Since we introduced extensions in Google Chrome, we focused on making the platform more robust, by continuously exposing new APIs to developers. This has helped our extensions gallery blossom where more than 6,000 extensions are listed today and more than 10 million extensions are downloaded by Chrome users every month.
We designed security into the extensions system from day 1 but we’re always looking for more ways to protect users. So, today, we are introducing two significant changes in the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery: a developer signup fee and a domain verification system.
The developer signup fee is a one-time payment of $5. It is intended to create better safeguards against fraudulent extensions in the gallery and limit the activity of malicious developer accounts. Starting today, this fee will be required to publish extensions, themes and soon apps in the gallery. We are waiving the fee for developers who already registered with the gallery (specifically before 11am PST today), so that they can continue to update their extensions and publish new items without paying the fee.
Domain verification is another addition that we believe will protect users and developers alike. Developers will be able to associate their extensions (and soon their apps) with domains they own or manage using Google’s Webmaster Tools. This way, they can clearly associate their extension with their brand and website, which in turn will help users identify “official” extensions in the gallery.
We believe that these are important improvements to the security of the gallery. We understand that changes like these can create a lot of questions, so please reach out to us on our developer discussion group for extensions.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Having a private browsing mode built in to your browser -- like Incognito in Google Chrome -- can be incredibly handy. I used it as a way to log in to multiple Gmail accounts prior to Google enabling that feature natively. It's useful for hiding local traces of your browsing activities, of course.
Once in a while, however, you (like me) may find yourself accidentally typing one of your Incognito-only URLs into a standard Chrome tab. It's an easy enough mistake to make when you've got multiple browser windows open and your focus is somewhat lacking.
Fortunately, however, it's also easy to prevent. The Autonito extension for Chrome allows you to create a list of sites which you only want opening in Incognito mode.
Type one of your chosen URLs, and Autonito stops the tab from loading and pops it out into a new Incognito window. The only thing lacking right now is wildcard support, but based on the number of requests on the Gallery page I suspect it will be added soon.
Like your extensions (and everything else which makes your Chrome install yours), installed Chrome apps will follow you across all your installs. The plumbing for app sync has already landed but is not yet active. There's really no reason for it to be at this point -- the Web Store isn't open yet and Canary is the only Chrome version with app support by default. As with extensions, expect Chrome to only sync those extensions that were downloaded from the Web Store.
While I'm willing to bet the Store will be open soon, we don't really have any clues as to when that might be. Well, at least not anything more precise than "before Chrome OS tablets wind up on retail shelves."
For quite some time now, intrepid users have been able to flip a command line switch and enable app support in Google Chrome's dev and canary builds (as well as Chromium). Late last night, however, the switch became unnecessary in Chromium -- apps support has now been turned on by default.
Why is that a big deal? For starters, it means that full-time app support is coming very soon to Chrome -- first in canary and the dev channel. The platform is ready for some serious tire-kicking, and Chrome's cutting-edge users will (as always) be the first wave of testers.
With Google's recently-accelerated release schedule, it likely won't be long before apps make it into the stable channel. Chrome OS is due on tablet devices later this year, and apps will need to be ready to rock prior to their arrival.
This also means that we'll soon witness the evolution of the Chrome Extensions Gallery. It's due to be re-branded as the Web Store and will house not only extensions and themes, but also full-fledged web apps like the ones Google demoed way back when like Plants vs. Zombies, Lego Star Wars, and no doubt some more practical ones as well (if you're into that sort of thing... ).
While you wait for the actual Chrome Web Apps to arrive, why not at least install some of the app tab eye-candy in our previous post? We've got about two dozen .CRX downloads for you, covering everything from GMail and Facebook to Grooveshark and Pandora!
As always, if you're looking for the most recent Chromium snapshot builds for your OS, you'll find them here!
Since Google Chrome launched almost 2 years ago, the team has embraced the “launch early and often” strategy by releasing Dev channel builds almost weekly. But sometimes, such as when we’re in the process of moving a Dev channel release to the Beta channel, we’re unable to release a new Dev channel build, and other times, even a week is too long to wait to get feedback from the field on a change.
The team considered updating the Dev channel more frequently, but doing so would require us to forgo our manual testing pass on these builds. Even though the Dev channel is often rough around the edges, we realized that this lack of testing would result in a Dev channel that’s too unstable even for early adopters and developers. That’s why, a few days ago, we released a new experimental version of Google Chrome called Google Chrome Canary Build. We plan to update the Canary Build more frequently than the Dev channel, with riskier changes, and usually without a human being ever verifying that it works, so the Canary Build is only for users who want to help test Google Chrome and are comfortable using a highly unstable browser that will often break entirely. To enable you to continue using the same browser you love when the canary croaks, we’ve made it possible to install the Canary Build in addition to the Dev, Beta or Stable channel versions of Google Chrome.
The Canary Build is still brand new so it currently has a few limitations. Currently, it’s only available for Windows and cannot be set as your default browser. You can star the issues for Mac and Linux support, as well as the issue for default browser support to cast your vote and be notified of progress there.
If you like to live on the bleeding edge, give the Google Chrome Canary Build a shot and let us know what you think. The early feedback on crashes, performance regressions, broken features and other problems is incredibly valuable to us, so thanks!
Ahh, the thrill of running bleeding-edge software! It's not for the feint of heart, to be sure. Heck, it's not even for someone who has a perfectly strong heart but doesn't do well with watching features appear and disappear on a regular basis.
Take Chrome's nifty internal PDF plug-in. Just a few days ago, Google dropped the need for a command line switch to activate it, enabling it by default for users of the dev channel build. Today, however, another update was pushed and the plug-in has once again been switched off.
You can still enable the plug-in if you wish -- just visit chrome://plugins and click enable underneath the Chrome PDF Viewer.
It's likely that the Chrome team is just ironing out a few kinks prior to pushing the plug-in to the beta channel. With Chrome's accelerated release schedule, it probably won't be long before the PDF viewer joins the internal Flash plug-in on Chrome installs everywhere.
Not too long ago, Google moved the Chrome bookmarks manager from a separate application window into a tab. Recently, work began on moving Chrome's options menu into a tab as well. While it's still not totally functional, chrome://options has come a long way in a short amount of time.
For the most part, all the UI elements are now active. Certain sub-menus have yet to be activated (like font settings and sync), but I was surprised to see that features like settings import, content settings, and clear browsing data were now live -- just 8 days after tabbed options arrived on the Dev channel.
So why move everything into tabs, anyway? Once Google has everything sorted out and running in-tabs, future changes to Chrome's UI should be easier to implement across different platforms. Since it's Chrome itself rendering things, developers won't have to worry as much about a change looking good on Windows while breaking something on Mac, for example. The switch should also lead to a more consistent experience across Chrome's entire user base (pretty much the opposite of Apple's approach with Safari).
Curious to see tabbed options at work? Check out the video after the break (I recorded Chromium, but you can test in Chrome Dev and Canary as well -- just add --enable-tabbed-options)!
While the built-in default is functional, you might be looking for a way to add some sizzle to your Google Chrome new tab page. Look no further than Start!, a recent addition in the Chrome Extensions Gallery.
Your frequently used bookmarks will appear on the right-hand side of the page, while the central portion is reserved for your recent additions and those in the "other" folder. Start! also supports adding an RSS feed to your display (yes, that's ours in my screenshot!).
The background image is customizable as well, and you can either provide the URL to your favorite image or cycle through the stock options -- or clear it if you prefer a blank canvas.
Start! is a very nice extension, but there is one bug I encountered. You're able to click and drag favicons to reorganize the right-hand panel, though I frequently received an alert that the move failed (even though it didn't). Sitting on the 'esc' key eventually clears all the pop-ups, however, so after your intial setup it's not likely to cause many issues. I also suspect that developer Ilkka Huotari will fix this in short order...
Change is on the way, however. In the Chromium design docs, there's talk of building robust temporary download handling in to Google Chrome. As the doc describes it, the change would "provide a nonintrusive way to open downloaded files with another application without permanently storing them on disk." An addition would be made to Chrome's context menu allowing you to "download and open" a file -- like a .torrent -- without having to save it first.
Files downloaded that way would still appear on your shelf (the chrome://downloads page), but they'd be marked with an icon indicating their unsaved status. You can work with your "download and open" files as you would a normal download -- but Chrome would remind you that you have unsaved temporary files when you close the browser in case you want to save them permanently.
So, when can you expect to see the changes? Don't hold your breath -- this is actually related to a Chromium bug filed back in September of 2008.
One feature I like being able to toggle in Firefox is tab thumbnails -- not the ones on the Windows 7 taskbar, mind you. I'm talking about in-browser thumbnails which get displayed when switching tabs. Chrome OS has that snazzy, Cover Flow-style switching interface, but that's not part of the Chrome browser on other OSes.
There are, of course, options available in the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery for those of you who enjoy a visual reminder when looking for that tab you misplaced -- or if you just want a little eye candy!
This one might be the closest the Firefox's built in interface. Tabs Plus presents tab thumbnails in three columns and provides a search box at the top -- which might come in very handy for those of you who open more tabs by the truckload. Multiple windows are supported, and their contents are separated by a horizontal rule. Incognito windows will display as well, provided you've checked the box to allow access.
You can also merge everything you have open into a single window, bookmark everything, and close everything with a single click.
While Tabs Plus is nice, it's static. If you're really jonesing for that animated Cover Flow action, you've got a couple options. The three mentioned here all work the same way: click the browser actions button and a popup window lets you arrow through your tabs.
I don't usually pick on apps for memory usage, but I might make an exception for Visual Tabs. With a modest 13 tabs open, Visual Tabs wolfed down a supersized 240MB memory. That's actually more than Chrome, my tabs, and all my other extensions were using at the time.
The Light version keeps things simple: it's a more lightweight version of what Visual Tabs does with no extended options -- just six background colors to choose from.
TabsPreview, on the other hand, is loaded with options. You're not limited to a simple horizontal flow for your tabs: choose from a grid view, Vista-esque diagonal layout, carousel, or a simple horizontal display with zoom effect. Tabs Preview can also show your closed tabs, and you can set any background color you want and add a linear or radial gradient effect.
There's also a search option and a grouped display which limits the preview display to tabs from a specific domain. Tabs Preview is a very good visual switching extension, but I would like the option to use a popup instead of its own tab -- and I'm also not so keen on the bouncy effect on the toolbar icons in the bottom left.
...And we were excited to find ourselves listed! Alongside other great blogs like CNet, PC Magazine, and Lifehacker, you'll find Download Squad. That's pretty select company, and we're all grateful for being included.
So thank you, josorek, for your hard work and for making us part of your extension. Keep up the good work!