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.
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.
SPDY support, more personalization options added to browser
Opera has released a new version of its browser for desktops, using Chromium. Opera Next, effectively the beta version of the main Opera browser for PC and Mac, adds in a number of refinements to the previous iteration of the browser, including a new way of organizing bookmarks, as well as new content discovery options.
Should simplify sharing from Facebook-connected apps
Facebook has brought a native Share Dialog for iOS out of beta via an updated SDK, v3.5.1. The change means that third-party iOS 6 apps will be able to share activity to Facebook without always requiring a login first. People should also be able to tag friends from within those apps.
Should pave way for Google Now on OS X
The Chrome OS notification center -- already in the Windows releases of Chromium and Chrome Canary -- is in the process of being ported to the Mac version of Chromium, says Google's François Beaufort. The Chromium evangelist points to a logged Chromium issue titled "[Mac][MC] Implement notification updates and relayouts." He comments that the Mac version of the notification center is still "under heavy development," but that it can already be toggled on by running Chrome with an "--enable-rich-notifications" switch.
Addition of flags suggest close to browser-based Google Now release
Google appears to be edging closer to including Google Now into Chrome itself. Flags associated with the service have been spotted in chrome://flags in the latest Chromium build, suggesting that the search giant may bring Google Now to Chrome OS computers and desktops carrying the Chrome browser in the near future.
Google Now notification integration into Chrome now closer
Google may be adding Google Now integration into its Chrome browser in the near future. A notification center has been added to the company's latest build of Windows Chromium, giving developers a chance to add Chrome notifications to their applications, as well as being an ideal platform for the Google Now cards that were hinted at in December.
Jolicloud switches from OS to cloud focus
Jolicloud has dropped its netbook OS focus in favor of a new beta service. The new framework hopes to unify multiple cloud services, such as Dropbox, Facebook, iCloud, and narrower services like Flickr, Instagram, or Spotify. Once linked up, content will show up in a central feed.
Google adds Web Intents with Mozilla's help
Google and Mozilla have teamed together on a proposed API to bring an aspect of Android to web apps. Web Intents, like those on the phone, would let a web app signal what it wants to do on a basic level, such as editing or sharing content, and link it to any relevant service without having to either create the service or implement the hooks on a case by case basis. Web apps would just need a handful of code to achieve much more complicated tasks that could pass between sites.
'Pre-dev' build offers little new features
Google's Chrome Canary, a "pre-developer" version of the Chrome browser intended to be tested by "the bravest" of users -- people who would be comfortable with bugs and instability -- now has a Mac version available, according to the company's Chromium blog. The release follows the initial version of Canary for Windows last year, which the company says helped further development and gather feedback on Chromium and Chrome. The Mac version, like the Windows version, is a frequently-updated and completely untested build of what is expected to eventually become Chrome v13.
Chrome OS Seaboard tablet shows bug reports
Bug reports showing up recently in the Chromium testing community have revealed that there are currently at least two new Chrome OS devices in testing. One is codenamed the ZDA, and is likely an internal Chrome reference netbook. The other is what appears to be a Chrome OS tablet, referenced as Seaboard.
Company to focus on gaming, future uncertain
On the eve of Flock's sixth anniversary,CEO Sean Hardin has announced in a blog post on the company's website that the Flock team will be going to work for the social gaming company Zynga, leaving the future of the multi-platform browser uncertain. The web browser, now based on Webkit and Chromium, integrates a social-media sidebar into the browser directly so that users can keep up with posts, statuses, comments and timelines while browsing other web sites.
Google sandboxes Flash in Chrome for Windows first
Google late Wednesday revealed that it has acted on its longstanding promise to sandbox Flash in its web browser. Starting with the open-source Chromium version for Windows, Adobe's plugin will block off access to certain vital parts of the browser code to prevent some if not most security exploits. Although not mentioned, it should also reduce the likelihood of Flash crashing the browser by preventing it from affecting more vital parts of the app.
Chrome OS promises to be Indycar fast
More details have emerged about Google’s forthcoming Chrome OS, and its internal test netbooks. According to TechCrunch, evidence has emerged in the Chromium issue tracker that Google is testing two new netbooks, one codenamed “Mario” and the other “Andretti”. Given that boot speed is one of the main attractions of the Chrome OS, it is plausible that Google might reference the netbooks internally after the Indycar racing legend.
RockMelt social browser enters early form
Newly public startup RockMelt tonight formally launched a self-titled web browser that it hopes will make social browsing common. Based on a concept of frequent sharing much like Flock, the browser's always-on connection to Facebook both makes it possible to share any page through a single button but also to follow others. The app always lists a chosen list of friends on a sidebar and supplies a quick glance at status updates, detailed feeds and Facebook chat for when both contacts are online at the same time.
Available today on Mac build of Chromium
The Mac beta build of Chromium, the open-source engine behind Google's Chrome browser, has added the ability to use Google Instant, the company's recently-introduced search-as-you-type feature. Based on the speed at which Google Instant went from testing in Windows Chromium to a standard feature in Chrome for Windows, Chrome users on the Mac could be seeing it in the very near future.
MS to stop backing Russia dissident piracy cases
Microsoft today backtracked on its support anti-piracy cases Russia after a controversy erupted over its role in crushing Russian political dissent. The Windows developer said it would bow out of investigations that involve groups opposing the current regime and instead offer them an automatic group license. The deal would effectively complicate any attempts to use Microsoft app piracy as a pretext for silencing resistance by making any copies legal, even if the group may have pirated material in the past.
Flock 3 now out, uses Chromium instead of Firefox
The Mozilla Firefox-based Flock browser is now available in a Flock 3 beta build that drops Firefox roots in favor of Google's Chromium and its WebKit engine. As one would expect, the new browser is much different from the original. While the latest Flock browser is currently only available for Windows, a Mac beta is due in July.
Google says Chrome OS still several months away
Google's Chrome lead Sundar Pichai told those at the Computex show today that Chrome OS won't ship until the "late fall." The release was pushed back towards the end of the original second-half 2010 target as Google wanted to be "selective" as to how the hardware and software came about. Chrome OS will only be usable with netbooks and notebooks at first and has a fixed set of requirements, such as a solid-state drive.
Google wants printing over Internet
Google today addressed a common problem of portable devices by previewing a technology that would allow them to print anywhere. Cloud Print would use the typical printing option in an app but send the job to an Internet service that would in turn talk to an Internet-aware printer or one put through a proxy. As long as the printer is registered, a user could always print out a document even when well away from the home network.
Dell offers USB image of Chromium OS
PC maker Dell announced this week that it is making an experimental version of the open source Chromium OS for the company's Mini Inspiron 10v netbook. The OS is available as a USB key image file, but Dell technology strategist Doug Anson warns the file should be used with an assumed risk, as it has minimal testing.