Google has made it clear that it wants to clean up its search results -- eliminating worthless cruft like the content farms which spam searchers with low-value (and often plagiarized) content. Now, the company has announced a new Google Chrome extension which they hope will aid in the fight.
Called Personal Blocklist, the extension allows Google Chrome users to blacklist certain domains when results appear in Google Search. Click the icon in the browser actions area to see which domains you've blocked, unblock a site, or edit its particulars.
At least one other Chrome extension which provides this functionality has been listed in the Gallery for some time, but the difference here is that blocks will be reported to Google. Google, in turn, will look at user data and possibly use that information to improve its search quality.
Install Personal Blocklist for Google Chrome, and start helping fight search spam!
One of the ways Internet Explorer 9 seeks to "bring the Web to your desktop" is by allowing sites to be pinned to your taskbar, and use jump lists to quickly and directly access specific parts of a website. A handful of big-name sites already offer Windows 7 integration, including Facebook, Twitter, CNN, Flixster, and IMDb.
Microsoft has also shared how this works (and Scott Hanselman has posted an excellent how-to article), so it's possible for other browser makers to implement, too. If you're a Google Chrome user, in fact, you can install an extension (developed by an independent programmer) which adds jump list actions to a drop-down menu on the Omnibar!
Unsurprisingly called IE9 Jump List Tasks, the extension adds a green arrow to the Omnibar whenever you visit a supported site. If jump list actions are detected, clicking the arrow will display a menu like the one you see above. It's not quite as cool as being able to poke your taskbar icons, but it is a neat display of how the feature can be utilized in non-IE browsers. The extension also didn't work for me on all the sites I tried -- Twitter and Facebook lists weren't detected -- but it was still cool to see it pop up elsewhere, like on IMDb and Flixster.
The extension is also very configurable, allowing you to show or hide the search box, move it to the top, limit the amount number of days of history to display, and more. Got another favorite quick-access feature for Chrome? Share it in the comments!
Roman Nurik has done it again. Nurik created the Android theme for Google Chrome, which has long been one of the most popular entries in the Chrome Extensions Gallery. Now he's released the next logical progression, a 'holographic' Honeycomb theme.
With inspiration taken from Android 3.0, Nurik's latest dumps the PCB pattern for diagonal stripes and blue-on-blue geometrics on the new tab page. It's every bit as well done as his original and we're curious to see if Honeycomb racks up as many installs as Android.
Google made a minor tweak to the Gmail navigation links recently -- moving Photos into a more prominent spot and Reader into the More drop-down. While I wasn't particularly concerned (I've got Firefox hotkeys wired to most of my bookmarks for fast mouse-free access), the change created quite a stir on Twitter.
But as is usually the case, enthusiasts who don't want to accept changes on their favorite Web sites have already responded. If you want your Reader link back and you're using Google Chrome, grab the Put Reader Back extension. Once installed, just reload your Gmail tab to see the change.
When Google made the decision to introduce an in-tab bookmark manager for Chrome, it only made sense that other personal pages -- like your settings -- would move to tabs as well. A tabbed options page for Chrome began taking shape in July 2010, when we shared a video of the feature working in Chromium. Now, it's become the default in Chrome Canary.
It's just as easy to get around in the tabbed settings page and perhaps a little easier, since the search field allows you to find specific settings instantly -- and we do mean instant. As with Google Instant in the Omnibar, Chrome will load settings which match your input in real time in the righthand pane. The search function will even pull in portions of separate settings pages, which you can see in the screenshot after the break.
And as you can see in the screenshot, there's an extension that does a nice job of integrating the contents of your bookmarks bar. Install "Bookmark list in context menu" and you've got two-click access to your favorite sites. It's a nice alternative to the horizontal bookmark bar, especially on smaller screens where every pixel counts. As its author points out, it's also a handy way to open bookmarks in full screen mode -- when there are no toolbars to click on.
One handy new context menu extension is Apps list, which (you guessed it) displays your installed Chrome Web Apps and lets you launch them without calling up the new tab page. Your apps are listed in alphabetical order, and you can choose to add a disabled apps shortcut -- which zips you to chrome://extensions and focuses on disabled items. It would be nice if the page filtered only disabled apps and extensions, but that's a limitation in Chrome -- not this extension.
Apps list also provides shortcuts to manage your extensions and jump to the Chrome Web Store. If you don't want to clutter your browser actions area with one of the app launchers we posted previously for Chrome, Apps list might be just what you're looking for.
Proving the Old World can still be positively refreshing when it comes to some things, the unstoppable decline of Internet Explorer in the motherland has finally left Firefox with the European pole position.
Internet Explorer, across all versions, lost about 8% of its market share between December 2009 and 2010. Firefox, on the other hand, by losing just 3% of its share, has ended up on top. The biggest winner, and seemingly the only browser to gain market share, is Google's fleet-footed Chrome browser, which began the year at 5% and ended at almost 15%.
In the rest of the world, Internet Explorer is still by far and away the most popular browser (at least according to StatCounter). In fact, the only other territory where Firefox is in the lead is Antarctica...
IT administrators tend to be a fickle bunch, and with good reason. When you're supporting a vital service that can determine whether or not your entire business can operate properly, you tend to be very cautious when it comes to changing out a key component. A key component like a Web browser, for example -- say, Internet Explorer 6, which is still a force to be reckoned with in the enterprise.
Google has been doing its best to get Chrome in the front door, of course. First there was Chrome Frame, which seamlessly integrates into Internet Explorer to provide a hybridized, modern Frankenbrowser. Next came Chrome's remoting feature -- which is still not ready for prime time but is positioning itself as an alternative to Terminal Services setups.
Two more recent additions -- the arrival of an MSI installer and added support for Windows policies -- have added even more enterprise cred to the browser. Chrome now offers an enticing package to the IT admin. It's secure, it's fast, and -- most importantly -- it's now easy to manage and deploy across an entire Windows network.
Over at the official Chrome Blog, Google took a moment to trumpet these features and they're no doubt hoping administrators take notice. "We're excited by the features built so far, and we're working hard on polishing the next set of policies that will make Google Chrome even more customizable and useful to users in the future," concludes the post. Successful test deployments with Proctor and Gamble, Boise State University, and Vanguard are also mentioned.
2010 has certainly been a phenomenal year for Chrome in the consumer market. Will Google see similar enterprise gains in 2011? We'll revisit this one next December.
Google's Chrome to Phone tandem is a great way to share Web links from your desktop to your Android device, and it's just gotten a bit better. Today's update brings a more useful start screen to the Android app, which now displays your previously sent links grouped by when you sent them.
You'll see a today group, your last seven days, last month, and older. We'd like to see a daily breakdown for the previous week listing -- in case we've been particularly push-y for the last seven days.
History is, nevertheless, a very useful addition to Chrome to Phone -- but wouldn't it be nice if our Chrome bookmarks would just sync with Android phones without any tinkering?
Chrome to Phone Extension for Google Chrome
Sandboxing in Chrome is currently only available for Windows, where it's particularly important for the relatively insecure Windows XP, and is rolling out to all Chrome Dev installations on Windows automatically. If you have a particular aversion to sandboxing your Flash experience, you can easily disable it with the flag --disable-flash-sandbox. For those of you who are running the beta or stable release of Chrome, but want to try out the developer version with Flash sandboxing for Windows, then head on over to Chromium.org and grab yourself the 'Dev channel' and install it over the top of your current Chrome version.
Earlier this year, in June, I ran the first of my side-by-side deathmatches to try and work out which, if any, of the browsers is truly the hardware accelerated king. As it turned out, Firefox 4 and Internet Explorer 9 were pretty equally balanced. Just two months later, in August, Chrome had stolen the top spot and sent Firefox 4, in a fit of tears, to the bottom of the heap.
As Chrome continues its evolution from mere browser into a 'platform,' the settings pages will likely see more and more customization options added. Some pages -- like Under the Hood -- are already getting quite lengthy, so adding an option to search certainly makes sense. [Don't forget Firefox's filterable about:config, too! -Ed]
Chrome's settings search is not hooked up at the moment, hence my homage to Celebrity Jeopardy.
On the Beta Channel, several Web Store related fixes were pushed. Access to Chrome's private Web Store APIs has been made more secure, and a histogram has been added which tracks Chrome's built-in promo for the Web Store. Events such as launching an app, clicking through to the Web Store, or manually closing the promo will be logged.
Dev Channel users, brace yourselves: print preview is getting really close now! If you've got the feature enabled in about:flags, pressing Ctrl+P will now actually cause the print preview page to display. It's still not functional, but you will see the in-tab preview page appear and a list of your installed printers -- but the Chrome print dialog will also appear. Cancel the dialog, and you'll get the something went wrong alert.
The Chrome Task Manager has also been updated (image after the break) and now displays Chrome processes in two groups: apps and extensions, and browser and plug-ins. Sandboxed Flash -- which debuted in Canary recently -- has also arrived for Windows Dev channel users. Google Instant integration has also been tweaked, and now plays nicely with extensions which have keywords hooked into the Omnibox.
And of course, both Channels have had the version number bumped "so we look hot, fresh, and new to our friends." Gotta love the less-serious side of Google.
I am not sure about you, but every time I came across a great tutorial on the Web, I will convert the content to a pdf file and keep it for future reference. Some of you might be pondering why I am wasting my time converting it to pdf since I can just bookmark the site. There are several reasons for this: firstly, I am not always connected to the Web, so if I need the information immediately, I won’t be able to access it. Secondly, there is no guarantee that the site will forever be there for me. It could be available today and disappear the next day (we’ve seen too much of this, don’t we?)
If you are like me, and are also using Google Chrome, you are in luck, here are several PDF extensions that you can use to make the whole conversion process much easier and faster.
1. Save As PDF
This is my favorite extension for pdf conversion. In my experience with several other extensions, this is the best, in terms of the speed and quality of conversion.
After installing the extension, you will see an icon at the toolbar. When you come across any webpage that you want to convert to pdf, simply click on the button and it will start the conversion immediately. The conversion is fast (typically less than 5 seconds) and it runs in the background without disrupting you from your work.
Instead of an icon in the toolbar, the PDFmyURL icon appears in the URL bar. Similarly, on a page that you want to be converted to pdf, just click on the icon and it will do all the work in the background.
The speed of conversion is rather fast, but it is not able to convert images properly for sites that are using lazy loading. In addition, it seems to add an extra margin to the four sides of the page, which make the file size bigger.
Web2PDFConverter is yet another pdf converter extension for Google Chrome. One of its unique feature is the ability to view your converted PDF files in Google Docs. You can then choose to save the pdf file in your Google Docs and free up storage space on your computer.
One annoyance with Web2PDF is that during conversion, it takes control of the browser and prevents you from doing any other things. You won’t be able to switch to other tabs, or even other applications. Doing so will terminate the conversion process. In term of user-friendliness, this is definitely the worst in my opinion.
If you are looking for a pdf conversion tool for your Google Chrome, I would strongly recommend SaveAsPdf. What other tools do you use to convert your stuff to PDF?
First spotted in the Canary build a few days ago, password sync is now available to Dev channel users and enabled by default. I'm still not certain the sync is actually active, though, as my Canary builds on three machines still seem to be running password stores that are noticeably out-of-sync.
At this point, there are really only two pieces missing from the Chrome sync puzzle: tabs and search engines, both of which would be extremely handy (so how about it, Google?).
Right now, enabling Preview has no effect on functionality. Flipping the switch does, however, provide a partial glimpse of how the feature is shaping up. Entering chrome://print in your Omnibar will load the page you see above, minus the TSN page, of course. I composited that in to provide some idea how the preview might actually appear with content -- right now, chrome://print just displays the word main in all caps.
Once again, Google is eschewing additional application windows in favor of an in-tab display. As with the bookmark manager and the tabbed options feature in about:flags, building print preview into a tab should simplify deployment of the feature across different OSes.
It seems likely that chrome://print will also feature ties to Cloud Print -- so that you can easily fire off your document to any printer you've connected to the service.