Download images easily with the Double-click Image Downloader extension for Chrome and Firefox

Occasionally you may run into some websites don’t allow you to download images from their servers. It may be a precautionary measure to prevent others from re-using the pictures, or as part of the backend code, or even caused by a gallery plugin.

Download images easily with the Double-click Image Downloader extension for Chrome and Firefox

Whatever the reason maybe, if you want a way to download images or bypass restrictions, Double-click Image Downloader offers a simple solution. And yes, it works on Facebook photos too.

Install the add-on and double-click on an image on any web page to download it. A pop-up notification appears near the bottom right corner indicating that the picture has been downloaded. The downloaded image is saved to your browser’s default downloads folder and the original format (JPG, PNG, GIF, etc), resolution and file name are preserved. You can right-click on an image and use the browser’s context menu and select the “Download Image” option that was added by the add-on.

Double-click Image Downloader extension for Chrome

Double-click Image Downloader options

The add-on’s options page has many settings that can be used for changing the download behavior and trigger.  You may toggle the download complete notification from this page. Notice how the image sort of greys out for a split second when it is being downloaded? This effect can be disabled from the options.

The extension lets you assign a hotkey that can be used to download images when you hover over it. You can use a combination of Alt/Ctrl/Shift + any character of your choice. For e.g. alt + shift + d.

Double-click Image Downloader hover button

Blacklist domains that you want to ignore (never download from) and Whitelist websites directly from the extension’s options. Unsure if the double click worked? Enable the Hover button from the add-on’s options. When it is enabled, an icon appears when you mouse over images, click it to download the picture. The position of the hover button can be customized, as can the opacity and the size of the button.

Double-click Image Downloader hover button position

Personally, I prefer this method, as it allows you to download images that are linked to pages, so you aren’t taken to the web page when you double-click (or single click). For e.g. try clicking the images on our homepage. You can drag and drop images over the button to download them.

Double-click Image Downloader extension Firefox

Rename Files

Firefox doesn’t support renaming of downloaded files. So, this is a Chrome-exclusive feature. You can set it to use a counter, the domain name, folder path of the page or image source, or the page title.

Double-click Image Downloader options chrome

The “Save As” dialog is not supported by Firerox either. The browser however supports other filename conflicts such as overwriting file (which is not recommended) or automatically adding a numeric suffix. For e.g. image.jpg, image(1).jpg, image(2).jpg.

Prefer a single-click for downloading images? Want to use the right mouse button instead? Scroll to the end of the options to change the mouse button’s download trigger. You can choose from: single click or double click, for the left or right mouse buttons and also set a delay for it in microseconds.

Note: You’ll need to refresh the page for some settings to take effect.

Double-click Image Downloader makes it easy to download several images quickly.  You can get the Firefox extension from AMO or the Chrome extension from the web store. The extension is an open source project.

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Google introduces improved cookie controls in Chrome for Android

Google plans to improve cookie controls of the company’s Google Chrome web browser for Android. The company launched SameSite cookie changes in Chrome 80, released in February 2020, and has recently added new options to Chrome Canary for Android including an option to block all cookies in the browser.

Current versions of Google Chrome for Android devices provide limited cookie controls. The only options provided are to “allow sites to save and read cookie data” and to “block third-party cookies”. Chrome users may add site exceptions to allow or block cookies set by specific sites.

The new cookie controls add two more options to the mobile browser. Besides an option to block third-party cookies in the browser’s Incognito mode, it is now also possible to block all cookies.

google-chrome android cookie changes

Google does not recommend the latter but the option is there. The main change is the introduction of an option to block cookies in Incognito mode. The cookies toggle of current versions of Google Chrome for Android is turned into the two options “allow cookies” and “block all cookies (not recommended”.

The new Cookies page of the Chrome browser provides an explanation of cookies; useful to users who are not tech-savvy. It states:

Cookies are files created by websites you visit. Sites use them to remember your preferences. Third-party cookies are created by other sites. These sites own some of the content, like ads or images, that you see on the webpage you visit.

The new cookie interface is not enabled by default, not even in Chrome Canary at the time of writing. It is necessary to set a flag to enable it. Here is how that is done:

  1. Make sure you run at least Chrome 82 (currently Canary).
  2. Load chrome://flags in the address bar of the Android browser.
  3. Search for cookies.
  4. The flag “Enable improved cookie controls UI in Incognito mode” enables the new option when you set it to Enabled.

Open the Site Settings in the settings afterwards and there the Cookies options to set the new preference for cookies in the mobile browser.

The second cookie related preference that you may see on the experimental flags page, “enable improved UI for third-party cookie blocking” adds a new option to the preferences of the browser to toggle third-party cookie blocking.

If you want better controls, you may want to check out better browsers such as the new Mozilla Firefox browser or Brave for Android.

Now You: do you block third-party cookies? (via Techdows)

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Anity for Chrome translates Japanese Manga into English

Anity is a new browser extension for the Google Chrome web browser that translates Japanese manga to English in the browser.

If you like manga, you may have noticed that most manga is in English. While an ever increasing selection of manga gets translated into various languages, most manga remains in Japanese.

Tip: check out Kana for Android to learn Hiragana and Katakana.

Translate Japanese manga to English

Anity comes to the rescue. The Chrome extension is designed to provide non-Japanese speakers with options to read Japanese-language manga. It uses machine and user translations for that and works in the following way.

Visit a webpage with a manga that is in Japanse. Click on the Anity icon in the Chrome address bar and select translate from the list of options that the menu that opens lists. Use the mouse to select the image that you want the extension to analyze.

You will notice a loading symbol on top of the image; this symbol indicates that the extension is in the process of analyzing the image.

anity translate japanese manga chrome

It should identify all text parts of the image automatically. These text bubbles are highlighted so that you know that they have been identified.

Click on any of these to display the translation in an overlay on the screen. Repeat the process for any other text bubble that Anity identified to read the English translation of the text.

Some of the Japanese characters may be underlined in the text overlay. You may click on these to look up more information about these characters which may be useful if you learn Japanese as it allows you to look up characters that you are unfamiliar with.

Closing Words

Anity works really well when it comes to the translation of Japanese manga into English. I’m not proficient enough to judge the quality of the translation but it is likely that you should expect it to be understandable for the most part but with errors.

The process of selecting images for translations is somewhat cumbersome if you want to read an entire manga on a website as you have to repeat the process for each image on the page. It would be better if the extension would either detect all images automatically or introduce an hover option to make things more comfortable.

All in all though, it is an excellent option for non-Japanese speakers who are interested in manga. The extension should work in other Chromium-based web browsers as well.

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Study finds Brave to be the most private browser

Are you concerned about your web browser sending data back to the company that created it? A new study, Web Browser Privacy: What Do Browsers Say When They Phone Home?, looked at the six popular desktop web browsers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based), Apple Safari, Brave, and Yandex, to uncover what these browsers send back to the mothership.

If you just want the result, the study found that used out of the box, Brave “is by far the most private of the browsers studied” followed by Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Brave is the only web browser that did not use identifiers that allowed tracking of the IP address over time and did not share details of web pages visited to backend servers.

brave browser privacy

Chrome, Firefox and Safari used identifiers that are linked to the browser instance that persist over sessions and all three share web page details with backend servers via the browser’s search autocomplete functionality.

The study found the Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser and Yandex to do worse than the other browsers of the test. Both send identifiers linked to the device hardware which means that the identifier persists even across installations. Edge sends the hardware UUID to Microsoft, and Yandex transmits a “hash of the hardware serial number and Mac address”. Both also appear to send web page information to servers that “appear unrelated to search autocomplete”.

The researcher logged all network connectivity on the devices the browsers ran on. Chrome connections using QUIC/UDP had to be blocked so that the browser would fall back to TCP. To inspect encrypted data, mitmdump was used and since leftovers can be an issue, extra care was used to delete all traces of previous installations from the systems.

The test design was repeated multiple times for each browser.

  1. Start the browser from a fresh install/new user profile.
  2. Paste a URL into the address bar, press Enter, and record the user activity.
  3. Close the browser and restart, record network activity.
  4. Start the browser from a fresh install/new user profile and monitor network activity for 24 hours.
  5. Start the browser from a fresh install/new user profile, type a URL and monitor traffic.

The conclusion

For Brave with its default settings we did not find any use of identifiers allowing tracking of IP address over time, and no sharing of the details of web pages visited with backend servers. Chrome, Firefox and Safari all share details of web pages visited with backend servers. For all three this happens via the search autocomplete feature, which sends web addresses to backend servers in realtime as they are typed. In addition, Firefox includes identifiers in its telemetry transmissions that can potentially be used to link these over time. Telemetry can be disabled, but again is silently enabled by default. Firefox also maintains an open websocket for push notifications that is linked to a unique identifier and so potentially can also be used for tracking and which cannot be easily disabled. Safari defaults to a poor choice of start page that leaks information to multiple third parties and allows them to set cookies without any user consent. Safari otherwise  made no extraneous network connections and transmitted no persistent identifiers, but allied iCloud processes did make connections containing identifiers.

From a privacy perspective Microsoft Edge and Yandex are qualitatively different from the other browsers studied. Both send persistent identifiers than can be used to link requests (and associated IP address/location) to back end servers. Edge also sends the hardware UUID of the device to Microsoft and Yandex similarly transmits a hashed hardware identifier to back end servers. As far as we can tell this behaviour cannot be disabled by users. In addition to the search autocomplete functionality that shares details of web pages visited, both transmit web page information to servers that appear unrelated to search autocomplete.

Closing Words

The researcher analyzed the default state of the browsers and found that Brave had the most privacy friendly settings. At least some of the browsers may be configured to improve privacy by changing the default configuration, e.g. disabling autocomplete functionality.

Now You: what is your take on the study?

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Google implemented a controversial feature in Chrome

Google has implemented a new feature in version 80 of the company’s Chrome web browser called Scroll To Text Fragment designed as a global method to deep link to any part of a web document.

Unlike HTML’s anchor functionality, Scroll To Text Fragment links may be created by anyone to point to different parts of a document; this is done by specifying a text snippet in the URL. The text snippet has to be provided in the form #:~:text=, e.g. https://www.ghacks.net/#:~:text=firefox.

Use cases include search engines that may link to content on a page but also resource sites such as Wikipedia and users who want to share links that point to a specific part of a document (similarly how you may share video links on YouTube that point to a specific playtime).

scroll to text fragment

The feature emerged from the W3C’s Web Platform Incubator Community Group which is heavily dominated by Google. Three of the four code reviews of the feature were conducted by Google employees.

Google has been criticized heavily for implementing the feature in Chrome by default. Mozilla employee David Baron posted this last December:

My high-level opinion here is that this a really valuable feature, but it might also be one where all of the possible solutions have major issues/problems.

Brave’s Peter Snyder put it more bluntly on Twitter:

Imposing privacy and security leaks to existing sites (many of which will never be updated) REALLY should be a “don’t break the web”, never cross, redline. This spec does that.

The feature could enable new privacy attacks according to Snyder who published an example of a potential issue on GitHub:

For example: Consider a situation where I can view DNS traffic (e.g. company network), and I send a link to the company health portal, with #:~:text=cancer. On certain page layouts, i might be able tell if the employee has cancer by looking for lower-on-the-page resources being requested.

Google has created a document and made it public in which it collected potential issues linked to the Scroll To Text Fragment feature. In it, Google highlights potential attack vectors and potential mitigations.

Closing Words

One of the main takeaways from the controversy is that Google acts from a position of power thanks to Chrome’s dominance on the web. Google will push features into Chrome that it considers worthwhile (for whatever reason) even if there is strong opposition.

Now You: What is your take on the controversy surrounding the new feature?

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