While the number has changed, I didn't notice any significant changes at first glance -- other than a broken sync window which was totally blank (and will no doubt be fixed immediately). Google's accelerated release schedule for Chrome means you're likely going to see version bumps more frequently. Anyone want to place bets on where we'll be at this time next year? 9? 10?
Chrome's dev channel will likely be bumped in the coming days. If you want to make the jump now, grab a Chromium snapshot build.
It looks like Google wasn’t lying when they said they planned to more rapidly iterate their Chrome web browser. Today brought the initial release of version 7 of Chromium, the open source browser that Chrome is based on. If all goes as planned, this latest iteration should begin to trickle into the Chrome stream in just a few weeks.
It wasn’t even a week ago that version 6 of Chrome hit the beta stage. While the stable build of Chrome is still stuck on version 5 (5.0.375.126, to be exact), given the rate at which Google is refreshing the beta channel (just about daily), you can probably expect 6 to go stable shortly. Once that happens, builds of version 7 should start making their way into the dev branch of Chrome.
Google has stated that they hope to ship a new version of Chrome every six weeks now.
So what’s new in Chromium version 7? Not too much as far as I can tell right now. Google continues to tweak the UI of the browser a bit, but all of the major features seem the same. That said, version 7 of Chromium does feel noticeably snappier than the latest builds of version 6 of Chrome. Both the beta and dev channel versions of Chrome 6 have seemed slightly buggy over the past week or so. Chromium 7 feels much more solid.
One thing still not enabled by default in Chromium 7 are Chrome Web Apps. While you can get them to work by enabling the appropriate flag, Google clearly doesn’t feel they’re ready for prime time yet. The promise at I/O was to have them ready for “later this year,” so here’s hoping it’s something Google does choose to turn on in version 7 eventually.
But if not, it may only be another few weeks until Chromium 8.
- More UI Polish
- Stability Fixes
- [r55562] Re-enable the link to disable individual plug-ins in a group. (Issue: 51597)
More details about additional changes are available in the svn log.
You can find out about getting on the Dev channel at http://dev.chromium.org/getting-involved/dev-channel.
If you find new issues, please let us know by filing a bug at http://crbug.com/new.
It's just about that time of year again -- time for millions of students to put their noses to the grindstone and head back to school for another year of academic excitement!
Few learning tools are as versatile as your trusty laptop or desktop computer -- and your Web browser is likely one of the most-used programs on it. If Google Chrome is your browser of choice, there are loads of useful add-on enhancements in the Extensions Gallery which can turn Chrome into a powerful tool for staying focused and productive while tackling your coursework.
Take the jump and have a look at thirteen Chrome extensions I've found useful... and be sure to share your own picks in the comments!
Clip to Evernote
Evernote is a fantastic research and productivity tool -- and it's made even better when you plug the Chrome extension into your browser. Clip, tag, and describe just about any content you stumble across as you browse and retrieve it later from the Evernote desktop app or the equally handy (and far more pocketable) mobile version.
Sure, you can just open another tab or window when you want to look up something on Wikipedia, but you don't have to. The Wikipedia Companion extension lets you do it in a pop-up without having to leave the page you're currently browsing. It's very useful for doing things like looking up some background info about Peter Forsberg while you're browsing TSN instead of finishing an important blog post.
Ultimate Google Docs Viewer
Recent versions of Chrome have a built-in viewer for PDF documents, but the Google Docs Previewer can also handle Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. Ultimate Docs Viewer keeps an eye out for supported files and zips you over to the online previewer for a fast, lightweight to peruse them.
Want a single extension which adds a whole slew of efficiency-boosting features to Chrome? Check out FastestChrome. It provides useful enhancements like auto-loading the next page in multi-page articles, "linkifying" plain-text URLs, providing pop-up definitions for words you highlight, adding related articles to Wikipedia pages, and a whole lot more. There's a good reason more than 300,000 Chrome users have the FastestChrome extension installed: it's pretty dang useful.
Postponer Adder and Manager
Postponer is a pair of unofficial ReadItLater extensions for Google Chrome. The adder allows you to submit new URLs to your ReadItLater queue while the manager provides a searchable, sortable pop-up display of both unread and read items. It's a nice way to stash pages you want or need to read when you're short on time.
ChromeMilk / Unofficial Google Tasks / ToodleChrome
Google Tasks, Remember the Milk, and Toodledo are all excellent task management apps. Whichever you choose to help you get things done, there's a Chrome extension which helps you stay on top of your tasks while you browse.
If you use Google Calendar to keep your schedule in order, DayHiker deserves a spot in your browser. It provides a slick heads-up display of your upcoming appointments. DayHiker can also display your Google Tasks, has a handy pop-out alarm clock function, and it works with both standard Google accounts as well as Apps accounts.
Staying on task isn't always an easy thing -- especially in your Web browser, where there are so many awesome sites out there where you could be enjoying yourself while you slack off. StayFocusd is here to help! Add sites to your block list and set up time restrictions and StayFocusd will make sure you don't fritter away more than your allotted amount for the day. Once the timer hits your magic number, the site is blocked until the following day.
As stable as Google Chrome might be, there's always the chance you might be victimized by an untimely browser crash. If one happens while you're filling out a form, it's a pain in the butt to have to start from scratch after you re-launch Chrome. That's where Lazarus comes in -- it keeps tabs on forms while you fill them out and saves the data temporarily. If Chrome should happen to crash, Lazarus pops your previously entered data back in. It can be a real frustration preventer.
After the Deadline
Chrome has a built-in spellchecker, but you can bolt on a full-featured virtual proofreader by installing After the Deadline. ATD checks for grammar, syntax, and even common stylistic mistakes and it works just about anywhere you can type in some text (even things like Facebook wall posts). ATD is like having your own private proofreader/editor right inside Google Chrome.
Any way you look at it, Remoting is a very key component of Google's enterprise ambitions for Chrome OS (and the Chrome browser). It could very well allow inexpensive nettops, netbooks, and tablet devices running Chrome OS to easily interact with a business' existing enterprise apps.
As those devices inch closer to reality, Chrome OS code continues to mature and new features -- like Remoting -- begin to appear. You can see in the screenshot above that Remoting is now taking shape more visibly in Chromium. It's currently hidden behind the --enable-remoting flag, and the setup function under Chrome's wrench menu points to a page which is unavaiable.
It's a start, and it's certainly going to be interesting to watch Google's plans for Remoting unfold.
Google Chrome's sync features can be incredibly handy for those of use who run the browser on multiple computers. Every now and then, however, you may run into a problem. In my case, I had certain bookmarks which kept popping back up even though I'd previously deleted them.
Today I got an email from a reader, John, who was having a similar issue with his extensions. "Recently LastPass has found a way to stay in there, but all my other extensions are gone, no where to be found, not even at chrome://extensions," he wrote.
So, how does he fix this? I've tried a couple things in the past which seem to help.
- Sign out of Chrome Sync and sign back in. To do this, click the wrench menu icon and then click options. Once the window appears, click the Personal Stuff tab and press Stop syncing this account. Confirm by pressing Stop syncing.
This method will work best when you're not signed in to Chrome elsewhere -- so remember to close your browser on your secondary machine before you begin.
- Change your Google account password. Also recommended as a quick way to kill 3rd-party app access to your Twitter account, a quick change of your Google password will break sync and give you a chance to start fresh. This link should take you to the password change page, or you can visit your Google Dashboard.
This will prevent all your systems from re-syncing, regardless of whether or not you closed the browser first.
Full disclosure: AOL is indeed our benevolent overlord. However, Download Squad bloggers are under no obligation to speak kindly of their products or applications.
AOL Lifestream is an excellent app -- and it's certainly a far cry from the clunky, over-designed browser and dial-up software you used to see given away on floppy disks. Ahh, the good old days -- which are gone, and really weren't that great if you're comparing dial-up to DSL, cable, or fiber. Moving on!
Lifestream is a solid social networking aggregator. With support for key social sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Delicious, and now Foursquare, Lifestream presents a clean, simple way to keep tabs on all your friends' activity in one centralized location. While Lifestream might be a bit underpowered for social superstars, It's an excellent choice for average users -- as well as savvy users who don't need a more complex app.
Already available via the web and in the App Store, AOL has now added an extension for Google Chrome. While it's not going to transform Chrome into the super-social browsing experience that Flock 3 presents, the Lifestream extension is still a very handy way to keep your entire stream within easy reach without being distracted by it.
Let's start with my one gripe about the extension: it's slow to load. Pretty much every other Google Chrome extension I've tried out appears instantly after I click its icon. Lifestream, on the other hand, takes between three to five seconds to appear. That needs to be addressed -- users don't like to wait, and they don't like it when UI elements don't respond the way they want them to.
Beyond that, the Lifestream extension is pretty slick. Your stream is presented in a scrollable window with filtering and sharing options. You can post multi-network updates and share URLs, view trending topics, and view your account settings. Currently there's no support for files, so you can't share pictures or videos via the extension -- hopefully that will come later. Lifestream does allow you to comment on/reply to updates that appear in your stream, and retweeting is supported as well.
For users who are looking for a way to keep the conversation going on multiple networks and don't require some of the heavyweight features you find on apps like Seesmic Web, Lifestream is a good option -- I just hope they do something about the sluggish startup.
The Dev channel has been updated to 6.0.490.1 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome Frame platforms
- Late binding enabled for SSL sockets: High priority SSL requests are now always sent to the server first.
- Fixed focus problems with restoring from minimize (Issue 48917)
- Fixed Cannot add an address properly in the "AutoFill options" dialog box (Issue 50047)
- Several fixes and checks relating to syncing extensions (Issue 46516, Issue 49346, Issue 46516, Issue 49346, Issue 50567)
- Click-to-play is now behind the --enable-click-to-play command line switch.
- Fixed several issues with click-to-play (Issue 49686, Issue 49836)
Two recent additions to the Chromium source code combine to function very much like FlashBlock does: per-plug-in content settings and click-to-play. Visit a page with the former enabled, and the latter allows you to click any element you want to display. Better still, you can whitelist an entire website. Simply click the puzzle piece in Chrome's Omnibar and the menu above is displayed. To try it out right now, you'll need to download a recent Chromium snapshot build and add two command line switches: --enable-resource-content-settings and --enable-click-to-play.
Why would you want to do this? Two big reasons are security and transfer caps.
While Chrome itself is a very secure browser, plug-ins (especially out-of-date ones) can pose a major security risk. By using click-to-play and manually whitelisting sites you trust, you're giving yourself a little added protection against nefarious types who use things like Flash to perform drive-by attacks on unwary surfers. And because blocking prevents the elements from downloading without your consent, click-to-play can also help you conserve bandwidth.
The FlashBlock extension currently has more than 160,000 users -- I'm curious to see if that number dwindles once this code makes its way into Chrome's beta and stable channels. It sure seems as though the enhanced content settings will make FlashBlock redundant.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments!
Today at its press event in San Francisco, Google has just announced that it is officially releasing Chrome-To-Phone, a Chrome Extension it showed off as a preview at Google IO. The extension allows you to take a page you’re currently viewing on your web browser and send it to your Android 2.2 device — if you’re looking at a map and want it on your phone, you can just click the ‘Chrome to Phone’ button in your browser, and your phone will immediately open that map in the Maps application. You can download the extension here.
Other possible uses for the extension: if you’re looking at a webpage and want to continue reading it on your phone, just click the button in your browser. And, if you come across a phone number on the web that you’d like to call, you can send that directly to your phone to automatically launch the dialer (no more typos when you’re trying to place a call).
The extension is open sourced. Google Engineering Manager Dave Burke says that he built this feature his 20% time.
Google Chrome Blog: Instantly zap links, maps and phone numbers to your Android phone with Chrome to Phone!
Ever wanted a way to quickly and easily send links and other information from your desktop or laptop to your phone to view on the go? The new Chrome to Phone extension adds a button to your Google Chrome browser that instantly sends the current web page, map, YouTube video, or selected phone number or text to your Android device running Froyo (or Android 2.2).
Suppose you're reading an interesting article on your favorite news website and need to leave for an urgent appointment. Simply click the extension icon in your browser to send the link to your phone and the device's browser will automatically open the link, ready for you to view on the go.
Chrome to Phone also works seamlessly with Google Maps. Say you’ve looked up an address or driving directions on your desktop. Clicking the extension icon in your browser will push the information to the Google Maps app on your phone. YouTube videos work the same way with the extension. You can also select a phone number on a web page and send it to the dialer on your phone. Selected text can also be automatically copied from your browser and sent to your Android clipboard for later viewing.
To get Chrome to Phone, install the extension in your Google Chrome browser and the Android application on your phone, and you’re ready to go.
If you're obsessive about your Facebook friends and you always notice when your friend numbers go up or down, Facebook Friends Checker might be for you. It 's a Chrome extension which keeps track of your friends and periodically informs you when someone defriends you or deletes their account. You'll get an alert on top of your Facebook page, showing your lost friends and it'll stay there until you dismiss it.
Note that you won't see Friends Checker working immediately because it's not checking your friends list every second. Don't worry, though, I promise it works. There's also a Greasemonkey script, which will work on Firefox and Safari (with Greasekit), but I didn't have any luck getting it to work.
Good news -- you don't have to! Thanks to Hexxeh, you can now download buildbot snapshots of the plain-vanilla Chromium OS code. In case you missed out the first time around, Hexxeh is an ambitious young dev from England who rolled his own modified version of the Chrome OS code early on called Flow. It's still available for download, too, and likely due for an update soon as well.
The Vanilla builds he's offering are unmodified compiles of the Chromium OS source. You may have seen Google's buildbot site where they churn Chromium browser builds all day long -- Hexxeh has done the same thing for Chromium OS. He's gone the extra step of putting together some PHP and CSS to present things in a more attractive way.
- This image likely won't work in VMWare or VirtualBox. Converting the Chromium OS image to a format that will run in virtual environments requires running some extra commands post-compile
- You'll need a utility which can write the image file to your USB flash drive. Mac and Linux users can use dd in a terminal window. Windows users: download Win32 Disk Imager, it works extremely well.
There are actually LOADS of files in the archive you're downloading. The only one you probably care about is chromiumos_base_image.bin. The non-base image includes developer tools, code samples, and a few other things that you don't need if you're just going for a test drive.(Hexxeh has updated the Vanilla site to only display the .img file you're after. Nice!!)
- You may need an app which can handle .GZ archives to extract your download -- 7-Zip is a good choice.
- Not all hardware is going to work. The Chromium x86-generic images don't include a ton of drivers, so you may be missing one fairly important piece of the puzzle: wifi support. Most netbooks will work 100% -- full-sized laptops are more iffy.
- Performance from a USB flash drive is OK, but you will experience some sluggishness from time to time. If you happen to have a spare HDD or SSD you can image and use, go for it!
- When you first try to log in, the time may not be correct for your zone. If it's not, you won't be able to log in to your Google account. If that happens, click to browse without signing in, right-click the clock and change to your timezone, and wait for the time to adjust. Once it does, log out and log in with your own account.
- This is pre-beta stuff. Certain things don't work properly yet (like the media player) and when it does work you won't be able to play MP3s or most video formats. This is Chromium, not Chrome -- so licensed codecs aren't part of the package.
If you're still interested in taking spending a little quality time with it, download Chromium OS Vanilla, extract it, image it, and take it for a spin! Got a question? Want to share your thoughts? Head on over to our Facebook page!
Turns out I wasn’t just slacking off these past few months. Alright, maybe I was just a little. No matter, the next releases are ready. Yes, plural. Allow me to explain…
Before today, if I wanted to upload a new image for everyone, it took hours just to prepare the final image and distribute it. Then there were the days of testing before, and the hours and hours a build took to complete. This is all very tedious and annoying if you’re working on it for a few days straight. So I thought I’d solve that problem and automate the build process. Now builds happen every day, with the latest code, without me having to take any action other than to fix things when it goes wrong (and it does, quite a bit, but it’s still hugely easier). So what does this mean for you?
This means that now you don’t have to wait for me to release a new build to try the latest and greatest that ChromiumOS has to offer, you can just hit up the new ChromiumOS Vanilla page linked at the bottom of this post and take the newest build for a spin. Just to give you some idea of what that means if you’re coming from Flow, here’s a list of new features/improvements:
- Revamped login UI – your username is remembered and you can take a photo to appear with your login using your webcam
- 3G modem support
- Chrome Web Store ready
- Lots, lots faster
- Official ChromiumOS updater (my servers for this aren’t yet live, though)
- Browser sync
So, sounds great, right? Sadly, there are a few drawbacks. I’ve not yet integrated my changes into the new system. So if you’re hardware isn’t supported in a standard ChromiumOS build, it won’t work in a Vanilla build. This will change eventually, I still have more work to do; right now there are huge drawbacks to using my modified versions using this system, I need to find workarounds before it’s ready for public consumption.
None of these builds are tested by a human and therefore not guaranteed to even boot (this is by it’s very nature, it’s automated!). Eventually we’ll mark some of them as verified, but not yet. Secondly, there are no VMWare/VirtualBox builds available yet; this is something I’m working on right now and should be available pretty soon.
You can go and download the current build right now on the special Vanilla builds page here.
Google has pushed more Chrome features from the dev channel over to beta today -- and you might not be particularly happy about one of them.
The unified menu which received a lot of heat from dev channel users has now been pushed. The change makes sense when you consider Google's commitment to keeping Chrome's interface as minimalist as possible, but it does mean that certain functions aren't located in the places users expect to find them (like the Extensions link).
Looking for the Google Chrome beta channel download? Why, it's right over here!
Updates from the previous beta include:
- Updated UI
- Form Autofill
- Syncing of extensions and Autofill data
- Increased speed and stability
These changes and more in Chrome 6 Beta are explained in more detail on the Google Chrome Blog.
To switch to the Beta channel, you can download Google Chrome
In today’s new Google Chrome beta release, we’re introducing a host of new beta features which will further improve Chrome’s ease of use and speed.
One of my favorite features, Autofill, helps you fill in web forms automatically with information that you specify, such as your name, address, phone number, and the credit card number you use for shopping online. Autofill builds up and saves this information for you over time, so that you can fill in long web forms with just a few clicks without typing in the same information over again. For your security, any personal information stored in Chrome is safely stored and kept private until a user chooses to share the information with a website. Additionally, your credit card information is never saved without first asking you explicitly.
For a demo of Autofill, check out this video:
We also continue to bring more synchronization capabilities to Chrome. In addition to syncing bookmarks, preferences, and themes, you can now choose to sync your Chrome extensions as well as your Autofill data (excluding credit card numbers) through your Google Account. With Chrome’s sync features, you can personalize your Chrome experience and access your painstakingly curated set of bookmarks, preferences, themes, extensions, and Autofill data from any computer you choose, as long as you’re signed in to your Google Account on Chrome for that computer. To start syncing, go to the the “Sync” section of the “Personal Stuff” tab in Chrome’s options.
You may notice that we’ve given the user interface of the browser a facelift in this beta. As previewed on the developer channel in June, we have streamlined the upper toolbar, made the Omnibox more approachable, and condensed all of our options into a single menu. We hope that these visual changes will make Chrome feel even simpler.
As always, Google Chrome will automatically update itself with the latest changes if you are subscribed to the beta channel. Stable channel users, hang tight -- these features and improvements will be available in the stable channel soon once we’ve given it a good test run on beta!
Here's one for the font nerds: there's a CSS declaration called optimizeLegibility that fixes kerning and ligatures in a lot of Web fonts. For the less design-savvy amongst us, that means it makes sure certain letter pairs are spaced properly and combined into special characters where appropriate. Designers don't always use optimizeLegibility, though, so it's time to take matters into your own hands with an extension for Safari or Chrome.
The extensions just insert an optimizeLegibility declaration into the CSS of any page, so they're super-lightweight and won't increase page load times at all. The Safari version is by Chris Morrell, and the Chrome version is by John Michel. Firefox users, don't worry: optimizeLegibility is on by default for text sizes 20px and larger.