Google Chrome 5 has finally graduated from beta and is now a stable release, Google announced in a blog post on Tuesday. The latest version of Chrome also happens to be the first stable release for Linux and Mac users.
"Today’s stable release also comes with a host of new features," Google said. "You’ll be able to synchronize not only bookmarks across multiple computers, but also browser preferences -- including themes, homepage and startup settings, web content settings, preferred languages, and even page zoom settings. Meanwhile, for avid extensions users, you can enable each extension to work in incognito mode through the extensions manager."
In addition, the Chrome 5 browser incorporates several HTML5 elements, including Geolcation APIs, App Cache, web sockets, and file drag-and-drop, Google said. To try some of these features out, you can navigate to HTML5 specific websites like scribd.com, or head over to your Gmail account and drag and drop attachments.
Not included in Chrome 5 is Adobe Flash integration, though Google says this will change with the full release of Flash Player 10.1.
Today's Google I/O presentation offered a bit of a surprise in the form of a Chrome web app store. The store will be available for both the Chrome browser and Chrome OS whenever it is released. This really helps put the pieces together as far as Chrome OS goes. As it was before, the Chrome OS experience was looking a little too spartan.
Many of the apps we saw at I/O today are familiar names. There is a version of Tweetdeck, an attractive Sports Illustrated app, and (of course) Plants vs Zombies. Many of these apps are reminiscent of iPad apps with embedded video and crisp graphics. When the store launches there will be both free and paid apps.
According to Google, the Chrome web store will be pushed out on the Chrome dev channel "soon". We're still not sold on the idea of making an app store for web apps, but we'll reserve final judgment until we can use it. Do you think a well designed web app is worth paying for?
In the emerging world of HTML5 video, the H.264 codec has the early lead. But as anticipated, Google threw a new competitor into the mix today at Google I/O. Google's VP8 codec is now available to anyone to use royalty-free. This was announced as part of a larger project called WebM in conjunction with Mozilla and Opera.
Many have been concerned with the patent ownership of H.264, and open source projects like Firefox have been unable to include it. VP8 could be a real alternative here. The other open alternative, Ogg Theora, is seen as having inferior quality to that of H.264 and VP8. There were rumors earlier today that Microsoft would be building support for VP8 into the upcoming Internet Explorer 9. Redmond has clarified they will support the standard, but users will need to install the codec on their systems.
In short order Chrome, Firefox, and Opera will have support for the new codec. Youtube will also be made compatible with VP8. No word on if Safari will join the VP8 club as well. Flash isn't dead yet, but there's another vulture circling it now. Would you prefer VP8 or H.264 be the next generation video standard?
There has been plenty of speculation about Acer being the first to release a netbook built around Google's Chrome OS platform, but contrary to earlier reports, there will be no such device today, tomorrow, or any time soon, it appears.
"Despite recent rumors in the press regarding the launch of Chrome OS based netbooks at Computex, Acer today confirms that it has no plans for such a product," Acer said in a statement. "Acer believes that Google Chrome OS is without a doubt an exciting product announcement and deserves its full attention as well as an in-depth study of its potential from a consumer's perspective."
Acer went on to say that it will be "following the development and progress of Google Chrome and the evolution of Google's overall product strategy very closely," but didn't offer any other details. So in other words, it looks like Acer is having serious second thoughts about a netbook built almost entirely on a cloud computing platform and perhaps wants to gauge how consumers react to competitors' upcoming Chrome OS products.
According to reports, Acer will beat the competition to the punch with a netbook built around Google's upcoming Chrome OS platform. If all goes to plan, Acer will show the netbook off at the Computex Taipei show that runs from June 1 through 5.
Acer hasn't confirmed or denied the reports, although the company previously stated it would be one of the first hardware makers to push a Chrome OS device out the door. In case you haven't been following, Google's Chrome OS, which was announced last year, is entirely browser based and features near-instant bootup with a heavy emphasis on cloud-based applications.
While Acer will likely be first, it won't be the only company with a Chrome OS netbook in the coming months. Samsung Australia said earlier this year that it will launch a Chrome-based netbook before the end of 2010, and both Asus and Lenovo are expected to have hardware available as well.
Like many of you out there, we are Gmail addicts around here. So a feature addition to Gmail is always an enjoyable event. When it solves a problem in a really simple way, it's even better. Gmail has added the ability to drag and drop images into the composition panel, and it definitely solves a problem. This is similar to the recently added ability to drag and drop attachments into messages.
In our testing it worked very well. Even dropping in large images resulted in only a slight delay before they were visible. It's just a small addition in the grand scheme of Gmail, but when combined with other new, intuitive features it really makes it feel like a more elegant experience. We assume this is accomplished with some sort of HTML5 implementations in Gmail.
Google is currently only supporting this feature in Chrome, but other browsers are coming soon. What features do you want to see in Gmail?
Google's Chrome browser has really been on a roll the last few months, and April was no exception according to numbers from NetApplications. The internet analytics firm said Chrome saw a 0.6% increase in usage share over the previous month. Chrome now sits at 6.7% market share. On the other side of things, we have Internet Explorer and Firefox, to whom the month of April was not as kind.
Internet Explorer saw another steep decline of 0.7% dropping it just below 60% market share for the first time since AOL ruled the interwebs. Firefox was technically up last month, but only by 0.07% to 24.6%. That magical one-quarter market share is just ever so slightly out of reach.
It's clear that IE users are moving to other browsers, but it looks like they're moving to Chrome in larger numbers. Add to that a few Firefox users migrating to Chrome, and you have bleak picture for anyone that isn't The Big G. Where do you come down in the browser wars?
This only applies to the developers build, not the beta or stable releases. If you're new to geolocation, what this does is tell a website exactly where it is your PC is located once you've given permission. There are different ways of going about this, and the one Google uses involves scanning mobile phone and wireless network information, along with your IP address, to pinpoint your location.
If you want to try this out for yourself, grab the latest developer build from here. Once installed, head over to Google Maps and click the white circle in the upper left corner. You should then see a pop-up bar asking permission to track your location.
Woe to the Web designer who lists hyperlinkable text as such instead of appending a URL. You know what I'm talking about - when an errant Web designer spells out something like "go to maximumpc.com for an awesome column," yet doesn't actually make the "maximumpc.com" part of the phrase into a clickable hyperlink. This practice is not only annoying, but it really does defeat the entire point of a hyperlink to begin with.
I sure don't like copying and pasting URLs, or email addresses, into various browsers or applications. And I'm not being petty with this complaint. I surf faster when I can click, bookmark, and open potentially interesting links into new tabs. If I had to copy and paste a significant majority of the links I frequent, I might just give up on the Web entirely--and I bet you would too.
AMD and Nvidia typically hog the limelight in the graphics arena, but lest we forget, a company called S3 is still churning out GPUs. On Friday, S3 unveiled the latest addition to its Chrome Series graphics line, the Chrome 5000E-based eH1 designed for harsh environments and industrial grade systems.
"S3 Graphics continues to introduce new graphics technologies to the embedded market, adding a fanless, ultra low power, and feature-rich product to our growing portfolio of embedded solutions," said Dr. Ken Weng, GM for S3 Graphics. "Our new Chrome eH1 card makes PC grade product features accessible to the broader embedded arena, allowing our embedded partners to easily incorporate the very latest multimedia technologies in their product offerings."
Those multimedia technologies Weng speaks of include DirectX 10.1, OpenGL 3.1, Open GL ES 2.0, OpenVG 1.1 (2D vector graphics), and HD video decoding courtesy of S3's ChromotionHD 2.0 video processor unit (VPU). The card also features DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA ports.