Brave, DuckDuckGo just gave you another way to flip Google the middle finger

Brave has announced that its web browser will now allow users to bypass AMP pages hosted by Google, which it claims are harmful to both privacy and the state of the web.

The new De-AMP feature will instead funnel web users to content hosted directly on the publisher’s website, minimizing the opportunity for additional tracking and meddling to take place.

Not to be outdone, rival privacy software company DuckDuckGo rushed to Twitter to reveal that its apps and extensions now offer similar functionality, but the specifics of the implementation are not yet clear.

Google’s AMP troubles

Rolled out in 2015, AMP (short for accelerated mobile pages) is a system whereby stripped-back versions of trending web pages are preloaded and served up via Google servers.

When AMP was first announced, Google said it beleived the system would help ensure rich web content such as video and animation would load rapidly and behave consistently across all platforms, thereby improving the web experience.

However, the scheme has come under criticism from publishers and privacy advocates alike, who say AMP gives Google yet more signals to gobble up in support of its digital advertising business, creates confusion as to the source of information and forces publishers to build their websites to Google’s desired spec.

“AMP harms users’ privacy, security and internet experience, and just as bad, AMP helps Google further monopolize and control the direction of the web,” wrote Brave, in a blog post.

And in a Twitter thread, DuckDuckGo presented a similar justification for its decision to move against the initiative.

“AMP technology is bad for privacy because it enables Google to track users even more,” said the firm. “And Google uses AMP to further entrench its monopoly, forcing the technology on publishers by prioritizing AMP links in search and favoring Google ads on AMP pages.”

Since the launch of AMP, a number of publishers (including Future plc., parent to TechRadar Pro) have abandoned the system. And now, browser vendors like Brave and DuckDuckGo are coming out with their own tools to help web users bypass AMP altogether.

“Where possible, De-AMP will rewrite links and URLs to prevent users from visiting AMP pages altogether,” explained Brave. “And in cases where that is not possible, Brave will watch as pages are being fetched and redirect users away from AMP pages before the page is even rendered, preventing AMP/Google code from being loaded and executed.”

Brave’s De-AMP feature is now available in both Nightly and Beta versions of its browser and will be enabled by default in the next full public release. TechRadar Pro is awaiting further specifics about DuckDuckGo’s efforts.

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Brave, DuckDuckGo just gave you another way to flip Google the middle finger

Brave has announced that its web browser will now allow users to bypass AMP pages hosted by Google, which it claims are harmful to both privacy and the state of the web.

The new De-AMP feature will instead funnel web users to content hosted directly on the publisher’s website, minimizing the opportunity for additional tracking and meddling to take place.

Not to be outdone, rival privacy software company DuckDuckGo rushed to Twitter to reveal that its apps and extensions now offer similar functionality, but the specifics of the implementation are not yet clear.

Google’s AMP troubles

Rolled out in 2015, AMP (short for accelerated mobile pages) is a system whereby stripped-back versions of trending web pages are preloaded and served up via Google servers.

When AMP was first announced, Google said it beleived the system would help ensure rich web content such as video and animation would load rapidly and behave consistently across all platforms, thereby improving the web experience.

However, the scheme has come under criticism from publishers and privacy advocates alike, who say AMP gives Google yet more signals to gobble up in support of its digital advertising business, creates confusion as to the source of information and forces publishers to build their websites to Google’s desired spec.

“AMP harms users’ privacy, security and internet experience, and just as bad, AMP helps Google further monopolize and control the direction of the web,” wrote Brave, in a blog post.

And in a Twitter thread, DuckDuckGo presented a similar justification for its decision to move against the initiative.

“AMP technology is bad for privacy because it enables Google to track users even more,” said the firm. “And Google uses AMP to further entrench its monopoly, forcing the technology on publishers by prioritizing AMP links in search and favoring Google ads on AMP pages.”

Since the launch of AMP, a number of publishers (including Future plc., parent to TechRadar Pro) have abandoned the system. And now, browser vendors like Brave and DuckDuckGo are coming out with their own tools to help web users bypass AMP altogether.

“Where possible, De-AMP will rewrite links and URLs to prevent users from visiting AMP pages altogether,” explained Brave. “And in cases where that is not possible, Brave will watch as pages are being fetched and redirect users away from AMP pages before the page is even rendered, preventing AMP/Google code from being loaded and executed.”

Brave’s De-AMP feature is now available in both Nightly and Beta versions of its browser and will be enabled by default in the next full public release. TechRadar Pro is awaiting further specifics about DuckDuckGo’s efforts.

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He gave us the GIF: Stephen Wilhite has died at 74

 Internet technology pioneer Stephen Wilhite passed away on March 14 from COVID-related complications. He was 74 and he leaves behind an incredible legacy, the GIF, a game-changer for the blossoming World Wide Web in the 1990s.

Wilhite, who was interested in compression technology, created the GIF at his home in 1987. “I saw the format in my head and then started programming,” he told the New York Times. He then brought the technology to his job at CompuServe, the first major Internet service provider in the US, where he made finalizing tweaks.

In addition to his passion for technology, post-retirement Wilhite was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed building model trains in his basement.

GIFs made the Internet

The GIF or Graphics Interchange Format has been a massive component of the Internet since its inception. TechRadar’s US Editor-in-Chief, Lance Ulanoff noted in 2016 that “for webmasters in the 1990’s, GIFs were as crucial to the site-building process as HTML….if HTML was the skeleton of our websites, then GIFs were the skin and blood.”

Per his obituary, Wilhite received a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award in New York in 2013 for his invention, during which he reiterated the correct pronunciation of GIF via, naturally, a GIF that simply stated: “it’s pronounced ‘JIF’, not ‘GIF’”. The crowd roared with excitement in response as Wilhite walked wordlessly off the stage.

In further response to the never-ending debate about the pronunciation, a somewhat annoyed Wilhite told the New York Times “The Oxford Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘JIF’. End of story.”

While today you may associate GIFs with short animations that you see in memes or send in group chats to your friends, the early days of the format were much smaller in scale, usually consisting of just a few low-resolution frames at a time or even single-pixel spacers to help prop up complicated HTML designs.

From humble beginnings to humor

Being the building blocks of the early Internet, it’s almost surprising to observe how they're used today for comedy purposes, displaying fan-made excerpts of classic shows like Friends, or even in some cases, severely compressed, yet full episodes of Spongebob.

GIFs like those blew up on Tumblr and Reddit in their early days despite being regarded as jokes before the heydays of the sites; “No serious web developer or artist would use GIFs,” noted Lance.

These days, we all look upon GIF endearingly; they have withstood the test of time and prospered despite new technologies sprouting around them. Platforms like Giphy were created by people who love the format, and others like Tenor have followed in its wake.

GIFs are a critical component of the Internet that will likely never be replaced, so may Wilhite rest in peace knowing that the Internet will always celebrate his invention.

While the correct pronunciation may be dismaying for some, a commenter on The GIF Pronunciation Page says that the pronunciation may be an homage to peanut butter being “one of the principal three programmer foods”, with the other two being Doritos and Pepsi.

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He gave us the GIF: Stephen Wilhite has died at 74

 Internet technology pioneer Stephen Wilhite passed away on March 14 from COVID-related complications. He was 74 and he leaves behind an incredible legacy, the GIF, a game-changer for the blossoming World Wide Web in the 1990s.

Wilhite, who was interested in compression technology, created the GIF at his home in 1987. “I saw the format in my head and then started programming,” he told the New York Times. He then brought the technology to his job at CompuServe, the first major Internet service provider in the US, where he made finalizing tweaks.

In addition to his passion for technology, post-retirement Wilhite was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed building model trains in his basement.

GIFs made the Internet

The GIF or Graphics Interchange Format has been a massive component of the Internet since its inception. TechRadar’s US Editor-in-Chief, Lance Ulanoff noted in 2016 that “for webmasters in the 1990’s, GIFs were as crucial to the site-building process as HTML….if HTML was the skeleton of our websites, then GIFs were the skin and blood.”

Per his obituary, Wilhite received a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award in New York in 2013 for his invention, during which he reiterated the correct pronunciation of GIF via, naturally, a GIF that simply stated: “it’s pronounced ‘JIF’, not ‘GIF’”. The crowd roared with excitement in response as Wilhite walked wordlessly off the stage.

In further response to the never-ending debate about the pronunciation, a somewhat annoyed Wilhite told the New York Times “The Oxford Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘JIF’. End of story.”

While today you may associate GIFs with short animations that you see in memes or send in group chats to your friends, the early days of the format were much smaller in scale, usually consisting of just a few low-resolution frames at a time or even single-pixel spacers to help prop up complicated HTML designs.

From humble beginnings to humor

Being the building blocks of the early Internet, it’s almost surprising to observe how they're used today for comedy purposes, displaying fan-made excerpts of classic shows like Friends, or even in some cases, severely compressed, yet full episodes of Spongebob.

GIFs like those blew up on Tumblr and Reddit in their early days despite being regarded as jokes before the heydays of the sites; “No serious web developer or artist would use GIFs,” noted Lance.

These days, we all look upon GIF endearingly; they have withstood the test of time and prospered despite new technologies sprouting around them. Platforms like Giphy were created by people who love the format, and others like Tenor have followed in its wake.

GIFs are a critical component of the Internet that will likely never be replaced, so may Wilhite rest in peace knowing that the Internet will always celebrate his invention.

While the correct pronunciation may be dismaying for some, a commenter on The GIF Pronunciation Page says that the pronunciation may be an homage to peanut butter being “one of the principal three programmer foods”, with the other two being Doritos and Pepsi.

TechRadar – All the latest technology news

Read More