Archive for 'Features'
I recently came across a report that Taiwan, the island located just off the coast of mainland China, has anointed Chrome as the number two browser there. During the month of August, Chrome was able to capture a 15.53% share, passing Mozilla Firefox’s 13.35% share. In the number one spot is of course Internet Explorer, which holds a 67.52% lead.
This might not be of much significance to most, as the majority of readers on this blog don’t reisde in Taiwan. But what is important about Taiwan is the sway it has over the computer design and manufacturing industry today.
As has been noted, Google has opened a Chrome OS design center on the island as of late. They are trying to exert more influence in Taiwan because the majority of future computers are conjured up there for manufacture in China.
And there’s not doubt of the continuing influence that Microsoft has had on Taiwan, partnering with hardware giants such as Quanta Computer to ensure that the Windows dominance continues. It seems to be normal convention that when you use Windows, you seem to also choose Internet Explorer as your defacto browser.
Recent StatCounter measurements suggest that this seems to continue to be the case from a worldwide perspective, but the fact of the matter is that Internet Explorer does not measure up in the same numbers as it does in Taiwan – not neatly a 60% lead yet Chrome is in the 20% threshold even though it holds the number three spot.
Indeed every market is different, and the move towards more usage of Chrome in Taiwan suggests continued interest from a number of people there in the use of the browser, its operating system component as well as the webapp ecosystem that is surrounding it in terms of Google Apps and its ilk.
The Taiwanese have been somewhat suspect of Chrome OS as a viable platform such as Acer, whose botched Chromebook launch this summer must have had something to do with a degree of apathy to be so improperly carried out. Nevertheless, I would expect to see an uptick of Chrome OS devices in the future both in the number of model available as well as number of units shipped once we see a dramatic drop in price.
This is probably going to hinge on Chromebooks shifting from uber-expensive (comparatively) Intel Atom processors to ARM-based solutions that are a fraction of the overall cost. Indeed, Google’s acquisition may not just bold well for Android devices, which are ARM-powered, but also for finding specific solutions for Chrome OS on a number of different form factors.
Do you think that Chrome’s growing adoption within Taiwan is due to a curiosity of Chrome OS over there?
via Focus Taiwan
To be fair, this site’s been around for quite some time- and we’ve covered it at one point in the past. Still, it merits something of a revisit now that Chromebooks have hit the market; don’t you think?
What Is It?
How many of you remember Dosbox? For those who don’t; it’s an x86 DOS emulator, designed to allow modern-day users to play DOS games on Windows. While that might not sound particularly impressive- or noteworthy-to play any of those games without DosBox involved a great deal of overly complicated mucking around in the Windows system files, or searching out a version of whatever game you wanted to play that would be compatible with the software of modern-day systems.
Either way, too much trouble. For anyone with an itch to jump back into the old days, Dosbox was a godsend. Now, you’re probably wondering what the point of this history lesson is, right? You’re trying to figure out exactly why I’m sitting here babbling to you about DosBox. Software emulation ahoy! DosBox has come to Chrome, via Chrome’s Native Client.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet NAClBox.
Guess what I’ve got for you today, folks? You guessed it- more Google + themed Chrome extensions and applications. What, you thought I was done? It’s like I’ve said before- Google + is gaining steam with all the speed of a runaway locomotive. With that in mind, there’ll always be new extensions to cover, new means by which the developers are improving upon an already excellent platform. Granted, the array of extensions I’ve found this time aren’t quite as impressive as some of the addons I profiled in previous posts, but they’re all still useful in their own way- and they’re definitely the sort of tools that someone, somewhere, is going to need.
This time around, we’ve got some added functionality for Google’s “+1″button, a non-malware extension that lets you add Facebook to G+, and some minor cosmetic overhauls for Google’s social networking platform. Enjoy.
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.
Here’s another Chrome Extension that gives Google + a bit of a makeover. See, here’s the thing- as you get more and more people sharing posts with you, and begin to add more and more folks to your circles; your stream can start to feel a bit…overcrowded. Maybe a bit cluttered and overwhelming, to boot. When there’s a message with too many new comments on it, it could potentially dominate the entire stream- whether you care about those comments or not.
“G + Me For Google +” purports to enhance “the Google + web app to make it much easier to process a large stream of incoming posts and comments,” helping it to “unlock the potential of its real-time updates.” According to the developer, the extension adds the following features to Google + through Chrome:
- Notification status visible at all times
- Collapsible comments
- Collapsible posts
- Real-time comment count on collapsed items
- Mark comments as read
- Two available modes: Expanded and List.
- Mouse-over instant preview(currently only available in List mode).
Not only that, the developer’s also gone so far as to include a list of extensions and apps their addon’s compatible with. The only extension it’s incompatible with is Comment Toggle- but I’ve found I rather like this addon more than the former anyway- so it’s ultimately a nonissue. Now, there are evidently a few minor glitches with the extension- the ‘j’ and ‘k’ keyboard shortcuts don’t really sit well with the addon, and occasionally the comment count goes a little wonky as a result of people deleting their comments: In other words, you could very easily see a post with a comment count of zero or negative comment counts.
My Thoughts On The Extension:
I decided to take G + Me For Google + for a test run, and I’ve gotta say- I liked what I saw. First things first, I’ll explain the two formats to you. Expanded mode looks fairly similar to standard Google +, with one additional feature: each post in your stream has a small gray bar above it. Clicking on that bar will collapse the post down to a single row. You can also collapse or expand comments- which automatically marks the post as ‘read’ (more on that in a moment). All in all, pretty nifty- and it works a hell of a lot better than Comment Toggle.
List mode is probably the coolest feature of this extension. See, in List mode, all of the posts in your stream are automatically collapsed down. Each collapsed item displays the name of the person who published it, the time at which it was published and the number of comments it has received. If you’ve already marked it as ‘read’ the comment box will be gray. If there are any unread comments, the comment box will be red.
If you want to focus on a single post in your stream, all you have to do is click on it. The post will expand, and any other post you happened to be looking at will automatically collapse. You can also mouse over posts to see them in an overlay on your screen-sort of like how +photo zoom zooms into pictures. All in all, it gives the feeling of having a sort of ‘Google + dashboard’ to work off of, and makes sorting through what can often amount to a massive volume of messages a far less daunting task.
You can grab G+Me For Google from the Chrome Web Store, as always.
If you’re one of those folks that love how Google + looks, and want to give yourself the feeling of taking it with you everywhere, I’ve got a theme for you. It’s called Google + Theme, and essentially does precisely what one would imagine- overhauling Chrome’s appearance so it more closely resembles Google’s runaway social networking site. The developer, Ruocaled isn’t particularly descriptive about the specifics of the theme. Hell, even if you don’t like the look of Google plus, this theme looks pretty damned spiffy.
I’ll provide you folks with the details, if you like.
The theme changes the color of both the downloads bar and tabs bar to a rather smart-looking gray-black hue. In addition, the active tab is slightly darker than all the others, and features an orange highlight along the top. It doesn’t make any particularly noticeable overhaul to your startpage- aside from adding a background like the one in the picture, seen above. Alternatively, you could download Ruocaled’s other theme- it’s basically the same thing, except it features a chibi mascot for Google Plus known as “Google Plus-Tan.” on the start page, instead of the image shown above. Oh, he’s also developed a Nyan cat theme-complete with instructions on how to craft an animated version for yourself.
You can download Ruocaled’s “Google + Theme” here, or his “Unofficial Google + Theme Ft. G+ Tan” here. Oh, and for those of you using Incredible Startpage…both themes work just fine with that extension.
Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you’ve got at least a marginally positive opinion of Google. Assuming this is true, chances are also good that you use at least one Google service, right? Google Docs, Gmail, Google +, pretty much any of those are fair game- and all of them are pretty damned useful. Of course, chances are also good that you’re using more than one service. See where I’m going with this?
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?”
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.
It’s no surprise that as Google’s social networking site gets more and more popular, more and more developers are taking notice of it. As a result, there seem to be more Chrome apps and extensions centered around G + with each passing day. Apps designed to bring the Google + experience into the larger environment of Chrome. Apps designed to improve upon what you can do with G+, and how you can do it. I’ve already shown you Six extensions guaranteed to make the G+ experience better (well, five…Sorry about that, by the way), and even then, I only scratched the surface. There’s much more to come- and with new apps and extensions releasing every day, you can bet money that there’ll always be some new feature or function for Google’s runaway social networking website.
Here, for your browsing pleasure, are five more applications and extensions that’ll make a brilliant experience even better.
To a lot of people, Google + might have an interface that looks a little boring. White’s just a drab color for a lot of folks, I suppose. For whatever reason, some people wish to spice things up a bit- change the way their Google + homepage looks. If you count yourself among that group, I’ve got some good news, and I’ve got some bad news. The good news is, there’s an extension that’ll help you along in that.
Sometimes, one happens to come across something that’s just downright awesome. Have you ever wanted to simply…talk to your computer, instead of having to type everything out? Turns out, some userscripts just surfaced at Userscript.org that enables text to speech functionality in Google Chrome. Are you as intrigued as I am? Keep reading.
Speakable Textareas is…well, pretty much what it sounds like. Basically, it adds a little microphone to areas where you can enter text. Clicking that microphone will activate your computer system’s mike, at which point you can pretty much…well, just talk. The userscript basically does the rest, recording your voice and converting it to text. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s anything but perfect.