Tag Archives: about:flags
A newish option added to Chromium’s “about:flags” experimental menu in the latest builds is the ability to enable experimental extension APIs. This option is mainly for extension developers, but the fact that it is being added to experiments suggests that there may be a good amount of extensions coming down the pipe using these APIs.
Back in March, the Chromium Blog posted an article regarding experimental APIs for extensions. Two of the APIs outlined at that time were for history and processes.
That means developers could create extensions that allow for better history searching or access to process information down to the process ID or memory usage.
This sounds like a smart idea, especially in terms of history. One of the things that irks me about Chrome to some degree is browsing history, as searching through the volumes of pages I have visited for some nugget of information sometimes makes me want to throw my laptop when the results return nothing.
Already, the history API is now fully supported but there are other great experimental ones coming down the pipe such as the clipboard API.
Check out the list of current experimental APIs for Chrome. What one of these looks most useful?
UPDATE: A reader pointed out to me that the history API had already become fully supported.
New features seemingly pop up in Labs every day, and the best way to find them is to download the latest version of Chromium. Today I noticed a new option called Snap Start when I hit the “about:flags” address in the Omnibox bar of a new build.
It’s interesting to see Google attempt to remove so many steps from processes and protocols that they simply don’t think we need. This may not always work out, but it’s great to see them try. In Chrome OS itself, much of what we’re accustomed to dealing with on computers is reduced.
Is simplicity by design the future of computers?
We covered both of these when they first hit Chromium, and it’s pretty amazing how quickly they have arrived in the Chrome Dev and Canary channels.
Google Instant Verbatim search and Web Prerendering have arrived in the development channels through the “about:flags” command that can be entered into the Omnibox which will bring you to Chrome Labs. Instant Verbatim is even faster than regular Instant Search, and prerendering is a feature that “speculatively” loads sites for quicker access.
You can check out my video of Instant versus Instant Verbatim here. As for prerendering, well, I’m not fully sure how that operates other than basing page loads through web history.
UPDATE: A reader has pointed out that Google has put the flag in, but prerendering is not yet implemented. That makes sense because I cannot find a whole lot of information on it.
The latest builds of the open-source Chromium browser, which you can download from this directory, are featuring a new Labs option that you can enable called Web Page Prerendering. You can get to the Labs menu in Chrome by entering “about:flags” into the Omnibox.
Enabling/disabling these in Labs is easier and faster than having to use command line switches, which is nice and means that some of these features are seriously being testing for a future release at some point.
We recently wrote about a new feature added to Chromium builds called Instant Verbatim. It really is pretty useful, but describing it in words is a bit drab and doesn’t really detail the feature well enough. Here, you can see the difference between Instant and Instant Verbatim up close.
The newest Chromium Labs feature, which can be found by downloading a fresh copy of today’s Chromium build, is call Verbatim Instant. It allows URLs to load as you type them into the omnibox, with search results showing up as well.
Looking at the newest version of Chromium that I downloaded from the most recent builds there is a new “about:flags” option available today: Infobar Refresh.
If you’re not familiar with what the infobar does, that’s understandable. Basically, whenever a website wants to do something like track your geolocation a blue bar hovers down from just below the Omnibox. It’s also used for password management, Google Translate and for certain web applications.
Things change at a rapid pace within Chromium, and the last wrinkle is the fact that when you type the “about:flags” line into the Omnibox, nothing happens. Instead, using “about:flags” brings up the experimental Google Chrome Labs, complete with a stern warning that you could totally screw up your day by turning some of these flags on. Good thing I’ve got all of them enabled for maximum risk-factor.
What’s the reason for this? Is it possible that the “about:labs” feature is being reserved for something bigger and more ambitious for Chrome? That would be my suspicion, but apparently this is being done to make sure people realize that these experiments quite possibly could cause browser problems.
In addition, the folks at DownloadSquad have discovered a blanket flag to keep users away from any experimental craziness by using the flag “–no-experiments”. This kill switch of sorts will surely be added as a settings option somewhere at some point to keep some possible browser wackiness to a minimum.
So do you think that the Chromium team has something else in mind for “about:labs” or are they just going to abolish it because it sounds too nice?
I had heard that more print functionality was coming to Chrome, but I did not see any indication of it until today when I downloaded the most recent Chromium build. Most users have been pining for such basic print options such as print preview, and it is exciting to see the browser getting all of the features that people come to expect from their applications.
So in Chrome Labs using “about:labs” in the Omnibox, you’ll now see the ability to enable print preview as another experimental option.
When Chrome Program Manager Anthony Laforge said “things are going to start moving quite fast” with Chrome’s release cycles and features in about:labs, he wasn’t joking. Today’s newest Chromium builds feature a Cloud Print Proxy option in the Chrome Labs feature you can access by typing in “about:labs” into the Omnibox.
Another part of the description that was cut off by my screenshot says this, “Once this lab is enabled, you can turn Cloud Print on by logging in with your Google account in the Options/Preferences in the Under the Hood section.”
I was unable to find that option in the Under the Hood section of settings, so I’ll assume that it’s a work in progress. Features like this and Chromoting that require a Google Account sign in aren’t quite working, at least for public consumption. This new feature seems to go along with the other most recent new lab which was allowing background webapps to run, since Cloud Print also uses a background service to connect with Google’s print servers.
During the initial announcement of Chrome OS, many were concerned about printing capabilities in the cloud. Google countered this by introducing its Cloud Print API, whereby their servers would be used as proxies that contain all the hardware drivers needed to use a printer. Now that we see smartphones able to do this with the right app, it seems more of a solid reality than it was in the past.
Today’s newest Chromium builds are showing a new feature in Chrome Labs – Background Webapps. By downloading the latest build and typing in “about:labs” in the Omnibox, Background WebApps is now an option in an ever-growing list of features that make up Chrome Labs, experimental features that are expected to be seen in the more user-friendly Chrome builds sometime in the future.
The description here is pretty self-explanatory, although this doesn’t appear to be something directed specifically for the browser but Chrome OS itself. There are inevitably going to be applications that need to be constantly running in a web-based environment, just as there is with native applications in a traditional operating system.
I see no discernible difference right now by enabling this, but hopefully applications that must run in the background as described above doesn’t lead to bloat-type processes that drag down system resources unsuspectingly from users. That’s a big problem with operating systems right now and hard for many to fix on their own because of the lack of simplicity.
Two new Google Chrome Labs have popped up with the most recent builds: the ability to disable a plugin that is out of date and an XSS auditor. Both can be used if you download the newest Chromium browser version and type in “about:labs” in the Omnibox. A restart of the browser will then enable these new features.
Before now, there really wasn’t a way to easily shut down plugins in Chrome that were out of date. Now with the amount of expected plugins to increase, the browser can reference whether or not a plugin is updated and offer to download the latest version. This is a security feature that takes the effort of updating right out of the users’ hands so that the browser has less vulnerability.
The other feature in the new builds is the XSS Auditor. XSS is cross-site scripting, and it allows for client side injection of malicious code into web pages. While Chrome already has some ability to identify this type of code by warning users of suspicious sites, this helps developers find issues within web code that could potentially be problematic.
More code in complex websites and more plugins for interactive content are on the way for browsers. These are just more security features to help keep the more dangerous elements of the web in check.