Google releases “OK Google” Chrome extension for hands-free voice search on the desktop

Google announced today on Google+ that it’s releasing a new extension for Chrome that will enable hands-free activation of the voice search features it rolled out earlier this year. Google announced the conversational voice search features for Chrome back in May and has been updating it on various platforms since, but previously users had to actually click a microphone icon to activate voice search on the desktop.

Now, like on Android 4.4 devices and within the Google Now mobile apps, using the extension users will be able to simply say “OK Google” to initiate a search: Read more

Expect more Chromecast apps soon as Google schedules hackathon

google-chromecast-main2

We haven’t yet seen too many apps that can stream content to Chromecast dongles, but all that is likely to change over the next month or two as Google has scheduled a Chromecast ‘hackathon’ at its Mountain View HQ next month, reports Engadget.

Google has invited several developers including CyanogenMod / AirCast dev Koushik Dutta and Thomas Kjeldsen to a hackathon on December 7th and 8th in Mountain View. An opportunity to test drive the “upcoming release” of the Cast SDK is promised, plus an opportunity to talk with Google engineers about what it can do …  Read more

Acer launches less expensive C7 Chromebook for $199

Acer today announced the launch of a new Chromebook, although those familiar with the company’s current C7 Chromebook will already be familiar with the new model. Apart from a drop from 4GB of RAM to 2GB, the only difference between the old C7 Chromebook and the new Chromebook C720-2848 is the price. Dropping down from 2GB of RAM also brings the price down to $199, down from the $249 Acer charges for the old 4GB model.

Otherwise specs remain the same: an 11.6-nich 1366 x 768 display, dual-core Intel® Celeron® processor, 16GB SDD, and three USB ports. The old model is still for sale, but now Acer officially has one of the most affordable Chromebooks on the market with its new $199 option. It’s already available on BestBuy and should hit other outlets shortly.  Read more

(Updated) Best Buy internal memo informs stores to stop HP Chromebook 11 sales

img_8814

Update: HP has attributed the stopped sales of the Chromebook 11 to overheating chargers and has provided a brief statement on the matter available at the end of the post.

Whoa, some big news on the Chromebook front this morning as Best Buy has halted all sales of the HP Chromebook 11. According to The Verge, Best Buy retail stores are receiving internal memos alerting managers to “Stop selling the HP Chromebook 11 effective immediately…partner with sales support to pull the product off the sales floor to a secure location in the warehouse.”

Read more

Google releases Chrome 32 beta, includes ability to quickly find tabs playing sound

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 4.27.36 PMGoogle today has released Chrome 32 beta for Windows, Mac, and PC. The update includes several new features. Arguably the biggest, however, is the ability to track down which tab is the one playing a video and/or making sound. This feature was rumored way back in February, but only now is it making its way to the Chrome beta channel. In Chrome 32, tabs that are playing sound will now show a small speaker icon. Chrome has been doing this for YouTube videos since August, but it will now work with any site. Tabs that are using a webcam or microphone will also now display icons, as will tabs that are being cast to a TV with a Chromecast.

Also new in Chrome 32 beta is a new design for Windows 8 Metro, the automatic blocking of malware files, and a plethora of stability and performance improvements.

  • Tab indicators for sound, webcam and casting
  • A different look for Win8 Metro mode
  • Automatically blocking malware files
  • A number of new apps/extension APIs
  • Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance

You can download Chrome beta to give these features a try. The update should be released in the main channel early next year.

Rather: The best Chrome extension you’ll ever need to block unwanted social annoyances

Screen Shot 2013-11-11 at 2.46.34 PM

ZOMG, Rather, a brand new Chrome extension is the last best tool you’ll ever need to block unwanted annoyances in your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Did you miss last night’s episode of Walking Dead and you’re tired of seeing spoilers in your feeds? Good news, Rather will let you replace any mention of the Walking Dead with images of puppies!

You should be on notice that Rather replaces based on keywords and can’t block out unwanted images of Miley Cyrus if she isn’t mentioned by name. The replacement photos are also grabbed via Instagram, so if some crazy teenager tags her Instagram image with “cats” you might see it appear in your feed as well. The bottom line is that the service, while awesome in its design, isn’t foolproof.

Read more

[Review] HP Chromebook 11: a month later and the glow hasn’t worn off

HP and Google combined to create two new Chromebooks which were launched early last month: The $299  Intel Haswell-powered Chromebook 14 and the smaller Samsung Exynos ARM-powered Chromebook 11. Both machines mark new territory for Google and HP. The Silicon Valley neighbors have been getting closer and closer since Meg Whitman took over as CEO, including an expanding array of Android tablets as well. The initial HP Chromebooks were clearly re-purposed Windows laptops. These clearly are something entirely different… Read more

New LG trademarks point to possible upcoming ChromeOS devices

lg-logo-3598

LG recently filed a few new trademarks in Australia that could indicate that the company plans to launch ChromeOS devices in the near future. The terms being trademarked include “ChromeOne,” “ChromeDesk.” and “ChromeStation.” All three trademarks were filed last week, though they seem to be moving through the approval process much faster than other trademarks filed the same day, which could mean we’ll be seeing these names soon. Google has scheduled a Google Play event for October 24th, but it’s not expected that any new hardware will be announced at that time.

LG has worked with Google on hardware in the past, including on the upcoming Nexus 5, so the idea of LG collaborating with Google on new ChromeOS hardware doesn’t seem that far-fetched.

Read more

Acer ups the ante with Haswell-powered Chromebook for $249 – but only pre-order for now

Acer-Chromebook-C720-forward-angle

Just a day after Google announced a new HP-made ARM-powered Chromebook for $279, Acer has upped the ante with a Haswell-powered one for $249.

The Acer C720 offers the same 1366×768 resolution screen as the HP. The Acer screen is anti-glare, which offers easier viewing when used outside at the expense of slightly poorer contrast. The machine has 4GB RAM against the 2GB of the HP, and the Haswell processor gives it a claimed 8.5 hours battery life, against 6 hours for the HP …  Read more

Google announces new 11-inch HP Chromebook starting at $269

HP-Chromebook-11

Google has just made things official on its blog for a new Chromebook model from HP that will be hitting stores later today both online and in brick-and-mortar retail stores in select locations. The HP Chromebook 11 will sell for $279 (although it’s listed for $269 through HP), which puts it somewhere between Samsung’s 11-inch $249 Chromebook and HP’s recently announced Chromebook 14. It doesn’t, however, sport a touchscreen like the Pixel or incoming Chromebooks from Acer.

As for the design, HP says it worked with Google to come with a design inspired by the Chromebook Pixel but at a more affordable price point. It’s including a variety of colors as pictured above, but its specs are similar to other Chromebooks including a Samsung Exynos 5250 ARM processor.

The new HP Chromebook 11 focuses on a super light and portable design, according to Google. It comes in at just over two pounds, making it one of the lightest laptops available, and also powers up using a micro-USB charger opposed to your traditional power cable. That makes it even more ideal for people that are on the go or traveling. The Chromebook includes an Samsung Exynos 5250 ARM processor, full-sized keyboard and trackpad, optional LTE connectivity, two USB ports, and features an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 resolution IPS display. You’ll also get 16GB of onboard storage (+100GB Drive storage) and 2GB of RAM. HP ran down some of the specs on its website: Read more

More Chromebooks will get touchy-feely starting with Acer C720

IMG_20130927_105231

In February Google launched the Chromebook Pixel, a touchcsreen laptop powered by the company’s Chrome OS. At a whopping $1,299 for what was essentially a glorified netbook, the Pixel’s price tag was a big turn-off for many. Now it seems Acer is poised to release a new Chrome OS-powered machine sporting a touchscreen and a much lower price point.

According to a Google+ post spotted by GigaOM, Acer’s upcoming C720 Chromebook will be available in several configurations, including one with a touchscreen. The laptop will also be available with a variety of hard drive and RAM options, up to 4 GB of RAM with a 32 GB solid-state drive. The computer’s internals won’t be user-modifiable, so whichever model you buy is the one you’ll be stuck with.

The C720 is set to go into production later this month. More photos are available after the break.

Read more