Rachel Shearer an engineer from Google's Accessibility Engineering team discusses how developers can incorporate accessibility best practices when designing their extensions. Rachel also presents ChromeVis, an extension she created for users with low vision.
You can find more information on ChromeVis at https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/halnfobaneppemjnonmmhngbfifnafgd
Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Chrome Nanny prevents you from wasting time on distracting web sites, so you can get things done instead of checking Facebook all day long. More »
Personalizing the web to match the needs and abilities of users is a big part of improving overall web accessibility. While we continue to work hard on making core Google Chrome more accessible, we're really excited about using browser extensions to improve the accessibility of the web for millions of users.
There are already some extensions among the more than 5,000 in the gallery that can benefit users with special needs. Some of these extensions use Chrome APIs and content scripts to alter the browser and manipulate the DOM of pages, offering users almost unlimited flexibility for viewing the web. Other extensions choose to implement altenative workflows, instead of adapting existing web page UIs, to give users faster access to content. These extensions benefit not just users of assistive technologies like screen readers but everyone who prefers access modes like keyboard shortcuts and captions.
If you are interested in making your extensions more accessible, we’ve created a new Accessibility implementation guide in the Chrome Extensions Developer's Guide that gives you an overview of accessibility best practices such as keyboard navigation, color contrast and text magnification. We’ve also open sourced the code behind ChromeVis, a new extension for users with low vision, so that you can use some of its code for manipulating text selection and magnification in your own extensions.
When we first released extension support in Chromium, we left out all support for running extensions in incognito mode. This meant I had to live without handy extensions like Mouse Stroke and PasswordMaker (shameless plug) whenever I opened an incognito window, and that made me sad. When your muscle memory is trained to expect certain features, it's pretty jarring to find them missing. So in the latest stable version of Google Chrome, I added support for running extensions while in incognito.
One of the main reasons we delayed adding incognito support was that Chrome has no way to ensure that extensions obey the incognito rules: in short, that your browsing data is not saved after you close the incognito window. After much debate, we finally decided to let users decide which extensions they were comfortable using in incognito. You should only enable extensions that you trust and that don't save sensitive information. For example, an extension named Save All Your History would probably not be a good idea to run in incognito, since it would defeat the entire purpose of opening an incognito window. (This is not always the case: if the extension is written with incognito support in mind, it could avoid saving sensitive information, but it is up to the extension developer.)
To allow an extension to run while incognito, open the Extensions management page (accessible from the Tool menu -> Extensions). Each extension has an option to "Allow in incognito". Turning this on will let the extension display page and browser actions in incognito windows, and give them access to browser information originating from an incognito tab. It's just as easy to remove this access any time by following the same steps and unchecking the "Allow in incognito" option.
Google Chrome is fast becoming the browser of choice for many. With its ever increasing user base, the safety concerns related to this comparatively new browser is also increasing. Here, we enlist the 6 most useful extensions/plugins for a much safer browsing experience with Google Chrome.
Web of Trust is a safe browsing tool, which warns you about risky sites that cheat customers, deliver malware or send spam. Traffic-light rating symbols show which websites you can trust for safe surfing, shopping and searching on the web.
WOT ratings are powered by a global community of millions of trustworthy users who have rated millions of websites based on their experiences. The WOT add-on provides reputation ratings to search results when you use Google, Yahoo!, Bing, Wikipedia and other popular sites, helping you protect your computer and personal information.
Yes, the initial iteration of extension sync was not without its problems. It made Google Chrome a little crashy for some users, but hey -- we're talking about the first go at a brand new feature on an unstable application here. On top of that, it's opt-in and must be enabled via a command line switch. Caveat emptor, right?
Still, the Chrome developer crew wasn't about to take the weekend off and let extension sync continue causing frustration. This morning, a tweak to the extension sync code has landed in the Chromium source code which will "only allow installation of extensions/apps with gallery update URL via download from gallery."
This should help prevent a number of issues -- since sync will now presumably grab extensions using the same method Chrome already used to update your installed extensions. It does, however, mean that sync will only work on extensions you've installed via the official Gallery.
I'm certainly OK with that -- I don't actually use any non-Gallery extensions any more. If you are using some, well... At least you'll be able to sync most of your extensions automatically and Chrome won't crash on you.
Expect to see this one make the jump from Chromium snapshot builds to the Google Chrome dev channel rather quickly.
The Safari 5 feature that's caught the web's attention is the Reader button, which strips down articles and blog posts into an ad-free, highly readable format.
Long have we searched for an easy way to sync browser extensions across multiple machines, and for Chrome users that day has finally come. If you're running the Dev channel, here's how you can easily enable extension syncing. More »
LeechBlock is one of the cornerstones of my online life; it is an add-on that lets me set up a list of "time-wasting" websites and forces me to stop using them after some time has elapsed. It's one of the main add-ons that's keeping me on Firefox (rather than Chrome or Opera, which I really do like).
StayFocused tries to bring a very similar feature set to Chrome. I looked at this extension a couple of months ago, and a second look this morning shows that, with many new features added, the developer has been hard at work.
In addition to specifying which sites to block, you can now configure active days and hours (meaning, when to apply the blocking), blocked sites, and allowed sites (for white-list functionality). There's also a "nuclear option" for blocking access to all but the white list (or all including the white list, which would render your browser useless), and there's a "require challenge" option that forces you to type in a random string before you can change the options.
If any of these seem familiar to you, that's because StayFocused seems to have taken a page right out of LeechBlock's book. LeechBlock has all of these features and many more. For example, LeechBlock lets you configure five different blocking sets and control the length of the string. With LeechBlock, I can configure it to let me access my time-wasting websites for "5 minutes every hour."
Don't get me wrong, StayFocused is taking steps in the right direction. If you're serious about blocking distracting websites, though, it doesn't come close to the versatility and simplicity that LeechBlock offers. Also, I wish that StayFocused would give a bit of credit where credit is due; I could find no mention of LeechBlock in the FAQ or elsewhere.
Bad: It's a perfect example of what is wrong with the Chrome Extensions Gallery.
The themes actually appeared late yesterday, though they looked like extension spam to me. There were no screenshots posted. They're not labeled as themes. Their titles, if you browse via the recent extensions link, only show the name of the country. The image you see below is the "detail" page for the England theme.
It really is time to give themes their own home. Chrome, after all, doesn't take you to the Extensions Gallery when you choose to get themes via the wrench menu's options page. No, it takes you to the themes site.
So how about it Google? Can we please add a "user created" section next to Themes by Artists and Themes by Google and get them out of the Extensions Gallery once and for all?
Those of you who -- like me -- run Google Chrome and Chromium on multiple computers with different operating systems probably find its built-in sync abilities incredibly useful. They've been steadily expanded from initially only handling our bookmarks to now syncing just about every personalization option available.
Preferences? Check. Form auto-fill? Check. Theme? Check. Extensions? ...
Maybe not yet, but we all knew it was just a matter of time. With Google pushing the "your apps everywhere" philosophy in Chrome OS, there was no question that our Google Chrome extensions would be added to its preference sync options soon enough.
This morning, extension sync appeared in the Chromium source code. Better still, it's enabled by default -- meaning there's no need to flip a command line switch to turn it on.
It's clear the Chrome developers are hard at work, and there's really not much difference between a .CRX containing a theme and one containing an extension -- and theme sync has been working beautifully for quite some time now.
So when will extension sync hit the Chrome dev channel? Sooner rather than later, I expect.
Chrome: Docs PDF and PowerPoint Viewer automatically opens linked PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, and Word documents in Google Docs Viewer without requiring you to download the file and open it with a local desktop application on your computer. More »
- Desktop notifications (new since our last developer update)
- File API and FileReader API: Drag and drop files from the desktop to the browser!
- Native Client (NaCl) SDK and ports: Run with --enable-nacl.
- HTML5 sandbox attribute
- Integrated Flash Player plugin: Run dev channel with --enable-internal-flash.
Google Chrome: Chrome Notepad is an effective extension that syncs notes and even the last place you left off in your document across multiple computers, using Chrome's built-in bookmark sync functionality. More »
Google Chrome is one of the fastest and easiest to use browsers developed till date. With a pile of useful Chrome extensions developed every day, nothing beats Google Chrome when it comes to customizing the browser and using it the way you want.
We have earlier discussed some Chrome extensions which help you spice up your browsing experience. Today we are going to see how to customize the new tab page of Google Chrome and add features that make it more useful.
The Default New Tab Page of Google Chrome
The default new tab page of Google Chrome lists the thumbnails of sites that you frequently visit. You can choose the Grid or Thumbnail view or choose a minimalistic list view to show the links of your favorite websites in the new tab page of Chrome.
Here is how the default new tab page looks:
This is cool, you can access the frequently visited websites with a click. There is also another bar in the page footer, which shows a list of recently closed tabs.
That’s it and nothing more. What if you want to customize the look and feel of the new tab page ? What if you want to add some sites or may be bookmarks as thumbnails in the new tab page ?
Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Trash Can adds a menu that lets you restore a recently closed tab directly from the main toolbar; useful when you've closed a number of tabs quickly. More »
The internet is undoubtedly a wonderful place, but let's face it: some web sites are only too happy to serve up annoying ads, unnecessarily heavy Flash elements, and all-around user-unfriendly experiences.