Tag Archive: web

Google is showing off its speedy browser synchronization kung fu using a new browser-based game called Chrome Super Sync Sports. There’s a trio of cyberathletic contests, and you can take them on solo or challenge your friends in an online multiplayer session: run, bike, or swim your way to victory!

To get started, you have to sync your mobile device to your desktop or laptop. You don’t even have to use Chrome, though Google’s obviously pitching that as the preferred browser. Fire up a session on your computer, then point your mobile browser to g.co/super and punch in the unique code Google provides, and you’re ready to go.

Your tablet or smartphone becomes the controller while the game plays out on your big(ger) screen. The concept itself isn’t a new one — it’s very much like the dozens of Smart TV, Blu-ray player, and set-top box remote control apps that you can install from Google Play and the App Store. There are two key differences, however.

Compared to the remote app for my Sony network player, for example, Google’s Chrome Super Sync demo is much smoother and more responsive. Sports manages to track rapid pattern gestures in Safari on my iPhone and zap them instantly to the cloud and back over to my laptop where they’re interpreted as gamepad input to move my avatar around the track.

chrome super sync safari ios

And while the speed is impressive, it’s even more impressive that this is happening entirely in the browser. It would be even cooler if I’d managed to get Super Sync to work with a non-WebKit browser — both Firefox and IE10 on my desktop failed to make the necessary Websockets connection required to start the game. Nevertheless, Super Sync Sports remains an impressive demonstration of where we’re headed.

The web is already capable of enabling some pretty amazing experiences, and they’re only going to get better with companies like Google, Mozilla, and yes, even Microsoft pushing things forward.

Microsoft and Symantec take down Bamital

Bamital wasn’t the biggest botnet around, but its operators were still up to no good — and that ultimately put it in the crosshairs of both Microsoft and Symantec.

The two companies decided to partner up and take action, raiding locations in New Jersey and Virginia. Several servers that were believed to be issuing commands to zombie systems were taken offline, including one that had been pinpointed in The Netherlands.

Just prior to the takedown, Microsoft and Symantec estimate that Bamital was in control of somewhere between 300,000 and 1 million computers. Users of compromised systems were then hijacked while browsing the web — redirected away from legitimate websites like Symantec’s own products pages and deposited instead on sites pushing fakeAV software and other malware.

Now that the servers in charge of those redirects have been shut down, users will be sent to a Microsoft alert page instead. The page provides links to two cleanup tools (one from Microsoft and another from Symantec) to help users get rid of the malicious Bamital code that’s still residing on their systems.

This is just the latest victory in a series of strikes against major botnets. Microsoft has participated in a half dozen such actions in recent years, helping to shut down nasty networks like Zeus, Rustock, and Waledac.

Richard Boscovich of Microsoft’s digital crimes unit believes that the Bamital operation was a complete success, but notes that “only time will tell.” The criminals behind Bamital may not have shown all their cards yet, and it’s possible that the botnet could rise from the ashes. The good guys will be waiting and watching, however, and they’ll surely strike again if that happens.

SkyDrive is already one of the best cloud storage and syncing services around, and it’s about to get even better. Microsoft has been working away in secret to add a cloud-based media player to SkyDrive, and it could be arriving very soon. For those of you who signed on way back when, that means 25GB of free space in the Azure cloud where you’ll not only be able to store your music, but you’ll be able to stream it, too.

And heck, even if you only signed up recently and snagged a 7GB account, it’s still a pretty nice no-charge bonus. It should provide plenty of room for a handful of your favorite albums, and you won’t even need to do any heavy lifting to upload them — just drop them into your SkyDrive music folder.

When is the SkyDrive cloud player coming? Nothing official has been announced yet, but LiveSide spotted some changes in the SkyDrive HTML source code just the other day. Shortly after finding references to the player, they turned up a set of icons for the playback controls.

New features often pop up in Microsoft’s web apps with little or no notice, so SkyDrive might get its cloud music player later today. It could also be another minor coding slip-up like the ones that have seen so many new Microsoft software downloads posted ahead of (or behind) schedule. But with key rivals like Google and Amazon already offering similar functionality, Microsoft is determined to make SkyDrive as attractive to users as possible. SkyDrive is the glue that binds together Microsoft’s many platforms, after all, and its importance will only increase in the future.

via LiveSide

Firefox users with a penchant for discovery, take heed! Mozilla has just taken the wraps off a new Prospector add-on that brings site suggestions to your new tab page (NTP). It’s called, unsurprisingly enough, Site Suggest.

The change is unobtrusive enough. Once installed, Site Suggest will replace a single tile on the new tab page alongside your frequently visited site thumbnails. Beneath the suggestion, you’ll see a rotating banner that displays both the site’s name and the reason it was chosen. There are only a handful of sites in the Suggest database right now, so don’t expect any truly unexpected revelations. After refreshing the NTP, Firefox showed me very logical choices like PC World, Google, Ars Technica, and even the Foundation’s own home page. Over time, these suggestions will improve as more Firefox users opt in and Mozilla perfects its code.

As you’d expect from Mozilla, end user privacy is a primary concern with Site Suggest. While Site Suggest does need access to your browsing history, it only does so to match sites with categories from the Open Directory Project. Your most-visited category is then piped to Mozilla’s server, which then selects another site from the same category and sends it back to your browser. Cookies are never used, and it’s a one-and-done thing — Mozilla doesn’t hang on to the information.

And like the rest of Mozilla’s efforts, you can take a look at the code yourself if you’re so inclined. Site Suggest and the other Prospector initiatives are available from Mozilla over on GitHub.

It seems inevitable that Site Suggest will make its way to a future Firefox build, but that’s likely a few versions off. Even when it does, you can be certain that you’ll be able to shut suggestions off if you decide they’re not your cup of tea.

via Mozilla

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