Chrome: Most of you use RSS regularly, but also note it's pretty annoying to stumble on an RSS feed that truncates the article for the sole purpose of getting you to click the link and leave your RSS reader. We feel your pain, and Google Reader Inline is a Chrome Extension that lets you read the full article without leaving Google Reader to do it. More »
Chrome: Most feed readers default to a long list of headlines and articles with a folder-like navigation tree on the left to help you sift through your feeds and unread posts. It works, but FeedSquares is a Chrome extension that connects to Google Reader and uses tiles to display your feeds instead. Highlighted and off-axis tiles indicate new topics, and you can click any tile to see the posts for that feed, and any article to bring up the full text. More »
I don't often need to open a PDF file, and when I do it's typically something I'm looking at in my Web browser. Since I'm using Google Chrome, the built-in PDF viewer is what I use 90% of the time. I do, however, get the odd email at my day job (where we don't use webmail) with a PDF attachment I need to read.
So I thought, "why not open those in Chrome, too?" It's easy enough to set up. Here's how to do it.
First, locate your Google Chrome executable. The easiest way to do this is to right-click your Chrome shortcut and choose properties from the menu. In the box labeled target, you'll see the complete path to Chrome.exe. Highlight that text and copy it to your clipboard.
Google made a minor tweak to the Gmail navigation links recently -- moving Photos into a more prominent spot and Reader into the More drop-down. While I wasn't particularly concerned (I've got Firefox hotkeys wired to most of my bookmarks for fast mouse-free access), the change created quite a stir on Twitter.
But as is usually the case, enthusiasts who don't want to accept changes on their favorite Web sites have already responded. If you want your Reader link back and you're using Google Chrome, grab the Put Reader Back extension. Once installed, just reload your Gmail tab to see the change.
Back in May, Google axed the offline mode in Google Reader. I didn't use it that often, but it was a nice way to catch up on tech news while I made the 6-hour trek to Winnipeg from my home in the North. Thankfully, there's a new Google Chrome extension called FeedStore which brings back offline reading.
Just install the extension and you're ready to go. FeedStore adds an icon to your browser actions area and notifies you when new unread items arrive -- and stashes a copy you can read later. The reading interface is somewhat customizable, allowing you to choose a font and change the type size and line spacing. There's a dropdown for custom styles, though only the default shows for now (which is nice and clean) -- hopefully we'll see additional options added.
The downside, of course, is that a lot of sites offer truncated feeds. It would be nice if future FeedStore versions could pull the full post from source websites.
Yesterday, Google delivered a major update to Chrome Beta users, bumping the version to 8.0.552.28. The changelog for this release is a doozy, and runs down loads of security updates, UI tweaks, and plumbing for features which are still coming soon (like Cloud Print and password sync).
You'll also find plenty of new experimental features on the Chrome Beta about:flags page. The big addition, however, is the arrival of the built-in PDF viewer. Chrome's viewer currently offers a major advantage over Adobe Reader when it comes to security -- sandboxing -- which helps prevent malicious PDFs from successfully attacking your computer.
Dev channel users should also have an update ready this morning -- which brings a new version of the internal Flash plug-in.
One of the most talked about features in Safari 5 has been its Reader function -- Apple's built-in implementation of the Readability bookmarklet. Both are nice ways to reformat articles on blog or news sites for distraction-free reading.
If you like the look of Safari Reader but would rather not change from Google Chrome or Firefox, don't worry. The iReader extension brings the same functionality to your browser of choice!
Like Safari Reader, iReader shrouds the background in semi-opaque blackness . Hover near the bottom of the page to display zoom and print controls, as well as e-mail/Twitter/Facebook sharing buttons. iReader is also highly configurable -- set Gmail as your 'send page' client, change the display font, activate smooth scrolling, set the "curtain" to be more or less transparent, and adjust the reading area and margins. You can also choose hotkey combination to activate iReader (rather than having to click on the Omnibar icon).
Neither internal Flash or internal PDF rely upon the venerable old NPAPI system. The hope is that this new architecture will provide a more modern, secure way for browsers and plug-ins to interact. PDFs you view with the internal plug-in will also be safely tucked away in Chrome's sandbox, preventing any malicious activity from damaging your operating system.
If you're running the dev channel, here's what you have to do to turn on the internal PDF viewer:
- enter chrome:plugins in your Omnibar
- scroll down to the entry for Chrome PDF Viewer
- click the enable link, and you're good to go.
As the official blog post mentions, it's a bit limited in terms of functionality at this point. No zoom options or navigation controls are presented yet, so you'll have to page down or scroll down to read. You can, however, search the text using control + F as you would on a web page.
My advice: give it a try, but stick to using the Google Docs Viewer for now.
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.