Ever find yourself wishing you could run two versions of Google Chrome -- like the stable version and the dev version -- side-by-side? It's been a tad tricky to do that in the past, but Google has just made things about as easy as they can possibly get -- by introducing another Chrome build.
Yes, Google is offering a Vista-esque four flavors of Chrome now -- with the release of Canary, a pseudo-dev channel build which installs to a different directory (%localappdata%\Google\Chrome SxS\ on Windows). Canary isn't linked to your Google Chrome installs at all, meaning you can also run different sync profiles, themes, and browser preferences.
Apart from the folder change, Googler Huan Ren states that Canary may also receive updates which the dev channel does not. Canary will be the most bleeding-edge official version of Chrome and somewhat of a mix between Chrome dev and the Chromium snapshot builds.
Canary's arrival has a lot to do with the new Chrome release cycle. With stable builds due out every six weeks, beta branching will occur more frequently and "risky" changes from the trunk can now be pushed to Canary prior to landing them on the Dev channel.
This also says a lot about Chrome's early adopters -- there's obviously a crapload of them if Google feels it can support two official, pre-beta builds. Download Google Chrome Canary here and run it in tandem with your current stable, beta, or dev build.
Wait a sec... "Why Canary?", you ask? I'm guessing this is a reference to the old practice of taking a canary down into a mine... If the canary died, it was unsafe and the miners knew to bail out. If a change kills Chrome Canary, they'll block it from the dev build.
Over at the Chromium blog, there's some good news for Chrome fans... Which is simultaneously bad news for those of you who already think they're getting a little silly with the version numbers. Starting now, Google plans to push a new stable version of Chrome every six weeks.
Yes, you read that correctly. Six weeks.
That's not set in stone, of course -- build issues and bugs could delay a release. Still, this means that the exciting new features you read about popping up in the developer channel will now likely have a shorter path to travel to the stable version. "We have new features coming out all the time and do not want users to have to wait months before they can use them," says the official blog post. It continues, "We basically wanted to operate more like trains leaving Grand Central Station (regularly scheduled and always on time), and less like taxis leaving the Bronx (ad hoc and unpredictable)."
Google also hopes the change will take some heat off the Chrome development team. Instead of having to rush to commit changes in the weeks and days leading up to a release, they'll be sliding in changes more frequently. If a feature isn't ready, they'll simply bump it to the next cycle.
It'll be interesting to see if this puts any heat on Mozilla, Opera, Microsoft, and Apple. Will they counter? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Oh yeah...Google also asks that you not pay too much attention to the numbers anymore as they stream past in the rear view mirror -- so no jokes, mmmkay?
With their Chrome web browser, Google has always been obsessed with speed. And now they’re speeding up another aspect of it: how often stable builds are released. The goal now is to release a new stable version of the browser every six weeks — about twice as fast as they currently do, Google says. In other words, get ready for Chrome 6, 7, 8, and 9 coming soon.
So why is Google doing this? Because they’re creating new features so quickly and they want to make sure all users get them as fast as possible. These quick iterations also will allow Google to have more firmly set schedules for Chrome. And as a result, project managers will be able to set realistic goals for amount of work that can be done by a certain time.
But the most important thing that Google highlights may be the easing of pressure off of their engineering team. Under the old, longer release model, engineers would be pressured into trying to finish new features before a deadline or risk having them cut and not showing up for months. With the new release schedule, even if something isn’t ready to go in one release, it will only be six weeks until it makes the next one.
Google is also trying to downplay the rapid iteration of versions that will be coming:
Since we are going to continue to increment our major versions with every new release (i.e. 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0) those numbers will start to move a little faster than before. Please don’t read too much into the pace of version number changes – they just mean we are moving through release cycles and we are geared up to get fresher releases into your hands!
Google does not that this six week cycle is “running under ideal conditions,” so it’s possible it may slip from time to time. Still, it’s pretty exciting how fast they’ll be iterating now. And even if the version numbers don’t mean much, the other browsers are going to have to make sure their users know that, or it may look like Chrome is running laps around them.
- Shorten the release cycle and still get great features in front of users when they are ready
- Make the schedule more predictable and easier to scope
- Reduce the pressure on engineering to “make” a release
Like so many new Chrome features, side tabs are hidden behind a command line flag: --enable-vertical-tabs. As always, if you need help figuring out how to add a flag, have a look at our how-to post!
App tabs and pinned tabs appear at the top of the list and you can still drag and drop to re-order tabs and right-click them to pin, close, duplicate, or reload. As Martin points out over at Ghacks, there's some graphical weirdness when you first activate the switch. Give Chrome a slap by opening a new tab with ctrl+t or simply minimize and restore the window.
All the talking about sidebar tabs today in Firefox reminded me that I wanted to write about a similar feature in Google Chrome, to be more precise in the Google Chrome dev releases and Chromium.
The developers of the browser have added a startup switch to enable side tabs. Users who are running a dev version of Chromium or Chrome can add the startup parameter –enable-vertical-tabs to enable the side tabs functionality.
Here is how it is done in detail (Windows):
Locate the Google Chrome icon, right-click it and select Properties. This opens the Google Chrome Properties window. Locate the Target field and add –enable-vertical-tabs at the end of it. Make sure there is a space between chrome.exe and the parameter.
A click on OK saves the new parameter. Start or restart Google Chrome. There is no visual indication of side tabs yet. They are activated by right-clicking a tab and selecting Use side tabs from the context menu.
The current version seems to have problems drawing the side tabs right away. It is necessary to resize the screen, or minimize / restore it before the tabs are displayed in the sidebar.
Each website is represented by its favicon, page title and a close button. It does not seem possible to change the width of the sidebar tabs yet. The title bar looks awfully empty as well with side tabs enabled.
A right-click on a tab in the sidebar and the selection of Use side tabs will revert the changes and move the tabs to their original location in the browser. It is once again necessary to resize / minimize the window before the tabs are displayed.
Yesterday's dev channel update has flipped the switch, however, and the internal PDF viewer is now enabled by default. Interestingly, Google's official release post states a known issue where the PDF plug-in doesn't load on Linux -- yet it does on my Chromium OS install. If you happen to be running Chrome dev on Linux, let us know if the plug-in is working for you!
Apart from the plug-in change, it looks as though another big chunk of Chrome's UI will soon be moved to a browser tab. Just as they did with the bookmark manager did, Google is getting ready to move Chrome's options (or preferences) to a tab. Take the jump to see what it looks like so far!
Also hidden behind a command-line switch is the Chrome Web Store shortcut. If you have the --enable-apps flag appended to your shortcut, you may notice this on your new tab page:
- [r52693] Fix crash with SSL client auth (Issue 49197)
- [r52850] Option clicking a link now saves a resource directly without triggering a “Save As...” dialog (Issue 36775)
- [r52911] Implement the upgrade available notification on the Wrench menu (Issue 45147)
- [r52485] Implement the new, unified Wrench menu (Issue 47848)
- [r52507] Fixed tab dragging glitches with newer GDEs (Issue 48774)
- [r52729] Access GNOME Keyring on the main thread to fix a crash for some users (Issue 48343)
- PDF plugin does not load on Linux (Issue 49702)
More details about additional changes are available in the svn log of all revisions.
Google Chrome: If you're looking for an easy way to screenshot web pages from within Google Chrome, Awesome Screenshot is a versatile Chrome screenshot tool. More »
Plenty of people scoffed at the original Google announcement about Chrome OS. It's just another minimalist Linux distro, they said -- but that's actually not quite true. Unlike most lightweight Linux distributions, there won't be any traditional local apps apart from the Chrome browser.
If you'd like a Chrome OS-like experience without having to give up apps like Transmission, VLC, or DropBox? Take a look at the new release from the developers behind Peppermint.
Dubbed Peppermint Ice, the new spin replaces Firefox with Chromium and includes the same selection of web app shortcuts (Facebook, Seesmic, Google Docs, Hulu, Pandora, etc.) and local apps (like DropBox, Tranmission, and XChat). Want to add your own web app shortcuts? It's a snap using the built in Ice tool. And since Peppermint is derived from Linux Mint, apt-get is available via the terminal -- meaning you can install boatloads of other apps if you want to.
Kendall Weaver, who heads up Peppermint development, told me that on his Core2 notebook with an OCZ Vertex SSD Peppermint Ice boots up in about 6 seconds. That's definitely speedy enough to compete with just about any "instant-on" OS I've tried out. Even on my admittedly poorly-configured, Atom-powered Gateway netbook Peppermint boots in 10 seconds... Nice!
Peppermint is a solid Linux distribution for people who just want to surf but don't want to give up the flexibility which Linux distros typically provide. The interface is clean and simple, and should be familiar to anyone who's ever used Windows XP. Hey, if my 5-year-old can jump in and find his YouTube favorites on Peppermint, the learning curve can't be too steep (if it even exists).
Good news if you're a Firefox fan: Kendall also informed me that Peppermint One will be switching to Firefox 4.0 when the second beta arrives. The switch will provide a welcome performance boost, though you might have to deal with some broken extensions temporarily -- although if you're installing Firefox betas you're probably used to that by now...
What makes it awesome? For starters, it can capture both the visible portion of a page or the entire thing -- and scrolling web pages aren't always support by capture tools. It's also got a nice built-in editor which provides all the functions I typically need when cleaning up a screenshot: crop, shape drawing tools, arrows, editable(!) text, and a blur tool for hiding sensitive information.
When you're finished editing, your image is presented on the page and you can save it locally via a right click or upload and share with the push of a button.
Here's my one gripe about the extension: the links it provides are gigantic. Like many tools which upload to pict.com, the URLs Awesome Screenshot spits out are way longer than, say, an imgur or yfrog link. That creates an extra step sometimes if you're pasting a link into apps which don't auto-truncate.
Hopefully future versions will offer a choice of image host -- if so, Awesome Screenshot will be even better than it already is. And it's already pretty dang good.
Mozilla has recently upped its bug bounty -- meaning that any critical security bug you found and disclosed to Mozilla could net you a cool $3000.
Not to be outdone, Google has just announced that it will be awarding up to $3133.7 for critical bugs. This is not only $133.7 over what Mozilla offers, but also an obvious play on the word "elite" in h4x0r-speak. It's also a typical example of Google's nerdy sense of humor.
If you look at the bigger picture, as ThreatPost has done in their coverage of the issue, you will see that this actually represents the beginning of a paradigm shift in the security world. Up until now, "security researchers" (which is, pretty much, a clean name for hackers) had a tough moral dilemma: Do I take this security hole to Microsoft (or Google, or Mozilla, or Apple) and quietly wait until they fix it while getting little to no pay and recognition? Or do I go to the black market and sell it to an evil group who will give me $50,000 and use it to publish a zero-day exploit that takes the world by storm?
This is a tough call for some to make, but fortunately, Google and Mozilla are making it a bit easier to be "the good guy." Hopefully, other companies will follow suit.
Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear about a new Android-based tablet in some ever-so-slightly-new size, configuration, or spec. Chances are that every PC manufacturer out there is going to have one, and chances are they’ll all be more or less interchangeable — like the Windows 7 tablets that they often announce at the same time. With the clear exceptions of Apple and HP, most computer-makers don’t seem to be interested in doing anything but getting a product out the door that’s competitive.
This bulk approach to such a personal computer as a tablet has taken the shine off of Android for me — not that it had much to begin with, being an OS designed around a smaller form factor. I love my Android phone, but the idea of Android running on some stock Dell hardware with a little spritz of UI on top really isn’t that attractive to me. I say, bring on the Chrome OS tablets.
If you've made the switch from Firefox to Chrome and count AdBlock among your must-have extensions, there's one gripe you probably had. Unlike its Firefox or Safari cousins, AdBlock for Chrome wasn't actually able to prevent ads from downloading. As developer Mike Gundlach told The Reg, " We've been having to hide the ads after downloading them or add CSS rules that say 'don't show these ads' even though they're downloading."
That's changed, however, thanks to some recent code updates. AdBlock can now act premptively, saving you precious kilobytes (and possibly some additional frustration). As it turns out, it's Apple who is responsible for the change: the beforeload event was actually slipped in during a recent update to the Webkit engine, which eventually made its way into Chrome.
Apart from AdBlock, this should be good news for Chrome users in general as it provides an important content manipulation function.
- The maximum reward for a single bug has been increased to $3,133.7. We will most likely use this amout for SecSeverity-Critical bugs in Chromium. The increased reward reflects the fact that the sandbox makes it harder to find bugs of this severity.
- Whilst the base reward for less serious bugs remains at $500, the panel will consider rewarding more for high-quality bug reports. Factors indicating a high-quality bug report might include a careful test case reduction, an accurate analysis of root cause, or productive discussion towards resolution.
For the last days, the developer version of the Google Chrome web browser has had troubles downloading large files from the Internet. Downloads of files with a minimum size of 50 Megabytes, stopped abruptly at about 30 Megabytes.
Retrying the download yielded the same results. The first thought was that this was related to a single file or server, that acted up strangely.
But the problems persisted and after trying to download a dozen different files, all with a file size of 50 to 200 Megabytes, it became clear that Google Chrome was the problem.
Examples of files are the Emsisoft Emergency Kit with a size of 103 Megabytes, some Mediafire downloads with a size of about 180 Megabytes each, and downloads over at Softpedia, like Kaspersky’s Small Office Security.
All downloads stopped at approximately the same size, 36.7 or 36.8 Megabytes. File extensions were also different, including archive formats like zip or executables like exe.
There does not seem to be a fix for this issue yet, and it is not clear if all Chrome versions are affected or only the latest developer release, version 6.0.466.0.
All downloads were completed successfully in other web browsers like Firefox, which seems to confirm that this is a Chrome-only problem. This also is the workaround for users who experience the same download problems.
The test system was running Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit. Have you been experiencing the same troubles? Let us know in the comments.
It's frustrating to wind up on a site which appears to be down. Is it something screwy with your computer? Maybe you're having DNS resolution problems? Perhaps your ISP dropped the ball? You wonder, "are other people having the same problem?!" Fortunately you can tap into services like downforeveryoneorjustme.com to provide an answer -- if your Twitter stream isn't already flooded with complaints.
Google has apparently decided that this is a handy bit of info to relay to surfers, and bolted the functionality onto Chrome's undercarriage. As you can see from the image above (courtesy of a commenter over at Lifehacker), Chrome is getting a little more descriptive with its "Oops!" messages, gathering collective request failures from the Chrome crowd and determining that a site (in this case, Netflix) is having difficulties.
Slick -- but I haven't seen this and can't tell you which version of Chrome sports the feature. Got some insight? Share it in the comments!
Apparently, the Google Chrome team has been circulating a list of awesome Chrome extensions around Google, and everyone there liked it so much that they published it on the Official Google Blog. You can see the whole list there, but here are a few picks I wholeheartedly agreed with:
Readability: Great for removing ads and extra cruft from articles, paring them down to highly-readable text.
Turn Off The Lights: Darkens video pages to highlight the video you're watching. Works on YouTube and many other video sites.
After The Deadline: The ultimate spelling and grammar checker, brought to you by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.
There are more where those came from, to pump up your browsing experience. I'll say this for Google: they have great taste in extensions for their own browser. It's nice to see them encouraging their developer community, too.
It does exactly what you'd guess it would from the name: park your mouse above a thumbnail, and an enlarged version quickly appears. There's nothing to configure -- if you're browsing a supported site (theoretically any site which uses direct links to images), Hover Zoom just works. Hover Zoom's developer has built in a plug-in system, so adding additional sites should be a snap if you're up for a little code hacking.
This is one extension you might also want to enable in Incognito mode -- for those times when you feel like doing some track-free browsing on /b/ or with the safe search filter turned off on Google, for example. Not that you're doing that kind of thing, of course...