An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

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August 29, 2014

Redesigned YouTube Buttons

YouTube's experimental layout with simpler buttons is rolling out to everyone. The like and dislike buttons have merged with the number of likes and dislikes, YouTube no longer uses tabs, "add to" opens a drop-down menu and there's a "more" menu for features like "report", "transcript" and "statistics".



Google Docs Tooltip Shows Page Number

When you scroll a document in Google Docs, Google now shows a tooltip that includes the number of the page you're currently reading or editing and the total number of pages. It looks like this: "2 of 3". The tooltip is also displayed when you mouse over the scrollbar.


You can also check the number of pages using print preview or the word count feature. Another option is to insert page number and page count using the features from the Insert menu.

{ Thanks, Daniel Fletcher. }

YouTube Autoplay Experiment

YouTube tests a feature that automatically plays related videos after the video that's currently playing. You can disable this feature by clicking the "autoplay" toggle placed in the right sidebar, next to the list of related videos. "When autoplay is enabled, a suggested video will automatically play next," informs YouTube.



While the autoplay feature may sometimes be useful, I think it's a bad idea to enable it by default. YouTube's suggestions aren't always great and constantly disabling "autoplay" gets annoying. In YouTube's experiment, the autoplay feature is enabled by default every time you open a new video, even if you have previously disabled it.

Here's how you can enable the experimental feature. If you use Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari or Internet Explorer 8+:

1. open youtube.com in a new tab

2. load your browser's developer console:

* Chrome or Opera 15+ - press Ctrl+Shift+J for Windows/Linux/ChromeOS or Command-Option-J for Mac

* Firefox - press Ctrl+Shift+K for Windows/Linux or Command-Option-K for Mac

* Internet Explorer 8+ - press F12 and select the "Console" tab

* Safari 6+ - if you haven't enabled the Develop menu, open Preferences from the Safari menu, go to the Advanced tab and check "Show Develop menu in menu bar". Close Preferences and then press Command-Option-C to show the console.

* Opera 12 - press Ctrl+Shift+I for Windows/Linux or Command-Option-I for Mac, then click "Console".

3. paste the following code which changes a YouTube cookie:

document.cookie="VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=j1l-QY6DlXg; path=/; domain=.youtube.com";window.location.reload();

4. press Enter and close the console.

Open a random video to see the autoplay feature. To disable the experiment, use the same instructions, but replace the code from step 3 with this one:

document.cookie="VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE=; path=/; domain=.youtube.com";window.location.reload();

{ via Rubén }

August 28, 2014

Google Tests New Site Search Box

For navigational searches like [amazon], [white house] or [stanford], Google displays a search box that lets you search the top search result. Google now tests a completely new site search box. The updated search box is bigger, it's placed below the top search result and Google shows a list of suggestions when you type the query.


For Amazon, Google makes an exception and uses Amazon's internal search, instead of Google Search. Let's say you start typing "smart" and click "smart power strip". Google sends you to Amazon's search results page for "smart power strip". If you don't pick a suggestion and press Enter or click the search button, Google still sends you to Amazon's search results page. The only way to get Google's results is to click "results for" in the list of suggestions.



Amazon seems to be an exception. For searches like [microsoft], [youtube], [imdb], Google shows its own results.



{ Thanks, Rubén. }

August 27, 2014

Special Characters Search Engine in Google Drive

Google's Drive desktop apps have an updated dialog for inserting special characters. If you open a document, spreadsheet or presentation, go to the Insert menu and click "Special characters", you have many ways to find a special character: use categories, search by keyword (example: arrow), enter the Unicode code point (example: 2195) or draw the character.



"We have launched a new version of the special character picker in Google Docs, Slides, and Drawings, making it easier for people to find characters and symbols — like arrows, shapes, or non-Latin characters — to insert into their content. The new picker now supports keyword search as well as free form input, so editors can draw the symbol that they have in mind and the picker will return available characters that resemble the drawing," informs Google.

Here's another example from Google Drive's Google+ page:

Hangouts Contacts Tab in Gmail

If you use Google Hangouts inside Gmail, you may have noticed a new icon at the bottom of the page. It lets you switch to the new contacts tab that shows your chat buddies starting with the ones who are online, just like in the old Gmail Chat/Google Talk. The small green circle next to the profile picture shows that your chat buddy is online. "Available contacts (those with the green circle) will show in an alpha-ordered list first, followed by a second alpha-ordered list of unavailable contacts," explains Google.


You can also mouse over a contact, click the small arrow icon and pick one of the options: pin to top, start video call, send email or hide. Pin to top moves the contact in a new section at the top of the list.


There's also the regular Hangouts tab that shows your conversations sorted by date. Gmail remembers the most recently clicked tab.

"Starting today it's easier to see which of your chat buddies are currently online, thanks to a new tab in Hangouts in Gmail. In this new tab, friends who are online are shown first, followed by those who aren't. Of course, you can still send your offline friends a message and they'll get it the next time they check Hangouts on their computer, phone or table," informs Google.

For now, Google still lets you switch between the old Gmail Chat and Google Hangouts, so you can always click "Try the new Hangouts" to switch to Google Hangouts and then "Revert to old chat" to go back to Gmail Chat if you don't like Hangouts.

Google Teapot Easter Egg

Google has a funny error page at google.com/teapot. It says: "418. I'm a teapot. The requested entity body is short and stout. Tip me over and pour me out." If you click the teapot, you'll see a nice animation.


So what's this 418 error? You may have noticed HTTP status codes like 404 (page not found) or 403 (forbidden). There are many other 4xx error codes, but 418 was only used for an Easter Egg. "This code was defined in 1998 as one of the traditional IETF April Fools' jokes, in RFC 2324, Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol, and is not expected to be implemented by actual HTTP servers." Here's the text from the document: "Any attempt to brew coffee with a teapot should result in the error code '418 I'm a teapot'. The resulting entity body MAY be short and stout."


{ via Search Engine Land }

August 26, 2014

64-Bit Chrome for Windows in the Stable Channel

Chrome 37 has been promoted to the stable channel. This means that the 64-bit Chrome for Windows is ready for primetime. You won't be upgraded to the 64-bit version even if you use 64-bit Windows 7 or Windows 8, so you have to manually install the 64-bit Chrome 37 from this page. You can also click the "Windows 64-bit" from Chrome's download page.


"64-bit Chrome offers many benefits for speed, stability and security. Our measurements have shown that the native 64-bit version of Chrome has improved speed on many of our graphics and media benchmarks. For example, the VP9 codec that’s used in High Definition YouTube videos shows a 15% improvement in decoding performance. Stability measurements from people opted into our Canary, Dev and Beta 64-bit channels confirm that 64-bit rendering engines are almost twice as stable as 32-bit engines when handling typical web content," informs Google.

So why is 64-bit Chrome opt-in? It doesn't support 32-bit NPAPI plugins. This may be an important downside for some users, but Chrome will remove NPAPI support in the coming months anyway. Until then, the 32-bit Chrome will still be the default.

Chrome's "known issues" page informs that the 64-bit plugins for Java and Silverlight work properly, while the plugins for Google Earth and Google Voice don't work because they're 32-bit plugins. You can switch between the 32-bit and 64-bit Chrome versions from Chrome's download page.

{ Thanks, Dilraj. }

Upload Google+ Videos to YouTube

YouTube now lets import your videos from Google+. Just go to the upload page and click the "import" button from the right sidebar.


You can select one or more Google+ videos and upload them simultaneously. This is a great way to upload your videos from desktop computers, Android and iOS devices if you've enabled the Auto Backup feature.


Google+ is better suited for uploading and managing photos. Even if Google+ uses YouTube's infrastructure for videos, Google doesn't provide embedding options for Google+ videos.

{ spotted by Nedas Petravičius. }

August 25, 2014

Edit Office Files in Docs, Sheets and Slides for iOS

Google released the Slides app for iOS and added native Office file editing to Docs, Sheets and Slides for iOS.

"You can truly get stuff done from any device — your iPhone, iPad, Android phone, Android tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Any change you make on any of these devices is saved automatically, so you can pick up right where you left off any time, anywhere that you can sign in. The Docs, Sheets and Slides apps come with offline editing built right in. Just make the files you want to edit available offline. Any changes you make offline get automatically synced when you reconnect, just like when you make offline edits from your computer. And while converting Office files to Docs, Sheets and Slides is a cinch, the new iPhone/iPad apps also let you edit Office files directly - just like on the Android apps and the web," informs Google.



Native Office editing using the Office Compatibility Mode is a great feature and now Google's productivity apps for iOS are more powerful and can better compete with Microsoft Office.

On YouTube Music Key

Google works on a subscription service for YouTube that will allow users to watch music videos without ads, play music videos in the background when using mobile devices and temporarily download music videos. YouTube Music Key will cost $9.99 a month and it will include Google Play Music All Access, which will be renamed Google Play Music Key.

While this is a great deal for Play Music subscribers, I'm not sure if YouTube Music Key's offering is strong enough on its own. There are many free apps for Android and iOS that let you play almost any YouTube video in the background, not just music videos. They also let you download almost any video and don't show YouTube ads. There are various ways to block YouTube ads and download YouTube videos.


I think that YouTube Music Key is a way to improve Google Play Music Key and supplement it with YouTube's music videos. It's also a way to promote Google Play Music's subscription service using YouTube.

Features like playing videos in the background or offline playback should be available for free for any video. Limiting them to music videos and requiring a monthly fee seems shortsighted, considering that there are free apps that offer these features.

Google Knowledge Vault

New Scientist reports that Google works on supplementing Knowledge Graph with a new database called Knowledge Vault. While Knowledge Graph uses information from a list of trusted sources, Knowledge Vault gathers data from the entire Web.

"Google started building the Vault by using an algorithm to automatically pull in information from all over the web, using machine learning to turn the raw data into usable pieces of knowledge. Knowledge Vault has pulled in 1.6 billion facts to date. Of these, 271 million are rated as 'confident facts', to which Google's model ascribes a more than 90 per cent chance of being true. It does this by cross-referencing new facts with what it already knows. Knowledge Vault offers Google fast, automatic expansion of its knowledge – and it's only going to get bigger," informs New Scientist.

Google already provides some answers extracted from web pages, but it's not clear if this feature has anything to do with Knowledge Vault.


It's interesting to note that the Google blog post that announced Knowledge Graph mentioned that "Knowledge Graph isn't just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. It's also augmented at a much larger scale — because we're focused on comprehensive breadth and depth."

Google's goal has always been to use the power of the Web to extract facts and answers. 10 years ago, Google Q&A provided answers to common questions like "what is the population of Japan?" using information from the Web. Knowledge Graph allowed Google to organize information and create connections between entities and now Knowledge Vault comes full circle.

"Knowledge Vault: A Web-Scale Approach to Probabilistic Knowledge Fusion" is authored by Xin Luna Dong, Evgeniy Gabrilovich, Geremy Heitz, Wilko Horn, Ni Lao, Kevin Murphy, Thomas Strohmann, Shaohua Sun, Wei Zhang - all of them from Google. The paper explains that "Knowledge Vault is different from previous works on automatic knowledge base construction as it combines noisy extractions from the Web together with prior knowledge, which is derived from existing knowledge bases". Google's paper uses the open source Freebase graph, but it's obvious that Freebase would be replaced with Knowledge Graph in Google Search.

{ via Search Engine Land }

Add YouTube Search Results to a Playlist

If you want to quickly add videos to a YouTube playlist, you can click YouTube's search box, enter a query, mouse over search results, click the 3-dot menu icon and pick an existing playlist or create a new one. You can add videos without having to open them, then you can edit the playlist from this page.


External Addresses No Longer Use Gmail SMTP Servers

Gmail has a feature that lets you send mail from a different email address. For non-Gmail addresses, you could send email addresses using Gmail's SMTP servers or through the email provider's SMTP servers. Now you can no longer use Gmail's SMTP servers when adding new accounts:

We rolled out a change for new accounts where if you would like to send mail as from a non-Gmail or non-Google Apps account, you can no longer use the option of Gmail's servers to send your mail. Google is a strong supporter of email authentication standards including DKIM, SPF and DMARC. This is one in a series of changes to strengthen email authentication, and end any practices by Google products which break authentication.

Any accounts which previously were using Send Mail As via Gmail servers will not be affected, you can keep the previous set up. If you are a Google Apps user sending from a domain alias or email alias you can also check out the steps listed in this help center article under "I'm a Google Apps for Business user sending from a domain alias or email alias".


The help center article has more information: "Your other email provider has to provide authenticated SMTP support for you to use this option. We'll use TLS by default, or SSL if you enable it. Many email services that provide POP or IMAP support also offer authenticated SMTP support, and you can likely find your SMTP server configuration instructions alongside information about POP or IMAP."

Until 2009, all the addresses you added to your Gmail account used Gmail's SMTP servers. In 2009, Gmail added the option to use the email provider's SMTP servers. One of the benefits was that email clients like Outlook no longer displayed "From username@gmail.com On Behalf Of customaddress@mydomain.com". At that time, Google mentioned that "we recognize that your other address might not have a server that you can use to send outbound messages — for example, if you use a forwarding alias rather than an actual mailbox, or if your other email provider doesn't support authenticated SMTP, or restricts access to specific IP ranges. For this reason, we've kept the original method as well." Now, the original method is no longer available.

{ Thanks, Jan Willem Hengeveld. }

August 23, 2014

Why Switch to HTTPS?

Google tries to move the entire web to HTTPS, but you may wondering if it's really necessary. If you only have a blog or any other site that only displays static content, why would you use SSL? John Mueller and Pierre Far, both from Google, have the following answer:

Some webmasters say they have "just a content site", like a blog, and that doesn't need to be secured. That misses out two immediate benefits you get as a site owner:

1. Data integrity: only by serving securely can you guarantee that someone is not altering how your content is received by your users. How many times have you accessed a site on an open network or from a hotel and got unexpected ads? This is a very visible manifestation of the issue, but it can be much more subtle.

2. Authentication: How can users trust that the site is really the one it says it is? Imagine you're a content site that gives financial or medical advice. If I operated such a site, I'd really want to tell my readers that the advice they're reading is genuinely mine and not someone else pretending to be me.

Change the Query in Google Search Easter Eggs

This is really cool: you can take some of the Google Search Easter Eggs, change the query and they will still work. For example, you can replace "do a barrel roll" with "google maps" like this: https://www.google.com/search?q=do+a+barrel+roll#q=google+maps. Start with https://www.google.com/search?q=do+a+barrel+roll#q=, then add the new query, while replacing space with +.


This also works for the "blink html" Easter Egg: https://www.google.com/search?q=blink+html#q=las+vegas and the "tilt" Easter Egg: https://www.google.com/search?q=tilt#q=android+l.

{ via Search Engine Land }

August 18, 2014

More Directions in Google Search for Mobile

When searching for [directions from A to B] or [distance from A to B] from your mobile device, Google now shows an updated card with multiple tabs for driving directions, public transit, biking directions and walking directions. Until now, Google only displayed driving directions.

This isn't Google Maps for Android or the mobile Google Maps site, it's just a Google Search card.




August 7, 2014

Google Knowledge Graph Winners

If you search for [oscar winners], Google shows a long list of winners in the Knowledge Graph sidebar. You can scroll down to see all of them, switch to a different year or click a category and see all the nominees. Search for [oscar 1995] to find the winners from 1995, for example.


You can also try [Grammy], [Emmy], [Cesar winners], [Goya Awards], [Tony awards], [Golden Globes], [Brit Awards], [Pulitzer], [Nobel awards] and many other queries. It works for more specific queries like [nobel peace prize] or [nobel prize physics].

Google Query Tricks

This isn't some new Google Search feature, but I thought it's worth sharing. Google has some smart algorithms that process your queries and can determine what you intended to type even if it's not properly formatted.

1. You can separate all the characters of your query by space. For example: [h o t e l c a l i f o r n i a l y r i c s].


2. You can separate all the characters of your query using dots. For example: [h o t e l c a l i f o r n i a l y r i c s].

3. You can type your query without using space to separate words. For example: [hotelcalifornialyrics].


4. You can separate the words from your query using various characters like "+", "*", "&", "^" and more. Here's an example: [hotel^california^lyrics].

Moon and Mars in Google Maps

Google Maps for desktop added 3D imagery for Moon and Mars. Just switch to the Earth view in the new Google Maps and zoom out until you see Moon and Mars at the bottom of the page or use these URLs: Moon and Mars.

"Spin Mars and watch the atmosphere change around the red planet; tilt the Moon and imagine yourself gliding along its peaks and craters; and to brush up on your astronomy, click on one of the thousands of labeled topographic features," informs Google.



Google still has the old standalone pages for Google Moon and Google Mars launched in 2009 and you can still use Google Earth to explore Moon and Mars.

Here's a video about the new features:

HTML Tags Supported in Gmail

Google doesn't provide a list of HTML tags supported in Gmail, but the ex-Googler Mihai Parparita came up with an unofficial list. "This list was determined by sending an HTML email with all HTML elements and seeing which came through," explains Mihai.

The list of supported tags is pretty long, so it's probably more interesting to know the tags that are not supported by Gmail. Here are some of them: <embed>, <audio>, <video>, <iframe>, <object>, <script>, <canvas>, <html>, <head>, <body>.


You can also find some sites that show what CSS features are available in Gmail, as well as in other mail services like Yahoo Mail, Outlook.com and mail software like Outlook, Apple Mail and Gmail app for Android.

Unsubscribe Link in Gmail

Gmail continues to make it easier to unsubscribe from newsletters, social updates and other similar messages. After adding an unsubscribe option when marking messages as spam, Gmail now includes an unsubscribe link next to the sender's email address.

"Now when a sender includes an Unsubscribe link in a Promotions, Social or Forums message, Gmail will surface it to the top, right next to the sender address. If you're interested in the message;s content, it won't get in the way, and if not, it'll make it easier to keep your inbox clutter-free. Making the unsubscribe option easy to find is a win for everyone. For email senders, their mail is less likely to be marked as spam and for you, you can now say goodbye to sifting through an entire message for that one pesky link," informs Google.


The unsubscribe link has already been used for Google+ messages. When you click it, Google shows this message: "Google+ provides a page at plus.google.com where you can manage your email subscriptions." Google links to a page that lets you unsubscribe from certain Google+ email notifications, like the ones sent when someone shares or comments on your content.


{ Thanks, Herin Maru. }

August 5, 2014

64-Bit Chrome for Mac

Chrome 37 brings 64-bit support for Windows and now Chrome 38 brings 64-bit support for Mac OS. Chrome 37 is currently in beta and requires reinstalling the software in Windows, while Chrome 38 is available in the Dev and Canary channels, but it doesn't require reinstalling the browser in Mac OS. The Canary build runs alongside stable/beta/dev Chrome and it's updated daily.


In addition to better performance and fewer crashes, 64-bit Chrome for Mac also lets you use 64-bit plugins like Java. Until now, you had to use a different browser to load Java content. "Chrome does not support Java 7 on Mac OS X. Java 7 runs only on 64-bit browsers and Chrome is a 32-bit browser," informs Oracle's site.

Don't get too excited. Chrome will soon remove support for NPAPI plugins, so you'll still have to use Safari or Firefox to open pages that include Java applets.

Google Domains Screenshot Generator

Google Domains has a cool feature that generates a small screenshot for your site (379x283 px) when you use the web forwarding feature. The nice thing is that Google doesn't use signatures or complicated parameters, so you can change the URL.

Here's an example: https://domains.google.com/thumb?u=http://500px.com/photo/78702255/lone-tree-of-wanaka-by-james-gladwin. Unfortunately, the URL only works if you are logged in to a Google account and Google Domains is enabled. There are many other services that generate site screenshots: ShrinkTheWeb, PagePeeker and more.



Google Domains is still in beta and requires an invitation. It's a service that allows you to register domains and manage them.

Gmail Policy Changes

With all the news about Google giving child pornography evidence to police and helping arrest a Gmail user, I decided to check Gmail's terms of use. Apparently, a few months ago Google changed Gmail's program policies page from this to the currently available version.


There are many changes:

* this text was added: "Google has a zero-tolerance policy against child sexual abuse imagery. If we become aware of such content, we will report it to the appropriate authorities and may take disciplinary action, including termination, against the Google Accounts of those involved."

* this text was added: "You can report abuse by using this form. Google may disable accounts that are found to be in violation of these policies. If your account is disabled, and you believe it was a mistake, please follow the instructions on this page."

* this text was removed: "Google may terminate your account in accordance with the terms of service if you fail to login to your account for a period of nine months."

* this text was removed: "You must promptly notify Google of any breach of security related to the Services, including but not limited to unauthorized use of your password or account. To help ensure the security of your password or account, please sign out from your account at the end of each session."

* the list of prohibited actions no longer includes: "conduct or forward pyramid schemes and the like", "transmit content that may be harmful to minors", "impersonate another person", "use Gmail to violate the legal rights (such as rights of privacy and publicity) of others", "create multiple user accounts in connection with any violation of the Agreement or create user accounts by automated means or under false or fraudulent pretenses", "sell, trade, resell or otherwise exploit for any unauthorized commercial purpose or transfer any Gmail account", "modify, adapt, translate, or reverse engineer any portion of the Gmail Service", "remove any copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notices contained in or on the Gmail Service", "reformat or frame any portion of the web pages that are part of the Gmail Service", "use the Gmail Service in connection with illegal peer-to-peer file sharing".

The policies about child sexual abuse imagery have already been added to Picasa Web Albums back in 2008 and Google actually used them last year. "The FBI says the investigation began in March when Google's hashing technology found two child porn pictures in his Picasa library. Picasa is a cloud-sharing platform for images owned by Google."

"Since 2008, we've used 'hashing' technology to tag known child sexual abuse images, allowing us to identify duplicate images which may exist elsewhere. Each offending image in effect gets a unique ID that our computers can recognize without humans having to view them again," informs a Google blog post from 2013.

So it seems like an existing Picasa Web Albums policy was added to Gmail and other Google services: Play Store, Build with Chrome, Blogger, Google Drive and probably other services. Google has also "fine-tuned Google Search to prevent links to child sexual abuse material from appearing in search results."

Mobile Internet Explorer's New User Agent

I've bought a Nokia Lumia 520 a few months ago to try Windows Phone and it turned out to be a pretty good phone. Windows Phone shines on low-end hardware and Nokia's hardware is great for a phone that costs about $100. There are many issues with Windows Phone and some of them have to do with its late release (2010) and low market share (about 3%). Many companies, including Google, continue to ignore Windows Phone, many sites aren't optimized for Mobile IE.

If you use Google services and products like Gmail, Google Maps, Google+, Google Drive, Chrome, it's hard to switch to Windows Phone. There are some third-party apps for Google services, but they're far from Google's apps for Android and iOS. Google doesn't want to make Windows Phone more popular, so it doesn't release apps for Windows Phone. Google also serves inferior versions of its mobile apps in Internet Explorer Mobile. Gmail's mobile site for Windows Phone has a lot in common with Gmail's site for feature phones.

The entire thing reminds me of Opera's early days. Opera struggled with its low market share and had to spoof its user agent to identify itself as Internet Explorer. The sites that required Internet Explorer worked in Opera, but developers continued to ignore Opera.

The latest Windows Phone 8.1 update changed mobile IE's user agent to mimic mobile Safari. Microsoft added "like iPhone OS 7_0_3 Mac OS X AppleWebKit/537 (KHTML. like Gecko) Mobile Safari/537", but also "Android 4.0". The sites that check the user agent for strings like "iPhone", "Android" or "Mobile Safari" are supposed to work well in the latest Internet Explorer for Mobile. While the browser still has the same Trident rendering engine, Microsoft used some workarounds that improve WebKit compatibility.


WebKit is the most used rendering engine for mobile browsers. Apple used it in Safari for iPhone and iPad, Google used it in the mobile browser for Android and later in Chrome for Android. Google forked WebKit and now uses Blink. Since WebKit dominates the mobile space, many developers optimize their sites for WebKit and use non-standard WebKit features. Firefox and Internet Explorer don't have a lot of mobile users, so developers don't bother optimizing their sites for these browsers.

"Unlike the mostly standards-based desktop web, many modern mobile web pages were designed and built for iOS and the iPhone. This results in users of other devices often receiving a degraded experience. Many sites use features via a legacy vendor specific prefix without supporting the un-prefixed standard version or only support vendor prefixes for certain devices. Other sites use non-standard proprietary APIs that only work with Safari or Chrome. Of course there were also bugs or missing features in IE that became particularly apparent on mobile sites designed specifically for our competitors' browsers," informs the IE blog.

It's ironic to see Microsoft complaining that sites use non-standard features and aren't compatible with Internet Explorer. I still remember the sites that required Internet Explorer 6 and didn't work well in other browsers.

The good news is that many sites now works properly in Windows Phone's browsers. Microsoft "tested more than 500 of the top mobile web sites and found that the IE11 update improves the experience on more than 40% of them." Here's a screenshots for Gmail in the new IE version:


... and a Gmail screenshot in UC Browser, which still uses the old IE user agent:


User agents are a mess and developers should use feature detection instead of relying on a meaningless string. Chrome's user agent includes "Mozilla", "Gecko", "AppleWebKit" and "Safari" for backward compatibility. Now mobile IE's user agent includes "Android", "iPhone", "AppleWebKit", "Mobile Safari", "Gecko".