New developments announced Sept. 1 could help boost the popularity of two alternative web browsers, Opera and Google Chrome. Reuters reports that Norway’s Opera Software has released a new version of its browser, Opera 10, promising faster downloads, new design, and new features. Opera battles for the spot of third-largest browser maker with Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari, but all three are far behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) and the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox. Opera said its new browser is significantly faster on resource-intensive pages such as Gmail and Facebook, and it adds features such as full thumbnails of all open tabs. Opera said its Turbo feature for slow connections, which packages web pages, makes the browser up to eight times faster than rival browsers in low connection speeds. "We have worked a lot on Opera Turbo technology and have also made major improvements on the overall product stability. This is the most stable Opera browser yet," the company said. Meanwhile, Sony said its Vaio-brand computers sold in the United States would have Google’s Chrome as their default internet browser, boosting the search engine giant’s fight against rival Microsoft, AFP reports. Sony said the decision was based on Chrome’s "quality and functions." Google launched Chrome in September, but it has failed to enjoy the spectacular success of its search engine. Chrome was the fourth-ranking web browser with a market share of 1.2 percent in February, according to research firm Net Applications. IE was No. 1 with 67 percent, followed by Firefox with 22 percent and Safari with 8.2 percent…

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