Google has announced that Chrome 21 is ready for the beta channel. As always, the changelog isn’t spectacularly impressive, but there are a couple of new stuffs worth mentioning.
Google has been consistently pushing the boundaries of what a web browser can do. After enabling browsers to render sophisticated 3D graphics with the help of WebGL and Native Client, Google is aiming for plugin-less support for hardware peripherals like webcams and gamepads.
The first new feature in Chrome 21 is support for getUserMedia API that can be used to access the user’s webcam and mic without relying on any third-party plugins like Flash. Google is dubbing this as the first step towards “enabling high quality video and audio communication as part of WebRTC, a powerful new real-time communications standard for the open web platform”. Google currently has a few cool demoes to showcase what this piece of new technology can do. However, don’t expect it to gain prominence until other browser developers also move to support it. Opera 12 for desktop and mobile is the only other browser to support getUserMedia.
Both of these enhancements represent another step towards realizing Google’s dream of a fully featured browser based operating system.
In a separate announcement, Google also revealed that Chrome 22 onwards it will be dropping support for Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard).
One of the coolest features of Chrome for Android is its ability to sync tabs with its desktop counterpart. You can start researching a topic on your desktop, leave for work, and continue researching from your phone while in the subway. Now, Google is taking this feature to its logical next level. The latest Google Chrome beta supports tab syncing across multiple operating systems and devices.
The new beta makes all of your tabs from one system available on all other systems. You can simply click on the “Other devices” link in the “New Tab” page to access open tabs from any system on which you are logged in with your Google account. This feature was first spotted in the bleeding-edge versions of Chrome (including the Dev Channel, Canary, and recent Chromium snapshot builds) by Geek.com. Now, Google will be gradually rolling out the “Other devices” menu to Beta channel users over the coming week. If you want to take tab syncing for a spin, download the latest Chrome beta from here.
After managing to remain unscathed for four consecutive years, Google Chrome has finally been breached, and Google is rewarding the hacker with $60,000. Google Chrome’s security features were bypassed successfully by hackers in both Pwn2Own and Pwnium.
Pwn2Own is an annual hacking fest sponsored by HP, which challenges hackers to breach fully patched web browsers and operating systems. Google Chrome was the only browser that couldn’t be hacked for the past four years. This year, it was the first to fall. A team from the French security firm VUPEN, lead by its co-founder and head of research Chaouki Bekrar, managed to take complete control of a fully patched 64-bit Windows 7 (SP1) machine within five minutes by using two zero-day exploits. VUPEN also claims to have zero-day exploits for Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
This year, Google is also running its own competition called Pwnium, which has a total bounty of $1 million. Google decided against sponsoring Pwn2Own, since its new rules don’t compel hackers to responsibly disclose vulnerabilities to the software developer. VUPEN itself intends on selling the exploits to its clients. Sergey Glazunov, a Russian university student, managed to bypass Google Chrome’s sandbox feature in Pwnium.
The breaches mean that Google will no longer be able to tout its clean record. However, Chrome developers aren’t mourning. While announcing the contest, Chris Evans and Justin Schuh from Chrome’s security team had explained that they have a big learning opportunity when they receive full end-to-end exploits. “Not only can we fix the bugs, but by studying the vulnerability and exploit techniques we can enhance our mitigations, automated testing, and sandboxing”.
Google Chrome has seen tremendous growth since it was released 2 years ago. It has competed with browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer by adding new features which have drawn users towards it. However, one of the most requested feature that has been missing in Google Chrome has been smooth scrolling.
Smooth Scrolling allows users to browse webpages in a single flow without continuous jumps in the display. The lack of this feature made scrolling in Chrome a bad experience if not worse. However, the wait for Smooth Scrolling might be over in a few months because Google has now included the Smooth Scrolling feature in the development version of Google Chrome (v19.0.1041.0 dev-m).
With the introduction of this feature, scrolling in Chrome has become less jumpy and maintains a single flow when you are scrolling from top to bottom or vice versa. The feature might be rolled out with the stable version of Google Chrome in near future, so you might have to wait a month or two before you can start using it.
If you are using the dev version, you will have to enable the Smooth Scroll feature in about:flags before you can use it. Head over to about:flags and enable "Smooth Scrolling". This feature is available for Windows, Linux and Chrome OS only so Mac OS X users won’t be able to use it yet.
Tabbed browsing has definitely changed the way we access webpages in browsers. However, I have faced a few problems with multiple tabs, one of them being a scenario where I have 20 tabs open in Google Chrome and one of them suddenly starts playing loud video or music.
Finding the offending tab is often like finding a needle in a haystack and the best recourse is to just mute your system music. But what if you are playing music on another app? You would mute that too right. Another solution would be to just close all the tabs at once and get rid of the annoyance. Neither of these solutions are really graceful.
There have been several forum threads about this issue, but Google engineers have stated that it is hard for them to isolate a tab which is playing music or video and allow users to mute them, thanks to limitations in the operating system.
However, there is an option in the form of a Google Chrome Extension which will allow you to mute music or video sounds in all the tabs at once, using a toolbar option or a keyboard shortcut (Alt + W).
The extension in question is the Chrome Toolbox Options, which also provides with several other interesting features to enhance your Google Chrome experience including preventing Google Chrome from closing down when you close the last tab and more.
The "Mute all tabs" is definitely a great feature, but what if you want to now find and close the tab which is playing the loud music or video? Are you going to go through each individual tab and find the culprit? Well, that would take a long time. Well, another extension to the rescue for that.
Mute Tab is an extension which will allow you to find out which tabs are playing videos, music or flash and then allow you to mute them. This is definitely handy if you want to find a culprit tab and shut it down rather than having to browse through individual tabs.
That’s it, using these two extensions will save you a lot of trouble and probably embarrassment when you are using Google Chrome. Do feel free to post your own suggestions If you use different methods to get rid of this annoyance.
Google Chrome is the most widely used web browser. Google is taking every possible step to increase Chrome’s growth rate. Recently, we saw Google introducing Angry Birds on the Chrome Web Store. This has definitely got a huge number of people to switch over to Chrome. However, one of the primary reasons why many people use Chrome is because of its speed and the availability of a number of extensions. One such extension that I highly recommend is Smooth Gestures, which will speed up many tasks that you usually use to navigate through the web.
Smooth Gestures is a free extension for Google Chrome that allows you to browse the Internet by using mouse gestures. The extension helps you browse the web quickly and easily, by allowing you to execute commands without having to use the keyboard, menus or toolbars.
Also Read: Google Chrome Extensions List
The extension comes with pre-defined mouse gestures. It also allows you to set your own gestures, according to your feasibility. It enables you to use gestures to perform usual tasks like opening and closing tabs, go forward and back in history, view source code, list all stored cookies, reloading a page, and so on. It also has gestures for less used tasks like undoing closed tab, merge tabs, pin tabs, etc.
However, the extension does not work on the extension website, or other built-in chrome pages due to security restrictions (including new tabs and Speed Dial). But it does work on almost all http:// and https:// pages.
To begin with, install the extension on your Chrome browser. Once done, hold your right mouse button down and do the gesture shown below. It would open up the Options page for Smooth Gestures.
The Options page is pretty self-explanatory. It shows how you gestures work and how to use them. As you scroll down the Options page, you would see several pre-defined gestures that you can use right away. If you scroll down further, you will find some difficult gestures to perform, however to start with, you can get used to the easy ones.
Creating Your Own Gestures
Although there are common gestures that are already pre-defined, you can still create your own custom gestures.
There is something about Google Chrome which I have not seen in any other browser. It is one of the fastest growing browsers across the world and currently has around 20% usage world wide.
Many tech related websites around the world are seeing that Google Chrome has been overtaking Firefox. Last year both TechCrunch and Techmeme reported that Chrome was the most users on their site which prompted me to write the article; Why is Chrome Winning and Firefox Losing Market Share?. Back then, Chrome’s market share was around 10% was constantly growing on our site too.
Recently, I wrote an article on How Chrome is Growing in India and Hurting Microsoft and Mozilla. In that article, I delved upon how Chrome has been dominating Indian markets even though the internet usage there is around 15% of the population. This definitely showed how much impact Chrome has had on the browser market.
Recently, I was checking the browser market share for Techie Buzz and found that Chrome has overtaken Firefox by a small margin. Last month, Chrome was behind Firefox by 2%, so the month over month growth is pretty impressive. This means that almost 1+ million out of the 3.5+ million users on the site were using Google Chrome to visit Techie Buzz.
One of the reasons for Google Chrome’s growth is the heavy advertising Google is doing for it. I see many ads which pitch users to play Angry Birds on Google Chrome and I can swear that those have converted many users to switch to Chrome including my own brother who is a big Angry Birds fan.
Google is also landing some punches on rival browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer by stopping development on certain products while providing plugins for them too. Recently, Google has decided to stop development of Google Toolbar for Firefox 5. This has sent Mozilla in a frenzy because lot of users are not upgrading to Firefox 5 from Firefox 4 because of the incompatibility of the add-on.
Google also provides Internet Explorer users with something called as Google Chrome Frame to bring Google Chrome’s technology to Internet Explorer. As you can see from our browser stats, we have around 0.13% IE users who have installed the Google Chrome Frame.
Additionally, Google has also been blocking several features in their products on Opera. Our in-house Opera guru Pallab has always been finding problems using Google’s features on Opera including the recently introduced Google Instant.
So is Google intentionally doing all these things to switch users to their own browsers? It could very well be possible, however, they are also backing that up with an excellent browser and I for one have been using Google Chrome as my primary browser since it launched and yes some of the new features in it including the Multiple Chrome Profiles are definitely good.
What do you think about Chrome’s dominance? Is it good or bad? Do you use Google Chrome as your primary browser? If not which one do you prefer to use? Please let me know through your comments.
A few months ago, I had spoken about few new features in Google Chrome. One of the new feature was Multiple Profiles in Chrome. The Google Chrome Profile switcher allowed users to create multiple profiles using different Google accounts. While that feature was in it’s infancy earlier on, it has grown to a full fledged profile manager in the latest development and canary builds of Google Chrome.
One of the new additions to Google Chrome profile manager is the ability to choose different icons for different profiles you create as seen in the screenshot above. This is similar to what you would see in an operating system like Windows 7, Ubuntu, Mac OS X and now Google Chrome OS too.
The newer profile switcher now resides in the left-hand corner of the browser and provides options to switch icons for your profile, customize it, delete it and also create new Google Chrome profiles.
However, this is not just it. Both the Development and Canary versions of Google Chrome now contain a better profile which allows you to easily create new profiles. The Canary build also contains newer icons which are not seen in the development build. This is similar to what I have seen in Windows Vista and Windows 7. However, I would also like to see an option to specify custom images for different profiles in the upcoming builds.
India has had a history of being a tech savvy country for more than a decade now. The adaption rate of newer technology in India has been higher than many other countries, which is why there are around 840 million mobile users (TRAI data – PDF File). However, hardly 10-15% of the Indian population have access to internet.
According to public data available in Google, the total internet users in India was over 61 million in 2009. This should be more than 100 million now. However, this is a really small number considering a population of 1.2 billion. Nevertheless, this is still 1/3rd of the population of U.S. on which most of the metrics and measurements are made.
This definitely makes India a very lucrative market and considering the growing economy and purchasing power there it should definitely be. Consider this, when I bought my first mobile phone in 2002 or so (it was a Motorola), I parted with Rs. 4500 (~$115) with a heavy heart. This was a second hand phone with no contracts etc. Coming back to 2011, I see people splurging Rs. 20,000-30,000+ for a mobile phone without blinking an eye. This shows how the spending power has increased in India.
Looking at some of the public data available today, I was intrigued to look at who is dominating the market and guess what, it is none other than good old Google. I did some research and here are some facts on how Google is dominating the browser market which was once the forts of Microsoft and Mozilla.
Browser Growth in India
Recently, there were quite a few blog posts about Google Chrome overtaking 20% market share worldwide in the Internet browser market. In those cases, people were measuring Global traffic (U.S market share is still below 20%). However, one region where Google Chrome is really putting the pressure on Internet Explorer and Firefox is India.
As you can see from the above screenshot, Google Chrome now shows you a message saying that it has blocked an insecure script from running on the browser, whilst proving you an option to "Load Anyway". This is done to protect users from running harmful scripts on their system.
This behavior in Google Chrome is similar to them blocking users from accessing harmful websites that they have in their database an will be useful in protecting users.
The help page on this topic shows what Google is doing exactly:
When this is not the case (sometimes called a “mixed script” situation), visitors to the site run the risk that attackers can interfere with the website and change the script so as to serve their own purposes.
Traditionally, browsers have run the mixed script, genuine or not, and notified you after-the-fact by a broken lock icon, a dialog box, or a red https:// in the location bar (in the case of Google Chrome). The problem with this approach is that by the time the script has run, it is already too late, because the script has had access to all of the data on the page.
Google Chrome now protects you by refusing up-front to run any script on a secure page unless it is also being delivered over HTTPS. Data on the page remains secure even in the presence of an attacker, but the downside is that this may cause pages to display improperly. You may wish to let the website owner know that their site is not properly secured. (Note that a poorly-written extension can also sometimes cause this).
You can bypass this protection by clicking “Allow Anyway”, in which case Google Chrome will refresh the page and load the insecure content. You will then see an https:// displayed in red in the location bar indicating that the page could not be secured.
The above description says that Chrome is only blocking scripts which are served through non-HTTPS on a HTTPS connection. Hopefully, the will improve this behavior and also display the same message on the browser when a known rogue script is running on a website.
Google Chrome has come a long way from being the newbie in the browser market to being a major and decisive player today, with a say on how all things Google are served to the people. I still remember the first time Google talked of Chrome and announced a web browser saying,
All of us at Google spend much of our time working inside a browser. We search, chat, email and collaborate in a browser. And in our spare time, we shop, bank, read news and keep in touch with friends — all using a browser. Because we spend so much time online, we began seriously thinking about what kind of browser could exist if we started from scratch and built on the best elements out there. We realized that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser. What we really needed was not just a browser, but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that’s what we set out to build.
You can still read the legendary announcement here and read the Google Chrome comic here for a walk down memory lane.
Three years have passed since then and Google has brought awesome web-services and things are looking good on the user-level as well (clean and effective). The browser (not just Google Chrome but web browsers in general) is getting stronger day by day and Google Chrome is the first choice for those obsessed with speed.
The next step by Google is to provide a rich social experience inside the browser. I am not talking about Twitter or Facebook here. Think of contemporary communication mediums, ones that are still enjoyed by people. Spot on. Google is planning to bring audio and video chat into the browser as an inherent feature. This will eliminate the need for a third party web-app and a third party desktop application alike.
How is Google Chrome Planning on Being a Skype Killer?
Once live, the technology can be used with anything Google provides or with any third party service, someone creates leveraging these technologies. The possibilities are endless here. This will most likely be Google’s next big announcement about Chrome.
Google has announced the final stable release of its Google Chrome browser version 12.0.742.91. The browser is available for all three major operating systems, namely Windows, Linux and Mac. The announcement came yesterday and the latest version includes hardware accelerated 3D CSS and a new Safe Browsing feature.
The final stable version has removed Google Gears support and there are many visible as well as behind-the-scene changes. The dev team has taken care to release binary packages for supported linux distros like Ubuntu and Fedora. All in all, Google Chrome is on a strong roadmap and it is taking on the web-browser world with speed and features.
The list of changes as it appears on the official announcement post on the Google Chrome blog says,
- Hardware accelerated 3D CSS
- New Safe Browsing protection against downloading malicious files
- Ability to delete Flash cookies from inside Chrome
- Launch Apps by name from the Omnibox
- Integrated Sync into new settings pages
- Improved screen reader support
- New warning when hitting Command-Q on Mac
- Removal of Google Gears
Apart from these changes, there are numerous security fixes that went into the latest stable release. Some of these fixes had bounty points on them. The Chrome Release blog also wrote,
In addition, we would like to thank David Levin of the Chromium development community, miaubiz, Christian Holler and Martin Barbella for working with us in the development cycle and preventing bugs from ever reaching the stable channel. Various rewards were issued.
We’d also like to call particular attention to Sergey Glazunov’s $3133.7 reward. Although the linked bug is not of critical severity, it was accompanied by a beautiful chain of lesser severity bugs which demonstrated critical impact. It deserves a more detailed write-up at a later date.
Google has just released Google Chrome 13 to the dev channel and it has a lot of new features which include a working version of Multiple Profile switcher, experimental new tab page and tab grouping. Additionally, Google Chrome 13 also adds a new feature called Compact Navigation and the ability to restrict Google Instant to search.
The new development version also adds an option to enable the Web Audio API and an option to allow "Background Apps" to continue running even when Chrome is shut down.
Background Apps are Google Chrome Apps which provide users with functionality that quietly runs in the background without intrusion. Background Apps could be apps that regularly check your email or Twitter account and notify you of new updates. The new feature in Google Chrome 13 will allow apps to continue running.
The new "Background Apps" feature is enabled by default, you can disable it by going to "Options -> Under The Hood" and deselect the checkbox next to "Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed".
Google Chrome 13 also features a working version of the profile switcher which allows users to use different profiles for different Chrome windows. This will allow users to work with different profiles without having to keep logging in and out. Google Chrome 13 also has the latest Flash player – Version 10.3.181.14.
Google has been working on the experimental new tab page for a while and it looks like things are finally taking shape in Google Chrome 13. When you enable the feature from about:flags, you will see a new tab page which now lists most visited sites and apps in tabs. It also has additional tabs but they don’t have any content. The new tab feature could allow users to create customizable tabs where they can list out different apps, however, there is no option to customize them right now.
Google Chrome 13 also has an option to hide the toolbar which can be done by right click on a tab an selecting "Hide the toolbar" from the menu options. Using this option hides the Omnibox and extension icons. I would prefer to have a keyboard shortcut to enable and disable this feature. You will need to visit the about:flags page and enable the "Compact Navigation" feature to get this option.
Finally, Google Chrome 13 also adds a new option to restrict Google Instant to only searches. Prior to that, Google Instant would kick in even when you load any webpage. This could get annoying and a feature to disable it is a great addition. You will have to enable this feature in about:flags too.
Overall, it looks like Google Chrome 13 is shaping out really well. Some of the features like multiple profiles and new tab page are really exciting. Hopefully, these changes should hit the beta and stable channels soon.
The “Questions” feature in Facebook may be useful to some folks, but I don’t find it useful for a couple of reasons.
First, the questions are more geared towards fun and virality rather than usefulness. I agree that the nature of questions depends on the people you’re connected to but I have hardly seen anyone praising the usefulness of Facebook questions.
Second, whenever there is a world event like the Royal wedding or the launch of a new gadget, my timeline suddenly gets filled with dozens of irrelevant questions in which I have no interest at all. Worst thing is that the same question appears multiple times in the timeline, whenever there is a new answer or someone posts a comment to the question
And the notifications.“Mr X has answered Mr Y’s question”. After a while, this gets really annoying and the sad part is that Facebook does not allow you to block Facebook questions like you can block a particular application, game, invites or a user.
Here is what the FAQ page reads
As with other Facebook applications like Photos and Events, there is no way to turn off Questions.
If you’re fed up with the spammy nature of Facebook questions and want to turn off the clutter, try the Hide Facebook Questions extension for Google Chrome. The extension hides every evidence of the “Questions” feature so your news feed doesn’t get cluttered with polls.Once installed, you will need to refresh Google Chrome and the Questions feature will vanish from your timeline.
And so will the notifications that used to come when one of your friends answered a question asked by another Facebook friend of yours.
Firefox fans can try the more advanced FB purity add-on which lets you fix some other annoyances apart from hiding Facebook questions in Firefox. For example, FB Purity allows you to use the older Facebook commenting system, where pressing Enter or Return adds a new line to your comment, and pressing the “Comment” button submits the comment.
Both the browser extensions works out of the box – there are no options to configure and nothing to tweak.
Google has just released Google Chrome 11 to the stable version of the browser for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. In addition to that the Canary build is now Google Chrome 13. Google Chrome development version has also been updated with the new Profile Switcher feature.
Google Chrome 11 includes several enhancements including speech input through HTML which allows users to speak text and then insert them into HTML forms. The Chrome Blog has a detailed article on how this works with Google Translate.
In addition to that, Google has also update the development version of the browser to include the new Profile Switcher feature which will allow users to create and switch between multiple sync profiles for different windows. However, the feature is still being developed and does not allow you to create multiple profiles.
The Canary build of Google Chrome has also been bumped to Google Chrome 13 (v13.0.747.0). Both the development and Canary features look identical which means that most of the changes are under the hood.
Some of the visible changes in the development and Canary build include "Tab Grouping", focus existing tab on open and the experimental new tab page which still seems to be experimental. Google Chrome 13 might be shipped to the development version after the Multiple Profile features is fully functional.
Google Chrome is one of the best browsers available today and with the Chrome Sync feature, it allows you to easily sync all your bookmarks, passwords, extensions, themes and auto-fill across multiple browsers. Chrome Sync is definitely a good option, however, users still face a problem if they want to have separate profiles for work and home.
The latest Canary Build of Google Chrome 12 (v12.0.741.0 canary build) now has a new feature which will allow you to have Multiple Profiles for different Chrome Windows. According to the description of the feature, Multiple Profiles 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..
Once you enable the Multiple Profiles feature, you will see a profile switcher at the right hand side corner. Users will be able to seamlessly switch between different profiles by clicking on this. Users can also create a new profile through the switcher or through the options as seen in the first screenshot.
The Multiple Profiles feature seems to be under work right now and does not allow users to create a second profile yet. However, it looks they might add the new feature soon and ship it to the canary and development channel.
Multiple Profile is definitely a great feature and one that I have been waiting for a long time. To enable Multiple Profiles in Chrome (Canary Build Only) type about:flags in your address bar and head to the bottom of the page. Once there, enable "Multiple Profiles" feature and restart the browser.
On my recent trip to CTIA 2011, I carried along the Cr-48 netbook from Google. On my way there I had to use the Verizon Wireless 3G service to read up news and other content.
Now a 3G connection is not cheap, so I resorted to using mobile mode on most websites. This meant that I used as little bandwidth as I could. Now, there will be several other cases where you need to consume less bandwidth, and not all websites have an mobile interface so what do you do then?
The extension makes use of the site ViewText.org to strip down non-textual content from webpages and displays a clean version of it. It works on any link on a webpage through a right click menu option.
Google Chrome 12 (v12.0.712.0) has made it to the development channel from the Canary Build. The new version adds a few new features to the browser and contains more behind the scenes updates and code refactoring.
One of the new features in Google Chrome 12 is called multi-tab select (Windows only). This feature allows you to select multiple tabs using the Ctrl button and perform actions on them like reloading all webpages or closing tabs among other things. I tried working with this feature but could not use it very well.
Another new feature available in this build is an experimental new tab page (through about:flags). The new experimental tab page adds a paged navigation for apps which will allow users to scroll through all the installed apps. It looks like it is more geared towards touch interfaces. However, this experimental new tab page is in its infancy stage and does not do much as of now.
Chrome 12 also has a new experimental feature called FPS counter which will display a page’s actual frame rate (FPS) when hardware acceleration is active. Other than that, the V8 engine has been updated to 184.108.40.206 in all versions of the browser.
Looks like Google is rebranding the logo for Google Chrome to look a little bit different in the latest development build. As you can see from the screenshot below which is from the latest development version, Chrome sports a new logo as compare to earlier versions.
The screenshot below is from an earlier version of Google Chrome
Barely a few days after Google released the Google Chrome 10 to the stable channel. They have updated the Canary Build to Google Chrome 12. Chrome Development channel is still on Google Chrome 11 which means that it will get rolled out to other channels soon.
The latest version has been bumped to 12.0.701.0 whereas the current development build is at version 11.0.696.3. I haven’t seen any new changes to the user interface or settings in this build, but I do know that there are some really big changes in them.
I will continue looking at what changes have been pushed to this build and will update this post with more information about them. One thing I am happy though is that couple of bugs I had reported have been fixed in this build.