Asterisk: Get Personalized Results From Your Favourite Sites

Recently I came across this new search tool, that allowed me to search for related links from a list of custom selected websites. The new service called Asterisk Search works as a plugin on Firefox and Chrome. While visiting a webpage, if you want more related information, we just have to select the text and click on the Asterisk symbol.

Personalized Results Asterisk

Features of Asterisk Search

  • Install the GoAsterisk pluging for your browser. It supports Firefox and Chrome at the moment.
  • Highlight text from the webpage you are reading. A small asterisk symbol will show up.
  • Click on it and some results will show up on the left-hand column. There are some popular sites already added like Wikipedia as sources.
  • I could remove these sits and add and customize the sources as I wished. So next time I am reading something, I can simply search from the sites I want to look up rather than all of them.

The only downside of Asterisk is you need to register before you use their service. But you can easily sign-in with your Twitter, Facebook or Google accounts.

If you liked using Asterisk Search, you might also like to check these 5 online tools to search for similar images.

Do try out Asterisk and drop in your comments.

Link: Asterisk

Temporarily Remove Any Element from a Webpage with Your Browser

There are parts of a webpage which you do not want to really use. For example when you see a Facebook public post or profile, it also shows a login box, which you might not be interested in.

We can do this with Dynamite Extension for Chrome browser or Nuke Everything Add-on for Firefox.

For instance in the example below, I will be removing the highlighted element or part from the webpage I am viewing.

I am using Chrome extension Dynamite to show how it works. Just right-click on a selection select Dynamite icon and select hide element.

The end result that element from the webpage is removed immediately.

Ideally, these are very useful tool for web designers to check how the webpage would look by removing certain elements.

You might also like to check out the following extensions which are helpful for web designers.

Do try it out and drop in your comments.

Link: Dynamite on Chrome | Nuke Everything for Firefox

Firefox 17 Released with Support of Facebook Messenger

Firefox 17 has been released officially for Windows, Linux and Mac users. The desktop browser which has struggled to grow consistently against rising Chrome. The new updated version is available today.

Facebook Messenger can also be directly used with Firefox 17. Just sign-in to your Facebook account and visit this page for Messenger for Firefox and click on Turn On.

It will show up with a sidebar of your Facebook chat friends

Facebook Messenger Integrated with Firefox 17

Other Updates on Firefox 17

  • Firefox 17 now is not supported on Mac OS X 10.5
  • Some old bugs regarding the New Tabs page, pointer lock for web apps and page scrolling on sites with fixed headers.
  • The new version will be useful for its Click-to-Play Plugin Blocks feature. The older versions of Flash, Adobe Reader or Silverlight bring up a prompt for users to update the plugins to newer versions.
  • Additionally if plugins are blocked by Firefox 17 on the current page you are viewing, then a icon on the address bar turns into a blue box.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Download Firefox 17

Is Firefox the best Android Browser? Yes!

On my laptop, I hardly use Firefox except to keep it upgraded or sometimes when curiosity strikes. I love using Chrome on my computer and hence I was rather happy to see Chrome Beta on Android. Unfortunately Chrome on Android is still a bit buggy for me.

This is when I started using Firefox on Android. The browser today is out of beta, interestingly beating out Chrome which is still in Beta (check update below).

Firefox for Android Features

  • Firefox is compatible not only with Android 4.0 (ICS) like Chrome. It is compatible from Android 2.2 onwards.
  • The browser also prompts users to choose the search engine they want to use for every search. These include Google, Amazon, Twitter and Wikipedia. Considering we are using this on mobile phones or tablets, toggling through these four is handy.
  • Firefox also has quite a few add-on, much like its PC version. It is one of the few mobile browsers which has a ad-blocker.

There are the other options like synchronizing bookmarks, passwords and history. The browser also seems to be pretty fast and emphasis is on minimal use of typing out stuff.

Do try out Firefox on your Android phone and drop in your comments and views.

Link: Firefox for Android

UPDATE: The Chrome App for Android was updated a day after this post and is out of beta. Thanks Gokul Sukumar for the tip.

Chrome Overtakes IE: Becomes most popular Browser Worldwide!

Browsers war at the desktop level seemed to be getting predictable. Developers might still swear by Firefox and some older Windows versions like XP, still have Internet Explorer as its best bet, most people are generally in adopting Chrome.

According to StatCounter, Chrome has overtaken Internet Explorer to become the most used browser worldwide.

Usage of Chrome is apparently 31.88% which is a slime lead over Internet Explore which has 31.49%.

One might wonder where Firefox is in this race, it is at third spot with approximately 26% usage.

What could stop Chrome?

Chrome does not give features or options which are entirely very different from say Firefox and dare I say even Internet Explorer. The difference lies in the simplicity of its options. The sync features, which can not just sync bookmarks and extensions but also browsing history or open tabs.

Lately, Chrome is now available on Android and it is already seeing millions of installs very month. If Chrome makes it debut on iOS as expected, it might soon leave all other browser very far behind.

The only thing that could stop Chrome seems to be Google itself, just like Microsoft did with Internet Explorer, when they became complacent and stopped improving the browser.

What are your views on Chrome dislodging IE as the most popular browser? Do drop in your comments.

Related: Chrome is the most popular browser in India!

Firefox 11.0 Released with CSS Style Editor and Add-on Sync

The latest version of Firefox 11.0 has been released with some new interesting features for web developers. For long Firefox was always considered the browser of choice for web developers has made sure to keep that community happy.

Some of the key updates are that are a CSS Style Editor, 3D viewer of a page DOM (Document Object Model) and also a very important feature of allowing add-on synchronization.

New Features with Firefox 11.0

Once users upgrade to the new Firefox 11.0 they have new options to look up the sytle editor and also live-edit the styling of any webpage your are viewing. Just click on Tools >> Web Developer >> Style Editor to lookup and live-edit the CSS of any page. This works a lot like Firebug add-on.

The other cool feature is the 3d viewer to lookup a page DOM. While you are on a webpage, right-click and select Inspect Element. The 3D viewer can be started from the right hand bottom corner. It gives a virtual 3-dimensional view of all the page objects which makes understanding the building blocks of a page a lot more easy.

The other nice feature to Firefox 11.0 is that it allows easy Add-on sync with its features. This allows users to move between multiple computers with Firefox and keeping all their favorite bookmarks and add-ons.

Mozilla Firefox has suffered in the past from lack of coherent upgrades. Chrome has taken advantage of it and has ended up being the second most used browser. Despite those facts, with these new features Mozilla Firefox shows exactly why it still is the browser of choice for web-designers.

Do drop in your comments and views.

Link: Download Firefox 11.0 (Linux, Mac, Windows)

Schedule Your Emails on Gmail and Google Apps [Right Inbox]

I like to check different email accounts at different times. Most times we do not need to schedule emails but sometimes it makes sense to schedule an email for wishing someone on birthdays or anniversaries. It can also be used to set a reminder email, that reminds you about a particular task in a few days or weeks (though I would suggest using Gmail Tasks or Google Calendar). :-)

gmail_schedule_rightinbox

Right Inbox Features

  • Install Right Inbox on your Chrome or Firefox browser. Sign into your Gmail account or Google App account for email and it will ask your permission to allow it to work with that particular Gmail account.
  • Now compose an email and click on ‘Send Later’ button. This will allow you to send emails at pre-set timings or at a specific date and time.
  • Right Inbox is in beta and hence is free. But as it is in beta, it is better not to schedule extremely important emails with this tool, even though I have not come across any issues.

Bonus Tip!

If you want to find the best time to schedule an email, try to understand the time-zone the person reading your email lives in. Also their work timings if it is a work related email. For example sending an email at 9.00 am in the morning might work wonders as your email might show up among the top 5 emails in the recipients inbox when they check it for the first time in the morning. ;-)

Here is a quick demo of Right Inbox.

You might also try using Boomerang to schedule emails on GMail.

Try out Right Inbox and drop in your comments.

Link: Right Inbox

Online Tool to Compress and Optimize Image Files from Browsers

Images can take up a lot of bandwidth while being viewed on a website. It could also affect the loading speed for your website, if it has many large sized images. Also if you are into web designing, then you might like downloading all images from a particular page you are viewing.

Kraken is a free online tool that has mixed both features and allows users to download all images from a webpage and while doing so also optimize them with resizing.

Karken_image_compress

  • Visit Kraken.io  and upload any of the files you want to compress and optimize.
  • The image files can be dragged and dropped and a smaller version without loss of quality is made available.
  • It also removes strips all meta data from the images that have been uploaded.

Using Kraken on your Browser

If you like to download all files from a particular webpage and want them automatically optimized or compressed then Kraken has some handy browser tools.

Download Chrome Extension or the Firefox Addon to easily download all images from a particular page. You might also like using this free software to resize a batch of images.

Do try out Kraken and drop in your comments.

Link: Kraken

Will Firefox’s New Tab Features Revive it’s Fortunes?

Lately, I have started to develop a bleak view of Firefox as a browser. The once favourite browser for me has been replaced by Chrome. I hardly use Firefox unless I want to check new updates to the browser itself. The advantage with Firefox is that, it is open and extremely customization friendly.

But not everyone wants to customize everything about their browser, just like not every browser users is a geek. So I think apart from web designers and certain power users, most people have started using Chrome.

This screenshot shared by ExtremeTech, shows a new plan by Mozilla to make the Home Tab for Firefox extremely user-friendly.

firefox_new_hometab

As you can see in the image above it looks a handy page.

Expected Features with Firefox 12’s default home tab

  • With social apps, links visible as thumbnails (borrowed from Chrome) and the option to sign-in to Google Chat, it would probably make Firefox’s home tab page the best default page on any browser.
  • Mozilla has secured its financial future for a while with a deal with Google, so it should now get down to innovate and make it a really good competitor to Chrome.
  • Mozilla needs to figure a way to get developers create great add-ons for Firefox along with being extremely use-friendly.

Firefox needs a boost!

Chrome’s growth has been pretty much at the expense of Internet Explorer but recently it has also meant that Firefox is stagnating.  Even here in India, Chrome is now the most used browser while it is the second-most used browser in the world.

I think it is good for internet users to see competition in the browser market. We all know what happened when Internet Explorer dominated the browser market. Microsoft took users for granted and stopped innovating on its browser. Because of its large user-base it also sort of capped the creative space for web designers to an extent.

At the moment, users will have to wait till possibly April 2012 for this Firefox 12, which is rumoured to feature this new Home Tab feature.

What are your views on Firefox’s New Home Tab page? Will it be enough to get people off the Chrome addiction? Do drop in your comments.

Google Chrome Is Now The Most Popular Browser in India

Over the past 2 years, Chrome as a browser has gained a lot of popularity and is now ahead of Firefox as the second most used browser. In India, however the situation is even better for Chrome. It is not only very popular but has overtaken Internet Explorer as the most popular browser.

This growth is incredible considering that Internet Explorer’s usage was almost at 50% while that of Chrome was less than 15% only two years ago. Chrome and Firefox have gained the most while IE seems to be in a free fall according this graph from StatCounter.

browser_share_India_2012

Why Chrome rules India?

  • Internet Explorer is just not customization friendly as Firefox and Chrome. People have outgrown tools bars and prefer less intrusive extensions.
  • Firefox should have ideally maintained a lead over Chrome, but it fumbled with its Firefox 4.0 release. Firefox was considered heavy and high on resources. Things have changed with recent versions of Firefox but people might still view it unfavorably now.
  • Chrome has been helped a lot with probably being the only browser in India to get promoted via online advertisements as well as television ads.
  • Internet users demographically are a lot younger than all over the world. This means a greater acceptability of newer software, which includes browsers.

Maybe it is a good time for Google to seriously push Chromebooks in India. Thanks to Ishit for the tip.

Which browser are you using and why? Do drop in your comments.