There is only that much that you can cut from a browser’s interface. You got the header area with the title-, address and tabbar and the footer with a status bar. Especially Google with its Chrome browser and Mozilla with Firefox have started to cut down on the interface. The latest trend is to display the address bar only if the user needs it, and hide it all the other time.
Why are the developers cutting down on interface screen estate? Because of the growing tablet and netbook markets. These devices come with smaller screen resolutions, which means that users benefit from additional space to display website contents. Some additional pixels can mean the difference between having to scroll vertically or horizontally, or not.
An interface element that has not received any attention yet from the developers is the scroll bar.
The Google Chrome extension Thin Scroll Bar is a third party extension for Google’s Chrome browser that tries to change that. The extension changes the width and design of the scrollbar in the Google browser, so that it uses less screen estate.
You may know that scroll bars can be displayed both on the right side of the browser window and at the bottom, depending on the width and height of the active website in relation to the width and height of the browser window.
The scroll bars are barely visible on the screenshot. Some users may feel that they are to small now in the browser as well. There is unfortunately no option currently to change the width of the scroll bar to reflect that preference.
It is however likely that the developer will add that option in a future release.
Thin Scroll Bar is nevertheless a great add-on for the Chrome browser, especially for users who run the browser in small windows or on small computer screens.
The Chrome extension can be installed directly from the Google Chrome web store.
JDownloader is one of the most popular programs to download files from file hosting services like Rapidshare, Megaupload or Filesonic. It offers several advantages over downloading files directly from the file host’s website. Among the advantages are a download queue, comfortable integration of premium accounts, link verifications and the option to unpack downloaded files right away on the local system.
The program can monitor the Windows Clipboard for file hosting links to automatically suggest them in its Linkgrabber module. While that’s handy for sending individual file links to the downloader, it turns out to be everything but comfortable if multiple links need to be added to JDownloader, especially if those links are not displayed fully on the website.
JDChrome is an extension for the Chrome browser that integrates JDownloader into the browser. The extension adds a JDChrome entry to the Chrome right-click context menu when links are selected.
The context menu offers two options:
- Add to Queue – This adds all files on selected links directly to the download manager queue of JDownloader.
- Add to Grabber – This adds the links to the Linkgrabber module where they are checked but not directly processed.
You can send single links or multiple links to JDownloader. For multiple links you need to highlight all links first before you can send them to the program. Individual links are send directly with a right-click on the file hosting link.
The extension loads a page with settings after installation. The very same page becomes available from the Wrench > Tools > Extensions menu.
It offers some configuration option, among them a hotkey that can be pressed to send links to JDownloader and a double-click feature to do the same.
Both options and the context menu integration can be disabled or enabled on the settings page. Here it is also possible to select to start downloads right away instead of sending them to the Linkgrabber first. Autostart is enabled by default for double-clicking links and using the hotkey do send links over.
Google Chrome users can install JDChrome from the official Chrome Web Store.
I like my web browser UI as compact as possible. To achieve that I have no problem of getting rid of some of the lesser used interface elements. Basic examples are compacting the menu or the bookmarks into a single button to save screen estate. Yes, even on a 1920×1200 monitor. Most developer efforts to reduce the interface elements aim at low screen resolution users. Netbook and tablet PCs come to mind where every additional pixel helps display more of websites and services.
Google has recently added a new experimental option to Chrome Canary and Chromium that is called Compact Navigation. Once enabled it reduces the interface of the Chrome browser further by getting rid of the address bar of the browser. The result? A single toolbar on top of Chrome and the rest of the browser window available for websites.
Lets start with how you enable Compact Navigation before we take a look at the feature in detail. Load the about:flags configuration page in your version of Chrome and locate the entry Compact Navigation near the end of the listing.
Adds a “Hide the toolbar” entry to the tabstrip’s context menu. Use this to toggle between always displaying the toolbar (default) and only opening it as a drop down box as needed.
Nothing changes after you have enabled the feature. Right-click on a tab in the Chrome browser and select Hide the Toolbar from the context menu. This puts the new feature in motion. You will notice that the address bar has been removed, that the back and forward buttons have been moved to the left of the tabbar and that the wrench icon to the right of it.
The address bar is displayed when you press Ctrl-t to open a new tab, or when you press Ctrl-l. Regardless of your choice, it will only be displayed for a short time before it is hidden again on the screen. The size of the address bar is smaller than the standard address bar. It opens in proximity of the active tab.
Compact Navigation removes the page’s web address from the browser interface, which may have security implications. If you do not know the address, you lose an effective way of identifying phishing websites.
Still, if you want more screen estate then Compact Navigation delivers it to you. The difference to fullscreen mode? Compact Navigation can be used with any window sizes, not just in full screen. (via Browserscene)
Google has just released an update for the stable branch of Google Chrome that brings the version of the web browser to 11.0.696.68. The update, which is available for Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, Linux and Chrome Frame platforms is a security update that fixes two security vulnerabilities in Chrome.
Both security issues that have been fixed by the developers have received a rating of high, the second highest severity rating available.
-  High CVE-2011-1799: Bad casts in Chromium WebKit glue.
-  High CVE-2011-1800: Integer overflows in SVG filters.
The new Chrome stable version additionally contains Adobe’s Flash Player 10.3, which has been updated to that version. While it is not explicitly mentioned on the Google Chrome Releases blog, it seems as if that version is a final build of Adobe Flash Player 10.3 and not the release candidate.
The final version has not yet been officially released by Adobe. It would not be the first time that Google, thanks to the direct tie-in of Flash Player in Chrome, managed to update Flash Player ahead of time.
The long awaited Flash Player 10.3 adds several new features to the popular software, most noticeably an option to delete so called Flash cookies from within the browser.
Google Chrome Stable users should get update notifications soon, if they have not already. Users who prefer to download Chrome from the official website can do that as well. The browser can be updated by running the installer after the download has finished.
The standard history page of the Google Chrome web browser is a mess. All visited web pages are listed in order of visit, with no options to filter the items by date, name or frequency of visits.
Only the search at the top offers some form of customization, as it can be used to find a specific web page that you have visited in the past.
Still, if you do not know that page’s name you are left with no other choice than to scroll down until you find that entry on that page.
The Google Chrome extension History 2 improves the history page significantly.
It adds several controls to the header of the history page. Most noticeable is the time-of-visit filter at the top which allows you to display pages that you have visited on a specific day or time period. By default, only today’s pages and the tabs that were open on browser start are displayed on the page when you open Chrome’s history. You can easily switch to another date or period with a click on one of the available options.
Pages are furthermore sorted by domain, which means that you only see the website’s url in the listing by default which improves visibility. The number of pages in the history are displayed next to the url. A click on the site’s name opens the list of all pages that you have visited on the site.
An option to delete all history for the selected url is displayed below all pages that have been visited, which is another improvement over Google Chrome’s native history page.
The order menu at the top of the screen offers to sort the history not only by the last visiting time, but also alphabetically and by the number of visits.
This has an effect on all date filters on top. All items are then sorted according to the order selection, regardless of the time period.
History 2 is an unobtrusive but handy Chrome extension that improves the history page of the Chrome browser significantly. The extension is available for direct installation at the Chrome Web Store.
The latest Google Chrome Canary builds have a new feature called multiple profiles which has to be enabled on the experimental flags page of the browser. The new features enables the use of multiple profiles in the web browser, which is in some regards similar to how Mozilla is handling multiple profiles in the Firefox browser.
To enable the new feature, users need to use one of the latest Chrome Canary or Chromium builds. The feature is available under about:flags, a configuration page for experimental or new features.
You need to scroll down to the very bottom of the page to find the Multiple Profiles entry.
Associates every browser window with a profile, and adds a profile switcher in the upper right corner. Every profile has its own bookmarks, extensions, apps, etc.
It basically means that you can now make use of multiple profiles in Chrome, each with its own set of custom settings and preferences.
A click on Enable activates the new feature, and you see a new profile selector and creator at the top right of the browser screen, next to the minimize, maximize and close buttons.
You can create new profiles with a click on the button and the selection of create a new profile. This launches a new Chrome browser window displaying a Google Account login prompt.
For now, each new Chrome profile appears to be linked to a Google account, which is inferior to Firefox’s solution which does not have that requirement. This means that you need to create a new Google account for every browser profile that you want to use in Chrome in case you only have a single account to begin with.
Each account needs to be configured for synchronization. One thing that appears to be missing right now is a profile switcher. The only option available in the menu currently is the option to create a new profile which opens a second window with a Google login.
The profile switcher does not appear to be supporting local profiles. That, plus the complicated way of switching profiles are currently the biggest complaints that I have with the service.
Profile Switcher will soon appear in Dev, Beta and Stable versions of the Chrome browser.
Google has just updated the Google Chrome Stable channel to version 11. This is a landmark considering that the stable branch of the browser is now sharing the “highest-browser-version-crown” with Opera Software’s Opera browser.
More important than the version bump to 11 are the security updates that have been implemented in the browser. A total of 25 different security issues have been resolved in Google Chrome 11. Of those, 16 have received a severity rating of high, the second highest. A further six have received a rating of medium and the remaining three one of low. No security issue has been rated as critical, the highest available rating for security vulnerabilities.
Several of the security vulnerabilities are affecting only the Macintosh or Linux versions of Chrome.
Google Chrome is the only web browser that offers a direct link to access the storage settings of Adobe Flash Player to delete local shared objects, commonly known as Flash cookies.
It still means that you have to click on an extra link to open the settings before you can delete the additional objects in the Chrome browser, but that’s better than providing no link at all.
The latest build of Google Chrome Canary is showing improvements in this regard. It now offers the option to delete cookies and plug-in data natively without opening the Flash storage page after the initial local cleanup of temporary browsing data.
Flash cookies are often used by advertisers and marketing companies to track users on the Internet. This in addition to standard cookies. The core advantage of Flash cookies from a company’s point of view is that they are harder to access and delete on the user side which makes the tracking more effective.
This is now changing in Google Chrome with the inclusion of clearing plug-in data directly in the browser.
The standard “Adobe Flash Player storage settings link has been removed from the Clear Browsing Data.
The new feature is currently only available in the latest Chrome Canary builds. It is likely that it will be moved quickly to to be included in Dev, Beta and eventually Chrome stable builds.
The option to delete Flash cookies is enabled by default when a user clicks on the Clear browsing data button in the Chrome options. This suggests that more users will clear their Flash cookies from now on, at least in the Chrome browser. It could lead to some problems on the other hand, considering that Flash cookies are used by gaming sites to store high-scores and other information.
Chrome users can also use the shortcut Ctrl-Shift-Del to quickly open the Clear Browsing Data menu.
It is likely that the native integration of the Flash plugin in the Chrome browser has made that possible.
Google has just released an update for the Google Chrome stable channel that updates the version of the web browser to 10.0.658.205 for all supported operating systems (which means Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, Linux and Chrome Frame). The release is a security update that fixes vulnerabilities in all versions of the web browser. Most notably, it includes an early fix for the Adobe Flash vulnerability that has been confirmed by Adobe earlier this week.
Three additional security vulnerabilities are fixed in the latest Google Chrome Stable version. One of the fixed issues is only affecting Chrome on Windows, while the remaining are affected all versions of the Chrome browser.
- [Windows only]  Critical CVE-2011-1300: Off-by-three in GPU process.
-  Critical CVE-2011-1301: Use-after-free in the GPU process.
-  Critical CVE-2011-1302: Heap overflow in the GPU process.
All three vulnerabilities have received a critical rating, the highest possible rating. The Adobe Flash vulnerability was rated critical by Adobe, which means four critical vulnerabilities have been fixed in total in the latest version of Google Chrome.
Google Chrome users can download the latest version of the web browser from the official Google Chrome download page, or with an in-browser update.
Google Chrome should recognize the update automatically and apply it on the next restart of the browser. They can initiate the update check manually with a click on Tools > About Google Chrome.
This queries the Google Update server to see if a new version of the installed Chrome browser is available. Updates that are found by the check are downloaded automatically, and the only thing left to do is to restart the browser to apply the update that secures the Internet browser from those vulnerabilities.
Adobe confirmed that a general update for the Flash vulnerability will follow tomorrow.
Chrome users on the developer channel or Canary will see download warnings if they try to download a file on a website that matches the list of malicious websites published by Google’s Safe Browsing Api. The warning reads “This file appears to be malicious. Are you sure you want to continue” with options to discard and save. The options may cause quite the confusion among users, and it would probably have been better if Google would have simply added Yes and No buttons to the prompt
Another thing to remember is that all downloads of said websites will be flagged, regardless whether they are indeed malicious or dangerous in nature, or not. All downloads? Well that is not entirely right, at least not for now. Google flags all Windows executable downloads as suspicious if the site is on the Safe Browsing list. No warning is currently displayed for other files. These files are not actually scanned by Google, keep that in mind if the warning message pops up.
The Google chrome development team has released Chrome Stable 10.0.648.127 for the supported operating systems Microsoft Windows, Linux and Apple Macintosh.
The new version fixes several, or shall we say many, security issues. The release notes list a total of 25 different security related issues that have been fixed in Google Chrome Stable. 15 of the listed security issues have been rated with a severity rating of high. The security fixes come just one day before the annual Pwn2Own competition where security experts from all over the world try to compromise web browsers, software and devices.
The release is not only security related though. Google has packed many new features in the stable version of the web browser that have previously been only available in beta, dev and canary releases of the web browser.
The Chrome developers have improved other areas of the web browser as well. Password Sync has for instance been enabled by default as part of Chrome Sync. Users find the option by clicking on Tools > Options and selecting Personal Stuff > Sync from the options menu. They can alternatively enter sync in the search box on the left to find the synchronization settings this way.
This leads directly to the next change; The chrome settings have been moved to the tabs. It is basically a new settings interface that opens in a tab instead of a window. Google has created and published a video back in February that introduces the change.
The cloud, the final frontier. Endless. Silent. Waiting. This is the story of the Google Chrome extension Cloud Save. Its mission: To provide Internet users with a way to save files that they have found on the web to the cloud, without saving them first on the local computer.
Cloud Save is a new extension for the Google Chrome browser that integrates several popular cloud based storage solutions into the browser.
How does it work? The Chrome extension adds a Cloud Save entry to the Google Chrome mouse context menu. The new option appears therefor on every right-click in the web browser ui.
Cloud Save offers to send the data to online storage providers. The available context menu entries change based on the source file type. Flickr and Picasa are for instance displayed among other options on image right-clicks, but not on document right-clicks.
Popular cloud based providers that are supported by the extension, other than the two image hosting providers, are Dropbox, Google Docs or Twitpic.
The extension redirects the request to the website of the selected provider. The next step depends largely on the selected service. Some, like Twitpic and Twitter, require that the user allows the extension, or more precisely its back-end, access rights. On other sites it is just required to log in, or stay logged in, to save the selected file online.
Cloud Save has a few problems, which may be attributed to the fact that the developer finished the first version in less than 40 minutes.
For one, users who select Google Docs may get an error message when they try to upload unsupported file types, unless they are enterprise customers who do not have file type limitations. Another problem related to Google Docs is that images are saved as documents, and not in their original image format.
Some commenters mentioned that they were unable to save files to specific folders which would be a serious problem if true. The Save As option of the context menu can be used to save files to specific folders and with different file names.
Uploading to Picasa lastly does not seem to work right now. It is likely that the developer will improve the Chrome extension as he is actively answering questions in the comments that indicate it.
Google has just released a new version of the Google Chrome Stable browser. The new version of Google Chrome Stable is 9.0.597.107 for all supported platforms (which means Linux, Windows and Mac).
The update is a security release as it fixes several security vulnerabilities that have been discovered in previous versions of the browser.
The announcement lists a total of 19 security vulnerabilities that have been fixed in the new version. Of these 19, 16 received a severity rating of high, which is the second-highest available rating. The remaining three vulnerabilities have been rated as medium.
The updates will be applied automatically to existing installations of the Google browser. Users who have disabled automatic updates need to download the latest version of the web browser from the official download page over at Google.
Chrome users can verify the version of their browser by clicking on Tools > About Google Chrome.
The Chrome security team mentioned that their rewards program has now given independent security researchers more than $100,000 since its inception. The program is an incentive for independent security researchers to search for security vulnerabilities in the web browser.
Most users who make use of bookmarklets regularly place them in a location like the bookmark’s toolbar that’s easily accessible. Many like to place them in a single folder to save room and have them all at hand in the same location.
The Google Chrome extension Spellbook adds another management and accessibility option. It basically creates a special folder in the bookmarks that gets added to the right-click context menu of the web browser.
The main advantage? Users who hide the bookmarks toolbar, or have bookmarklets scattered around all over the bookmarks folder can now access all of them a lot easier.
Chrome users who are already making use of bookmarklets need to move them from their current location to the new folder. The Bookmarklets folder gets created by Spellbook on installation. It functions like any other bookmarks folder which means it is possible to drag and drop bookmarklets from web pages and other bookmarks into it. It is furthermore possible to create subfolders in the bookmarklets folder which may be handy for users with lots of bookmarklets.
A right-click on a web page and the selection of Spellbook opens the bookmarklets that are stored in the folder. A left-click executes the selected bookmarklet on the page.
Users who have never used bookmarklets before find a good selection at the Marklets website.
The Spellbook extension is available for direct installation over at Google Chrome Extensions.
Yesterday’s update of the Google Chrome Beta browser brought several exciting additions to the Internet browser that users of the dev and canary builds enjoyed for some time. The beta channel version has been updated to 10.0.648.82 for all supported operating systems. With Chrome 10 come improvements in many areas.
That’s not the only speed improvement in the new beta channel release. GPU-accelerated video has been implemented as well, albeit preliminary, which should reduce the cpu usage of users with compatible graphics hardware, according to Google by up to 80% in full screen mode.
Security in the new version has been improved as well. Chrome will for instance disable outdated plugins automatically by default which in the past have always been one of the most popular attack vectors.
Other features included in the release are password syncing which is not enabled by default and a new settings page that opens in a tab instead of a dialog box. Settings access has been improved as it is now possible to enter the name of the setting into the url form to see all settings that match the query. It is now also possible to jump to most settings directly without having to navigate through a series of menus first.
The new Chrome Beta channel version improves several key aspects of the web browser. Chrome Beta users are as usual updated automatically. New users who want to download the Chrome Beta release can download it from the getting involved page over at Chromium.
You may know that I have a Intel Solid State Drive with 80 Gigabytes of space as my primary hard drive. Windows 7 is installed on that drive and the majority of applications that I use. I recently noticed that the drive was showing that only 10 Gigabytes of free space were remaining. I was not aware of any “big” changes that I made, either by moving or copying data to the c: drive or by installing or updating and application that would be responsible for the loss of free space.
I decided to investigate and noticed that my User data folder was by far the largest folder on the system, with more than 22 Gigabytes of space that data in it occupied.
The Google Chrome web browser, to my surprise, occupied almost 3.5 Gigabytes of space on the drive, which seemed awfully lot. A closer investigation showed the following space distribution:
The Chrome folder that you see belongs to the Chrome dev version that I use on the system, the Chrome SxS folder to the Chrome Canary version that I installed recently.
Google as you can see keeps copies of older versions of the browser on the drive. This went back to December 2010 for the Chrome Dev version for instance. It is not clear why the versions are not deleted after an update. Even if it is for restoration purposes it would usually be enough to keep one or two of the last versions but nine feels like overkill.
It is possible to delete those old folders right away.There does not seem to be any negative impact on the browser or system. I managed to reduce the storage space requirements from 3.4 Gigabytes to 600 Megabytes just by deleting those old folders from the hard drive.
2.8 Gigabytes may not sound like much at first especially if you are running a hard drive with hundreds of Gigabytes of space. The knowledge however could be useful in the future as the Chrome installation directory grows in size with nearly every version increase.
Google has just updated the stable version of their Google Chrome web browser. The release contains both feature additions and security fixes. The security fixes alone make it a recommended update for all Google Chrome stable users.
A total of nine security vulnerabilities have been fixed in Google Chrome 9.0.597.84 of which one received a critical vulnerability rating, the highest possible rating. Two vulnerabilities were rated as high and six as low. Two of the vulnerabilities are only affecting Apple Mac systems, the remaining seven all supported operating systems.
Consult the listing below for an overview (via):
A recent article on Neowin caught my attention that suggested that Google was changing the default search engine at least for some users to Google encrypted search. Whenever these users search they are automatically redirected to https://encrypted.google.com instead of the standard Google search address.
Encrypted search, often referred to as Google SSL, improves the protection against some attack forms that spy on a computer’s traffic. SSL search is only enabled on some Google properties. Google images and Google Maps for instance are available over SSL currently.
Chrome users who have experienced the switch to encrypted search may want to know how they can disable the feature again. Other users on the other hand may want to enable encrypted search. The following guide explains how to do that.
Google Chrome searches are initiated from the Chrome address bar since there is no additional search form available in the interface.
To change the default search engine, users need to click on the Wrench icon in the Chrome address toolbar, and select options from the pulldown menu.
The default search engine can be selected under Search on the first page that is opened.
Available for selection are the standard unencrypted Google Search engine, encrypted Google Search, Bing and two location based services. It is furthermore possible to add search engines by clicking on Manage search engines.
Users can change the search engine with a click on the pulldown menu and the selection of one of the available search engines. Google unencrypted users can for instance selected Google encrypted to search with SSL from that moment on, Google encrypted users can switch back to the standard Google search engine, Bing, or one of the other available search engines to get rid of encrypted search.
Users who open many tabs at once in a web browser will eventually run into display problems. The browser window is only capable of displaying a finite number of tabs at the same time. Some browsers offer to change the minimum tab width (see Change Firefox’s Minimum, Maximum Tab Width), but that is only a temporary solution as the available tabbed browsing space remains finite.
The Google Chrome extension Tab Title Search offers an interesting approach to handle the problem that not all tabs may be displayed in the browser window at the same time. The extension adds functionality to Google Chrome to display titles of all open tabs in an overlay window on the active tab page.
Tabs are selected with the up and down keys on the keyboard or the mouse, the enter key switches to that tab.
A search is offered in addition to filter page titles. The search supports regular expressions. The overlay window is closed again with the ESC key.
The extension can be used without leaving the keyboard at all. All options, to display and close as well as to navigate, search and select, are accessible via the computer keyboard.
A blank search box is displayed on pages that are internal. This is for instance true for the web history, new tab page or extension management page. Tabs that have been open before installation of the extension need to be reloaded before the functionality becomes available when they are active.
The default keyboard shortcut to trigger the page title listing is Alt-G. It can be changed in the options to any letter plus Alt or Ctrl combination.
Tab Title Search is available for direct installation at the Google Chrome extensions gallery.
Did you know that Google alone is releasing four different versions of the Google Chrome browser regularly? And that is not even counting the Chromium releases that make up the core of the browser. This guide describes the differences between those releases. It also links to the official download pages where each build can be downloaded.
Google Chrome Stable: As the name suggests, a stable release of the web browser that has been tested extensively. Aimed at the end user and computing environments where only stable releases are used.
Google Chrome Beta: The beta releases often contain features that need to be tested by a wider audience. They are not stable yet but more thoroughly tested than the developer releases.
Google Chrome Dev: Google Chrome developer releases have been the cutting edge releases for some time. They get updated often, may contain new features but also bugs that need to be sorted out before the features are added to the beta channel.
Google Chrome Canary: The new cutting edge version of the Chrome browser. Canary releases are not as often releases as Chromium snapshots but more often than dev releases. These builds get the new features first before they are added to dev builds, providing they cause no problems.
Chromium: Chromium is the Open Source part of the Google browser. Chromium may get updated several times a day. The browser does not contain Google browser specific features.
Which Google Chrome browser is right for you?
That question is not that easy to answer. If you like to test new features you may want to consider downloading the dev or canary versions of the browser. Users who do not want to experience bugs may prefer the beta or stable releases.