Google's Chrome browser didn't gain full extension support until late in the game, but developers have apparently stepped up to the plate in a big way. After looking over the Chrome Extension Gallery, TechCrunch is reporting that Chrome has surpassed 10,000 extensions. It's only been a year, and Chrome is closing in on Firefox with nearly 13,000 extensions.
Chrome has always been admired for its raw speed, but many users held back due to the lack of extensions support. Firefox tends to be a little slower, but the huge number of add-ons kept users locked in. The recent surge in Chrome usage could have a lot to do with the roll out of full extension support. The ball is really in Mozilla's court now, but early reports on Firefox 4 are very positive.
Google pushes out new versions of Chrome at warp speed, and Firefox has a reputation for slow, steady development. Even if Firefox 4 is a winner, Chrome might fly past it again in short order. Do you think extension numbers are telling a tale?
The Digsby team has put out a new version of its multiprotocol instant messaging and social networking app, noting a handful of "major improvements." These include:
New Email/Social Network Panels
New Auto-Update System
According to Digsby's developers, the latest release features a makeover to the email and social network panels on the buddy list, making it easier than ever to manage accounts.
The other big change involves the auto-update system, which Digsby likens to Google Chrome. Prior to this release, updates were annoyingly downloaded before logging in, so if you wanted to sign-in real quick to send an important IM before heading out the door, you would often have to sit back and wait. With the latest release, Digsby is much more courteous and downloads updates after logging in, which are then applied at the next restart.
Not only did the games industry post a positive month in November, 2010, it posted the best November ever, getting a lot of help from Microsoft's Kinect and Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops, according to the NPD Group.
Total sales climbed to $2.99 billion, an 8 percent jump from last November. Gamers spent $1.46 on software (up 4 percent), $1.08 billion on hardware (up 2 percent), and $413.3 million on accessories such as the Kinect (up a whopping 69 percent).
"November sales represent the best November on record in terms of new physical retail sales," said NPD industry analyst Anita Frazier. "It bests November 2008 by roughly $30 million, and that time frame was at the height of the music/dance genre sales."
The Nintendo DS dominated the hardware scene, while the Xbox 360 was the best selling non-handheld console for the month. On the software front, Call of Duty: Black Ops became the best selling game in its launch month with 8.4 million units, NPD noted.
Xmarks, the browser bookmark sync and search service that had a near brush with death, is alive and kicking thanks to being acquired by LastPass, makers of a cross-platform password manager. To celebrate its new lease on life, Xmarks this week officially announced the release of its new Android app.
Available only for Xmarks Premium users ($12/year), Xmarks for Android lets you access your desktop bookmarks and open tabs on your mobile phone or tablet.
"In addition to easy access to your favorite sites, the Android app includes an Open Tab feature that lets you grab the URLs for any active tabs on your desktop," Xmarks said in a blog post. "If you're running out the door and later need access to the sites you left open on your computer, you can easily access and launch them from your mobile device with Open Tab Sync."
For those of you reluctant to shell out $12/year, the Android app is available as a 2-week free trial.
Google yesterday lifted the curtain from its CR-48 Chrome OS netbook (if you want to get your mitts on one, you'll have to apply for the Pilot Program and make a compelling argument of why you're a solid candidate), and may have killed the Caps Lock key in the process.
To the shock and horror of overactive forum posters and hyper Facebook users everywhere, Google got the bright idea to replace the Caps Lock key with a search key, and you know what? WE'RE PLEASED AS PUNCH THEY DID!
While said in jest, the employee's comments ring true, and we wouldn't be heartbroken if all notebook vendors followed suit. If they did, IT WOULD TAKE A TON MORE WORK TO TYPE LIKE THIS, ensuring that if someone feels the need to shout, it will be worth shouting about.
That's not to say there aren't some legitimate uses for the Caps Lock key, and if you're one of the few who rely on it, don't fret. Google says you can easily convert the search key back to a Caps Lock key in the settings menu (Wrench > Settings > System).
Are you the sort that loves to come home, boot up a game like Fallout, Mass Effect, or STALKER and just take a break from the world? Well then, you probably won't like what EA Games label president Frank Gibeau recently saw when he peered into his crystal ball.
“I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads; they’ll tell you the same thing,” he said during an interview with Develop. “They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay – be it co-operative or multiplayer or online services – as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished.”
“Online is where the innovation, and the action, is at.”
Fellow introverts of the world, join us in pouring one out for the days when millions of bunny hopping, tea-bagging loudmouths weren't constantly breathing down your neck. Well, don't literally join us. Being around other people makes our skin crawl. But you know what we mean.
As Nvidia often does following the launch of a new videocard, the GPU maker has rolled out updated GPU drivers, version 263.09.
Specific to this release is added support for the GeForce GTX 580 and 460 SE videocards, and presumably the just launched GTX 570 (oddly enough, there's no mention of the GTX 570 in the release notes). Otherwise, there doesn't appear to be much else to the 263.09 driver packages.
For what it's worth, the latest drivers install Nvidia PhysX System Software version 9.10.0514 and HD audio driver version 220.127.116.11, neither of which do we envision making you pump your fist in excitement.
If Valve's proven anything over the years, it's that it knows two things: games and sales. Going by that (incredibly flimsy) logic, then, The Great Steam Treasure Hunt is the culmination of everything Valve's ever created. Think we're full of crap? Well, fine then, leave. We'll just keep all these great deals and priceless prizes for ourselves. Oh, back so soon? Yeah, that's what we thought.
So here's how it works: The Steam Treasure Hunt tasks you with completing any of ten in-game objectives leading up to December 20, when three winners will be given a golden ticket to crazy Newell's videogame factory. Translation: 100 free games of your choosing. On top of that, Valve's selecting 20 contestants every two days and granting them the top five games in their wishlist.
Let's face it, though: this sort of thing is just a step or two below the lottery. Why even try? Well, for you, Debbie, and the rest of the Downer family, there's still a reason to briefly shoo that stormcloud away from your head. Whenever a game has an objective attached to it (for instance, right now you need to become a Desert Fox in RUSE, among other things), it's put on sale. Currently, RUSE is going for $33.49, Poker Night at the Inventory's at $2.99, and Chime's at $1.25.
So then, there's something for everyone. Unfortunately, it's now only a matter of time until Valve makes shopping as fun as playing Half-Life, Portal, or Team Fortress, at which point we'll all go end up living on the streets. For now, though, hooray!
Futuremark has some good news for all you benchmarking braggarts looking for new scores to boast in your favorite forum(s). Following what turned out to be a short delay, the much anticipated 3DMark 11 has gone gold.
3DMark 11 is the latest addition to Futuremark's GPU benchmarking suite and is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware through six all new tests. There are three versions to choose from:
3DMark 11 Basic Edition: Free download offering an unlimited number of benchmark runs using the performance preset
3DMark 11 Advanced Edition: Offers all presets, custom settings, benchmark looping, unlimited online results storage, offline results management, and a few other goodies for $20.
3DMark 11 Professional Edition: The only edition licensed for commercial use. Includes all features, such as command automation, an image quality tool, logo-free demo looping, and priority support. This one runs $995.
New features added to 3DMark 11 include additional language support (including German, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, and Finnish), a native DirectX 11 engine, open source Bullet Physics library, and an improved online service.
Say what you will about the Grammies (like how it's an awful, corrupt excuse for an award show that hasn't tried to highlight truly good music without some form of ulterior motive in years), but it's an excellent platform for recognition, and Civilization IV's “Baba Yetu” main theme certainly deserves it.
Composed by Christopher Tin, the song features the Soweto Gospel Choir and has transcended the admittedly large niche of Civilization addicts through more than 1000 live performances by local and professional choirs (via Gamasutra). If it manages to play the judges' heartstrings like a fiddle, it'll take home the award for "Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists."
Sure, it's not “Song of the Year” or anything like that, but it's still a pretty big deal. Plus, in this category, there's no chance of going toe-to-toe with class acts like “F*** You.” Yeah, we think videogames are art, but we're clearly not ready to tussle with modern masterpieces of that calibur.