Domain name notwithstanding, the add-on feels pretty solid (and has been tested by Mozilla). It adds a set of buttons to Firefox, which let you open the current page in any other browser that you've got installed.
In terms of UI, it's very flexible; you can add entries to the View menu, the main context menu, the main context menu for links, the tab context menu, or the tab bar (like in the screenshot).
Interestingly, on my own system, it wouldn't add Chrome to the list by default (even though I have two Chrome versions installed - Canary and the Dev build). However, it did add Microsoft Pivot, which I had completely forgotten about.
You can manually add browsers to the list, but you can't remove them -- which is a downer. It means I'm stuck with a Microsoft Pivot entry on my list, and that is enough to make me remove this add-on. That's too bad, because this is actually something I need; I often open the current page in other browsers.
Still, if you don't have an experimental browser that you never use this can be a nice solution. It would be even better, though, if the developer added a feature to allow for the removal of browsers.
By default, SmartSelect can search selected text with Google, Google Maps/Directions, Dictionary.com, and Wikipedia. Adding new search engines is incredibly simple via the extension's options page. Just name your entry, paste in the appropriate search URL, and add [selected] where the highlighted text needs to appear.
Unfortunately, it's not so easy to add an icon for your newly-created search just now. If you want to add an icon, you'll need to drop a .PNG into the extension's folder (mine is located at C:\Users\Lee\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions\ppogmggnjkiajddfecpjbjicpcobmaefitem.0.2_0\img), and then enter the filename minus the extension on SmartSelect's options screen (download, not download.png).
You may also want to enable the Ctrl+click option to activate the extension; I found that the menu was a bit to eager to spring into action otherwise.
Chrome: Zoomy is a small Chrome extension that automatically enlarges websites to fill the available screen space. Whether you're trying to read small text more comfortably or you're tired of the massive page gutters on your widescreen monitor, Zoomy can help. More »
NotScripts is one effort to create such an add-on, and it seems to be fairly well advanced.
The whole thing feels like a giant workaround. It works "by cleverly using HTML5 storage caching to overcome the timing issues," and it requires you to set a manual password by editing an external file so that sites cannot view the extension's white list of "allowed sites."
We recently released a developer preview of the Chrome Web Store, which included new documentation about our upcoming payments and licensing API. With this blog post, we wanted to share a quick overview and some tips about this API so that you can start developing your apps with it.
The Chrome Web Store will offer a built-in payments system that allows you to charge for apps, making it easy for users to pay without leaving the store. If you want to work with this payments system in your apps, you can use the Chrome Web Store Licensing API to verify whether a given user has paid and should have access to your app. Here’s how the API works:
The Licensing API has two inputs: the app ID and the user ID. The app ID is a unique identifier that’s assigned to each item uploaded to the store. You can see it most easily in the URL of your detail page—for example, .../detail/aihcahmgecmbnbcchbopgniflfhgnkff.
The user ID is the OpenID URL corresponding to the user’s Google Account. You can get the OpenID URL for the current user either by using Google App Engine’s built-in OpenID support or by using a standard OpenID library and Google’s OpenID endpoint.
Given the app ID and the user ID, you make Licensing API requests using this URI:
When your app makes an HTTP request to the Licensing API, the app needs to be authenticated. The app is authenticated by matching your Google Account that uploaded the app to the Google Account used to call the API.
There are a few ways the app can indicate the Google Account used to make the API call. For the Chrome Web Store Licensing API, we highly recommend the use of OAuth for Web Applications. In this approach, OAuth access tokens are used to identify the Google Account calling the API.
You can obtain the necessary token via the Chrome Developer Dashboard by clicking the “AuthToken” link for your app. (This link appears only if your app uses Chrome Web Store Payments.) You’ll need this OAuth token to sign the HTTP requests to call the Licensing API. The best way to sign your requests is with a standard OAuth library.
The OAuth tokens that the Chrome Developer Dashboard provides are limited in scope, which means that they can only be used to make Licensing API calls. They can’t be used to make calls to other authenticated Google APIs or for anything else.
Once you’re ready to make authenticated calls, give the API a try by making your first request. For more information read the Licensing API docs, try out the Getting Started tutorial, check out the samples, and watch the video below:
Note that current version of the Licensing API is a stub, which means that it doesn’t return live data that’s based on purchases just yet. Instead, it returns dummy responses that you can use to verify the various scenarios of your implementation. However the protocol, response format, and URL endpoints of the API are all final, so your implementation shouldn’t need to change before the final launch of the store.
And my sincerest apologies for sharing this with you, but it's one of those "Dude this taste like crap. Here, try some." situations.
Got my hands up. They're playing my song. And now I'm going to be OK. It's a party in the U.S.A.
As we pointed out earlier, today is Google Chrome’s second birthday. Since it launched in beta on September 2, 2008, it has come a long way (it’s already 6 versions deep). Back then, it was Windows-only, with official Mac and Linux support only coming late last year. But now it’s on the verge of another milestone: becoming the top browser coming to this site.
I’ve checked out our logs over the past few years to see how well Chrome has been doing compared to its rival browsers. The numbers are shockingly strong for such a new entry — particularly in the past year. Obviously, TechCrunch has a tech-centric audience, but I don’t think it’s off-base to say that you’re also a leading audience of early adopters that often point to where the general public will be in the future.
The numbers are clear: Firefox is in trouble. It has been the top browser since we began using Google Analytics to record stats back in 2007. By 2008, it was nearly 25 percentage points ahead of the next closest rival, Internet Explorer. As of yesterday, it stood just 3 percentage points ahead of the next closest rival, Chrome.
Here are the numbers. In August 2010 (the month that just ended):
- Firefox: 33.98%
- Chrome: 26.22%
- Safari: 18.40%
- IE: 13.23%
- Mozilla Compatible Agent: 5.46%
One year ago, in August 2009 (right before Chrome’s first birthday), the numbers looked like this:
- Firefox: 45.91%
- IE: 20.61%
- Safari: 18.85%
- Chrome: 10.09%
- Mozilla Compatible Anent: 1.83%
Two years ago, in August 2008 (right before Chrome launched), the numbers looked like this:
- Firefox: 55.63%
- IE: 31.21%
- Safari 9.76%
- Opera: 2.23%
- Mozilla: 0.62%
By September 2008, the month Chrome launched in beta, it had an immediate impact. But remember, it was Windows-only at the time:
- Firefox: 52.36%
- IE: 28.55%
- Safari: 9.18%
- Chrome: 6.58%
- Opera: 2.05%
And just for fun, let’s go back three full years, to August 2007.
- Firefox: 48.81%
- IE: 40.61%
- Safari: 6.59%
- Opera: 2.29%
- Mozilla: 0.72%
Chrome has clearly taken a bite out of Firefox, IE, and even Opera’s already small share. Safari is up big over the past couple of years as well, but its growth has seemingly stalled over the past year — despite iPad browser usage (in terms of visits to TechCrunch) exploding.
Of course, overall traffic to TechCrunch is also way up over these past few years. It just appears that more and more people who are visiting are now doing so via Chrome.
Let’s look at the numbers from yesterday:
- Firefox: 34.68%
- Chrome: 31.09%
- Safari: 15.65%
- IE: 12.77%
- Mozilla Compatible Agent: 3.48%
Yes, it’s just a matter of time before Chrome is on top.
As a humorous aside, IE with Chrome Frame, the plug-in Google made to make IE behave like Chrome, is now a bigger source of traffic to TechCrunch than Opera Mini or BlackBerry. While still tiny, it too is growing.
Windows/Mac/Linux: Two years after its inception, web browser Google Chrome reaches version 6 in its stable release today, bringing with it the much sought-after extension syncing, form autofill and autofill syncing, and an even more streamlined UI. More »
It's Chrome's second birthday today, and in addition to posting some fancy-schmancy images to celebrate Google Chrome's stable channel has been bumped to version 6. For those of you still keeping tabs on version changes, it's only been four months since Chrome 5 went stable.
The update means that all Chrome users can now take advantage of extension and autofill sync -- both important parts of Google's desire to keep your 'browsing platform' uniform across all the computers you use.
No announcement yet from the Chrome Blog, but we'll add a link once their official post has gone live. In the meantime, the Chromium blog has a breakdown of some of the more important security updates and feature additions.
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Watching the 1985 classic Back to the Future last night, I was struck by how much things can change with time. The main character Marty McFly travels 30 years back in time, only to find that his house hadn’t been built yet, skateboards hadn’t been invented and nobody had ever heard rock ‘n roll.
- Updated UI
- Form Autofill
- Syncing of extensions and Autofill data
- Increased speed and stability
Security fixes and rewards:
Please see the Chromium security page for more detail. Note that the referenced bugs may be kept private until a majority of our users are up to date with the fix.
-  Low Pop-up blocker bypass with blank frame target. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno) and “ironfist99”.
-  Medium URL bar visual spoofing with homographic sequences. Credit to Chris Weber of Casaba Security.
-  Medium Apply more restrictions on setting clipboard content. Credit to Brook Novak.
-  High Stale pointer with SVG filters. Credit to Tavis Ormandy of the Google Security Team.
-  Medium Possible installed extension enumeration. Credit to Lostmon.
-   Low Browser NULL crash with WebSockets. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (SkyLined), Google Chrome Security Team (Justin Schuh) and Keith Campbell.
- [$1000]  High Use-after-free in Notifications presenter. Credit to Sergey Glazunov.
-  High Notification permissions memory corruption. Credit to Michal Zalewski of the Google Security Team and Google Chrome Security Team (SkyLined).
- [$1337]   High Integer errors in WebSockets. Credit to Keith Campbell and Google Chrome Security Team (Cris Neckar).
- [$500]  High Memory corruption with counter nodes. Credit to kuzzcc.
-  Low Avoid storing excessive autocomplete entries. Credit to Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno).
-  High Stale pointer in focus handling. Credit to VUPEN Vulnerability Research Team (VUPEN-SR-2010-249).
- [$1000]  High Sandbox parameter deserialization error. Credit to Ashutosh Mehra and Vineet Batra of the Adobe Reader Sandbox Team.
- [$500]  Medium Cross-origin image theft. Credit to Isaac Dawson.
This release also fixes  (Windows kernel bug workaround; credit to Marc Schoenefeld), which was incorrectly declared fixed in version 5.0.375.127.
In addition, we would like to credit Google Chrome Security Team (Inferno), James Robinson (Chromium development community), Google Chrome Security Team (Cris Neckar), Aki Helin of OUSPG, Fred Akalin (Chromium development community), Anna Popivanova, “myusualnickname”, Michal Zalewski of the Google Security Team, kuzzcc and Aaron Boodman (Chromium development community) for finding bugs during the development cycle such that they never reached a stable build.
It's the beginning of the month again, and that means it's time for the big analytics guns to release their browsing snapshots once again. While there's not a lot of movement to report on for August of 2010, Google is no doubt pleased with the way things played out.
Android made a fairly major jump last month, climbing more than a full point -- from 7.91 to 9.22%. That gain came mostly at the expense of iOS and Symbian, both of which slid about half a point. Blackberry OS also continued to rise, finishing August up .5%.
On the desktop, Google surged ahead almost a full point to finish at 10.76%. That's nearly three times Chrome's user base from this time last year, and it's the first time Chrome has crossed the 10% mark.
And yes, Internet Explorer slipped yet again. IE is still dominant, yet it's also now dangerously close to slipping below 50% share for the first time ever. Perhaps the IE9 beta will help stem the tide -- it's due to arrive in less than two weeks.
I enjoy using Google’s Chrome Canary build so that I can try out the latest features of Google Chrome. Today, Canary’s update included the Chrome Labs page. This feature has been available for a few days, but only in the Chromium code base. To bring up the Labs page, you have to open a new tab and type: “about:labs” (without the quotes).
Google may say that it’s “Some crazy experimental stuff”, but so far, it’s not that crazy. The only experiment available right now is “Side Tabs”. Once enabled, you can right click on any tab to enable or disable it. Here are two screenshots below to show you what it looks like.
As you can see, the Side Tabs really change the look of the browser. I miss the rounded tabs and I’m guessing that I won’t use this new feature often. The reduction in screen width isn’t worth the ease of navigation unless you have lots and lots of tabs open.
While I’m not excited about the Side Tabs lab experiment, I am happy to see the Labs page in Chrome Canary. At least I can hope they’ll stop using those stupid command line switches now.
Labs Extension: If you don’t like having to type “about:labs” in a new tab, there’s a Labs Chrome Extension that let’s you click on a Labs icon to bring up the Labs page.
In the latest Chrome Canary update, Labs has arrived. That means Mac users can now enable tab overview (an Expose-like feature which shows all your open tabs) and Windows users can play around with side tabs -- no switches required! Just enable the feature on about:labs and restart, and you're good to go.
Remember, this has just hit Canary -- but the dev channel shouldn't be too far behind.
Hopefully Google will begin adding other features to the page now that it's made the jump to Chrome. First on our wish list; hardware acceleration!
As Google Chrome 7 (dev) now includes hardware acceleration, guys from DownloadSquad decided to test it along with Internet Explorer 9 (developers preview) and Firefox 4 (beta).
What are the results?
Google Chrome 7 utilized the most of the hardware resources, delivering better FPS (frames per second) than Internet Explorer 9 or Firefox 4, which took the last place.
However, as those are not the final builds, don’t draw your conclusions yet, things might change in the future.
Thanks to geek for the news tip.
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3-way hardware-accelerated browser shoot-out: Chrome on top, IE9 just behind and Firefox brings up the rear (video)
After yesterday's announcement that Chrome 7 is now hardware accelerated, I instantly wanted to get the major browsers back into the ring for another screencasted deathmatch. Back when I did the 4-way speed test, only Firefox and Internet Explorer 9 featured hardware acceleration, and as a result Opera and Chrome were many orders of magnitude slower. If you watch the video, however, you'll see that's definitely no longer the case: Chrome is now the fastest of the three major browsers.
That speed comes at a price! As I discuss in the video, Chrome might be faster, but it uses significantly more resources than either IE9 or Firefox 4. Firefox is some 30% slower, but at the same time seems to use less CPU and GPU time. IE9 seems to utilize the same amount of CPU time as Chrome, but a little less of the GPU -- and it's marginally slower as a result.
What I don't know is whether this is by design or not. You'll notice that the GPU never went far above 50% -- why, with three browsers open, does it not get closer to 100%? The resources are there to be used -- why not use them?! Likewise, my CPU is still only half-used even when all three browsers are drawing 1000 frantic fishes at the same time. If you're curious, the other IE9 test drive samples all provided similar results. I wanted to try Google's 'HTML5 rocks' sample gallery, but they intentionally used elements of CSS and HTML5 that aren't yet supported in Internet Explorer 9 or Firefox 4.
In the name of science, here's some more information about my process: the screen capture does slow down each browser by a few frames per second, but relatively the figures are still accurate. I saw a small deviation in FPS when I was only running one browser at a time (probably because my CPU has multiple cores). There are a few unknown variables too, like whether the CPU core usage is defined by the app, or by the operating system (but with Chrome using more resources than IE9, you can only assume that Windows isn't unfairly biasing its own-brand browser).
If you'd like to recreate my test, you'll need to enable hardware acceleration in Firefox 4 and Chrome -- IE9 has it turned on by default:
- Firefox 4 -- grab a nightly build, navigate to about:config and add gfx.font_rendering.directwrite.enabled -- set it to 'true'
- Chrome 7 -- grab a nightly build and add the following flags to the shortcut before opening it: --enable-accelerated-compositing --enable-gpu-plugin --enable-gpu-rendering --enable-accelerated-2d-canvas
Fortunately there's a new extension which can do just that. What?! An extension to peek under the hood of other extensions? Yep. It's called Extension Gallery Inspector, and it's pretty slick.
Install the Inspector and head to the Chrome Extensions Gallery. When you browse an extension's detail page, the lightning bolt icon will appear in your Omnibar. Click it, and Inspector will unpack the .CRX file and scan for API calls, permissions, and OAuth support. It also tells you the uncompressed size of the extension and whether or not it has an options page and browser action icon.
You'll obviously need a bit of technical knowledge to benefit from Extension Gallery Inspector as it stands right now. Still, for power users who want to know what an extension has access to -- or developers who are just curious how a particular extension works -- Inspector is a must-have Google Chrome extension.