Addition of voice search trigger command to Chromium causes outcry
Google has come under fire from privacy campaigners, for automatically installing an audio monitoring tool as part of Chromium, the core of Chrome. Developers discovered the browser was automatically downloading and installing code that listens to the user's voice for the voice search trigger "OK Google," something that is allowed within the main Chrome browser, but not within the open source Chromium browser.
Twelve years with Apple's browser
The great thing about these Living With articles –– and in fact the specific reason we do them –– is that we get to bring the real-world results of truly using software or hardware for a long time. As thorough as MacNN is with reviewing new releases, that's like stress-testing a relationship in its infancy compared to moving in with someone. Living with them, long term, in fact.
Amazon UK users can order books from local shops for pickup or delivery
It's certainly possible to buy books from independently-owned shops through Amazon, but these businesses have registered to sell their stock on Amazon's platform, a sometimes-contentious act that has resulted in some bullying by the online retailer. Just as an Amazon app allows shoppers to scan a barcode in a brick-and-mortar bookstore and order that book online, a new Chrome plug-in, Bookindy, adds local shop options to Amazon's listings to give a shopper the option to support a local, independently-owned business, while using Amazon to "showroom" the product.
Chromecast APIs aim to improve second-screen gaming
Google is giving developers even more ways to create content that works with Google Cast and the Chromecast streaming dongle. A new set of Remote Display APIs released in beta for Android and iOS will allow for developers to set up a better second screen experience than currently available, such as displaying the controls and some important information for a game on a smartphone or tablet while the main game is displayed on a connected television.
Windows Developers, Mac users forced to install extensions through Chrome Web Store
Google is expanding the reach of a security policy it introduced last year, preventing users from installing Chrome extensions sourced from anywhere but the Chrome Web Store. Initially put in place for Windows users, the rule is now being applied to the browser's developer channel for Windows as well as the main Mac version of the browser, with the changes taking place over the next few months.
Apple's default browser remains tops in mobile, captures 10 percent of US desktop
A new study by analytics firm StatCounter has shown that Chrome and Safari are virtually neck-and-neck as the top mobile browsers, but that Safari was the clear winner in both North America and Europe. In particular, in the US Safari holds a 55 percent share of mobile browser use, with Chrome at 30 percent and generic Android browsers with 9.5 percent. In addition to just edging out Safari worldwide to be the top mobile browser, Chrome is also the dominant desktop browser worldwide, with a 52.6 percent share.
Developer tool runs Android apps on Windows, Mac desktops
Google is attempting to increase the number of places people can run Android apps, by bringing them to desktops. The App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) tool was initially brought out for Chrome OS, but Google has expanded the development tool's availability to the Chrome browser, allowing the Android apps to run on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems, all from within the browser itself.
Chromebit plugs into HDMI port, turns TV into Chrome OS device
Google has revealed a new lineup of Chrome OS devices that consumers will be able to purchase in the coming months. The usual new Chromebooks are being announced alongside a new device called the Chromebit, a compact computer that plugs directly into the HDMI port of a monitor or television, effectively turning it into a Chrome OS system.
Nest thermostat owners in UK complain about British Summer Time glitch
Owners of the Nest thermostat in the United Kingdom are complaining about a glitch where the device fails to respect this weekend's change to British Summer Time. Posts on the Nest support forums spotted by The Register note that the thermostat does recognize the change in time, but the schedule effectively does not take it into effect, with changes being performed one hour later than intended. While Nest works to fix the issue, one user has managed to get around the problem by changing the thermostat's settings, temporarily relocating it in software to Belgium.
Google using Microsoft-created API to fix scrolling issues in Chrome
Google is going to be leaning on some Internet Explorer technology to fix scrolling and touch support in its Chrome browser. At the same time, Google has launched an extension for the desktop versions of Chrome which aims to reduce the amount of data used to surf the Internet, a feature that has already made an appearance on iOS and Android versions of the browser.
Browser layout updated for Material Design, new iPhones
Google has updated the iOS version of Chrome with several major improvements. The most important may be overdue support for the higher resolutions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In parallel, though, the look of the browser has been revised to match Google's Material Design philosophy, which includes touches like "flatter" surfaces and more animation.
Slightly fiddly but very impressive remote control for your Mac
Imagine squeezing your retina iMac screen down onto an iPhone 5. You can do it. It might look a bit silly, and initially you might wonder why you'd bother, but it has long been possible to see and remotely control your Macs and PCs on even your iPhone. Now that Google has released Chrome Remote Desktop for iOS, you can do it for free. You'll do it, too: try this once, and you will forever keep finding other reasons why it's incredibly useful.
Chrome Remote Access Desktop app now available for iOS
Google has expanded its Chrome Remote Desktop app to include iOS compatibility. Now available for download on iTunes, iOS users can now orchestrate accessing their desktop computer for free by downloading the accompanying Chrome browser app. Chrome Remote Access has been available for Android users since last year.
Release breaks all 32-bit extensions, offers faster startup and memory management
Originally announced in August, Google has now released Chrome 39 for OS X, the first version of the browser that is fully 64-bit. In addition to some 42 security fixes and new APIs, the new version now requires all extension developers update their extensions to 64-bit, as 32-bit extensions are no longer supported. The change will result in a lot of existing Chrome extensions "breaking" for most users, at least temporarily.
Maps gets 'material design' look in iOS, Android
Google has announced a collection of important app updates. The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android are both making the switch to "material design," the new aesthetic behind Android Lollipop. The scheme is more bright and colorful, and uses elements like animations and drop shadows to reinforce the connection between interface components. Google has also integrated OpenTable reservations for US restaurants, and pickup times and prices for Uber cars. In the latter case, users must also have their platform's Uber app installed.
Marketing built into new OS
People using Chrome or Firefox within OS X Yosemite are seeing push notifications asking them to try Safari, accounts say. The messages tout Safari as "fast, energy efficient, and with a beautiful new design," and even include "Later" and "Try Now" buttons. They appear to be triggered by launching Chrome or Firefox for the first time after the Yosemite upgrade.
Support comes from Chrome 37, $12 a month plan required for new 4K video subscribers
Linux users of the Ubuntu variety can now watch Netflix without hacks or workarounds. The ability to stream Netflix comes with the latest build of the Chrome browser for the operating system, for up-to-date Ubuntu users. Netflix also confirmed that subscription fees for users wanting to stream 4K Ultra HD video are increasing.
Standalone Hangouts app runs independently of Chrome browser
Google is bringing Hangouts more in line with competing messaging services, such as Skype or AIM, by releasing a dedicated desktop app for Hangouts. The Hangouts Chrome App, available on Chrome OS and Windows, will provide a similar experience to the Android version, including calls and messaging, but through a desktop interface.
New $15,000 award for successful submissions, up from $5,000.
Google is increasing the rewards in its bug bounties program, as it tries to make its software more secure. The search company is updating its reward pricing range to between $500 and $15,000 per bug, up from the previous maximum of $5,000 for a high-quality report, with an increased focus on discovering potential vulnerabilities within the Chrome browser.
Google promises 'number of speed and security improvements'
For Mac users, the latest beta channel release of Chrome -- Chrome 38 -- makes the switch to a 64-bit codebase, Google has announced. The primary benefit is said to be speed, since it grants access to "a superior instruction set, more registers, and a more efficient function calling convention," according to Google. The company points out that in some cases Chrome can be the only 32-bit app that's running, forcing OS X to load 32-bit system libraries that consume extra memory and launch time.
Windows users get better fonts via DirectWrite
Google has released Chrome 37 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest change affects only Windows users, in the form of DirectWrite support for better font rendering. Previously, Chrome for Windows depended on the Graphics Device Interface, and Google explains that the change "required extensive re-architecting and streamlining of Chrome's font rendering engine."
Sky updates electronic program guide, adds recommendations, smart season recording
British satellite television provider Sky has started to roll out software updates to its Sky+ HD set-top boxes, updating the electronic program guide. A new "recommendation engine" will make suggestions of TV shows to watch based on previously downloaded or recorded content, reports The Next Web, with other changes including a "Smart Series Link" automatically recording new seasons of TV shows, DVD cover art, and the combination of HD and SD viewing options in On Demand.
Final channel may have to wait months for 64-bit support
The latest build of Chrome Canary for the Mac has switched to a 64-bit codebase, reports note. Canary is Google's "experimental" version of Chrome, based on the absolute latest changes, which can make it unstable but with the benefit of early access to upcoming features. The first 64-bit build is listed as "Version 38.0.2114.2 canary (64-bit)."
New version promises future speed enhancements, stability
Google has released a beta of the 64-bit version of the Chrome web browser. The beta version released today is available for both Windows 7 and 8.1, and closely follows the initial release version in June for Microsoft's operating systems. So far, there have not been any major problems with the release, but some bugs noticed in the previous developer's release are still present.
iOS support comes out of unofficial stage
Google has released v1.1 of LiquidFun, its open-source 2D physics engine. The software now officially supports iOS, as well as desktop versions of Chrome, the latter via extensions. It was previously possible to make LiquidFun run on iOS, but Google didn't enable that compatibility by default.
Linux gets better Chrome App Launcher
Google has issued Chrome 36 updates for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android users. The new version is mostly a maintenance release, making stability, performance, and security fixes. It does however implement several cosmetic changes across desktop platforms, for instance improving rich notifications with a "flatter" look, and giving Incognito mode a new tab page (below) that's cleaner and easier to read. Likewise, the Chrome App Launcher for Linux has been revamped.
Google's Chrome browser app for iOS adds Chromecast support
Google has updated its Chrome browser app for iOS today, adding Chromecast support. Chrome for iOS syncs tabs and bookmarks across devices, can translate webpages in any language, and allows users to open as many tabs as is desired. Chrome v36.0.19 allows mobile sites that have added Cast support to work one's Cast-enabled device. Additionally included in the update are stability-focused improvements and bug fixes. Chrome for iOS is free to download and requires iOS 6.0 or later.
Reports on inbound, outbound Gmail encryption, Chrome end-to-end extension
Today, Google issued one of its transparency reports, focusing on the encryption of outbound and inbound emails to other domains. Figures in the report look at different areas in the world, giving a percentage to the coverage amounts domains offer when dealing with messages from Gmail. Even though many domains may not need additional encryption, Google has announced a new Chrome extension for end-to-end web-based email, to give consumers more options.
Chrome 64-bit said to be more secure, faster, more stable
Google has started to publicly test a 64-bit version of Chrome, the company has announced, in an attempt to improve the speed and security of the browser. Two versions of the 64-bit Chrome for Windows, Dev and Canary, are available to download by default on Windows 7 and Windows 8, though it will still offer the 32-bit version in both channels as an alternative option.
Policy change forces Chrome users to install extensions only from Chrome Web Store
Google has updated Chrome for Windows, forcing it to only install extensions sourced from the Chrome Web Store. The change, which prevents the installation of extensions locally, is being billed by the company as an attempt to make it "much more difficult to malware to secretly install unwanted Chrome extensions," and in turn improve security for the browser's users.
Google rolls out hands-free Voice Search to all desktop Chrome versions
Google has started to roll out its hands-free Voice Search to all desktop Chrome users. Initially released in the beta version of Chrome in February, the option allows Chrome users to start a voice search from a new tab or from Google.com by stating "OK Google" followed by the search query. Engadget reports the feature is currently available in the United States with browsers set to US English, but it could add support for other languages in the near future.
Chrome for Android improved, adds new features
Google has updated its Chrome browser app for Android devices, most notably adding an Undo Tab Close feature. Also included in the update changelog is new a fullscreen video ability with subtitles and HTML5 controls, support for some multi-window devices, more Chromecast support and other bug fixes. Chrome is free to download through Google Play.
Desktop update aimed at developers, Android version adds new functionality
Google has promoted Chrome 35 out of beta into stable software, pushing it live to users today through Chrome's quick-update feature. The update comes for not only desktop users of the browser, but also to Android devices. Both versions of Chrome 35 address several bug fixes, and add features for standard users and developers alike.
Two configurations available, hardware similar to other announced boxes
Specifications for HP's Chromebox have been dug up ahead of the release of the business-aimed, small-form computer. Available in two different configurations, the HP Chromebox will feature two different CPU options, much like Asus's Chromebox that started shipping earlier in the year.
Users must currently toggle feature on manually
The latest build of Chrome Canary -- the experimental version of Google Chrome -- incorporates an option for Mac users to open files in Chrome apps. The association must be toggled manually by enabling the string "chrome://flags/#enable-apps-file-associations". Once on, though, Chrome apps are included within the "Open With" menu after right-clicking on a file in Finder.
Microsoft unveils All-in-One Media Keyboard for living room use
Microsoft has launched its All-in-One Media Keyboard. Designed for use in the living room, the peripheral offers a full-size spill-resistant QWERTY keyboard, and connects to a device using a USB wireless transceiver. On the right-hand side is a multi-touch trackpad that supports gestures, and a row of three buttons above which can be customized for quick access to specific apps. Shipping tomorrow, the All-in-One Media Keyboard is priced at $40.
Images can be picked to match device specs
Google has released Chrome 34 for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. The main addition is support for "responsive" images. This allows web developers to set multiple versions of a graphic, improving speed and bandwidth consumption on less powerful devices. Whereas a Windows desktop user might see the full-quality version of an image, for example, someone on an iPhone might see a lower-resolution file. The iOS and Android apps haven't been updated yet, however.
Crackle adds Chromecast, iOS 7 optimization
Movie and TV show streaming app, Crackle, has received an update today. Central to the app's update is its new support for Google Chromecast, allowing Crackle users to stream content from its service through to one's Chromecast device ($35), and view content on one's HDTV. Crackle features a wide variety of video media for free, including original content such as Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Available for iOS and Android devices, Crackle is free to download.
Feature being rolled out gradually
Google Now notifications are beginning to roll out to users of the stable versions of Chrome, according to an official announcement. Until this week, Now was only available in Android, beta editions of Chrome, and the Google Search app for iOS. Only a small percentage of Chrome users will see notifications today; the full rollout is set to last several weeks.
Hands-free voice search could hit public Chrome release in near future
Google has updated the beta version of the Chrome browser to add hands-free voice search, among other updates. Version 34 of the beta adds the same voice search functionality the company added to the Chromium browser last month, and allows users to search for items using the "OK Google" command, without needing to install an extension beforehand.
Range of cards from mobile Google Now shown in beta version of Chrome
Google has rolled out Google Now to the beta version of the Chrome browser, just weeks after the Chrome Canary experimental browser received it. Available for OS X, Windows, and Chrome OS, the update to Chrome Beta adds the card-based notifications, previously seen on iOS and Android mobile devices, to the desktop browser.
Web portal could soon become more robust
An unusual URL redirect bug suggests that iCloud.com may soon get access to iCloud Bookmarks. The feature lets people sync Safari bookmarks across platforms, including not just different versions of Safari but also Chrome and Firefox. Currently, people trying to install the Chrome extension from the iCloud Control Panel for Windows will briefly see "iCloud Bookmarks are coming soon. Please check back later" at this URL before being shunted to the Chrome Web Store.
Chrome for iOS update now available, introduces data-compression tool
Google has released its latest Chrome for iOS update, which includes several features previously unannounced. Security improvements and the addition of Google Translate are now live, as was previously reported, however the update has also introduced a new data-compression tool. Aiming to help reduce data usage while browsing, the data-compression feature can reduce browsing data usage by up to 50 percent.
O2 adds price rise clause to contracts to avoid Ofcom rule changes
British carrier O2 has updated its contracts, requiring new customers and subscribers who upgrade to agree to a price plan increase every year. The change, noted by Engadget, comes after UK regulator Ofcom clarified rules that allowed customers to exit a contract early without penalty their contracts are changed mid-commitment, except in specific circumstances. As O2 has managed to find a loophole, it is likely that other carriers in the United Kingdom may employ similar tactics in the future, in order to earn more from their customers without the early termination risk.
Vulnerability allowed websites to secretly record from a microphone
A security vulnerability in the Chrome browser that allowed malicious websites to secretly record audio through a microphone connected to the computer has been revealed. The exploit, which has been revealed following an apparent lack of progress by Google to implement a patch, could have allowed for the private conversations of nearby individuals to be eavesdropped upon, a developer claims
Two Chrome extensions pulled under new Chrome Web Store rules
Less than one month after it introduced a number of Chrome Web Store rule changes, Google has removed two Chrome extensions from its store for spamming. Add to Feedly and Tweet This Page were both excluded from the store after complaints emerged that they were serving up unwanted advertising to their users, shortly after the extensions were sold by their original developers to another company.
Currently tied to mobile devices
The newest build of Chrome Canary -- Google's experimental browser -- adds preliminary Google Now support. Once the option is on, Canary will push notifications to the taskbar in Windows, or the menu bar in OS X. There are some caveats, however -- users must run Google Now on a mobile device first, and location-based cards are tied to that device, rather than the computer Canary is on.
iOS gets Translate, Android gets homescreen shortcuts
Google is today updating the iOS and Android versions of Chrome with several important features. Both platforms now have access to a promised data compression option, which can cut bandwidth use up to 50 percent. The option is toggled through the "Bandwidth management" section under Settings, where people can also track how much data the browser is consuming on a monthly basis. Switching on compression automatically enables Safe Browsing, which screens for phishing and malware.
Icons in Chrome update warn of tabs playing sound, using webcam
The latest update to Google Chrome allows Windows 8 users to try out the Chrome operating system from within the browser itself. The addition to Chrome 32, seen earlier in a developer version of the browser, is accompanied by a new set of icons that are designed to help the user monitor which tabs are creating noise, among other functions.