Archive for 'Tips'
It’s not surprising that Google is attempting to enable tighter integration with Chrome and it’s massive array of services. One of the newly discovered settings within Chrome 15 Canary for Windows is the ability to automatically login to Google Sites through a setting configuration in Chrome’s menus. Here’s how to access it.
From the preferences menu item under the wrench icon, head over to the Personal Stuff tab on the left hand side. That’s where you’ll find your password settings.
One thing to note: although this setting seems to enable some sort of pass-through for authentication, you’ll often find yourself still having to click “Sign-in” on many of Google’s services. So while you don’t have to constantly enter in your password credentials every time, it can be a bit misleading at first because it isn’t as “automatic” as one might think.
Often times, once you log in to one Google service there isn’t much of a problem accessing others, at least in my experience. Nevertheless, this may be a new method, or perhaps security precaution, that will base a user’s authentication via a browser instance which may not be a bad idea.
Do you think that enabling automatic Google services login in Chrome is going to be useful?
via Cougar Abogado
While Chrome has been rapidly gaining market share, there are still those who find certain features of the Firefox browser essential – some of which Chrome currently lacks. One of these features is a bookmarks sidebar. The most popular answer in the forum topic “Please add a Bookmarks Sidebar on Chrome’s left side. Thank You!” was the following comment: “I won’t switch until Chrome has a Bookmarks Side Bar. I have too many favorites to have them cluttered on the infinity bar.”
Google has implemented sidebar tabs in Chrome browser for Windows which is found in “about:flags”. This feature isn’t available for Mac and Linux versions of Chrome though. For more details, click here.
While currently there is no bookmarks sidebar feature for any version of Chrome, there is a workaround. You can use the “Recent History” extension that makes available your recent history by one click. Note, this is only a work around, what this extension will do is give you access to your recent history, not your bookmarks. Since your bookmarks are usually in your recent history you may find this extension a convenient way to access your most commonly visited web sites.
I have mixed feelings about sidebar features. They are best for larger screens because they take up more screen real-estate then tabs, which could be why it isn’t being offered in Chromebooks. While they take up more screen real-estate, but can be handy.
Do you find sidebar features essential for a browser?
The slogan for the Chromebook is “Ready When You Are.” The truth of the matter is that’s only partly true because services many find essential are not being offered yet. Ironically, one of these services is one of the biggest sources of web traffic in North America, accounting for 24.71 percent of aggregated traffic is not accessible via Chrome OS. The cloud app I speak of, of course, is Netflix. Netflix is one of those services that validates the cloud because it allows the user access to thousands of movies and television shows (about 12,000 to choose from) via the Internet and can make you wonder whether you need a dvd collection at all.
Yet, Chrome OS — the ultimate cloud operating system — is currently unable stream Netflix movies. It’s taking time for Netflix to migrate to the HTML5 technology. Not a small feat considering the amount of movies they are streaming. The Netflix plug-in is in the Development Channel for Chrome OS, so it is only a matter of time that it will be available. But the fact is that it isn’t working yet.
What is a Chromie supposed to do in the mean time? You may be a bit disillusioned by the change Netflix’s pricing plans as well. Such questions may lead one to ask: what are the alternatives?
Well, the ones that come to my mind are Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube. All of these services can be used quite easily in Chrome OS and that shinny, new Chromebooks.
Hulu is mainly for television shows, though if you get Hulu Prime, you get access to the Criterion Library. Many excellent films are to be had here for the film connoisseur but more mainstream movies are not in Hulu’s offerings. So if you want the latest Adam Sandler film, you are out of luck.
There is also YouTube. YouTube has been working hard to extend its digital offerings and offer commercially produced movies as well as user content that has come synonymous with the brand. It offers 3,000 movies for rent, some of them at no cost. The issue I see in this service is that the movies you are most likely are going to want to watch are rentals. A Netflix streaming subscription is $8 a month. That would be only two rentals on YouTube.
Last, but not least is Amazon Prime. If you are a big Amazon shopper, this may be a no brainer for you because you get free 2-day shipping as a member of Amazon Prime. The “Prime” catalog, while it has many movies and television shows to stream, is not as extensive as Netflix. Amazon has around 5,000 movies for streaming, however 1,668 of them offered for free on-demand streaming for Amazon Prime members. Not a very high number if you ask me.
We have been recently asked frequently about a listing of the hidden system, analytics and configuration URLs that reveal some options and information about the inner workings of a browser. Here we go.
All browsers support several local URLs that can be entered in the location bar to access some additional information of features. While this information may be rather boring for casual users, enthusiasts and developers can use those URLs to retrieve core information about their browser. We will start with Chrome and follow up with all other major browsers within a few days.
Chrome’s best known configuration URL is about:flags, which provides access to all experimental features (there are even more available via switches), but there are several more, which I will list below. Please note that Google recently replaced the about: prefix with chrome://, which means that you can access the flags now via both about:flags as well as chrome://flags (the same goes for all remaining URLs). I only list currently functional URLs.
Details about the application cache (particularly useful, if you would like to know how much memory a certain web app occupies). Size, creation/access/update times. You can also delete the cache for certain apps.
Analytics about binary large objects (blobs).
Just came across this. In case you’re not aware, you can access the task manager from the wrench menu by going to Tools and then Task Manager. You can also hit Shift+Esc in Windows, and ⌘ Cmd+⌥ Opt+Esc in Mac.
It’s Google’s stated goal (somewhere, post the link if you find it) to make menus all HTML-based. There’s a good reason for that: it lessens the differences that users find across platforms. A menu or window should in theory look the same whether you are using a Series 5, Chrome Stable on your Windows PC or its Mac and Linux siblings.
What do you think about web-based menus and windows in Chrome?
So, we’ve got a (relatively) new functionality in Google Chrome’s browser and OS. Known as chrome://sync-internals, it’s pretty much what’s written on the box- it lets you view internal and technical data about your connection to the Google Cloud. It’s pretty simple to use, and pretty simple to navigate as well- though I get the feeling that several tabs (and for that matter, some of the information) is intended primarily for devs, and not for your average, run of the mill user.
Anyway, I’ll give you folks a rundown of the sync-internals page, and then go over how to search your sync data. The first tab, “About” is pretty straightforward. It’s pretty much a summary page, and tells you the status of your sync. You can see when you last synced, whether you’re authenticated, the server you’re syncing to….you get the idea. Note that here, like much of ‘sync-internals’, you’ll need a touch of technical knowledge to understand some of the listed information.
Extensions: you’ve got to love them. They add wonderful functionality to our beloved Chrome browser. But let’s face it people: sometimes the icons that we click to evoke that functionality, well, they could look a whole lot better. Take the Google Dictionary Extension icon for example.
No offense to Google, but this icon is a bit ugly. It looks like a toddler’s block, not a dictionary. So what’s a poor Chrome geek to do? Well, I made my way over to www.iconfinder.com, did a search for “dictionary” and lo and behold, I found a snazzy dictionary icon to more fully represent this wonderful resource of knowledge. It looks like this:
Now that I’ve found my icon, next stop: the extensions folder. Paths differ according to what operating system you are working on. The paths listed for your operating system are found below. (Thanks ChromeStory)
Windows 7 : C:\Users\USER NAME\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions.
Mac : ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Extensions.
Windows XP : C:\Documents and Settings\[USERNAME]\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Extensions
Linux: /home/~USER~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Extensions (thanks to this link.)
NOTE: This is the path for CrunchBang Linux, which is a Debian based Linux distribution. It could be a little different for other Linux distributions.
I just browsed the extension folder to find the icon that was being used currently in Chrome. This one: . There may be several icons that look the same, but have different names. The name of the icon that’s being used for your extension is icon_19.png. I renamed the icon I downloaded to icon_19.png and renamed the old icon dictionaryicon_19_backup.png.
I fired up Chrome and this was the result of my efforts:
It’s a good idea to keep a backup of your icons. When your extension is updated, you will loose your customization. Just follow the same steps and your customized icon will be reimplemented.
Pretty fun and easy hack. Hope you like it.
Since I rely on my Google Account for so much, I decided to give Google’s two-step verification process a try. I didn’t want one day to come to the unpleasant realization that my Google account had been hacked. Just recently Google disclosed a phishing attack originating from Chinese hackers. As mentioned in the Official Google Blog, 2-step verification is a highly recommended way to protect your account.
Basically, the way it works is this: two-step verification generates a unique 6 digit code. You then sign in with your regular Google account password then you will be asked to verify. You enter the number you previously generated and bingo! You are in your Google account. It just takes an extra few seconds and a hearty second level of security is added.
Google 2-step verification uses your mobile phone – something you likely have with you all the time – as a tool to give you an extra level of security to your account. Any mobile phone which has the Google Authenticator app can be used. Any phone you have access to really can grant you a second level of security for your Google account, but a phone of the mobile variety is obviously more convenient.
You always have known that Chrome is fast, but have you ever considered that you might be able to always know your frame rate per second within the browser? Sure, you might not be interested in a high level of frame speed in your browser, but it looks like Google might be looking towards a future where that might be useful.
If you’re using Chrome 13, you can turn the FPS gauge on by typing in “about:flags” in the Omnibox, and turning on the FPS counter.
You’ll also need to turn on hardware acceleration. You can do this by enabling GPU compositing on all pages. Mind you, this may be a bit glitchy so this is best left off in normal browsing situations.
I decided to fire up Microsoft’s FishIE browser test to see what the FPS counter would do, and it certainly did jack up the frame rate. It’s quite noticeable; however, that there is a difference between what the browser is counting versus FishIE.
By disabling GPU VSync in “about:flags” I was able to get even higher frames per second because the 60 hertz threshold was removed, but my laptop’s lack of a graphics card still displayed a poor showing when compared to other tests I have seen conducted out there.
So, in the end, the FPS counter is a nice way to represent the fact that the web is becoming more of an active place in terms of graphical capabilities. Normally one would associate FPS with video games, but we may see a future where the web is also measured that way.
So, try out the FPS counter and do your own experimentation. What do you find?
Even before the first stable release of Chrome browser was released back in September 2, 2008, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and mnmlist fame wrote a very interesting article. The title: Firefox OS: My Hardware and Software are Obsolete. In it, he talks of the benefits of using a browser and cloud computing. And this was before HTML5 really started taking off.
In the post, Leo includes many excellent suggestions on how to incorporate the browser into your work-flow, suggestions which can be easily applied to making a Chromebook the only computer you really need. After all, Chrome OS is “just a browser.”
But Chrome OS has no desktop right? You can’t even set your own wallpaper?
It’s one of the simple joys of having a computer: customizing your desktop, picking and choosing your wallpaper. To those concerned about not having this feature in Chrome OS, I have good news for you. There are actually many ways in which you can customize Chrome and Chrome OS. Below are a few. Because with Chrome OS, certain browser features become OS features, though it may not be so obvious.
The Chrome Web Store has many themes to choose from and by many, I mean over a couple of thousand. All of these are compatible with Chrome OS.
You know all those cool widgets you can put on an Android phone that enables fast access to whatever application or data you might want? This is what iGoogle Gadgets essentially are, and you can load them on your personal iGoogle page. There are many “gadgets” to choose from here. Personally I use it to access Google Reader, date and time, tasks, etc. This has been helpful to me: for example, before I got tired of having to open the Windows calculator application on my work computer this would take several seconds to load. Now I always have a calculator handy. Oh, and just for fun, I have a quote of the day and little virtual hamster.
I just set iGoogle as my homepage and access my apps page via Chrome’s “+” button.
Upload Your Own Wallpaper to your homepage:
If you prefer a more minimal set up but still want to add a personal touch, Google gives you the option of setting a wallpaper. You can set wallpaper in your Google start page.
Of course, all of the above ways to customize your browser aren’t Chrome specific, but it goes to show you that the browser makes for a very customizable, flexible, and light OS, attributes that Chrome OS takes full advantage of.
So there you go. Chrome OS doesn’t mean you need to go without a sweet desktop and wallpaper. Customize to your heart’s content!
What are some ways that you customize your Chrome experience?
Users who have become familiar with the Google-Gears based offline access in Chrome might be in for a bit of a surprise as that feature has been removed starting today. This is a result of the next-generation HTML5 offline capability hitting the transition period for both Gmail and Calendar, culminating with Chrome 12 Stable which is slated to arrive in the next few weeks.
Although this may be a jolt to some, Google had planned on this gap in order to provide a transition period where users would not potentially lose any data that they tried to save while working offline. Starting today, anything that is saved in a users’ offline outbox will be sent automatically sent just like a regular email the next time a user logs in to Gmail until full offline access arrives.
There are alternatives to Chrome until the transition is complete. Users can still get offline access from Firefox 3.6, IE8, an IMAP client such as Thunderbird or Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook. Google has posted full documentation about the state of Chrome’s offline access right here.
Are you excited about the new HTML5 offline capabilities coming to Chrome/Chrome OS?
Still waiting for your free Chrome OS Pilot laptop? You might want to continue to hold out hope.
Although the Cr-48 shipment tracker has likely seen its last days, people are reporting that they are getting gifted by Google with Chrome OS laptops. This comes contrary to what Chrome VP Sundar Pichai tweeted some time ago that the Cr-48s would cease shipping.
Perhaps an effort to send out what might have been a hidden cache of Chrome OS Pilot notebooks is why people are still getting them. It would be nice if some of our international readers would be the beneficiaries of these notebooks, but I’ve yet to find a substantial report that this is the case.
Nevertheless, this suggests that major production of both the Acer and Samsung Chromebooks is ramping up, and that Google is preparing their supply chain to send out subscription-based notebooks to eager customers. What’s still unknown is what kind of numbers Google and its Chrome OS hardware partners are expecting for the initial wave of launch devices, but as always we’ll update you with the latest when that information becomes known.
Have you been the proud recipient of a Cr-48 recently?