Chrome 34 beta released w/ hands-free Voice Search, responsive images, new APIs, more

Google has just promoted Chrome 34 to the beta channel, bringing with it a few new features and a lot of new apps/extension APIs for developers. Perhaps the most notable new feature for users on Mac, Windows, and Linux is hands-free Google Voice Search, allowing users to initiate a voice search on Google using the “Ok Google” command without the need of an extension:

  • Responsive Images and Unprefixed Web Audio
  • Hands-free Google Voice Search in Chrome
  • Import supervised users onto new computers
  • A number of new apps/extension APIs
  • Lots of under the hood changes for stability and performance

While users have been able to download a browser extension for Chrome since November that allows them to activate a voice search with the “Ok Google” voice command (just like on Android), it the native feature without the need of the extension will land for all Chrome users soon. Here’s how to enable it: Read more

Google & VMware bring Windows to enterprise Chromebook users

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Google announced a partnership with virtualization software maker VMware today that will bring Chromebook users access to Windows desktops and apps. The deal means enterprise Chromebook users will have access to Windows apps through VMware Horizon DaaS and an upcoming Chrome Web Store app:

Cloud applications allow flexibility, scalability and security and enable a work-anywhere environment, but many of our customers still use traditional desktop applications. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) helps bridge the gap between the cloud and a traditional desktop by allowing you to run your traditional software in the cloud and have applications appear on your Chromebook similarly to how they run today. An example might be your Windows based accounting application.

It might sound a little bit like Google is admitting that enterprise customers need more than just Chrome apps to get the job done, but it’s also embracing the upcoming end of life for Windows XP and encouraging business customers to upgrade to Chromebooks. Giving businesses access to the Windows apps many rely on is certainly a good argument for upgrading to Chromebooks. In a statement in VMware’s press release, Google’s president of enterprise Amit Singh said “Chromebooks can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs.” Read more

Google launches new G+ auto-backup utility for Mac and Windows with latest Picasa update

Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 1.21.56 PMThe latest version of Picasa includes an additional bit of software called Google+ Auto Backup, as reported by Google Operating System. The new software can be used to automatically backup photos and videos from user-selected directories to your Google+ account. Interestingly, the app has nothing to do with the Picasa service, even though it ships exclusively with the Picasa app.

The app can save unlimited 2048px photos to your account, or upload full-quality versions at the expense of Google Drive space. It can also intelligently copy media from storage cards and other devices that are attached to the system. Furthermore, the app can be configured to backup all media to a designated location on the local hard drive, putting all of your backed-up media in one convenient place.

You can get the Google+ Auto Backup app by downloading the latest version of Picasa.

Google rolling out better password security in Chrome to Windows users

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.06.39 AM

Google began tightening saved password security in Chrome for Mac almost one month ago. Now, it looks like Windows users will soon be able to join in on the fun. For the second time today, Google’s “Happiness Evangelist” Francois Beaufort is breaking the news. According to Beaufort, the “Reauthentication dialog for passwords” has been added into Chromium and is now ported over to Windows in the latest Chromium build.

Read more

Chrome adds smarter omnibox suggestions, WebRTC support on Android

chromeGoogle announced today on its Chrome Blog that it is beginning to roll out smarter omnibox suggestions for Chrome users that it says will provide “more timely and contextually relevant suggestions.” The feature has been available for a while in beta and Google noted the improved suggestions are based on websites users recently visited. The new features come alongside the release of the Chrome 29 stable release for Windows, Mac, and Linux, which also brings support for new apps and extensions APIs.

Another new feature coming in Chrome 29 is the ability to reset Chrome back to its original state, disabling all added extensions, through an easy to access option located in Settings: Read more