Do you ever feel that the web is breaking? When shopping online for a toaster, you can expect an ad for that thing to stalk you from site to site. If you have just a few web browser tabs open, your laptop battery drains rapidly. And don't get me started on those videos that automatically play when you're scrolling through a webpage.
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It was a little over two years ago that Chrome snatched the market share top spot from Internet Explorer. Now, in 2018, Chrome sits at a whopping 62.85 per cent, while IE and Firefox wallow at 11.82 and 9.92 respectively, according to the latest figures from Net Marketshare.
How many times have you gone to share an interesting story (or comic) with a friend — a pretty standard process — only to find that the short URL you thought you were copying and pasting is actually one giant, messy paragraph of text. You can thank all the services and sites that append a ton of extra junk to URLs so they can have a better understanding of how you visited the site, what you've looked at and where you're going.
Browser cookies are useful in some instances; unpleasant in others. While they can save you from having to go through a complicated authentication process whenever you're trying to access your favourite sites, they can also store data on what you've done on a particular website -- which can then be used to serve you more "relevant" advertising at a future point.
I recently stumbled across the extension Toby (Chrome, Firefox), and I'm surprised at how much I love it. So much so that it has replaced the pretty Chrome Delight and Earth View from Google Earth extensions I've been using whenever I open a new tab. I'm one-hundred per cent Toby now, because it's one of the best ways I've seen to get a little more control over all those open tabs in my browser.
Not every Chrome or Firefox extension you use has to be one-hundred-per cent dedicated to productivity or utility. Sometimes, it's just nice to look at something pretty. And in the case of Earth View from Google Earth, I don't really care if it eats up my browser's memory or otherwise impacts its performance in any way. It makes me happy, and it will make you happy too -- exactly why this is our Extension of the Week.
Last year, I spent a chunk of time playing around with different browsers. Microsoft Edge, much to much dismay, got a run for a couple of weeks. I mucked around with the early days of the Firefox Quantum beta. And then, just like everyone else, I went back to Chrome.
But even though I returned to the home of Google, I've still been angling for something different. And over the last few weeks, I found myself using Firefox more and more, until the browser finally became my default option across all platforms.
Even if you're the next Stephen King or George R. R. Martin -- and if you're the latter, please try to write faster -- everyone needs a helping hand with writing. That's why the world has editors, and copy editors, grammar coaches, ten million books on writing, and most importantly, browser extensions that can help you better your craft.
You can't stop Facebook from tracking everything you do on the social network (unless you delete your account, of course), but there is a way to stop it from tracking where you go once you leave the company's walled garden. All you need is Mozilla's new Firefox browser extension: Facebook Container.
Put your hand up if your browser's "Downloads" folder is packed with random stuff? OK, I'm sure some people diligently organise theirs, but for the rest of us, it would be nice if you could sort files ahead of time. "Save In", an add-on for Firefox and Chrome, lets you save files to sub-directories so you can keep that Downloads folder nice and clean.
For three days last week I received a push notification every time Space.com posted a story. While I definitely like my share of space stories, I'm not a huge enthusiast. The notifications started when I accidentally misclicked on a push notification asking if I wanted them and then was too lazy to change it until it got so annoying I couldn't take it anymore.
Google killed the View Image button recently and while it's easy enough to work around, it'd be even better if there was a way to restore it. Hang on... isn't that what browser extensions and addons are for?
Viruses don't want to be removed, so the nastier ones will fight to stay put by disabling protection software, cloaking their presence and even generating fake windows and dialog boxes to give you a bum steer. Looks like malicious extensions are getting in on the action too, doing whatever they can to evade uninstallation.
Amazon and Google have been duking it out for the past few months, and it doesn't look like the two companies will come to an agreement anytime soon. Earlier this month, Google announced plans to pull its YouTube app from Amazon's Fire TV streaming devices starting on January 1. Thankfully, there's a solution waiting in the wings.
It has been revealed that a marketing stunt has left many Firefox users thinking their computers had been hacked. An add-on, called “Looking Glass 1.0.3", has been officially installed with recent builds of Firefox. It's an AR game that lets people play along using clues from the hit TV show Mr Robot. But it's also a warning to software developers to not let marketing teams get too cute.