WebOfTrust is an awesome extension for Google Chrome in its own right -- it provides trust and safety ratings for websites and helps keep you out of trouble. They also allow other developers to tap into their data, which leads to cool little spin-offs like the Ultimate Chrome Flag extension.
After you install the extension, you'll see a flag icon in your Chrome Omnibar which tells you where a site is hosted. A WOT rating is also displayed (yahoo! Engadget comes up green...). Clicking the icon brings up even more details, including geolocation info (if available), Google PageRank, Alexa rank, and a full breakdown from WebOfTrust.
UCF also provides a button to copy the site's domain name and IP address to the clipboard for easy re-use anywhere you want to paste it.
It's a handy little extension, both to satisfy your curiosity about sites and make sure that curiosity doesn't get you into trouble...
In case you wondered -- I did enlarge the pop-up display to show detail. It won't be nearly that huge in your Chrome window.
Right now the essentials are there, and they work well. Plug in your blog's address to set it up (multiple sites are supported), choose an existing entry from the dropdown to edit, or new to post from scratch. Most major blogging platforms are supported, including WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Live Spaces, and TypePad. Scribefire will display your existing categories, but not integrate tags -- yet. Hopefully autocomplete/suggestions for tags will be added soon.
As far as writing goes, the extension works beautifully. Where I run into trouble is with the addition of images. You can't drag and drop as you can on FF, nor can you upload inline. That means you've got to deal with the additional step of uploading with another tool, and then adding in the URL to your image. As Scribefire and Chrome's Extension APIs mature, however, that functionality will no doubt be bolted on.
All in all, Scribefire is looking good -- especially considering it's only three weeks old. If you'd like to try it out, download the Scribefire extension for Google Chrome over at the Google Code project page!
It's been ported from the 32-bit Debian package and requires a little command-fu to install, but the procedure is pretty simple. The four-step process is posted at Maemo Arena so those of you with an N900 jonesing for a taste of Google Chrome on your device can get it up and running.
I'm curious to hear some thoughts on the port. Does the desktop version handle well on a small device like the N900? Chrome/Chromium's interface is fine for larger screens, but those buttons will be pretty small on the N900's 3.5" display.
If extensions and sync are working, I'd be more than willing to deal with it -- if I owned an N900, of course.
Anyone want a good deal on a used iPod touch...?
Browsing YouTube in Chromium on the Nokia N900 (image courtesy Maemo Arena)
WebKit, the rendering engine used by both Chrome and Safari, is currently undergoing major redevelopment in order to support per-tab processes and out-of-process plug-ins by default. In one smooth move, Apple will be able to bring Chrome-like speed and security to its Safari browser.
Don't be fooled by its rather grand-sounding name of "WebKit2," however. This is more of an update than an upgrade. Basically, WebKit is being split into UI Processes and Web Processes. Each tab will become a UI Process, and presumably, so will add-ons and extensions. This change will bring the usual benefits of stability, security, and speed-ups from multi-core processors. WebKit2 will also implement a non-blocking API that is "mostly platform agnostic," resulting in a more flexible browser and better cross-platform extension compatibility.
The new WebKit2 will operate a lot like Chrome does today, only in theory, faster. With the split-process logic injected at a much lower level, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Safari out-perform Chrome. It will be quite interesting to see whether Google moves to support WebKit2, or indeed builds it into their browser.
I can't help wonder why Google implemented the split-process logic in Chrome, rather than being the major exponent of WebKit2, though. A competitive edge doesn't make much sense when it's all open-source anyway.
The WebKit2 patches are due to hit at any moment now, but I don't know when we'll see a version of Safari -- or indeed, Chrome -- running the new layout engine.
Google has released an update to Chrome's developer channel build, and the changelog is a lengthy one. Among the plethora of bugfixes and UI tweaks are some notable changes like the arrival of theme syncing, the departure of Windows 7's taskbar thumbnails, and several minor UI tweaks.
As predicted yesterday, the expanded sync options which landed in Chromium have made their way into the dev channel build. Theme sync wasn't even present in Chromium's preference menu as of yesterday afternoon, yet it snuck in to Chrome today.
That was also the case with support for Aero Peek, which was removed on April 5th. Those who want them back can simply add a command line switch (see the previous post), and thumbnails will likely reappear in Chrome once a satisfactory implementation can be engineered.
Interested users can either update their current dev channel build via the wrench menu -> about Chrome and new users can download the build from Google's site.
Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Chrome Reader subscribes to RSS feeds in your Google Reader account with a single click, and even changes the icon for sites you've already subscribed to.
Once you've installed the Chrome Reader extension, you'll see a new icon in the location bar—click the icon once to subscribe, and optionally add to a folder, and once you've already subscribed to a site, the icon will change to a blue Google Reader icon to indicate that you're already subscribed. If you're both a Google Reader and Chrome user, this extension is by far the easiest way to build your subscription list without clicking through a number of times.
Chrome only: Google Chrome extension Postponer integrates the popular ReadItLater service directly into Google Chrome, so you can save interesting articles for later reading, and easily retrieve them with a toolbar button.
We've previously shown you how ReadItLater saves interesting web pages for later reading in Firefox, but there's been no great solution for Google Chrome users until now—the user-created Postponer extension makes it easy to add items to your list, and retrieve them through a toolbar button.
The extension is actually separated into two parts, the Postponer Manager that adds the toolbar button, and the Postponer Adder that puts an icon into the location bar for quickly adding to the list. Postponer is a free download for Google Chrome users only.
Google's reasons for the move:
We believe this initiative will help our users in the following ways:
- When users download Chrome, they will also receive the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. There will be no need to install Flash Player separately.
- Users will automatically receive updates related to Flash Player using Google Chrome's auto-update mechanism. This eliminates the need to manually download separate updates and reduces the security risk of using outdated versions.
- With Adobe's help, we plan to further protect users by extending Chrome's "sandbox" to web pages with Flash content.
For now you'll still need to use a command line switch to use the built-in Flash plug-in (add
--enable-internal-flash to your command line or shortcut for starting Google Chrome), but in time expect all versions of Chrome to use the built-in Flash player by default. At a time when HTML5 is changing the web and taking over at popular sites, it's a pretty interesting move by Google.
Chrome: Having a task list is great, but if you never see the list it doesn't do you a lot of good. New Tab to Tasks takes your Google Task list and puts it right in front of you.
After installing New Tab to Tasks, every time you open a new tab in Google Chrome you'll see your Google Tasks list in place of the regular Chrome New Tab Page. It doesn't change your Google Tasks list it just makes sure you're constantly looking at your task list and keeping your mind on completing your tasks and goals—which is the reason the author of the extension wrote it, to keep himself from forgetting about the tasks he put in Google Tasks because it wasn't open.
New Tab to Tasks is free and works wherever Chrome does. Have a favorite tool or extension for keeping your task list active and in front of you? Let's hear about it in the comments.
Earlier this week, the Chromium browser's bookmark manager moved from a separate native app window to a new tab inside browser itself (a la Opera). The streamlined manager has quickly made its way to Chrome, landing today in the developer channel build.
The bookmark manager in-a-tab feels is a much more logic implementation on tabbed browsers, and it's been a feature of Opera for quite some time. You can still drag-and-drop to rearrange, sort, import, and export your bookmarks like you could with the native manager.
Along with the manager, the new build includes improvements to Chrome's autofill and translate features.
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."
Hey, do you remember Google Bookmarks? I didn't either, until I heard the news that Google Bookmarks now has the ability to create and share lists of links. After a moment of confusion, I realized that Google Bookmarks wasn't a new product, and I started playing with lists.
They're actually quite useful! On top of creating and sharing, you can import all of the bookmarks from a friend's list (or a public list) into your own Google Bookmarks account. You can also open up lists to let your friends, or the public, add new links to them. Since this is a Google product, I don't think you'll be surprised to hear that it also suggests links that might fit into a list you're making.
Bookmarks are in a weird place right now. Sites like Delicious, which looked like the future of bookmarking a few years ago, have become less relevant. Many people are storing their bookmarks locally, and syncing them across machines with plugins like Xmarks or features like Chrome's bookmark sync. If anyone can bring users back to web-based bookmarking, though, it's Google, and a lists feature is an important start.
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.
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!