Tag Archives: YouTube

Chrome OS Alternatives to Netflix – What’s Available?

Posted on 25. Jul, 2011 by . 2 Comments

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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.

a huluHulu 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.

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thechromesource Daily: Links for 7/22/10

Posted on 22. Jul, 2010 by . 0 Comments

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Chrome OS implications are involved with Google’s Nexus One Exit - the company’s strength is not in support for devices.

The dev build of Chrome browser has been updated; the release fixes a nagging download issue among other updates.

The Chrome Web Store icon has been added to the newest dev builds of Chrome.

YouTube has launched a music discovery site, paving the way for a potential Google Music service.

Google’s Chinese search rival, Baidu, is planning to create its own mobile operating system to compete with Android.

Image Search Revamp at Google Press Event

Posted on 20. Jul, 2010 by . 0 Comments

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Today’s press conference for unveiling a new product came in the form of Image Search – an entirely new way to think about the formerly static image finding service that was available for Google. Not only will the way that image show up after a search change, data that formerly was on the bottom of each picture will no longer be there. This improves the user interface and makes it look slicker than before.

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Each page can now load one thousand images – something that makes sense since it seems that pretty often I cannot find the best image one the first page of results anyways. Also soon to be added will be advertising – likely similar to the way it is now being done for video. Ads on YouTube are slowly starting to gain traction, and it is important for Google to continue to develop its advertising business to keep investors happy with the company’s performance.

While about ten percent of users are seeing the new Image Search, when I went to take a look I was sadly not one of them yet. But I did discover something new while I was there: Image Swirl.

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Image Swirl takes a topic (Notre Dame was preselected here) and gives you associated images in a logically mapped way.

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Review: PageRank – Link Extend Extension

Posted on 20. Jul, 2010 by . 1 Comments

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I have searched for some time to find an extension that would give me PageRank information, and the reality is that there are many out there that do not fulfill expectations. The best one I’ve been able to find is the PageRank – Link Extend extension by Linkular.

When you go to a site, such as YouTube, you’ll get a number for its PageRank ranking from the extension icon.

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Clicking on the icon when you are at a subpage will give you information about the site. You’ll get page ranking, site ranking and subdomain information as well.

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What’s even more useful is that when you perform a search, you can easily see next to each result what the PageRank is.
linkextend2PageRank is a way to rate linking on sites and is thus an important element of the web. When you have your own site, you become more aware of it, and this tool has been by far the best one out of the many extensions out there that supposedly do this. It does its job, and stays in the background, perfect functionality for an extension.

thechromesource Daily: Links for 6/30/10

Posted on 30. Jun, 2010 by . 1 Comments

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If you didn’t already know, Flash is now fully integrated into Chrome; you can also turn it off if you want to.

Picasa, Google’s image storage and management tool, appears to be gearing up for functionality with Chrome OS.

FastBall, a Flash-based game for YouTube, has been launched to coincide with Chrome having Flash now built-in to the browser.

Popular web music player Last.fm now has a Chrome extension available.

YouTube software engineer John Harding says Flash is going to stick around; there is more to video than just a HTML5 tag.

From Zero to Almost Ten Percent: How Chrome Surpassed Safari

Posted on 30. Jun, 2010 by . 0 Comments

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chromevssafariIt has been big news recently that Chrome has overtaken Safari as the third most used browser in the U.S. While this statistic is one that’s skewed towards the United States since Chrome and Safari have been neck and neck, the reality is that Chrome took third place worldwide over Safari back in September.

The main reason that America has lagged in this regard is probably the fact that Apple sells so many computers in the United States, coming with the well regarded WebKit-based Safari.

But the point of this post is to understand how Chrome got this far in a period of two years. When I first tried Chrome as an early adopter-type in the beginning of 2009, I liked the design interface and the idea of “sandboxing” where every tab was its own process. The problem with Chrome at that time was one of compatibility: there were sites that did not function correctly with Chrome, a surprise to me because of its WebKit roots.

Over time, which really isn’t long by Google’s measurement, Chrome evolved. Many sites needed to adapt some functionality to Chrome, but for the most part it was the folks at Google working fervently to make the best browser available. Perhaps they knew that they were making the foundations of an operating system at the time, who knows?

Extensions

In December 2009, Google launched the Chrome Extensions web site, an opportunity for the company to better compete with Firefox’s vaunted library of add-ins. Not only did they take an existing idea, they improved on it by putting security limits around extensions at their site, making sure that proper measures are taken to make sure that personal data and important computer processes cannot be compromised through the browser. Clicking around at the Extensions site the other day it appears that there are over five thousand now available.

Translate

In the beginning, Google offered an extension that you could install into Chrome and translate different languages of the web. Then they started adding it into the development Chromium builds, and finally it was released with the launch Chrome 5 to users a few months ago embedded in the browser itself. This feature is so easy to use, and it unlocks the web for everyone to read no matter their language. Google took an existing service they had and put it right into the browser where it’s the most useful.

No Messing With Flash

Maybe Google sees something in Flash that Apple doesn’t, but they decided to take a very different approach to handling Adobe Flash than Cupertino. Instead of eschewing it completely, Google has embraced the technology. Flash is used in YouTube videos, for some streaming music sites and I’ve recently noticed it needs to be installed to use Google Analytics. So, unlike other browsers that require you to install it and then update to newer revisions manually, Google preempts any inconvienence and risk by making it a part of Chrome.

In the End

Relentless innovation has gotten Chrome browser this far. This is due to Chromium as an open source resource as well as the amount of manpower that Google has thrown towards it in anticipation of Chrome OS. I didn’t even get to talk here about interesting features like the omnibox, bookmark sync and geolocation, but they are an aside to these three major developments that are propelling this browser’s growth. How much market share can this browser take from Internet Explorer and Firefox in the months and years to come?

Viacom Loses to YouTube: Good for User Content

Posted on 23. Jun, 2010 by . 0 Comments

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Viacom sued YouTube for $1 billion dollars back in 2007 over copyrighted content in the form of video clips that were hosted on the video sharing site. Today, it was announced that Viacom has lost their suit against YouTube. A primary reason for this was that the content on YouTube has been declared as protected under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

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This is a big deal, since it allows for people on the web to be able to share things that in the past could have proved to violate possible copyright laws. The problem up until now is that bloggers, user-generated content sites and social media mavens were in a gray area in regards to the legality of sharing certain things with other people on the internet. With this precedent today, we now have something to rely on that cements the web as a place to share thoughts and ideas about anything, as long as it is not outright stealing.

This also helps out in terms of cloud computing, as not only users were at risk previously, but also the datacenters that hold information. These massive structures full of servers are generally operated by large companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple – and I would assume that in the future possible legal disputes about user information stored in the cloud (whatever it may be) would have certain protections as well.

Content sharing and social media, along with cloud computing are starting to come out of the “Wild West” era, so to speak and it is further apparent that there is legitimacy for those who are involved in this space.

Adobe PDF Files Now Integrated into Chromium

Posted on 17. Jun, 2010 by . 0 Comments

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AdobePDFHow will Apple combat the PDF on the web? They have already said that they won’t support Flash, and Adobe has since slowly backed away from support for anything related to Apple. It’s a smart move on Adobe’s part, and gives Google a chance to move in on the vacant space.

The Chromium Blog has just posted a bit about PDF files now being integrated into the browser. This is something I had expected to happen with the advent of Adobe’s Flash player being baked into Chrome, and this is a logical step forward since these files are ubiquitous on the web. At the forefront of this move are issues with security. There have been problems (and McAfee has pointed them out) with suspect PDF files causing havoc on machines.

In the Computerworld article linked above, a McAfee security specialist recommended sandboxing Adobe Reader files, something that is now being done by the Chromium team to further enhance Chrome’s overall security in the future.

With Google supporting Adobe’s formats (OK, two of them) they legitimize them on the web. There’s nothing wrong with that, other than the fact that they are tacking a stance that further differentiates them from Apple. It seems only logical to think that with Flash already being in the fold that supporting Adobe Reader’s PDF file format to be complementary to what has already been done with integration. Despite Apple’s concern everyone uses Flash and Reader so instead of chucking it out, why not find ways to solve the problem at hand?

At the same time, what is wrong with simply integrating PDF files into the web the way it’s done with Srcibd? This may just be another move for Google to pre-empt that company, just like purchasing YouTube gave them the defacto platform for video. Integrating PDF files gives Google the platform for enabling documentation that may have all sorts of importance to people that want to publish on the web yet still retain some degree of control.

This is starting in Chromium with the dev build, and surely will soon move to the beta and stable releases of Chrome.

Why Google TV Makes My Current Television Really Boring

Posted on 21. May, 2010 by . 2 Comments

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googletvlogoWhile I knew for weeks that Google TV was going to be announced at the annual I/O developers conference that was held this week, I did not expect to see such a radical change in the way that people might be watching television soon. Sure, there were a lot of whiz-bang features and we don’t know how they will play out once the actual product reaches stores. But the reality is that my TV is just plain terrible right now compared to what Google TV can offer me.

The ability to use the web and TV at the same time? Check. An input device that I can use to do this? Check. Apps for television? Certainly. Integration with my Android-powered phone? Well, of course.

For the past decade, those of us who grew up with computers have had no choice but to sit on the couch with an uncomfortably hot laptop while watching TV at the same time. It’s really become an annoyance and the conglomerate cable/satellite providers never saw any reason to make a change since they were already getting fat profits from TV and internet service while keeping them separate entities. But along comes the ever-disrupting Google gathering its own band of partners to make the television experience very much different.

It was clear that Google had been working on this for some time (2.5 years), and the ability to add in services to Google TV that we already use on the web makes a ton of sense. Take television subtitles being translated into other languages, powered by Google Translate. This is just one example that shows more Google services will likely trickle down into even more features for Google TV that will make it very difficult for the competition. Not to mention the potential advertising implications that this will have for Google.

So, as it stands, my current television viewing has taken a dive. It’s not interactive; I cannot easily search for the specific shows that I want. I’m still squinting at a fourteen inch display when I watch Hulu or check out videos on YouTube. It’s been a real revelation to me now how bad my video viewing experiences currently are, but for now I’m stuck with them.

At least until the fall.

thechromesource Daily: Links for 5/18/10

Posted on 18. May, 2010 by . 0 Comments

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Amazon announced today that they are releasing a Kindle e-reader app for Android.

Google’s YouTube video of its new Feed API v2 with Push shows how real-time feeds can be easily embedded into web pages.

The new Gmail contextual gadgets feature allows Google Apps Marketplace developers the ability to add functionality within e-mail.

General Motors has formally announced its partnership with Google, and a possible Android version of OnStar could appear at Google I/O.

Of course, don’t forget that Google I/O starts tomorrow morning. Here are the resources you need to be in on the action.

Despite Profits from the Static Web, Google Pushes Dynamic

Posted on 18. May, 2010 by . 1 Comments

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globalipsolutionslogoToday it was announced that Google is acquiring the Norwegian firm Global IP Solutions, which focuses on VoIP and videoconferencing solutions. I have been thinking recently about Google’s foray into the web as a media-rich dynamic platform, and it seems almost as if the company is focusing on a “change or die” mantra when it comes to the static web, a place where for the past decade Google has made immense profits.

The Google I/O conference, which kicks off tomorrow, is a great example of this, coupled with the fact that the Global IP Solutions acquisition is clearly aimed towards collaborative resources that extend way beyond just chat and email. The challenging thing for Google is going to be indexing and advertising these types of features, something that is at the very core of its business model.

As anyone who uses YouTube knows, it isn’t exactly intuitive to find the videos that you are looking for. That problem has been addressed somewhat this year, but I still find the UI a bit cumbersome to navigate. With that being said, though, YouTube has enjoyed a tremendous boost in advertising, which bodes well for the original purpose of Google buying it back in 2006.

But how does Google go about keeping track of videos hosted on other sites like Hulu, Vimeo and Justin.tv? How does it make a profit from its foray into VoIP? Only time will tell, but it will take innovation to make sure that the free model persists in these areas. It’s clear that a continuation away from the simple text that oddly enough Google has turned in a cash machine will proceed as newer platforms like Android and Chrome OS offer a new way to enjoy Google’s low-cost applications and services.

thechromesource Daily: Links for 5/17/10

Posted on 17. May, 2010 by . 0 Comments

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Although I’ve been unable to find an official link from Acer, Engadget reports that the company will not launch a Chrome OS netbook soon.

YouTube is now five years old; it serves up more than two billion videos to users everyday.

Scroogle now has its own Scraper Extension in the Chrome directory; allowing you scraped searches anytime you want.

Could Google TV be “the biggest single change in television since it went color”, as Intel chief Paul Otellini has been quoted?

The Android Market has had its website updated a bit, possibly in anticipation of Google I/O on Wednesday.