Large portions of Japan are in ruins, the Middle East is spiraling deeper into chaos and the CEO of GoDaddy.com murders elephants in his downtime--but you can’t find anything about it online because major portals like CNN and Gawker are too busy providing a blow-for-blow account of Charlie Sheen winning. Yeah, we’re a little tired of it too. That’s why Silence of Celebs has been picked as our Extension of the Week.
We’ve waited a long time for Google Cloud Print, and it’s every bit as convenient as we had imagined. The new service from Google makes it possible for PC users to wirelessly print to a networked printer from smartphones, laptops, and tablets capable of supporting Google services, such as Gmail or Google Docs. To get your own Google Cloud Print party started, follow these simple steps.
For those of us whose love for the world is too big to be contained by one social network, staying on top of the updates to all of the services we frequent can be tough, especially when meat-space distractions such as our jobs and families become part of the equation. Fortunately, thanks to Yoono, our Browser Extension of the Week, you'll have ample time to keep up to date with the people you adore as well as take time for the ones you merely tolerate.
Even though it's the new kid on the block (relatively speaking), Google's Chrome browser is rapidly becoming the standard that other browsers are measured against in terms of speed and usability. There's a ton to be written about how to get the most out of Google's deceptively-simple browser, but today we're focusing just on the brass tacks. Read on for 10 quick tips to help you make the most of Google Chrome and when you're done, hit the comments and tell usyour own favorites!
Many feel that codec standardization is necessary if the HTML5 video tag is to be a force to be reckoned with in the world of online video. But right now it seems fairly optimistic to even imagine the introduction of a standard format to the HTML5 spec. The battle lines are, in fact, now more pronounced than ever, with Google today announcing that the H.264 codec will no longer be supported in its Chrome web browser. Instead, Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support will be restricted to only open source codecs. However, its own WebM (V8) and OGG Theora are currently the only ones on its list of supported codecs.
“Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies,” announced Mike Jazayeri, a Google product manager, on the Chromium blog. “These changes will occur in the next couple months but we are announcing them now to give content publishers and developers using HTML <video> an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their sites.”
With this announcement, Google joins the ranks of Mozilla and Opera as a browser vendor who has completely shunned the rival, royalty-saddled H.264 codec. But H.264 is not short of backers either, with the eminent likes of Microsoft and Apple owning patents in the H.264/AVC patent pool. Moreover, H.264 is not only the default video codec in IE9 – the next major release of the world’s most popular browser, but most modern GPUs now feature H.264 decoding.
The confusion created by these competing standards is surely great news for Adobe, whose Flash Player plug-in is the most popular way of delivering video on the internet. The plug-in already supports H.264 encoded video and VP8 support is on its way. If the deadlock persists, as is most likely, support for both these rival codecs will guarantee Flash’s popularity long into the future.
What to do you make of Google’s move? Do you think the internet giant has done the right thing by withdrawing H.264 support from Chrome on the pretext of promoting open web technologies, especially when the very same browser comes with Adobe’s not-so-open Flash Player built into it?
While it can be difficult to reconcile yourself with the reprehensible acts of violence that gadgets are being subjected to these days by eyeball-desperate Youtubers, there are times when such antics leave behind a lot more than just hugely popular videos and the fragmented remains of these devices. A case in point is the pulverization of the maiden Chrome OS device, the Google Cr-48, by the guys over at Will it Blend? -- a blender-happy outfit that likes to grind to pulp or dust pretty much everything they can lay their hands on.
Upon receiving their Cr-48 from Google, they asked themselves the question that drives their very existence: “Will it blend?” The Cr-48 was quickly squeezed into one of their trusted blenders and reduced to smoking dust in a few seconds.
In the video, the blender operator expresses happiness over the fact that his information is still secure in the cloud. But he leaves us with a thought provoking question: “I wonder where the cloud is?” I believe this is one question that a lot of us have been asking ourselves, haven’t we?
With Microsoft releasing the first Internet Explorer (IE) 9 beta yesterday, the spotlight is squarely on Internet Explorer. Hardware acceleration is among the several advancements that IE 9 boasts over its predecessors. It is something that Google's Chrome does not currently have. Thankfully for Chrome users, they will not have to wait too long for hardware-accelerated graphics to show up in their favorite browser.
The latest Chromium “trunk” and Chrome “canary” builds already feature some of the relevant enhancements. Hardware acceleration will be part of the next major release of the browser, Chrome 7, which is just round the corner.
“2D canvas acceleration is now available in trunk and the canary build by using the --enable-accelerated-2d-canvas command-line switch (coming to the developer channel shortly).We’ve also been hard at work improving our 3D graphics stack,” Google said in a recent blog post.
According to James Robinson, a software engineer at Google, “Chromium already achieves some impressive gains on the recent IE9 Platform Preview Test Drive 2D canvas demo,” with initial results suggesting up to 60x speed improvement over previous Chrome versions.
The UI changes are the most noticeable to users. The color scheme has been made more metallic, and less blue. The stop/refresh button has been removed from the end of the address bar, and given its own spot at the left of the interface. The options have been condensed to one button as well. These changes make more space for extension icons.
Users of the Chrome and Firefox 3.6 browsers got a nice treat today courtesy of Google. Gmail in those browsers now supports drag and drop file attachments. Instead of using the attachment link to bring up a file explorer window, you can just drag files into the Gmail interface and have them uploaded automatically. The feature works with multiple file uploads and requires no tinkering with settings.
Dragging a file (or files) anywhere in the Gmail window will bring up a special box in the area usually reserved for attachments. Simply drop the file(s) anywhere in that box to upload. Google hinted in their blog post that the feature was only being enabled in Firefox 3.6 and Chrome due to a some missing features in other browsers. Perhaps some sort of HTML5 support?
We really dig this feature, and hope that Google adds more UI elements that are this intuitive. Is this the sort of feature you'll use? Anything you've really been hoping Gmail would implement?
Ever since its release, Google has tagged Chrome installs with a unique ID. The search giant is now reportedly abandoning that practice. Future versions of the browser will still install with a unique ID that will be used to check for the first automatic update. After that task is complete, the ID will be deleted.
It has always been Google’s position that the client ID was only used to determine when users update, and in the event of a crash (but only if crash reporting is turned on). Some privacy advocates have long held that the unique identifier could lessen browser privacy. However, no one has ever been able to show that to be the case.
As Chrome continues to gain market share, Google appears to be tweaking it to keep it palatable to users. There is a certain amount of Google fatigue out there, and if privacy concerns become too pervasive, Google could lose public trust. Even though there was no confirmed privacy breach caused by this feature, does its removal make you feel more comfortable using Chrome?