Refresh tabs automatically in Firefox and Chrome with Tab Reloader

Waiting for an online sale or video stream to start, or an auction to end, but don’t want to be constantly refreshing the tab? You can use a Firefox and Chrome extension called Tab Reloader to refresh the tab automatically.

Refresh tabs automatically in Firefox and Chrome with Tab Reloader extension

While YouTube lets you set a reminder (when you’re logged in) for upcoming videos, not a lot of sites offer the option. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shopping site that has such a feature.

The extension’s name is Tab Reloader (page auto refresh). Very catchy! Install the add-on and you’ll see it’s icon on the toolbar. Click it to view a pop-up window; it has a few toggles. These settings are tab specific and can be used to enable the Reloader for the selected tab and set the time interval.

How to set a tab to reload – Method 1 (toolbar icon)

The first step is to set the time after which you want the tab to reload. You can choose the time from as low as ten seconds and up to several days. There are no limits to the number of tabs that you can set to reload. Click the “Enable Reloader for this tab” option to set the timer.

Tab Reloader timer set

When you set the reloading job, the timer settings become grayed out. The tab will automatically reload when the timer reaches 0.

By default, the active tab will also reload (if you had set a timer for the tab), but you can toggle a setting that disables the current tab from reloading. The number of active reload jobs, and the list of tabs on which they are active are displayed at the bottom of the pop-up window.

If you don’t want the page to load its latest content from the server, enable the “Use cache while reloading” option to load a locally cached version. The other options can be used to bypass form submission, or to scroll to the end of the page after it has been reloaded. You may run a custom JavaScript code after each reload, for e.g. to play a sound or to change the reload setting.

Tab Reloader’s icon displays a badge counter which indicates the number of tabs that are currently set to auto refresh.  Right-click this icon to view a menu that allows you to reload all tabs/tabs in the current window, stop all active reloading jobs or restore old reloading jobs.

Tab Reloader toolbar icon menu

Method 2 –  Tab bar right-click menu (Firefox only)

This method is much easier than the pop-up window, and there is the added bonus of not having to switch tabs while using this menu. Right-click on a tab to view the Tab Reloader (page auto refresh) menu. This allows you set the auto refresh interval quickly. You can set the tab to reload every 10 or 30 seconds, 1 or 5 or 15 minutes or every hour. There are shortcuts to reload the tab manually, reload all tabs or all tabs in the current window. To cancel the task, select don’t reload.

Tab Reloader tab bar right click menu

 

When you close a tab, the reloader settings for it are discarded as well.  That’s quite simple to use, isn’t it?

Head to the add-on page to manage Tab Reloader’s options. You can disable the badge icon, enable the add-on to restore the reloading jobs when you restart the browser. You can backup the add-ons settings and import it from the options page.

Tab Reloader add-on options

Tab Reloader is open source.  It’s available on the Firefox AMO and Chrome’s Web Store, and has been featured in Mozilla’s Recommended Extensions program. Check out our guide on reloading tabs automatically in browsers for additional tips.

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It took Google three years to add Firefox, Edge and Opera support to Google Earth

When Google unveiled the new Google Earth back in 2017, it switched Google Earth from being a desktop application to a web application. The company made Google Earth Chrome-exclusive at the time stating that the company’s own Chrome browser was the only browser to support Native Client (NaCl) technology at the time and that the technology “was the only we [Google] could make sure that Earth would work well on the web”.

The emergence of new web standards, WebAssembly in particular, allowed Google to switch to the standard supported by other browsers. The company launched a beta of Google Earth for browsers that support WebAssembly, Firefox, Edge and Opera are mentioned specifically six months ago.

Today, Google revealed that it has made Google Earth available officially for the web browsers Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge (Chromium-based), and Opera.

Note: I tried the web version of Google Earth in browsers that Google did not mention. Vivaldi and Brave loaded Google Earth but the loading took quite a while; noticeably longer than in supported web browsers.

Users who open Google Earth in one of the browsers may use it just as if they are using Google Chrome. The service displays a “you are running an experimental version of Earth” still when it is opened though.

google earth firefox

The message suggests that the version for these newly supported browsers is still not up-to-par to the Chrome version.

Google notes on Medium that it still has work to do in improving the experience and introducing official Apple Safari browser support:

We still have some work to do. Namely polishing our experience across all these browsers and adding support for Safari. We’re continuing to work on supporting as many browsers as possible, and we’ll keep you posted on any new developments.

Closing Words

The Chrome exclusivity of Google Earth left a sour taste for many non-Chrome users. While it is Google’s right to create products as it pleases, and design them to favor its own products over others, doing so does not really align well with sentences like “at Google we are big supporters of open web standards”.

Now You: What is your take on all of this?

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Google updates its Terms of Service to include Chrome and Chrome OS

If you visit a Google website right now you will likely see a notification at the top stating that the company has changed its Terms of Service and that the new terms will take effect on March 31, 2020.

The message, “We’re updating our Terms of Service. Get to known our new Terms before they take effect on March 31, 2020”, has “review” and “got it” buttons attached to it.

google terms of service change march 31 2020

One of the most important changes in the new Terms of Service is that the updated terms apply to Google Chrome, Google Chrome OS, and Google Drive as well.

You can check out the summary of major changes here to get an overview of important changes. Google published a special page for Google Chrome and Chrome OS that summarizes the changes for these two separately.

We added Google Chrome, Google Chrome OS, and Google Drive to the list of services that the Terms apply to. With this change, these services are governed by the Terms of Service and also a smaller set of service-specific additional terms.

Google notes that it has not “made any changes to the way” it treats customer data and that the updated terms do not “change the service” that the company provides.

The updated terms will not change the service we provide to you. This change makes it easier to understand the general terms that apply to most Google services — which now include Chrome and Chrome OS — alongside the service-specific additional terms and policies that apply to particular Google products. Our privacy policies aren’t changing. The Google Privacy Policy still applies to personal information you provide to Google when you use Chrome and ChromeOS […]

Essentially, what Google will do from March 31, 2020 onward is that it will treat Google Chrome and Chrome OS equal to other company services. One of the most important takeaways from that is that the Terms will apply to Chrome users who don’t use a Google Account now. Previously, the Terms would apply to Google Account owners.

What is particularly problematic about that is that non-Google account users get no options to control the data that collects and  don’t get access to some other privacy related settings because they are only available to customers with a Google Account.

Google Chrome and Chrome OS users who don’t want to accept the updated Terms of Service have only one option according to Google: to stop using the services.

Now You:What is your take on these changes?

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Google accidentally includes videos of other users in data exports

If you need another reason why it is wise not to put too much trust in “the cloud”, this may be it. Google is mailing users of the company’s Google Photos service currently to inform them about an issue that occurred last year.

According to the email, data exports of Google Photos content resulted in videos being exported to archives of other Google Photos users for a period of time. Google notes that this started on November 21, 2019 and went on until November 25, 2019.

google photos export

Users of Google Photos who requested a data export during that time may have been affected by this. Some users may have had videos attached to the downloaded archives that are not theirs, and some may have noticed that some of their videos are missing from an archive. The latter indicates that these videos have found their way into the archives of other users.

The data of users who did not request an export of data in the specified time period is not affected.

The issue was resolved according to Google, and the only suggestion that Google has is to request another download and delete the already downloaded archive and its content.

Google does not mention the scope of the issue in the email and it is unlikely that the company will ever reveal it.

The impact to affected customers may be high considering that this may lead to breaches of privacy and even potential leaks.

Customers may also be less than impressed with Google’s rather cold sounding email as it provides no information on the videos that may have been put into the exported archives of other users.

While it may be possible to go through the archive to find out manually, more assistance from Google would probably be appreciated by the majority of users affected by this.

Closing Words

The latest incident confirms my stance on cloud-based services: if you have data, be it photos, videos, text documents or something else, that you under no circumstances want someone else to access, then you better not upload it to the Internet.

Now You: what is your take on this?

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Google Search displays icons now on results pages

If you are still using Google Search, you may have noticed that Google changed the design of the search results page by adding icons to results.

Google does not make changes to the company’s search results page on a large scale regularly, and when it does, it is usually backed up by data that confirms that the change is beneficial.

Previously, search results showed the page title, part of the URL, and a short description of content. The only exception to the rule have been ads placed prominently on search results pages as they featured a tiny “Ad” next to the URL.

The search change rolled out last year to mobile users but Google started the roll out for desktop systems just this week.

The change impacts how advertisement is marked on search results pages and how sites are displayed. When you run a search now, you will notice that a site’s favicon is displayed next to the URL in the top line. Below it is the page title and below the title is the description.

Google, bascially, swapped page title and URL positions and added the icon to the line depicting part of the URL in the results.

As far as ads are concerned — of which there are plenty above the fold — they use the new design as well. The color has been changed to black though and the box that surrounded the Ad text was removed as well.

google search icons ads

Google stated on its official The Keyword blog that the refresh is designed to “better guide” Google customers “through the information available on the web”.

With this new design, a website’s branding can be front and center, helping you better understand where the information is coming from and what pages have what you’re looking for.

Internet users who have monitored Google over the years may have a different answer as to why the change was made: to further push advertising revenue. With the Ad text now black and without a box around it, it may be more difficult to spot what is an ad and what is now especially since all sites now show something in the spot.

While most favicons are not text, it is certainly possible that some sites display text as the favicon. The Dutch netwspaper Algemeen Dagblad even uses AD as its favicon, albeit with a red background.

Lifehacker published a filter that you can add to uBlock Origin, Adblock Plus, and other content blockers that support the blocking syntax to do away with these icons.

google com without icons

All you need to do is add the following filters to the custom filters list.

google.com##.TbwUpd
google.com###am-b0
google.com##.GHDvEf.ab_button

The filters remove the icons from Google Search to return to the much clearer look.

Google made some changes with impact to its search engine over the years. A look in our archive returned a style from 2011 that shows a sidebar on the left and results that displayed title, description, and url in that order. The company moved the sidebar to the top in 2012 and the order of results changed to title, URL, and description in that year.

Now Y0u: what is your take on the change? Do you still use Google?

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