Google Play Music adds drag-and-drop uploads, mini-player, & downloads to web app

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Google’s Play Music service previously required installing the Music Manager app to upload music to the cloud service on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Today that changes as Google adds the ability to drag-and-drop your music collection to upload it directly through the browser within the Google Play Music web interface. It’s still in “lab” beta mode, but you can easily enable it:

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Google+ Stream redesigned with three column view, intelligent hashtags, responsive design

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Google+ will receive a card-based interface redesign featuring a new three column view. The new interface is responsive to the user’s display size. The new multi-column view is customizable meaning you can toggle back to the previous single column view if you prefer.

Google+ will also begin rolling out intelligent hashtags for photos, meaning if you post a photo of the Eiffel Tower, Google+ can automatically recognize the subject and appropriately tag it for you.

Users will now be able to view related photos by clicking on the current photo and seeing related hashtags on the flip side of the photo. A video below highlighting the related hashtag feature is below.

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Google announces Google Play for Education launching this fall

Google today announced a new service called Google Play for Education that allows schools to easier find and distribute Google Play content to Android devices in schools.

The Google Play Education store will allow schools to search for content by subject matter and grade level and provide content that has been recommended by other educators. Google is teaming up with partners such as NASA and PBS for content but it will also begin accepting app submissions from developers this summer before the education store launches this fall.

Rather than using credit cards in an education environment, teachers will be able to purchase bulk quantities of apps and charge licenses against a balance from the school’s purchase order. The Google Play for Education service will also allow school’s that use Google Apps to instantly distribute an app to multiple devices in a school by setting up a Google Group

Google Play for Education will be launching this fall. You can learn more at https://developers.google.com/edu/.

Chrome enters version 25 with speech-to-text API

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Chrome version 25 was released with a new Web Speech API that allows web developers to integrate speech-to-text dictation into their web applications.

The other feature of importance on the new version is the removal of “silent extensions.” Silent extensions are web-browser extensions that install without your knowledge. From now on, every web extension installation must be manually approved.

The updated version is available here, but Chrome’s auto-update feature may have already installed it for you.

Chrome Beta update makes tabs accessible everywhere, also available on Chrome for Android Beta

A new Chrome Beta update now makes open tab information available on multiple devices in different locations.

In Chrome Beta, when users are logged into Chrome, the tabs open on one device are now accessible on all their devices under the “Other devices” menu on the New Tab page.

“Imagine you’ve looked up directions to a cool new restaurant on your home computer. Later, when you’re leaving work, you realize you can’t quite remember how to get there. If only you could quickly pull up the same directions on your office computer with one click,” explained Software Engineers Nicolas Zea and Patrick Dubroy on the official Google Chrome blog.

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Google says Chrome for Windows 8 is in the works


Google is designing a version of Chrome to run in touch-friendly Metro of Windows 8.

Windows 8 is the upcoming edition of Microsoft Windows and features a new Metro-style user-interface with input for touchscreen, mouse, keyboard, and pen. The platform’s Consumer Preview was just released Feb. 29.

A Google representative told Mashable that Chrome for Windows 8 is based on the desktop browser and not the Android form. The browser will highlight touch support to compliment the company’s interface principle that spans across many of its products and services, such as Xbox 360 and Windows Live. With that said, Chrome for Android indicates Chrome for Windows 8 might feature automatic syncing, swipe-able tabs, and a multitude of extensions.

“Our goal is to be able to offer our users a speedy, simple, secure Chrome experience across all platforms, which includes both the desktop and Metro versions of Windows 8,” announced a Google representative. “To that end we’re in the process of building a Metro version of Chrome along with improving desktop Chrome in Windows 8 such as adding enhanced touch support.”

More information is available below.

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Ubisoft’s ‘From Dust’ videogame comes to Chrome browser in April

Ubisoft unveiled the above teaser for the critically acclaimed “From Dust” videogame by Creative Designer Eric Chahi and announced it is coming to the Google Chrome browser next month.

“Chrome users will be able to play a High-End console game within their very own Google Chrome browser,” contended Ubisoft, the game’s developer.

More information is available below.

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Google rolls out improvements to Gmail offline Chrome app

After being introduced in August, Google just announced improvements to its Gmail offline Chrome app. The first improvement, which the Chrome team called their favorite, is the ability to choose whether you want to synchronize 7, 14 or 31 days worth of mail. The second improvement includes attachment support, keyboard shortcuts, and enhancements when it comes to performance. You can download the Gmail offline Chrome application in the Chrome Web Store.

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‘ICS Browser Plus’ application adds more functionality to stock Android browser

A new application available on the Android Market called “ICS Browser Plus” adds a bit more functionality to the Galaxy Nexus’ stock browser. ICS Browser Plus is currently available in beta on the Market and includes two main features. The first feature, as you can see above, adds a quick launcher to the side of the screen where you can reload the page, open a new tab, stop the page from loading, and add the page as a bookmark, and more. For those of you who have used Honeycomb, this will feel very familiar.

The second feature will allow you to change the user agent of the browser. In other words, you can tell a website you are loading the page from an iPad, rather than a Galaxy Nexus.

ICS Browser Plus is currently only available on the Galaxy Nexus and other devices that support Ice Cream Sandwich. The developer hopes to continue adding more features, but in the mean time you can download the free app.

Chrome Browser ends 2011 within 12 points of Internet Explorer, will likely become the No. 1 global browser in 2012

Just a few years ago, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer owned the browser market with three quarters share and the only real alternative was Mozilla’s Open Source Firefox.  However, in 2008, Google noticed Apple’s WebKit Browser engine and built their own Chrome browser.  In late 2009, Chrome started to break out of the “other” category in StatCounter’s figures and started its rise to what will likely to be the world’s most used desktop browser in 2012.

A few months ago, Chrome passed Firefox and if you look at the slope of the graph over time, it looks like Chrome’s rise is still accelerating.  Even if it only grows at its 2011 rate and IE continues to fall at its 2011 rate, Chrome will pass Internet Explorer in late Summer 2012 according to Statcounter’s numbers.  Below, I have extrapolated IE and Chrome’s 2011 numbers over the first half of 2012…


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Chrome turns three, Google posts interactive infographic of browser innovations

While it might feel like yesterday in comparison to the other browsers, Chrome is celebrating its third birthday this month after having launched the Windows beta in September of 2008. In celebration, Google has posted an interactive HTML5 graphic charting innovations of Chrome that you can check out here.

They’ve also posted some of Chrome’s highlights over the years including innovations in prerendering technology, the Chrome Web Store, hardware accelerated 3D CSS, and the launch of the Chromebook.

Chrome has come a long way in just three short years, having released support for Mac and Linux a year in with its sixth release, and not long after moving to a six-week release cycle. Recent stats have Chrome steadily growing in market share and recently benchmarked as the fastest browser for real world use.
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WebKit-based Chrome (Chromium) port coming to Android soon

When we think of Google and browsers we usually think of the latest Chrome build, the fastest real world use desktop browser around. While the browser currently shipping on Android is nothing to sneeze at, Google’s real innovation in the browser space is arguably happening with Chrome. That’s why it’s surprising we haven’t heard more about a potential port of Chrome to Android, a project the Android team is now actively working on with the open source WebKit community.

Googler Andrei Popescu, along with a couple others working on the project, took to WeKit-Dev group today (via TechCrunch) to announce their focus on the port:

We would like to give an update about WebKit on Android. A while ago, we started the effort to upstream the Android port of WebKit. For a variety of reasons, this work took longer than anticipated and was never finished. We realize that the incomplete Android port that exists today in WebKit ToT has caused quite a bit of confusion and inconvenience to the project as a whole and we are very sorry for that.

In case you’re confused, the browser currently running on Android was originally based on the WeKit layout engine and Chrome’s V8 Javascript engine, but also varies from the desktop version of Chrome enough that two separate teams work on the two browsers.
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