desktop Stories March 14, 2016

Skype for Web (& Chromebooks) adds calling to mobile phones & landlines, guest mode & more

After launching Skype for Web worldwide back in June and also bringing it to Chromebook users, today the previously chat-only web app is adding support for making phone calls and other new features.

desktop Stories November 9, 2015

Hangouts web update brings faster experience and streamlined look

Google’s giving the web Hangouts a revamp today. The interface (as seen above) is more minimalist and takes advantage of the full screen. Under the hood, calls should start quicker and have higher resolution. Rounding up the list of changes is a simpler invite system.

Here’s what Googler Eduardo Fernández had to say about the update:

Today, we’re introducing a new calling experience for Hangouts on the web that loads more quickly, renders video more sharply, and streamlines the interface so you can focus less on where to click and more on what to say. We’ve been using this new calling experience at Google for a while now. It’s early days, but we hope you like it as much as we do. (Note: This is not available for Google Apps for Work customers.)

Key changes include: • Calls that start faster and stay crisper, with higher quality video • A more streamlined and immersive full-screen interface • A simpler way to invite friends and family to your calls

Starting today, a small group of users should see the improvements and it will be fully released over the coming days. The update is not yet available for Google Apps for Work customers.

desktop Stories October 22, 2015

Chrome 47 beta brings splash screens for Android web apps, notification management for desktop, more

Google is releasing the beta of Chrome 47 today that introduces as number of new features across platforms including new splash screens for Android web apps, improved management for push notifications on the desktop, enhanced multitasking and more.

For the new splash screens, developers will be able to take advantage of splash screens when their web apps are launched from an icon saved on the homescreen. Google points out that  “apps can take a few seconds to load” and presenting a nice looking splash screen will “allow apps to show something meaningful to users as the app loads, improving perceived performance” for users.

In addition, Chrome 47 beta brings an improved push notification experience for desktop users on Mac, Linux, Chrome OS and Windows by introducing auto dismissing notifications:

“Sites such as social media or email can generate a large number of push notifications that take up screen space and aren’t particularly relevant unless viewed soon after posting. The new version of Chrome now allows developers to configure automatic dismissal of desktop notifications, improving the experience for these kinds of notifications. Sites can set NotificationOptions.requireInteraction to indicate the notification should remain onscreen until the user dismisses it.”

And lastly, the 47 beta release brings what Google refers to as “Cooperative multitasking with requestIdleCallback()”, something developers can take advantage of to improve performance by allowing apps to run during “idle time” when resources aren’t being used by other tasks.

Google has more info on the release here.

desktop Stories October 16, 2015

Google earlier this week pushed the Chrome Android app to version 46, and now the browser’s desktop clients and Chrome OS are seeing the update as well. While Google has yet to publish and official list of changes for the Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux version (although we have noticed the removal of one major user-facing feature), we do have a quick look at the changes that version 46 is bringing to Chrome OS… expand full story

desktop Stories September 3, 2015

Following the public release of Chrome 45 a couple of days ago, Google yesterday detailed an important new feature for mobile: Chrome Custom Tabs. Now, Google is showing off more of the performance improvements that the company has introduced in the latest version, allowing Chrome to use less memory and power on the desktop. In one example, it seems Google has managed to reduce the memory footprint of most sites you visit through the browser… expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

desktop Stories August 4, 2015

The rise of Chrome OS has been nothing short of fantastic. With so many of our daily computing needs being met with online services, having a laptop which “only runs a web browser” and a bunch of useful web apps isn’t such a bad idea anymore. You can save on costs massively, and still be able to do almost anything you need to do. Unless you need lots of storage for gaming or media, it’s hard to argue against buying a Chrome-based notebook.

But is the same true of a desktop? I’ve been using the Acer Chromebase Touch for the past week or so and, as much as there are frustrations, there are also things I really enjoyed.

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