Instead of Robot's muted grays and greens, Hardware is electric blue on black with a printed circuit overlay. If you're a fan of darker themes, this is one of the best ones I've found in the Chrome Extension Gallery. The font color on the bookmark toolbar could be tweaked to stand out a bit more, but I usually use the --bookmark-menu command line switch anyway so it's not something I'd complain about.
Gotta love that circuitry. I like to use it as a kind of "geek pride" badge since I know most of my customers (and plenty of my friends) probably wouldn't call a printed circuit "beautiful."
Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Incredible StartPage changes the start page to a three-panel view of your your favorite bookmarks, closed tabs, customizable color schemes, and a place to quickly add notes and send them to Gmail.
Once you've installed the extension, just open up a new tab page to see the changes—you can customize the color scheme or flip through different pictures on Flickr by category. You can also browse through your bookmarks in the middle pane, and drag the most important ones to the box on the right-hand side for easier access. The extension could benefit from a few more customization options, but overall it's an interesting way to spice up your new tab page.
Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Popchrom creates shortcuts that expand text snippets into full paragraphs and phrases, automating anything from creating a signature to using canned email responses to save yourself some time.
Once you've installed the extension, just head into the Tools menu -> Extensions, and then click on the Options button on the right of the Popchrom extension. From there you can setup your text strings and what they will expand to, and the help page explains how to use a few replacement parameters to specify particular dates as part of your string. Using the text expansion is as easy as typing in the string and using Ctrl+Space to expand it—for instance, using the example in the screenshot, if you typed in "lh" and hit Ctrl+Space, Popchrom would replace it with "lifehacker".
Popchrom lets you set up custom abbreviations which it can then expand in any typing field. You can also edit existing entries and delete those that you no longer need. To access the options screen, just click the Popchrom icon -- which the developer was considerate enough to put in Chrome's Omnibar (instead of in the browser actions area). There's also built-in support for time and date variables.
Once you've got your abbreviations set, you expand them by pressing ctrl+space after you type (ds + ctrl+space = Download Squad). It's pretty awesome.
Popchrom currently has trouble with Google Docs, Wave, and some WYSIWG editing fields. However, it's well worth installing, even with those hiccups (which the developer is already working to resolve).
As luck would have it, there's one in the Extension Gallery now! Air Hockey features three difficulty levels and it's good, mindless fun right inside your browser. Yes, this is pretty much just a a Flash embed in an iFrame, but it's still enjoyable. As a bonus, Air Hockey keeps tabs on your best score so you can feverishly flaunt your repeated dominance -- or remind you how badly you suck at the game.
Nothing like the feeling of emasculating yourself against a computerized opponent by scoring an own goal....
I've been a huge fan of Firefox for years (prompted in great part by Lifehacker's recommendation), but it seems like Google Chrome has made huge strides lately. My question: Which is better, Chrome or Firefox? Which should I use?
Uncertain About My Browser
Yours is a question we've been hearing more and more lately, and with good reason. The fact is, Google Chrome has fixed a lot of problems with Firefox that most Firefox users didn't even know they had, and Firefox is still working to catch up. (Restart-free extension installation, isolated processes that keep one bad tab from crashing the entire browser, etc.) As a result, Chrome's smart feature set has been winning over a lot of Firefox die-hards.
The answer to your question depends a lot on what operating system you're using, so we'll separate our answers for Windows and Mac users.
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<!-- /videoId: uZLEH-kDW_s -->It's only available in the daily builds of Chromium source code, but a bookmark manager with better looks, smarter layout, and a better place to open (in a new tab) will be heading to dev, then beta, then stable builds of Google's Chrome browser. The Download Squad blog has helpfully captured the bookmark manager on video. That said, though, Chrome's improved bookmark manager is really just catching up to the norms and standards of the competition. What kind of bookmark manager should a fast-moving, web-connected company like Google be able to turn out? [Download Squad]
The new 'tabbed bookmark manager' currently looks like what you see in the screenshot. Rather than spawning a new application window as Google Chrome does, the new version opens alongside your current set of tabs (like the new tab page). Items can be dragged and dropped and you can create new folders and items via the tools menu. You can also sort and search your bookmarks.
The manager can also be accessed by typing chrome://bookmarks in your Omnibar, though I wasn't able to set it as my new tab page -- Chromium simply loaded the default one instead.
While the update is a welcome one for Windows, Mac, and Linux users of Chrome, it is an ideal feature for Google Chrome OS. Spawning additional windows isn't the best UX decision on a browser-based operating system.
Like most new additions to Google Chrome, the new bookmark manager is only currently available in the Chromium buildbot releases. Download a current snapshot build and try it for yourself, or check out a screencast after the break!
At least your extensions don't work for now.
Soon enough you'll have the ability to specify which extensions you want Google Chrome to allow while you browse Incognito. The change has landed in recent Chromium builds, and I have no doubt that we'll see this make the jump to Chrome's developer and beta channels fairly soon.
While it will be nice to have certain extensions available -- like LastPass (so I don't have to type in all my passwords) or ExtensionFM (so I can listen to my music library in the cloud) -- it's important to remember that some extensions may do things that you're trying to avoid during private browsing sessions. In fact, Chrome/Chromium will spawn an alert saying "Chromium cannot prevent this extension from recording your browsing data" when you place a check in the allow box.
For now, you'll need to download a build from the Chromium BuildBot stash to try this out. So far, so good. I haven't experienced any (additional) instability or crashing due to enabling a few extensions in Incognito mode.
If you haven't received the update yet, you can force a check by clicking the wrench menu and then "About Google Chrome." Downloads are also available from Google's early access channels page.
It's not without bugs, though. @keshav and I have both had a glitch which seems to occur when using win+d to show the desktop where tiny windows will appear along the top of your taskbar (pic after the jump).
Dan Kantor knows the web, and he knows music. Better still, he knows how to make the two play nicely together. If you're not familiar with his work, Dan built Spinner -- AOL's popular music site -- when he was part of our family.
Now he's on his own, and he's got a new musical marvel to share: ExtensionFM. While using the extension inside Google Chrome is fun enough, it's easy to see just how cool it's going to be on the Google Chrome OS smartbooks and tablets that are due out later this year.
The concept behind ExntensionFM is a simple one: scan the webpages you browse for embedded MP3s and build a library of tunes inside your browser. You can also put together playlists, and the music will keep streaming in the background as you happily (or unhappily, depending on your modus operandi) surf the web.
ExtensionFM also provides listings of artists and albums in your library, and a list of the sites you've listened to -- which adds a whole 'nother layer of cool. Once you've grabbed a track from a particular site, ExtensionFM keeps tabs on it for you. We'll have more on this after the break, along with more screenshots and Dan's screencast!
The Web Developer add-on for Chrome tries to complement Chrome's already-excellent developer tools (Ctrl-Shift-I) with some in-page hints and tools. The garbled output you see above is the result of selecting Information > Display ID & Class Details. Not very graceful, obviously.
The add-on is missing a screen ruler (I'm sure the developer will add it later). Despite lacking a graceful way to show massive amounts of data, it can still come in handy every now and then. For example, you can disable CSS entirely, or just inline style, browser default styles, etc. That's pretty neat. It's still a fledgling add-on, so don't expect too much. But if you find Chrome's default tools are not enough for you, try giving it a shot.
Chrome only: Chrome extension ExtensionFM automatically collects MP3s from sites you visit and adds them to a browser-based library within the extension, allowing you to find all sorts of cool, new music without cluttering up your local library until you buy them.
Before we get explaining, check out the video demo below for a quick overview of how it works.
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Google's Chrome browser is out with a new Dev release, and the big change is inside the Mac bookmark manager, which we've heard was previously less than awesome to use. The new bookmark manager has drag-and-drop organizing, easy deleting and renaming, and a better look. The developers note that folders stuffed with bookmarks may not let you access all the bookmarks at the bottom, but a fix is coming. Auto-filled forms also saw improvements across all platforms. What still needs fixing in Chrome for Mac? Image via ReadWriteWeb. [Google Chrome Releases via ReadWriteWeb]
If you ever thought previously mentioned Xobni looked cool, but you prefer Gmail to Outlook, free Gmail plug-in Etacts adds many of the same features. You get social information, conversation history, and advanced sending preferences right in your Gmail sidebars.
The Etacts plug-in automatically adds detailed contact information to the sidebar of messages, as shown above, similar to previously mentioned Rapportive, but Etacts takes it one step further. Not only do you get links to any social networks that contact is a part of, and some of the information contained therein (such as their occupation and location), but you also get a detailed summary of your mailing history with them, complete with nice little graphs and charts. All this information is also available in compose mode as well, so you know exactly who you're sending it to.
Chrome: Google Docs' open 1 GB storage space can be a handy, centralized space for stuff you find on the web. The Send to Google Docs Chrome extension makes web capturing very fast with instant page-to-PDF and file uploading.
Send to Google Docs doesn't work quite like the Firefox extension that shares its name. If you click its familiar-looking button while looking at a standard page, the page is converted to a PDF (through PDFMyURL) and uploaded to a Captures folder in your Docs space. If you've opened a PDF, image file, or SWF (Flash) file in a new tab, hit the Send to Google Docs button with that tab focused, and that file will arrive whole at Google Docs.
Chrome is a terrific browser on its own, but FastestChrome makes it even better. It adds extra search options to the Omnibar, creates "endless scrolling" for multi-page articles, fixes text-only URLs, and tunes up other Chrome features.
FastestChrome gives search a big boost, adding other search engines, displaying related articles from Wikipedia, and even showing related results from Amazon at the top of your Google results page. Highlight text on a page, and a customizable bubble pops up to let you search that string of text in Google, Delicious, and even Twitter. FastestChrome also turns text URLs into links, making navigation a lot quicker.
Options are easily turned on and off by clicking the extension's settings button in your toolbar. Once you've checked out FasterChrome, have a look at 18 other extensions we think are worth downloading (and, hey, maybe 13 more?).
Have a favorite Chrome extension of your own? Tell us about it in the comments.
Google Chrome's default new tab page is already good -- and honestly, I seldom find myself clicking anywhere other than my bookmark toolbar when I add a tab. So while I might not need to change the new tab page, the Incredible Start Page extension certainly has me hooked regardless.
Install it, and your new tab page displays a sleek, three-paneled view which includes recently closed tabs, your bookmark toolbar folders, and random slides pulled from Flickr -- with any non-folder items from your bookmarks overlayed on the images.
There's also a sticky note where you can enter text and fire it off to a new GMail compose window. Text you jot down is saved, so it's also a handy place to leave yourself a reminder...Now if they would just tap in to Chrome's bookmark sync to make it reappear when I got to work...
Options allow you to choose from four Flickr keywords (clouds, sunset, nature, and star) and five color schemes.
It's a nice way to add some visual pop to Chrome's new tab page.
Google Chrome is a superior browser to any i’ve used in the past 10 years or so, simply based on its performance. Firefox is great, but i’m not interested in all the add-ons and such that slow a browser down.
What I’m interested in is performance. As i scower through the web with my many tabs open i want to be able to interact with them quickly as i cycle and rearrange tab by tab.
No other browser has yet given me the ability to browse the web the way Google Chrome has. Firefox doesn’t even come close when it comes down to the tiniest little details. Lets talk about those details, see if you agree with me?
Chrome: If you want to restore browsing sessions anytime—and not just after a browser crash—Session Buddy for Chrome easily creates custom sessions and restores them whenever you wish.
After installing Session Buddy, clicking on the Session Buddy link in the Chrome toolbar brings up all your current Chrome windows and open tabs. From there you can save entire sessions or selectively edit out tabs from the list before saving. Saved sessions appear to the left of the current session list and remain until manually deleted.
You can use Session Buddy for something as simple as automatically saving your current session on browser close—available in the options menu—or for making custom session lists for various tasks like reading your favorite sites every morning or opening all the sites you use for bill paying.
Session Buddy is free and works wherever Chrome does. Have a favorite Chrome extension to share? Let's hear about it in the comments.