Archive for 'Chrome OS'
You know, while I love Google Chrome, I’ll be one of the first guys to admit that Chrome’s start page is boring as hell. It’s just so drab, and bland, and…empty. Thankfully, it looks like Google feels the same way- word is, they’re planning a colossal revamp of the startpage. As they should- with both Opera and Mozilla focusing on their own ‘new tab’ screens, Chrome’s startpage is something Google simply cannot afford to ignore anymore.
For their part, each of the major browser developers are going for their own unique ‘style’ of sorts. Mozilla is looking for a means of integrating a permanent Home Tab into the browser- something that goes beyond a simple ‘new tab’ page and instead is present in the browser as a permanent app. Details are rather sparse on this one, though I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Mozilla found some way to tie it into social networking in some way.
Opera, on the other hand, is using widgets- giving their start page a rather deep sense of customization by allowing users to pick and choose what they want to see when they open their browser. Definitely a good idea, and one that I hope Google considers adopting for Chrome, at least in part. Anyway, you’re probably wondering what Google’s doing to give the Chrome startpage a bit more zazz, right?
To that end, I’ve got some rather cool features to show you folks. No word on when they’ll be arriving in the Chrome browser, though- they’re currently in the process of making their debut on the Chromium platform. See, the way Google’s setting up their start page appears involve organizing the elements into ‘pages.’
I’ve always gotten some enjoyment out of memory match-type games. They’re a simple, enjoyable way to waste a few minutes of the day. I’ve also always loved role playing games. There’s just something entertaining about seeing a character you’re playing get better, faster, and stronger, able to take on increasingly insurmountable challenges with ease. Plus, there’s the story- I’m a sucker for a decent narrative(though, to be fair, that’s not necessarily something I go into a browser game fully expecting.)
Naturally, when I saw the game “MatchHack,” which labels itself as an “open source, RPG matching game,” I jumped on the opportunity to give it a try- with mixed results.
Designed by Halfbrick Studios(you might remember them as the guys behind Fruit Ninja) Monster dash is a game about running really fast. And shooting monsters. And…that’s about it. Believe it or not, those are they only things the game really needs to work. And hey, their best known game is about attacking pieces of fruit with a katana, so this premise is actually a bit of a step up, if you think about it.
Tineye’s a Chrome extension that lets you search by image- as opposed to searching for image. At this point, a lot of you are probably saying “Whoa, hey, stop right there. Google’s already got image searching, they added that ages ago!” Oh, I’m well aware of that. But the thing about Google’s “Search By Image” feature is that it mainly focuses on the image title, identifiable watermarks and related keywords. TinEye’s supposedly unique in that…well, it doesn’t do that.
Instead, it actually claims to be the first image search engine to use image identification technology. According to the developer, when a user uploads an image, it “creates a unique and compact digital signature or ‘fingerprint’ for the image.” It then proceeds to compare this fingerprint to every other image in the TinEye index, retrieving matches in the process. It doesn’t usually find similar images- that’s not really its purpose. Instead, it finds exact matches to the uploaded image- regardless of whether or not those matches have been cropped, edited, or resized.
Now, you’ll notice that it doesn’t actually search images out on the internet- it creates a catalogue of sorts and searches through this catalogue when you’re looking for an image. So it’s anything but perfect, in that regard- cataloguing pretty much every image in the internet is a daunting task, to say the least. Just the same, the developer claims to be adding literally “tens of millions” of images per day to their libraries. At the very least, you’re guaranteed to find at least a few copies of the image you load into the extension.
While that’s all very, very cool and sounds rather high tech, some of you are probably scratching your heads and going “Well…what’s the point?”
It’s been yet another busy week for the Google Chrome team, and they’ve two more major release under their belts. As you all well know, Chrome 14 is now live on the Beta channel. In addition, the Developer channel has updated a whopping five times-one of those to Chrome 15-and the stable channel got an update to 13.0.782.112 just before 14 went live on Beta.
In other words….we’ve got a pretty big list to cover this time around. As we usually do, let’s start with the developer release channel.
A very interesting series of tweets from Liam Mcullough earlier this week. For those of you who don’t know, Mcullough- also known by his nickname, Hexxeh, is the man who’s more or less been solely responsible for pretty much every Chromium OS release since Chrome first hit the market. He’s also the fellow who loaded Chrome onto a Macbook Air. With that information in mind, it was pretty clear what his intentions were when he tweeted on Sunday that he was “picking up an Asus transformer tomorrow, with the keyboard dock.” That said, he continued by establishing that he was “not interested in running Android on there.”
After spending about a day fiddling around with his new purchase(which apparently rather impressed him), Hexxeh managed to load Google’s Chrome OS onto the rig, as made evident by the screenshot above. Though it’s kind of hard to tell due to the lighting, that is none other than the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, complete with a shiny new OS- and it definitely isn’t Android.
Now, before you folks go getting all excited; there are a few things we’ll first need to establish. One; this isn’t as much of a total system overhaul as with the Macbook Air, either- in this case, he booted straight from a USB drive, in order to make it easier to work on the image. Second, the current build of Chromium on the Transformer is suffering from some…pretty nasty bugs, if Hexxeh’s to be believed. When asked about how well it ran, he responded with the following:
“runs terribly things to some huge bugs in the LDK, gonna try to work around them by patching Chromium and the WM. Basics like WiFi, touchscreen work, sound is MIA right now but that’s an easy fix.”
So….long story short, he’s still working feverishly on getting this system up and running. Those of you expecting a touch-based UI might be a bit disappointed, though. Hexxeh’s made it clear that he’s not keen on building a touch interface for the transformer at the current moment- seems likely he’s more focused on getting the basics working before he starts fiddling with the onscreen keyboard- something which is made possible thanks to the transformer’s rather excellent keyboard dock.
Currently, Hexxeh’s managed to shave ten seconds off the boot time of the Transformer (No word on how long it takes to load, I’ll keep you posted), and the release date for this build is…basically “TBA.” According to Mcullough, when or if he releases this build hinges entirely on when he finds the time to finish it.
Considering how fast he seems to work, I’d imagine it’ll probably be some time next month.
Either way, it’s pretty exciting news- as he put it, the experiment is basically “complete proof of concept” regarding the viability of Chrome as a tablet OS. Of course, we sort of knew the concept was true from the beginning- Hexxeh’s just demonstrating it beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Image Credits: Hexxeh
Got some good news for all of you. See, the Chrome 13 release wasn’t the only thing that came to the Chrome Operating System in the last week and a half. You all know the basics of what Chromebooks got, of course- instant pages, print preview, all the good stuff that everyone’s been anticipating for weeks. On the Chromebook side of things, though….it brought a little more than a few bugfixes, security updates, and instant pages. A post went up yesterday on the Google Chrome blog, detailing exactly what’s new with Chrome. I daresay it’s a rather exciting update- and there’s most assuredly something for everyone.
Looks like Google might be working on a tablet that runs Chrome OS. Or at the very least, the Chromium team’s working on one that’ll run Chromium.
Now, we don’t have much to go on here. There’s been a lot of rumors and heresy bouncing about on the web about this. Ever since the Chromebooks first hit the market, folks have been buzzing about the possibility of tablets, pointing at this move by Google or that action by the Chrome Team. And while it’s true that there is some evidence that points to the eventual development of a Chrome OS tablet…we might not be seeing one for a very, very long time.
True to his word, security researcher Matt Johansen this week demonstrated the security holes in Google’s Chrome OS that have been the subject of so much discussion. Apparently, his demonstration…basically involved what he already showed us all last month. Just a touch anticlimactic, don’t you think? The way Johansen talked, I thought he might have a few new demonstrations for the lot of us.
The whole presentation wasn’t a retreading of old ground, though- while he did repeat a lot of what he said when he demoed the Scratchpad exploit, he also had a few new things to say about applications, extensions, and security on Google’s Chrome Operating System. For those of you who haven’t already discerned the nature of these statements, I’ll give you a hint- they aren’t good.
Google’s been marketing its Chrome OS as more secure than traditional PCs. And they’re right, in a sense- It is a lot more secure than your standard, run of the mill operating platform. That doesn’t mean that Chromebooks- and their users- are completely invulnerable. I’ve cautioned before against making such assumptions, and stories like this only drive home what I’ve been saying. Whitehat Security researcher Matt Johansen doesn’t believe for a second that the Chrome OS is safe or secure- and he claims he’s found evidence to prove it.
So, there are probably those of you who are wondering just what Google’s in App payment system is- you know, the one that’s in the process of going international. It’s a (relatively) new API that launched in the US a few weeks ago, and utilizes the Google Checkout service. See, as it turns out, Chrome’s apps are not only viable software, but a viable source of income, as well. Who knew? Game developers, you can sell items or additional game content from right within your app. News and media sites, you can sell subscriptions and premium content. What’s more; Google’s been touting how the API’s also incredibly simple to use- so it won’t be at all difficult to implement a payment system. All in all, sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it?
And I know what the users are thinking- ‘how exactly is this good for us?” Just think about it- a lot of open-source developers don’t exactly make a particularly high income off of their applications. In-app payments could allow users to offer the developer a bit of extra support- consequently allowing them to make better apps. Plus, the implementation of a standardized in-app payment system also means improved security for the user- you’re using Google’s system, rather than an in-app payment system put together by someone else.
Anyway, interested parties can find out more here, or watch the above video for a demonstration of how the in-app payments work.
Chrome’s in-app payment API isn’t really anything new- it’s been around for a couple weeks now. The fact that it’s going international, however…that’s some welcome news for any developers who aren’t based in the United States. Google’s expanding the API to cover developers in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Those of you based in any of the countries in that list can now apply for a merchant account, allowing you to accept in-app payments.
Now, the API hasn’t actually officially launched outside of the states yet- and sadly, there’s no clear word on an official launch date. Google’s still got that one in the works, and have stated that they’re planning to release the program later this year. This update isn’t just going to be good news for international developers, though. There’s a new feature Google’s planning to implement for the Web Store that local devs might find very interesting, too.
Basically, Google’s going to allow developers to target their applications and extensions towards specific regions. What this basically means is that if a developer only wishes to make their app available to Japanese consumers, they can choose to target the app towards that specific region. Anyone outside of Japan won’t be able to see the product in the app store, and anyone who does somehow manage to come upon it will be notified that the app isn’t available in their region. An interesting feature, to be certain- and one that’s sure to reduce clutter, to at least some degree.
On the other hand, it could potentially end up isolating some users. What happens if someone in Germany decides they need a particular app, but that application isn’t available outside of the US? I suppose it’s all just speculation-most developers probably aren’t going to shoot themselves in the foot in such a fashion, and I foresee this feature mostly being used to isolate region-specific applications from people who’d have no use for them anyway.