoft is cooking up a new web browser that is not Internet Explorer 12.
“It turns out that what’s actually happening is Microsoft is building a new browser, codenamed Spartan, which is not IE 12 — at least according to a couple of sources of mine.”
Even if we ignore the “Spartan” Halo reference (Microsoft has chosen to name the Windows 8.1 digital assistant “Cortana” after the fictional computer AI character of the same name that helps Master Chief in their Halo video game franchise), this sounds like a pretty interesting move by Microsoft as Foley goes on to report that the new browser “will look and feel more like Chrome and Firefox and will support extensions.”
So far, I’ve been a support of where CEO Satya Nadella has been talking Microsoft’s products and services. I’ve also been running the Windows 10 Technical Preview (in a virtual machine) for some time now and really like it.
Whatever “Spartan” turns out to be, I’m sure it will be part of the cloud services roadmap that Microsoft has been working steadily toward.
Jack Schofield, writing for ZDNet:
“The main reason for switching to Firefox is that, overall, it’s better than Chrome. But there are other reasons.
Other leading browsers may sometimes do that, but their primary function is to serve the needs of giant corporations — Apple, Google and Microsoft — none of which has any interest in preserving your privacy. Usually the reverse, in fact.
Firefox has always respected your privacy, and now, all things considered, it’s also winning on merit.”
I couldn’t agree more. Google already knows so much about us, I don’t want to make it even easier for the search and advertizing giant to learn more about me. That’s why I still have FireFox installed on my Macs and Windows 7 PCs. As far as I’m concerned, FireFox is pretty fast enough for my needs and when I do have to run Chrome, I run it in a VM.