According to a recent interview with Google’s vice president of search products and user experience, Marissa Mayer, Chrome is on its way out of the beta stages.
Having only been in beta for three months, the move is notably impressive. Google is hoping to cater to many customers, including OEMs, that can’t offer the browser until it is official. They’re also planning to bundle Chrome with the Google Toolbar and other Google Apps.
The timely release comes alongside a large push by Google to redefine the browser around the open Web. Their plans to have Chrome work as a platform where users can run their applications are ambitious, but admirable. With any luck, we can see some concrete results in the coming year.
Microsoft appears to be well on its way to releasing Windows 7 Beta 1, and may have it available by the middle of January. To get your hands on a copy, you'll need to attend one of Microsoft's upcoming MSDN Developer Conferences, with copies ready perhaps in time for the January 13 events in Chicago or Minneapolis. Word around the web is that attendees will either receive a Windows 7 Beta DVD at the event, or if the Beta isn't ready in time, Microsoft will send a copy in the mail as soon as they become available.
Earlier this year, Microsoft gave out alpha editions of Windows 7 to those who attended PDC. At the time, Microsoft said it would release a beta version in early 2009, though it still has not committed to a specific date. Attending an MSDN Developer Conference ensures you'll be one of the first to get a copy, and it's not too terribly priced at $99, assuming you're not planning to go solely for the DVD.
Attendees will also have a chance to win several prizes, including a Mindstorm NXT robot with a copy of Professional Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio, a Mobility Pack consisting of a LifeCam NX-6000 and Wireless Notebook Laser Mouse 6000, and a Gamer Pack containing some Xbox 360 swag.
Internet Explorer may be slowly losing ground to Firefox, but it’s still by far the number one browser in the world with over 71% of the market. Why you ask? Simple, it comes bundled with every new PC and is the most widely known and supported web platform in the world.Google knows if it is to gain market share they are more likely to steal from IE users who simply use whatever browser ships with their new PC. To this end The Times Online has revealed details on what they call “Google’s plan to make Chrome the browser of choice for the everyday user”.
According to Google’s Vice President of Product Management Sundar Pichai Chrome will come out of beta sometime in January at which point they would pursue distribution deals with various OEM’s. This would see Chrome ship as the default browser on some new machines, and in theory drive up its popularity. Paichai also added that the Mac and Linux versions of Chrome will be available by the first half of next year as well. Currently only Windows users have been able to participate in the open beta. Past anti-trust rulings against Microsoft would make blocking Google’s plans rather difficult, and according to Paichai “We will throw our weight behind it. We’ve been conservative because it’s still in beta, but once we get it out of beta we will work hard at getting the word out, promoting to users, and marketing will be a part of that.”
So will pre-installing Chrome help Google gain market share? Click the jump and let us know what you think.
Google has already begun rolling out the next update to its recently released Chrome browser. Chrome program manager Mark Larson said in a mailing list post this week that "You will automatically get updated in the next few days," but for the impatient, many users can grab the updated version right away by selecting 'About Google Chrome' from the wrench menu.
The update takes Chrome to version 0.3.154.9 and addresses a variety of bug fixes, performance tweaks, and security vulnerabilities. One such vulnerability includes a scenario where, once a user opens a pop-up window, the site could show a different web address than the one that supplied the information. Larson warns that such a flaw could be used to trick users into giving up sensitive information.
Other changes include the ability to sort columns in the password manager, adding a command line switch to the start the browser in incognito mode, better support for Windows Media Player, crash fixes, and more, as outlined in the release notes. Note to Google: We want extension support!
The race is still on to see which will come out first - Vista's second Service Pack, or Windows 7 - but when it comes to beta releases, you needn't wait long. In a blog post, Microsoft said Vista's SP2 will begin beta testing this week.
"Following the success of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 last spring, we have been working hard on Windows Vista Service Pack 2," writes Mike Nash, corporate VP for Microsoft's Windows Product Management. "As part of the development and testing process, we're going to start by providing a small group of Technology Adoption Program customers with Windows Vista SP2 Beta for evaluation next Wednesday, October 29."
Nash goes on to say that SP2 will incorporate both previously released fixes and unreleased updates into a single serviceability model covering both Windows Vista (client) and Windows Server 2008 (server) versions. A big focus on SP2 will be on improving hardware support as well as "adding support for several emerging standards." Some of the changes include:
Adding Windows Search 4.0
Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack
Record data on Blu-ray media natively
Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) for easier WiFi configs
Yahoo has single-handedly disproved Moore’s law, by finally updating their online calendar after 10 long, tech rich years. Tonight they will be rolling out a new drag-and-drop Ajax based calendar in a closed beta to Yahoo Mail users in the U.S., UK, India, Taiwan and Brazil (sign ups can be found here).
The upgraded calendar doesn’t do much that Google’s isn’t already capable of, but it does play nice with iCal and CalDAV and has a slew of new features, including; layering (viewing multiple calendars in different colors or subscribing to someone else’s calendar), zooming in when adding an appointment, integration with Flickr, setting email or SMS reminders, and a to-do list.
With this addition to their juggernaut of offerings, Yahoo should increase their market share in online calendars, despite already being the leader. Of their 285 million Yahoo Mail users, 8.1 million use the calendar compared to the 5 million that use Google’s.
Those expecting Mozilla to release its open-source email client Thunderbird 3.0 in Beta 1 form will have to wait a little longer than initially thought. Rather than attach the Beta moniker to the updated version, Mozilla instead is dubbing it Alpha 3.
"Calling something a beta is likely to trigger a bunch of extra press attention that we're not yet in a position to deal with," said Dan Mosedale, who works at Mozilla Messaging. "Some number [of] reviews will be inappropriately pre-judging based on its current state. In the best case, this would be a distraction."
Mosedale also cited a lack of landing several milestones (AutoConfig, GloDa with full-text search, STEEL) as another reason why he's more comfortable calling the lastest Thunderbird 3.0 release an Alpha build instead of a Beta.
No matter what you call it, the latest beta/alpha/unfinished release is available now for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
PC World’s Paul McNamara contacted Google last week to see if the cloud computing titan would clarify its use of the word “beta”. Sadly from those who read the response, they clearly intend to continue bending the term to their own use. This on the other hand leads to a great community conversation starter. Currently 22 out of 49 non Google Labs services carry the beta tag, including popular and widely used services such as Gmail and Google Docs. Google’s official response to the question is as follows: "We believe beta has a different meaning when applied to applications on the Web, where people expect continual improvements in a product. On the Web, you don't have to wait for the next version to be on the shelf or an update to become available. Improvements are rolled out as they're developed." If I’m interpreting my corporate double speak correctly, it seems clear that Google intends to continue using the beta tag to represent constantly evolving products. This makes me wonder, is it fair to use such a widely understood version label and turn it into a marketing term? Now it’s your turn to chime in. Do you like Google’s new definition of the beta tag? Or would you prefer they get off the fence and better distinguish new products from the old.
The chipmaker claims that Fusion for Gaming can enhance a computer’s performance by up to 10%. Although it might actually prove to be handy, the chances of it being worth as much as AMD’s rhetoric suggests are slim to none. The beta is only meant for Windows Vista 32 and can be downloaded here.
With Microsoft's IE8 browser now in its second beta, and Google's Chrome shaking up the browser market with its initial public beta release, many analysts are now taking a closer look at how these browsers are similar - and different.
Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft Senior Program Manager posting at Hanselman.com, gives us a useful look in a recent posting about one similarity between IE8 and Google Chrome: "both browsers isolate tabs in different processes."
So, what does this mean to us users? Both browsers are capable of running many tabs at the same time, and, as Hanselman demonstrates, can restore a crashed browsing session with a single mouse click.
One difference between current releases of IE8 and Chrome: if a page crashes in IE8, the browser will try to reload it automatically before it gives up and asks you if you want to reload the page or browsing session.
Have you been loading up either of these browsers (or other current favorites) with lots of tabs? Which of the current browsers has error handling you like? Which ones still have problems? Hit the jump for your chance to sound off.