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Tag Archives: Mozilla Firefox
Walmart and Amazon have figured out how to bypass Apple’s mandatory 30 percent cut for apps distributed through the iTunes store, reports The San Francisco Chronicle. Walmart has launched an iPad version of its Vudu online video streaming service using a desktop shortcut that lets customers click an “Add to Home Screen” button on Vudu.com to install an app-style icon on the iPad desktop. Likewise, Amazon unveiled the Kindle Cloud Reader which lets customers read Kindle e-books on the iPad even without an Internet connection. Both services use the HTML5 Web browser protocol and follow on the heels of The Financial Times of London which in June launched a Web-based version for smart phones and tablets to avoid Apple’s fee. “The flexibility of HTML5 allows us to build one application that automatically adapts to the platform you’re using – from Chrome to iOS,” said Dorothy Nicholls, director of Amazon’s Kindle division, in a statement. Amazon made its Kindle Cloud Reader compatible with Safari on the iPad as well as Google’s Chrome browser, and plans to add Internet Explorer, Firefox and the BlackBerry PlayBook browsers in coming months. Read more at The San Francisco Chronicle.
Although it’s hardly a prelude to War of the Roses, Google’s recent decision to remove support for the Firefox toolbar is likely to have some critical consequences. Google’s break-up announcement, which came in a blog post “Written by Brittney,” says Google Toolbar for Firefox will be supported only up to Firefox 4.
You spend all day (or at least we do) using a browser—Firefox, Chrome, Safari or IE—to do most everything you do on the Web. But if you want to use the Internet to talk to someone face-to-face, you can’t use your browser to do it. You have to switch to Skype, or GoToMeeting, or some other separate application. Even Google’s own video chat client has to be downloaded before you can use it.
Whenever you surf the Web, websites use small bits of code called “cookies” to track your activity. Depending on your point of view, this practice is either an invasion of privacy or a beneficial practice that helps keep online content free, and makes browsing in general more interesting because you may see an ad for something you actually want. Newly proposed Do Not Track legislation is intended to make Internet surfing more private.
The MIT Media Lab, arguably the nation’s most prestigious technology incubator, will be run by Joichi “Joi” Ito, the well-known Japanese-born entrepreneur and investor. Among other credentials, Ito in the 1990s founded Japan’s first Internet service provider as well as the country’s first search engine. He later co-founded Creative Commons, a group focused on the democratization of intellectual property around the world, and served on the board of Mozilla, the foundation that nurtured Firefox, the open-source web browser.A seasoned investor, Ito has helped to finance such élite tech companies as Twitter, Flickr, Kickstarter, Six Apart, and Last.fm.
This is Greg Balestrieri’s first Christmas as the Candy Man and he’s doing everything he can to make it a good — and safe — one for customers of his online sweet shop, Candy.com. Balestrieri and his cousin and co-owner Joe Melville opened Candy.com in July stocked with 6,000 types of candy from 500 sweets makers. Christmas goodies include gingerbread-shaped Peeps, a two-pound mint stick, and old-fashioned ribbons and sourballs like your Grandma used to keep in the living room candy dish. To prep for Christmas, the eight-person Weymouth, Mass. company also stocked up on e-commerce security measures to keep customers safe while they shop, including the latest website encryption technology, multiple security seal programs, and payment options that don’t require customers to input a credit card number. “It’s all about conversion,” Balestrieri says. “When you have thousands of people coming to your site every day, if making one little change like putting a security logo on your checkout page makes a 1 percent difference in conversion rate a day that can make a huge impact on your bottom line over time.” Like Candy.com, small online merchants are mimicking the security practices of bigger, more well-known e-tailers to give customers a little peace of mind along with their wares this holiday season. It’s vital for small businesses to show they’ve got their customers’ best interests in mind because they don’t have the familiarity of big brand names to fall back on, says Robert Siciliano, a Boston Internet security consultant. “In this day and age, you should be screaming about how secure you are,” Siciliano says. “Consumers are overwhelmingly concerned about their personal security as it relates to fraud prevention and identity theft. If you can show them you’re a security-minded brand, they’re more likely to do business with you.” Secure holiday shopping cheer When planning their online store, one of the first things Balestrieri and Melville did was hire a website hosting company that met widely used PCI DSS standards for processing credit card payments, which include a number of mandatory security measures. To keep customers saying “Ho, ho, ho” instead of “Oh, no, oh, no,” here are other measures electronic shopkeepers should take, according to security vendors and consultants: Use EVSSL — Extended validation secure socket layer, or EVSSL, is an upgrade to the existing SSL security standard that requires certification requests to go through a more rigorous identity check and authentication process. When a website’s got EVSSL its browser’s URL address bar turns green: on the left for Firefox, on the right for Internet Explorer or green text on white background on Mac Web browsers. Since its February 2007 introduction, EVSSL has been adopted by 18,000 sites, including big names such as eBay and Overstock.com, but predominately small merchants, says Tim Callan, vice president of product marketing at VeriSign, part of the consortium that created the process. Some companies opt for EVSSL coverage throughout their entire site, while others like Candy.com use it only for the checkout process. Sign up for seal programs — Small merchants can pay security agents to vet their websites to ensure they’re operating within set security precautions and get trust marks or seals to display if they pass. Charges for such programs vary; VeriSign’s is $995 a year per server. Other programs include TRUSTe, BBB and McAfee Secure. Some also display the date and time a site went through its most recent security check up. Experts suggest merchants prominently display trust marks, especially on checkout pages or other spots where they’re asking customers to fill out forms. Offer multiple payment options — For shoppers leery of giving credit card information to an online merchant they’ve never dealt with before, offering alternatives such as PayPal or Google Checkout is another way to gain their trust. Unlike larger merchants, small businesses don’t pay PayPal a monthly fee to maintain an account so it’s helpful and cheap, says Eddie Davis, the company’s director of small and mid-sized business service. However, merchants do pay PayPal a commission of 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent on each transaction. According to Davis, PayPal’s research has shown small merchants conversion rates go up 23 percent when they offer alternative payment methods. “We bring a lot of consumers who love using PayPal and they’ll seek out sites,” he says. Another option that security experts suggest is this: if you accept credit card payments, delete card information after a transaction, thereby eliminating any risk hackers could break in and steal it. Show and tell — It’s not enough to display security program logos or trust marks on your website. You need to create a page somewhere that explains in detail what precautions you take, Siciliano says. That goes against the grain at some major online merchants, who treat their security measures as a competitive advantage. By contrast, smaller merchants who promote their security programs can use it as a way to differentiate themselves from their like-sized competitors. “Partnering with those big companies helps us get closer to that point of being trusted,” Balestrieri says. Keep customers in the loop — If the name of your online store isn’t the same as your corporate name, include both on order confirmations or credit card receipts that get e-mailed to customers — it’ll save them from refusing the charge because they don’t know where it came from. “You’re also showing them you’re conscious of their card activity, you’re concerned for the security of their card,” says Siciliano, the security consultant. Because Balistrieri’s company’s legal name is G&J Holdings LLC, both that name and Candy.com show up in the Web browser window when customers are checking out, and on receipts. E-commerce security isn’t just about keeping customers safe. Merchants have to make sure they’re not getting defrauded either. That’s why security experts suggest small businesses use intrusion protection hardware and software, monitor credit card activity levels and keep credit card blacklists. SIDEBAR: Safe Shopping Resources Resources online retailers can use to find out more about e-commerce security include: PCI Security Standards Council — The online home of the industry group that developed the PCI DSS security standard for credit card payments offers a variety of resources and information, including downloadable specifications. CA/Browser Forum — This volunteer industry consortium creates guidelines used for issuing EVSSL certifications and provides updates related to the standard. The Number One Sign of Trust on the Internet — Results of a May 2009 study from Synovate/GMI and commissioned by VeriSign about online shoppers’ security concerns.
Built into Windows 7 or available as a free download for other operating systems, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) offers a number of improvements and new features to go up against the likes of competing browsers such as Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome, Apple’s Safari, and Opera. IE8 delivers Internet users stepped up security against cross-site scripting attacks, downloads of malicious code, phishing, and other security risks. At the same time, the new browsing platform provides businesses with tools to centrally manage and configure group policies for the office, streamlined browser management, built-in developer tools to help save your developers time, and backwards compatibility with the earlier browser version, IE7. The question for businesses now is whether IE8 is a game-changer in the battle of the browsers and whether your organization should standardize on IE8 — or any of its well-regarded rivals. Browsing issues to consider There are several ways small and mid-sized businesses use Web browsers. Employees often use browsers to look for information about customers, competitors, or products on the Internet. At the same time, a growing number of companies are using and/or developing Web applications that need to be compatible with Web browsers. Deciding which browser is best for a small business “is like asking an Italian and a Frenchman which country has the best food,” jokes Steve Hilton, vice president of small and mid-sized business research at the Boston-based Yankee Group. The advice may depend on which computing platform your business uses, PC-based or Mac. “My advice for picking a browser is simple: Internet Explorer 8 is your default, but if you feel like experimenting consider Firefox or Chrome and you might find one particularly appealing from a user-interface point-of-view,” says Hilton. This isn’t the case for a Mac user, though, he adds. “Apple-heads should just stick with Safari.” So, does it really matter which browser you go with? Not really, say some experts. “For most companies it’s the path of least resistance, so whatever is the default on the operating system — Internet Explorer for Windows or Safari for the Mac OS — is the first one to try,” advises Michael Gartenberg, vice president at Interpret LLC, a market research firm based in New York and Los Angeles. The launch of IE8 provides businesses with a safe bet for standardization — sort of. “At the end of the day, you won’t have an issue if you go with IE8 as it’s secure and stable,” Gartenberg says. “Microsoft has done an excellent job to move the product forward over the years, but honestly, any modern browser is going to work pretty well for you.” That said, Gartenberg says Microsoft’s dominance of market share in the browser space means some applications might favor IE8 over others in the compatibility department. A company involved in writing Web apps should also take a browser-agnostic approach, both Hilton and Gartenberg say. “Web builders need to optimize sites for all of these browsers, but at least make sure IE and Firefox work, and then pick-up the Apple-centric products,” Hilton advises. “If you’re writing Web-compliant apps, you shouldn’t play favorites,” adds Gartenberg. Windows 7′s relevance Gartenberg says IE8, which is bundled in every copy of Windows 7, gives Microsoft a “home court advantage” in the browser wars. But it’s not without merit: “IE8 does work better in Windows 7, so the combo helps Microsoft — and ultimately, its users, too.” But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for competition. “While I have not tested all browser and operating system combinations, I can’t imagine Microsoft would do anything intentional to impede the use of competing browsers in Window 7,” says Hilton. Referencing antitrust issues, Hilton adds “surely Microsoft, and their legal department, would follow that old adage, ‘once bitten, twice shy,’ when it comes to their operating system and browser issues.” Quick pros and cons While some technology analysts take laissez faire approach to deciding which browser is best for your business, there are still some advantages and shortcomings to each of the big players. Here they are: Internet Explorer 8 Pros: Most websites and plugs-ins work well with IE. Faster speeds and handy time-saving tools. Compatibility View helps see older websites easier. Available in multiple languages. Built into Windows. Cons: Security holes still found. Market share leader means more susceptible to attacks. Some crashing. Mozilla Firefox Pros: Newest version is roughly three times faster than Firefox 3.0. Tabbed browsing works well. Convenient features, including location-aware browsing. Vibrant and passionate development community. Cons: Some bugs and security issues that requires “patching.” Opera Pros: Lean and fast. Secure. Mouse gestures and other extra features in Opera (including Opera Unite) are handy additions. Cons: Doesn’t fare as well on heavy multimedia sites. Not as much plug-in support than IE and Firefox. Apple Safari Pros: Good looking. Fast. Reliable. Minimalist design. Cons: Close button on left side. Not much mouse functionality (e.g. middle button). No status bar. Not all plug-ins supported. Built into Macs. Google Chrome Pros: Clean and fast. Some nice features like shortcuts. Available in 50 languages. Cons: Lack of add-ons; not all websites/plug-ins are supported. No support for Macs.