Yesterday Google released a brand new beta for their Chrome web browser, this time in the interest of ironing out kinks with some new features that they’ve added. Among the new features are an updated “New Tab,” the Omnibox, and the ability to beautify your browser by using colors, patterns and images.
The New Tab feature is being slightly tweaked by allowing you to move around your most visited sites by simply clicking and dragging, letting you show off just how not into Twitter you really are. You can even pin thumbnails to specific spots. The Omnibox (read: the address bar) is getting a facelift, and giving you Google search results and related history items whenever you type anything in.
Most notably though, the color changing feature will allow you to alter exactly how Chrome looks. Should you want to be reminded of fresh cut grass each time you browse the net, you may do so. Or if you want to have cute kittens gazing at you while you read the day’s news, you can do that as well, we’re not here to judge.
You can check out the beta here, but there’s no word as to when these updates will make their way to the official release.
With social networking websites almost holding internet users captive for long periods of time, the new Yahoo homepage will let users have one eye on the latest from their friends on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Other notable additions include the ability to customize the homepage using widgets and the introduction of a top ten search list just under the search bar.
But the launch has been far from smooth, as some users still haven’t encountered the option to try the new beta homepage. Yahoo is under considerable pressure from Microsoft’s latest search offering Bing, which is increasingly closing in on Yahoo in the online search market.
The free ride is officially over - sort of. If you installed Windows 7 beta on any of your machines, the next time you fire it up, the OS will initiate a shutdown sequence every 2 hours, a move intended to guide users to the Windows 7 Release Candidate.
"If you're still on the Windows 7 Beta you should certainly look at giving the Windows 7 RC a try!," Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a Windows team blog post.
The good news is that the Windows 7 RC (Release Candidate) is still available for download, it includes several new features and fixes, and will continue to run uninterrupted until June 1, 2010. But you'll have to act fast, as the RC download program comes to a screeching halt on August 15.
Even better, Microsoft has temporarily reduced pricing on retail upgrade versions of Windows 7 Home and Professional to $50 and $100 respectively. The pre-order pricing remains in effect until Saturday, July 11, at which point prices will jump to $120 (Home) and $200 (Professional).
For those of you who found yourselves breathless with anticipation after watching the Office 2010 Movie Trailers, you might just be the perfect candidate for the technical preview. Currently Microsoft is looking beta testers who fall into the home, or student category, and are willing to fill out a short survey via the connect website. The survey will ask for basic information about your PC, your OS, and what you currently use for an office suite, nothing overly personal. You will need a free Windows Live account (or Hotmail), and it sounds like they are looking for plenty of volunteers.
People with Office 2007 probably won’t notice much of a difference, but I highly encourage curious users with older versions of Office, as well as Open Office, to give the new ribbon UI a try. It takes some getting used to, but does a pretty good job of exposing functionality that was previously hidden to novice or casual users.
Hit the jump to watch one of the official Office 2010 Movie Teasers.
After a brief moment of availability this week, Microsoft’s free Security Essentials application has been pulled from the virtual shelves.
Microsoft claims that it now has enough users for the beta, stating on their website, “Thank you for your interest in joining the Microsoft Security Essentials Beta. We are not accepting additional participants at this time. Please check back at later a date for possible additional availability.”
So, if you were hoping to get in but weren’t among the fleets of people that did so yesterday, you’re out of luck! You’ll just have to wait for the full version, like everyone else (that is, unless you got actually in).
For those of you still enjoying the Windows 7 beta (build 7000), know that your free time is coming to a close.
On July 1, 2009, those of you still running the beta will be told to install a released version of Windows, followed by your PC shutting down automatically every two hours. If on August 1, 2009 you’re still on the beta, your license will expire and the non-genuine lifestyle will be at your doorstep. That means you’ll lose your wallpaper and “This copy of Windows is not genuine” will be displayed in the lower right hand corner above the taskbar (the fiends!).
However, if you’ve already moved onto build 7100 (as I’m sure many of you already have), you’ll be in good shape until March 1, 2010. If you haven’t though, make sure to get it soon – downloads will be halted on August 15, 2009.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen may not be as popularly synonymous with wealth as is his more illustrious peer Bill Gates, but he has been among the richest people of the world for many years on the trot. Now he has decided to use a modicum of his immense wealth for a fresh business venture.
Xiant Filer can automatically organize incoming mail messages by choosing the correct subfolder for depositing each message. According to Allen’s new company, the software becomes smarter the more you use it.
It appears to be meant for really popular people with mailboxes inundated with messages. However, anyone can try it for free as the beta version can be downloaded from Xiant’s website.
Build 7232 of Windows 7 was recently leaked onto the Internet, and many believe that this is one of the last builds before Microsoft gets ready to give the operating system Release To Manufacturing status.
The new build features plenty of improvements since the last, most notably in the realm of driver support and application compatibility. More importantly though, Microsoft has included a brand new wallpaper which takes the place of the betta fish, and shows off a stylized new Windows logo.
The new build is primarily available through torrents, and there’s no official word as to when Microsoft plans to release it to the public.
UPDATE: After only a few hours, it looks like 7260 is the latest build to make its way to the public via a leak, this time thanks to Russian site Wzor. Still though, the new background screen remains. By bye betta.
Or at least, we’re fairly sure the beta’s nearly jacked up and good to go – if a Blizzard email sent out to a number of press outlets is any indication.
The email prompts members of the press to make sure they’ve signed up for Blizzard’s sparkly new version of Battle.Net and requested a spot in line for StarCraft II’s beta. All pertinent info must be in Blizzard’s hands by June 19.
Based on this information, we’re thinking beta keys will start gracing the mailboxes of outrageously lucky non-press people soon as well. You will hate these people, and you’ll call them names, give them swirlies, and pick them last for the dodgeball team out of jealousy. Do not be alarmed; this is the way things are meant to be.
So, did you enlist in the beta? If not, you’d better hop to it. Really, this could be your only shot at building up some confidence in your StarCraft II abilities. And trust us -- you’ll need it for the game’s retail release, when players from a certain StarCraft-obsessed nation flock to the game in droves and remind you that your happiness was only a brittle illusion.
On Wednesday, Google officially unveiled its newest lab project called Google Squared, which attempts to organize search results into a spreadsheet style layout.Although it might appear at first glance that this is a Wolfram Alpha competitor, Google is quick to defend the original aspects of the service. Unlike Wolfram Alpha, Google isn’t actually performing any calculations, and they will simply continue to do what they do best, present information that has been cached from the web. The idea behind squared is to help organize your search results so that you get all of the relevant information you’re looking for in one shot. It is hoped that this will minimize the amount of times users will need to refine their original search terms in order to get the results they are looking for.
The system isn’t quite perfect however, and ARS Technica was able to achieve some pretty humorous results by searching for the term “NYC population”. While reviewing the results, I noticed that Google populated a column named “status”, and listed Queens as “hospitalized”. Another column is titled “white” and the associated image is a heard of deer wandering around an army base. That’s not to say the system is totally broken however, and when it works, it works extremely well. A quick search for the term “Palm Pre” for example, turned up categories such as memory, weight, dimensions, display, etc. They clearly have some work to do on making the columns more relevant, but it certainly is an encouraging start.