We originally reported on SPDY way back in November 2009, when Google introduced it as yet another experiment in making the Web faster, like Go, Native Client and speculative pre-connections. Over the last 18 months, though, SPDY support has found its way into the stable build of Chrome.
The best bit, though, is that SPDY is an open-source project. HTTP 1.1 is a lumbering beast that needs to be replaced before low-latency real-time computing really becomes a reality, and SPDY is one of the best options currently on the table. To be honest, we're not sure why SPDY hasn't received more coverage -- it's awesome in every way. At the moment, though, the only way to help speed up SPDY's proliferation, is with an experimental Apache mod.
As far as actually 'trying it out,' your best bet is downloading Chrome, hitting up some Google sites, and then checking chrome://net-internals to see your active SPDY sessions. SPDY is a transparent replacement for HTTP, though, and as such it's rather hard to see its effects. Google's sites definitely feel fast in Chrome, but there are more technologies than just SPDY at work.
When TweetDeck landed in the Chrome Web Store, it seemed like an indication that it might eventually evolve into a pure HTML5 Web app. Now it looks as though that's exactly what's going to happen, with TweetDeck announcing that a new, not-just-for-Chrome Web client is ready for beta testing.
It's a natural progression for TweetDeck, especially since its originally Adobe Air app is practically all Web code. TweetDeck Web will sport a feature set which is nearly identical to the Chrome app, with the notable exception of Twitter streaming.
Initially, TweetDeck is targeting Firefox 4 and 3.6, Google Chrome, and Safari. Opera and Internet Explorer 9 won't be invited to the dance until a bit later on.
If you'd like to get in on the TweetDeck Web beta, head on over and register -- or sign up using your existing TweetDeck account.
Google Chrome already sports a number of security-minded features, from Incognito mode to a software sandbox which makes exploiting the browser a Herculean task. Now, Google has announced additional protection for Chromium and Chrome users.
Built upon the Safe Browsing API, the new feature introduces protection against malicious downloads. If a download link appears in the Safe Browsing blacklist, Chrome and Chromium will warn users against downloading -- a save button is still presented, of course, in case you're convinced a file is perfectly safe to download.
We'd like to see something a bit more eye-catching than the red warning icon -- like perhaps painting the entire bar red. Many of the people a feature like this aims to protect probably won't notice the icon or change in wording as they'll be focused on clicking the save button.
Google is initially making download protection available to Chrome dev channel users, and you'll likely see it in Canary and Chromium snapshot builds as well. After thorough testing, beta and stable users will be next in line.
The first is a full-featured proxy API, which will, for example, allow users to set different proxy servers for normal browsing and Incognito mode. Proxy auto-config scripts are also supported by the API.
The second -- Web Navigation Extension -- is a bit more expansive. This API will allow devs to build everything from more powerful safe browsing extensions -- like Traffic Light -- to data analysis and reporting extensions.
Both APIs are currently experimental, so you'll need to enable them on the about:flags page to try out any relevant extensions. Apart from a proxy example built by Google and shipped with the Chromium source, we're not aware of any examples just yet, however. We'll let you know when we spot any slick, new extensions which do surface.
Google's Blogger service has launched a new extension for Google's Chrome browser today, called Blogger Dynamic Views. As its name implies, this is related to last week's unveiling of five new HTML5-based Dynamic Views for Blogger.
The extension adds an orange Blogger icon in your address bar when you're visiting a Blogger blog. If you click on the orange icon, you'll get a list of the five aforementioned Dynamic Views. You can then select an option and Chrome will render the blog you're visiting using that particular view. Rinse and repeat if needed.
Naturally, you can still access the new Dynamic Views (in any 'modern' browser) just by appending /view to the URL of the blog you want to visit, however the Chrome extension makes it a lot easier to get to the new layouts.
Have you ever wondered what the Web was like before the Mosaic Web browser? If you were born in the last 20-odd years, or you only discovered your inner geek recently, did you miss out on monochrome monitors and the dial-up BBS era? Well, here's your chance to get a sneak peek at history: grab the ChromeLite extension and marvel as the entire Web is transformed into ASCII characters.
ChromeLite was actually made by Google as an April Fools' joke -- and indeed, an annoying 'you can uninstall this!' message appears at the top of every page -- but we're kind of hoping that Google, or another developer, takes ChromeLite and turns it into a real ASCII browsing extension with configurable settings. If anything, it will provide an easy way to save bandwidth and CPU time.
RockMelt, the Chromium-based social Web browser has reached a new milestone today. Following its first public beta that was released in early March, RockMelt Beta 2 has started being pushed to the browser's users. The new version brings many new features, alongside the usual bug fixes, performance enhancements, and a new base for the browser -- Chromium 10, which also powers Google Chrome's stable channel releases at the moment. The previous RockMelt beta was based on Chromium 9, and it's nice to see it kept up-to-date.
Perhaps the most intriguing new feature in RockMelt Beta 2 is the new bookmarking system, intuitively called View Later. RockMelt's developers have come to the conclusion that, in a modern browser that offers address auto-complete and makes the most visited sites accessible on the new tab page, people don't use bookmarks anymore -- at least not the way they used to back in the day. These days apparently, bookmarking is mostly about saving interesting pages for future reference. Which is where View Later comes in. You just click on the new clock icon at the far right of the address bar (where Chrome's star icon is), and you've added the page you're viewing to your View Later queue. You can even add individual posts from Facebook or Twitter. Your View Later contents are synced using RockMelt's general sync mechanism.
RockMelt Beta 2 also packs a new Twitter app, which now lets you edit retweets, view direct messages, reply to all, and easily use Twitter search. It uses Twitter's new real-time API, so you get the tweets exactly at the moment they're published.
The Chat bar has been redesigned, making it easier to keep track of multiple conversations, since chats are now docked in the Chat bar along the bottom of the browser, where they even stay visible while you browse the Web. Incoming chat messages will trigger notifications, and the ability to drag individual chat sessions out of the bar and into separate windows is still there.
All in all a solid update, that has started rolling out today and will reach all of the browser's users in a week's time. What remains to be seen is how many people are willing to switch from any of the 'big guys' to RockMelt for its added features.
Evernote's Chrome extension might not be quite as powerful a tool as Evernote's Mac and PC apps, but it does make a great addition to any note-capturing addict's browser toolbox. The latest update adds common Evernote actions to Chrome's right-click menu, making grabbing a clipping or starting a new note even more convenient. "Clip this page," "clip selection" and "clip image" are now just a right-click away.
Evernote for Chrome has also gained the familiar "snippet view" from Evernote's desktop and mobile apps. To browse the compact snippet versions of all your notes, click the Evernote icon in the toolbar. For extra note-browsing efficiency, there's even a tab that shows your saved notes from the site you're currently viewing.
Smaller tweaks include speed improvements and background clipping. Yep, clipping now happens in the background, so you don't have to wait til your clip is saved before you leave a page.
Serious Evernote junkies will probably still want to feed their addiction with a desktop app, but the Chrome extension is great for work computers and other situations where it's not practical to install desktop software. It's also just plain convenient, especially now that you can save a clip with one click!
Google Chrome users, for example, can add playback hotkeys with an extension called keyMazony. Once installed, you'll have keyboard control of your Amazon Cloud Player queue. keyMazony commands will work as long as you're in the same Chrome window as Cloud Player, even if its tab doesn't have focus. The key combinations are customizable as well -- just make sure you don't set up a combo that conflicts with another extension or Chrome's built-in keyboard shortcuts.
A baseline was determined with test systems sitting idle, and then browsers were pointed at about:blank, a news site, the HTML5 Galactic demo, and the IE9 fish tank demo. Perhaps unsurprisingly, IE9 came out on top -- though Firefox 4 was a very close second on nearly every test. As you can see, the other browsers didn't necessarily fare quite as well, with Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera all posting significantly worse scores. In Opera 11's case, a laptop battery would last over one hour more with Internet Explorer 9 installed.