Chrome 44 for iOS brings beacon-powered Physical Web closer to reality, new gestures

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The Physical Web is an open source web specification from Google released last year with the aim to make interacting with smart devices in the real world as easy as clicking a link, just as we do on the web. Now with the company having released its Eddystone beacon technology and APIs for making this communication between devices in the same proximity easier, it’s integrating Physical Web directly into Chrome for iOS.

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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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Google Chrome’s reading mode is making another appearance in mobile browser

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While other competing browsers have long had special modes that strip all extraneous content from the pages of articles so as to reduce distraction, Chrome has thus far only seen this option, commonly referred to as “Reader Mode,” appear as an experimental version. That’s even though the base Chromium browser has had an implementation of it available built-in for over a year now, and the Google Chrome team having had added an experimental toolbar icon for it to its mobile browser more than a year ago. It looks like the Chrome team might be close to a wide rollout, however.

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Chrome ‘OK Google’ hotwording extension sparks new privacy concerns, confusion (Update: Chromium team backpeddals)

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Update: What’s that? Oh, just the smell of change. After initially standing firm on its implementation of the hotwording module and proprietary Google extension being automatically downloaded in new installations of the Chromium open source browser, a wave of criticism has led to the team pulling it out of Chromium 45 and onwards. The module that manages whether the hotword listening extension is enabled will be “disabled by default” and the proprietary technology that actually listens for “Ok Google” will not download. A member of the team says simply:

In light of this issue, we have decided to remove the hotwording component entirely from Chromium. As it is not open source, it does not belong in the open source browser.

The original story continues below.

It all started with a blinking LED light. Ofer Zelig wrote on his blog today about an odd case where the LED light on his computer, that turns on whenever the microphone or camera is activated, seemed to blink every few seconds or so while he was working on his PC. He investigated in the Windows Task Manager to look for any process that might be to blame – no dice. He shut down some suspicious processes that might have been causing it and says he didn’t have any malware installed, but still to no avail. Turns out, the culprit was none other than Google’s Chrome browser…

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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

Google Chrome aims to improve laptop battery life by intelligently pausing Flash content

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Google has been working with Adobe to improve battery life drain caused by Flash and today flipped the switch on a new Chrome feature that does exactly that. The new feature aims to detect Flash on a webpage that is actually important to the main content and “intelligently pause content” that isn’t as important. The result is to hopefully make the web experience with Flash more power efficient to improve battery life on your laptop. Here’s how it works: Read more

Chrome for Android goes almost ‘entirely open source’

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Launched in September 2008, Google’s Chrome browser is now dominant in its share of the desktop web browser market, with approximately 1 in 4 Internet users interfacing with the web using the browser. What many Chrome users probably don’t know, however, is that it’s actually based off the open source Chromium browser, also developed by Google. Up until today Chrome for Android differed from its desktop counterpart in that it’s codebase wasn’t open source – meaning, the code for the app wasn’t publicly available for other developers to view, modify, and build upon. That changed today.

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Gartner: Chromebook sales up 24 percent over 2014, still huge in education

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Gartner today released the results of a report finding that Chromebooks in 2015 have continued to see double-digit year-over-year growth for Google with education still as the primary market for browser-based computers. 7.3 million Chromebook units are expected to be sold in 2015, a 27 percent increase over 2014, while 72 percent of those sales are expected to be from the education sector.

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In the above chart breaking down Chromebook sales for 2014 by region and segment, you can see education held the lion’s share in all the major markets Google sells to, with consumer sales coming in second, and sales to the business segment trailing far behind – save for in Asia Pacific, where those latter two are reversed. Read more