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Mozilla has heralded the release of a new version of Firefox that it says enables resource-intensive web content like games, apps, and image-editors to run in a browser window at previously unachievable native speeds.
To accomplish the feat, Firefox 52 supports Web Assembly, a new standard developed by Mozilla, which it calls “a game changer for the web”.
WebAssembly allows complex apps, like games, to run faster than ever before in a web browser. We expect that WebAssembly will enable applications that have historically been too complex to run fast in browsers – like immersive 3D video games, computer-aided design, video and image editing, and scientific visualization. We also expect that developers will use WebAssembly to speed up many existing web apps.
Mozilla has posted a video, embedded below, that demonstrates the WebAssembly standard and WebGL 2 in action, with the help of an 3D environment rendered in real-time using the Unreal 4 Engine.
In addition to Web Assembly, the update adds automatic detection of “captive portals” often used by hotel wifi networks that require the user to log in before they can access the web.
Mozilla has also built contextual alerts into input fields to warn users when they’re prompted to enter username and password information on a page that isn’t encrypted with HTTPS.
Other additions to this version of Firefox include CSS Grid, a Grid Inspector developer tool, and automatic disabling of plugins that use the Netscape Plugin API (NPAPI) besides Flash.
Firefox 52 is a free download for the Mac.
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Mozilla has bought content time-shifting app Pocket for an undisclosed amount, the companies announced simultaneously on their blogs. What started out as a handy Firefox plug-in for saving articles you didn’t have time for became more and more closely integrated with the browser, and today they’re making it official. Read More
Mozilla today announced it has acquired read-it-later app Pocket, which it says has 10 million unique monthly active users on iOS, Android, and the web. The app, formerly known as Read It Later, launched in 2007 and is integrated in services such as Flipboard and Twitter. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Pocket will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mozilla Corporation and will become part of the Mozilla open source project, the company said. Pocket’s core employees and technology will help accelerate its Context Graph initiative, while promoting the discovery and accessibility of high quality web content.
Mozilla CEO Chris Beard:
“We believe that the discovery and accessibility of high quality web content is key to keeping the internet healthy by fighting against the rising tide of centralization and walled gardens. Pocket provides people with the tools they need to engage with and share content on their own terms, independent of hardware platform or content silo, for a safer, more empowered and independent online experience.”
Mozilla and Pocket worked together to integrate the service within Firefox in 2015, and this acquisition will allow the teams to work more closely together.
Mozilla’s acquisition follows in the footsteps of Instapaper, one of Pocket’s biggest rivals, which was acquired by Pinterest in August 2016.
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