Chrome Beta 45 introduces improved media playback controls, timed install banners to Android version

 

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As the Google Chrome web browser and web-based Chrome OS operating system continue on their ever quickening path towards divergence and feature parity with the native Android smartphone operating system, all of which are overseen by Google CEO Larry Page’s number two, Sundar Pichai, Chrome for Android is getting some new functionality that brings it closer to what developers can get out of native apps.

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Want your Gmail messages to self-destruct? There’s a Chrome extension for that…

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Dmail is a Chrome extension which allows you to un-send, or revoke any emails you send through your Gmail account. The service was launched by the same brainiacs that brought us the Delicious social bookmarking tool.

Self-destructing email isn’t exactly a new thing. Google itself rolled out a feature that lets you un-send a message once you’ve sent it. The only issue with Google’s built-in service however, is that you only have 30 seconds to change your mind about sending an email to someone. Dmail lets you revoke emails whenever you like. I took it for a quick spin to see what it’s like, and I have to say, it’s an incredibly convenient way to make all your outgoing communication more secure. It also happens to be ridiculously easy to use.

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As Chrome ‘Reader Mode’ approaches launch-ready status, design changes continue

As we reported back in late June, the Chromium team – which creates a public, open-source browser that was forked to create the popular Chrome browser from Google, and who’s updates are regularly merged into Chrome – is working hard on a “Reader Mode” for the Android version of the browser. This mode would recognize articles and pages with lots of text, display a “Make page mobile-friendly” button and, when tapped, strip a page of all extraneous content, leaving just the page’s body text, title, and images. The feature is getting ever-closer to completion, so we’re taking another look at what has changed recently.

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Google’s ‘Safe Browsing’ alerts to become more prominent as deceptive software detection improves

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If you’ve ever been browsing the web and seen the above warning, you’ve probably done one of two things. You either quickly click the “Back to safety” button, or you navigate into the “Details” section to tell Chrome that it’s being a helicopter mom — and go about your “dangerous” browsing. Although I haven’t encountered this page too many times, I definitely fall into the latter category when I do.

Today, Google announced that as its detection of unwanted software on the web has improved, these alerts are going to become more common in your web browsing experience. Specifically, in the coming weeks, you’ll see “more warnings than ever before”… Read more

Google Maps tip: Send directions to your Android phone from your desktop (Video)

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Late last week, Google updated its Maps Android app to version 9.11.0. Although its user interface remains the same, it has one new, awesome feature: you can now send locations, navigation instructions and directions straight to your Android phone.

We put together a short video to guide you through the very quick and painless method. This feature competes directly with that built in to the Mac Maps app included in OS X Mavericks which allows iPhone users to send directions direct from Mac to their phones.

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Good news: Chrome may soon get simultaneous multilingual spellchecking

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Do you speak and write in more than one language – and often use them interchangeably? If so, you may know the frustration of having to constantly change the language Google Chrome uses for spellchecking. Fortunately, it looks like Chrome soon will be able to spellcheck in multiple languages simultaneously, as well as make it easy to quickly toggle spellchecking on and off for different languages.

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Chromium contributors developing a ‘Sidebar API,’ could be used to resurrect Side Tabs feature

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Longtime users of Google Chrome may remember a period when it was possible to display tabs vertically, in a bar on the left-hand side of the screen, rather than at the top above the address bar. That feature (pictured above) was experimental, and the Chromium team, which creates public forks of the source code behind Google’s commercial browser, eventually gave up on the idea because it was believed to be a niche feature and “nobody stepped forward to do the work to drive the feature to completion.” Sidebars may be coming back from the dead in a different but similar form, however…

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Latest Chromium build tests prompting users to install web apps for sites they visit often

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If you’ve been following the latest with Chrome for Android, you probably know that Google has been making a big push with web apps. In Chrome for Android beta 42, Google added banners that recommend users install web apps to their home screens, and in beta version 43, the Chrome for Android app now has banners that push native apps on users as well. Now, in the latest build of the Chromium—the open source project that is the basis for Chrome—browser, Google is testing banners suggesting that users add sites to their app shelf. Read more

How-to: Make your own text-replacing Chrome extension like ‘Millennials to Snake People’

A couple weeks back you may have seen a lot of news coverage about a Chrome extension that, when installed, replaces all instances of the word ‘millennials’ on the webpages you visit with ‘snake people’. The media seems to have this non-stop desire to write think piece after think piece about how snake peoples are a smartphone-obsessed, basement dwelling generation who expect everything on a silver spoon. If these posts are driving you crazy, Millennials to Snake People will ease the pain! There’s also an older one called ‘Cloud to Butt Plus’ which, while pretty self-explanatory, cuts straight to a kind of taboo topic that makes us uneasy and/or nervous, the feelings which are oftentimes best dealt with through laughter.

But maybe there’s some other word or phrase driving you mad that these extensions haven’t addressed. Thankfully, I’m here to help. And you don’t even need to have any web development experience, as I’ve already gone ahead done all the elbow work! When you’re finished you’ll be able to run this extension in the Chrome browser on your computer absolutely free, or for $5 you’ll be able to pay Google for the right to publish it to the Chrome Web Store where anyone can download it. So, here’s how to make a Chrome extension that replaces any word or phrase with the one of your choosing: Read more

Chrome for Android 44 beta experimental New Tab page renders large icons instead of thumbnails

 

We learned back in March of an experimental feature the Chromium team was testing in its canary channel that replaces the thumbnails of your most frequently visited sites on the New Tab page with simpler large icons (the site’s respective favicon) for each site. The thinking goes that the screenshot Chrome takes of the sites you frequent don’t always look great, and sometimes the browser’s cache of screenshots doesn’t refresh for a while, so large icons prove to be a much cleaner solution.

Above you can see an example of the current desktop New Tab page on the left and the new suggested page on the right. Now, though, the change can be enabled in Chrome 44 beta for Android…

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Momentum extension keeps you on task with reminders & motivation on Chrome’s ‘New Tab’ page

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The Internet can be a double-edged sword – a window to the world’s knowledge at one end, and at the other a window to the world’s favorite cat pictures. And since on the web all sites are treated equally (save for the “deep” web, I guess) if we don’t have a strong, lasting motivation to get work done it can prove all too easy to get distracted browsing places that aren’t a valuable use of our time. While that lasting motivation must come from within, there are certain tricks and tools you can try that may just give you the boost you need to power through that next email or essay. The one I’d like to share with you today is an extension for Chrome called Momentum.

Momentum quite simply replaces the default New Tab page of Chrome with a “personal dashboard,” as the developer calls it, like the one you see above. For reference, here’s the New Tab page: Read more