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Automate your browser with GPT-4

Taxy uses GPT-4 to control your browser and perform repetitive actions on your behalf. Currently it allows you to define ad-hoc instructions. In the future it will also support saved and scheduled workflows.

Taxy’s current status is research preview. Many workflows fail or confuse the agent. If you’d like to hack on Taxy to make it better or test it on your own workflows, follow the instructions below to run it locally. If you’d like to know once it’s available for wider usage, you can sign up for our waitlist.

Ok that’s cool… 🤯

Here it is using Google Calendar with the prompt “Schedule standup tomorrow at 10am. Invite”

Automate your browser with GPT-4


The new headless Chrome makes fingerprint-based bot detection harder

Antoine Vastel:

The new headless Chrome has been released in November 2022. For the moment, it hasn’t become the standard headless mode. It’s still hidden behind a –headless=new flag. However, it will soon become the standard headless mode, and this is going to change a lot of things when it comes to bot detection, particularly detection based on browser fingerprint.

Antoine is the head of research at DataDome, a bot detection company, so he knows what he’s talking about here. The good news is you can still detect the new headless Chrome, but it will be more tricky. The other good news is that fingerprinting is just one of many tools in the bot detector’s belt. Others include request behavior, reputation scores, proxy detection & TLS fingerprinting.

Tyler Deitz

StreetPass: Find your people on Mastodon

Creator Tyler Deitz says:

StreetPass is a browser extension that helps you find your people on Mastodon. It piggybacks off the way Mastodon handles decentralized identity verification and turns it into a simple discovery tool that recommends users based on the websites you visit! Available for Chrome and Firefox (soon Safari).

Discovery is one of the more challenging facets of federated social networking. It gets even more challenging now that Twitter’s API is getting paywall’d, so most of the free tools to port your Twitter social graph over to Mastodon will quit working. I expect more tools like StreetPass to pop up in the coming days as the Fediverse seems to be capturing that hacker spirit Twitter once embraced.

Fathy Boundjadj

Forking Chrome to turn HTML into SVG

Fathy Boundjadj new html2svg project is pretty cool. We’ve seen a lot of efforts to convert HTML to raster images like PNG and JPG, but SVG is a different (pixel-independent) story.

This end product took some engineering, and the linked post goes deep into all the steps Fathy had to take along the way. From taking the picture to rendering to SVG to supporting shadows and more.

Bozhidar Batsov

Firefox is the only browser alternative

Bozhidar Batsov on the sad state of Chrome’s web rendering hegemony:

We’ve gotten to the point that Chrome-based browsers are so common that developers just stopped to bother supporting other browsers… Soon Google are going to be in complete control of web standards, unless something drastically changes. Do you want the future of browsing to lie solely in the hands of the biggest advertising business on Earth? I’m pretty sure that I don’t.


Chrome extension devs get hit up incessantly with monetization proposals

I was clueless how big and competitive a marketplace Chrome extensions are until Oleg Anashkin decided to document all of the proposals he’s received over the years to monetize Hover Zoom+. His reasoning:

The main reason I continue to maintain this extension is because I can hardly trust others to not fall for one of these offers. I’m fortunate to have a job that pays well enough to allow me to keep my moral compass and ignore all of these propositions. I realize that not everyone has the same financial security so hopefully this thread would shed some light on what kind of pressure is put on extension developers.

There were too many for me to read them all, but I scanned and they range everywhere from completely scammy/ridiculous to potentially legit and tempting. Take this one, for instance, from May 27, 2020:

We monetize search traffic. Your extension is great for this and i would like to see you among our partners.

Here is a little information about how much money you can earn working with us.

Your audience is 300,000 users
On average, 1 person makes 1 search query per day.
For 1 thousand searches on average you will receive $ 30 per day.
Your real profit per day will be $ 9000.

What is necessary for this? 8 lines of code in the manifest of your extension.

I will be glad to see you among our partners.

$9k a day just for adding 8 little lines of code sure does sound nice. But the devil, of course, is in the details of what those 8 lines actually do. Is it worth betraying your users’ trust so someone can “monetize their search traffic” in order to to cash in? Turns out that’s the kind of decision that many successful Chrome extension developers have to make on a recurring basis.


Am I FLoCed?

The EFF launched a new site you can use to see if your Chrome install is one that Google is testing FLoC on.

Google is running a Chrome “origin trial” to test out an experimental new tracking feature called Federated Learning of Cohorts (aka “FLoC”). According to Google, the trial currently affects 0.5% of users in selected regions, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, and the United States.

They also do a nice job describing exactly what FLoC is and what it might mean regarding your privacy online.

Marcel Klehr

Sync bookmarks privately across browsers with a server of your choosing

Marcel Klehr:

Remember Xmarks? It was great. Floccus does the same thing and even allows you to sync with whatever server you want: any Google Drive, any Nextcloud, any WebDAV server. With more backends in the works.

Floccus has extensions for Chrome (and its derivatives), Firefox, and Edge browsers.


TabFS mounts your browser tabs as a filesystem

A Chrome and Firefox extension that mounts your browser tabs as a filesystem on your computer.

This gives you a ton of power, because now you can apply all the existing tools on your computer that already know how to deal with files – terminal commands, scripting languages, point-and-click explorers, etc – and use them to control and communicate with your browser.

Now you don’t need to code up a browser extension from scratch every time you want to do anything. You can write a script that talks to your browser in, like, a melange of Python and bash, and you can save it as a single ordinary file that you can run whenever, and it’s no different from scripting any other part of your computer.

TabFS mounts your browser tabs as a filesystem


Headless Recorder

Headless recorder is a Chrome extension that records your browser interactions and generates a Puppeteer or Playwright script. Install it from the Chrome Webstore. Don’t forget to check out our sister project, the open source knowledge base for Puppeteer and Playwright.

You may have heard of this when it was called Puppeteer Recorder, but its recent addition of Playwright support warranted a rename.


It's time to lazy-load offscreen iframes!

Addy Osmani:

Native lazy-loading for images landed in Chrome 76 via the loading attribute and later came to Firefox. We are happy to share that native lazy-loading for iframes is now standardized and is also supported in Chrome and Chromium-based browsers.

<iframe src="" loading="lazy" width="600" height="400"></iframe>

YaS!! Lazy load all the things 💚


How the most popular Chrome extensions affect browser performance

I used to be the guy with dozens of Chrome extensions. These days I limit my use of both (Google Chrome and browser plugins). Performance and reliability are features I desire more than what most plugins have on offer.

That being said, if you have a lot of extensions and you’re curious which ones might be bogging down your machine’s resources, this is a great analysis of the top 1000.

How the most popular Chrome extensions affect browser performance


Krabby – control your browser with your keyboard

The main differences with existing extensions are: multiple selections, keyboard layout agnostic, SOV (subject–object–verb) constructs and simple interaction with external programs. It is also quite usable with the mouse.

Demo videos are (temporarily?) unavailable, but there’s a fun tutorial that achieves a bunch of tasks on Inspired by Kakoune.


Add full-text search to your browsing history & bookmarks

A fully private memory-boosting extension to eliminate time spent bookmarking, retracing steps to recall an old webpage, or copy-pasting notes into scattered documents. Its name and functionalities are heavily inspired by Vannevar Bush’s vision of a Memex.

“Memex” is thought by some to be a portmanteau of “memory” and “index”. Makes sense to me.

Add full-text search to your browsing history & bookmarks


The web we want

A collective effort by browser makers (Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google) to understand where the dev community would like them to invest their energy.

We started this project to collect your feedback about the current state of the web and to give you a voice to help shape what the future of web.

They’re taking this effort on the road to various conferences, but there’s also a non-geographically-constrained way of sounding off as well: you can fill out the form on the website. 😄


The Layout Instability API

I know I’m not the only one who gets super annoyed by content jumping around while I’m reading it - and I’d never intentionally create that experience for my users. But sometimes you just don’t know how your code behaves “in the wild”, and you can’t exactly ride-along with every user. The Layout Instability API aims to address this issue:

How a site functions in development is often quite different from how users experience it in production: personalized or third-party content often doesn’t behave the same in development as it does in production, test images are often already in the developer’s browser cache, and API calls that run locally are often so fast that the delay isn’t noticeable.

The first step toward properly solving this problem is to give developers the tools to measure it and understand how often it’s occurring for real users. The Layout Instability API, currently being incubated in the WICG, aims to address this.

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