All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

30 Dec 12 The 5 Chrome apps and extensions I used most in 2012

The year is about to draw to a close. It is that time when we plan our resolutions for the coming year, get ready for New Year’s Eve parties and celebrations and reflect back on the year that was. One fun thing to think about is the technology you used most in the past year. For me there is quite a bit, but I thought I would focus on one — web browser apps and extensions.

Being a writer, my browser is my most-used tool and this year I made a switch from Firefox to Google’s Chrome. Like Firefox, Chrome has countless extensions, but it also has apps that reside on the New Tab page — access them by opening a new tab and clicking on Apps at the bottom of the screen.

So, this got me thinking about which extensions and apps I used most over the past year and I decided to put together a little list of my top-5.

1. Tab Cloud

Tab Cloud is a great cross-platform (it works in Firefox as well) way to save your tabs and move them from PC to PC or even back and forth between two different brands of browsers. Sure, Chrome can do this, but it does sometimes crash and once in a while even loses your tabs, so I do periodic backups to Tab Cloud. The extension places a cloud icon on your menu bar.

2. Tampermonkey

While Chrome can do a lot with apps and extensions, Tampermonkey adds an additional dimension by letting you access user scripts in an easy way. Again, it adds an icon to your menu bar. Clicking it will give you access to options, access to new user scripts and a lot more.


3. Evernote Web Clipper

Evernote is a great service. It works on the web and across multiple mobile platforms and allows you to save all sorts of information. It constantly syncs the notes and images so you can always access them from anywhere. The Web Clipper app allows you to “clip” sections or entire web pages to save for later reference.

4. Angry Birds

Yes, the popular mobile game has moved to other platforms. You can play it on Facebook, but you can also play it in Chrome. Access it by clicking Apps on a New Tab page.

5. Better Music for Google Play Music

This is a great little extension that gives you easy access to your Google Music right from the menu bar. There is no need to visit the site or click on a tab. You can Play, Pause and do more from the icon on your menu bar.

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Responses so far:

  1. Still no good mouse gestures addon for Chrome, unfortunately. That’s forcing me to stick with Firefox.

  2. Ah that Angry Birds ruined the awesomeness of your list lol
    For me it’s
    Andd app shrotcuts like gmail gdrive drop ox etc :)

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21 Dec 12 Pudding Monsters now available through Google Play

Pudding Monsters
A few weeks ago we reported that Zeptolab was preparing a new puzzle game, Pudding Monsters. Yesterday, the title officially landed in the Google Play store.

While the fun and cartoon-like styling of Pudding Monsters feels similar to Cut the Rope, the gameplay itself is actually quite a bit different. Your goal is to help little blobs of pudding connect so they can be large enough to rescue their friends and escape. Like Zeptolab’s Cut the Rope, the game also has optional stars that you can collect.

This game is about figuring out what does and what doesn’t work as you attempt to perfectly complete the puzzles in each level. Again, this game is rather different from Zeptolab’s last hit, but it does seem to be equally addicting. While puzzle solving can be hard, the game is geared towards casual players as well and offers in-game hints and help if you are truly stuck.

The game also has several unique monsters all with their own abilities and functions, which add to the puzzle experience.

So how much will Pudding Monsters set you back? The HD version is just $.99, or you can always try out the free version first. For those with multiple platforms, the game is also available on iPad and iPhone.

What do you think, interested or not?


SOURCES Google Play

amazing-alex-google-play-rovio Amazing Alex available in Google Play from Angry Birds creator puzzle-and-dragons Puzzle Dragons hits the Google Play Store, blocks rooted devices Dragon Eternity Free to play MMORPG Dragon Eternity from Game Insight coming soon to Google Play Pudding Monsters ZeptoLab unveils its lastest game, Pudding Monsters

Andrew Grush is a full-time freelance writer and blogger – primarily in the mobile tech industry. Andrew is very excited to be part of and is dedicated to providing the latest and greatest industry news possible.

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20 Dec 12 10 Best Android Apps Of 2012

No, Android faithful, we haven’t forgotten about you. Two weeks ago we named the best iPhone and iPad apps of 2012, and now it’s Android’s turn. It’s not easy, of course, to choose the top 10 apps from more than 700,000 selections, and the process is admittedly subjective. As with our iOS picks, we’ve tried to avoid the most obvious candidates — Facebook, Instagram, Pandora, Angry Birds and so on — and focus on new and less obvious apps that InformationWeek readers might find useful at work, home and on the road. Our picks may lean toward the pragmatic side of things, but they’re not all dullsville utilities and the like. Some are actually fun.

Nobody’s Top 10 list is the same, naturally, and your picks may differ from ours. But there should be little argument that Android as a mobile platform is booming. In a December 10 interview with Bloomberg News, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt boasted that Android grabbed a commanding 72% of the global mobile OS market in the third quarter, and compared today’s Android-iOS battle with the Windows-Macintosh desktop donnybrook of years past.

“This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago — Microsoft versus Apple,” Schmidt told Bloomberg. “We’re winning that war pretty clearly now.”

OK, enough with the bragging, already. Sure, Android’s domination is apparent — 2nd place iOS has a relatively paltry 14% of the global market — and Google’s mobile platform has reached parity with Apple in the apps arms race. (Both are north of 700,000.) But Android is plagued by fragmentation, with a dizzying array of devices running various incarnations of the OS. For instance, just over 50% of Android devices still run Gingerbread (Android 2.3x), which first debuted two years ago — yep, several eternities in the mobile market.

Things are improving, albeit slowly. Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0x) runs on 27.5% of Android devices, and the newer Jelly Bean (Android 4.1 and 4.2) runs on 6.7%.

Why does fragmentation matter so much? Because the newest, coolest Android tools — including one from Google that we spotlight in the slideshow below — require the latest version(s) of the OS.

One important point about our Android picks: Like their iOS counterparts, they didn’t necessarily have to debut in 2012, but rather had to fulfill a particularly need and do it well.

So here they are: The Top 10 Android Apps of 2012. Disagree with our choices? Let us know below.

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13 Jun 12 The Android Internet Revolution is in the Apps

Ask me a question.

TEXAS, June 12th, 2012 — The iPhone started a trend that is still exploding today, however eight out of ten smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2012 are powered by the Android operating system and not the iOS.  This Q2 increase gives Android 60% of the market as a whole and all indicators show that this will increase quickly.  This defines the concept of grabbing the ball (from iPhone) and running with it.  Kevin Restivo, a senior analyst for IDC’s Mobile Phone Tracker program said, “In order for operating system challengers to gain share, their creators and hardware partners need to secure developer loyalty”.  Restivo attributes much of Android’s success to developer enthusiasm and the open source model.  This is supported by Google’s claim that Android is climbing like a rocket due to its seamless user experience and a steady supply of apps. 

So if the user experience is a given, what’s with all these great apps?  Are users spending tons of money downloading tiny programs that tell them where the best hot dog stand is in their area?  Is Google Play raking in millions from rabid Android users?  The answer is yes big time, but there are so many high quality free apps for Android that a user can have a great smartphone experience without dropping a ton of cash outside of actually buying the phone.  Here are a few of the top user rated free apps currently available on the Android OS. 

Facebook for Android

Facebook is literally everywhere, and despite all the class action lawsuits lining up to hack away at the recent IPO it would seem this social media giant is here to stay.  Now you can stay in the loop with all of your Facebook friends everywhere you go.  Post photos, reply to friends, post status updates, and chat just as if you were at your computer.  Jessica Dolcourt, a senior editor at CNET said, “The official Facebook for Android app is undoubtedly the best way to interact with Facebook on your Android smartphone.”  The app has a 3.5 star user rating with over 3.4 million votes.  This app is certainly loved by the people. 


Video chat via High Speed Internet Providers has been available for years, but now you can do that as well as instant message and send photos to your friends from your phone.  Creating an account is fast and easy and the interface is very user friendly.  Quickly access Contacts, Recent Calls, and Profiles from the start screen.  The Contacts menu will even show you who is available at a glance.  To add a friend you can search by Skype Name, real name, or email address.  Once found add them with a click and you are ready to make a call.  Unfortunately Skype for Android doesn’t work on all Android phones yet.  For a complete list of supported devices please visit the Skype Blog.

Angry Birds

Yes Angry Birds.  We are not done talking about this game apparently.  With a 4.5 star user rating and over one billion downloads if you are reading this you probably have the game, so just play it while I chat for a second.  This is the most successful mobile game of all time while simultaneously having one of the silliest premises ever thought up.  It is a testament to the power of the gameplay that several hundred million users out there have probably forgotten that they are throwing birds at logs and rocks in an attempt to stop a pig infestation.  Angry Birds is a pop culture phenomenon and is clearly the king…of something.  Although there is a fee associated with the full game and its various sequels a free trial version is available as is a version paid for by advertising.


Music lovers love Pandora Internet Radio.  For all intents and purposes users can create their own radio station and listen to it on the go.  Although this free service does pay for itself by pushing advertising, the flexibility and power of Pandora greatly offsets the irritation of commercials.  Select an artist to get started and Pandora will begin choosing similar artists for you to try out.  This is a fantastic way to find new music in your favorite genre without searching the Internet endlessly.

These are just a few of the hundreds of apps available on Android.  Try these out then shop around.  There is an app for whatever you are looking for.

Jon T. Norwood is a writer at Web Exordium and can be reached via twitter @JonTNorwood

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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06 Jun 12 All Android 4 posts

Archos unveils low-cost Android 4.0 tablet for kids

An “Alvin and the Chipmunks”-themed tablet just for kids? Sounds great, but the skeptic in me says it’ll be underpowered and overpriced.

At $129.99, the Archos ChildPad definitely isn’t overpriced, especially when you consider that “adult” tablets (like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet) start at around $200.

As for power, one could argue that younger kids don’t need much. But the ChildPad has decent specs, including a 1GHz ARM Cortex processor, 7-inch screen, front-facing camera, and Android 4.0.

In other words, it’s more than adequately equipped for the likes of Angry Birds, educational apps, music, movies, and other kid-oriented stuff. Plus, it’s modeled in kid-friendly blue and white, and it comes with exclusive “Alvin and the Chipmunks 3″ content (consisting of clips, pictures, wallpaper, and an online game).


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04 Jun 12 To Hide Android Malware From Google’s ‘Bouncer’, Hackers Learn Its Name …

“LadyGaga.jpg,” one of two photos on the Android Market’s simulated test phone for identifying malicious programs. The other is called “cat.jpg.” Any program that attempts to access either photo and upload it to a remote destination can be flagged as malware.

The antivirus scanner that polices Google’s Android Market is named Miles Karlson. It has one friend, Michelle K. Levin, and a cat. And it seems to be a fan of Lady Gaga.

Those are a few of the many personal characteristics that security researchers Charlie Miller and Jon Oberheide have spent the last several months learning about Google’s newest safeguard for Android users, the scanning program it launched with the codename “Bouncer” in February. And knowing just one of those seemingly random details, they say, would be enough for a malicious app to hide itself from Google’s protective scans and find its way onto a user’s device.

At the Summercon conference in New York this week, Miller and Oberheide plan to present a new method for bypassing Google’s mobile app store’s protections against programs that steal data, send spam or siphon a victim’s money by making calls to premium numbers. Their method takes advantage of the fact that Google’s ‘Bouncer’ tool tests apps by running them in a virtualized environment–a simulated phone created in software–to see how they’ll perform on real users’ devices. And if malware can be designed to detect that it’s running on that simulated gadget rather than the real thing, it can temporarily suppress its evil urges, pass Google’s test and make its way onto a real phone before wreaking havoc.

“The question for Google is, how do you make it so the malware doesn’t know it’s running in a simulated environment?” says Oberheide. “You want to pretend you’re running a real system. But a lot of tricks can be played by malware to learn that it’s being monitored.”

Oberheide and Miller say they submitted a testing application to the Android Market that gives them remote access to a target device to analyze Bouncer’s scans and catalogue the “fingerprints” that malware can use to determine whether it’s in the test environment: And Google’s simulated test phone leaves behind all the identifying characteristics of any bot pretending to be a flesh-and-blood user. Every instance of Google’s simulated Android phone, they discovered, is registered to the same account, To bait malware into trying to steal photos or contacts, Bouncer’s test phone lists exactly one contact ( and stores two photos: Cat.jpg and Ladygaga.jpg. (Pictured above)

Some other giveaways are more subtle: Miller and Oberheide say that they can find evidence in a file subdirectory that the phone is running on QEMU, a type of virtualization software. (Oberheide demonstrates this in the video below.) The virtual phone’s performance is slower than a real phone. And if the program sets the phone to access an outside server, that server can identify its IP address as one that belongs to Google.

“There are a thousand different ways to very accurately and sustainably fingerprint Bouncer,” says Oberheide. “Some are really hard to fix. Some can be fixed pretty easily. But in the long term game, the attackers have a major advantage.”

To prove his point, Oberheide uploaded an application called HelloNeon to the Android Market Sunday night that’s capable of pulling down new malicious code once it’s installed on a user’s phone. It passed Bouncer’s scan and was available for download Monday morning.

Oberheide says he and Miller have spoken to Google’s security staff about their work, and Google may have already changed some of the characteristics of Bouncer to make its simulations harder to differentiate from a real user’s phone. I reached out to Google to confirm Oberheide’s and Miller’s findings and hear the company’s comments, but I haven’t yet heard back.

Both Miller and Oberheide have a long history of poking holes in the security measures for mobile devices. In 2010, Oberheide showed that programs posing as innocuous apps like an Angry Birds upgrade or Twilight photos could pull down new malicious code after making their way onto a user’s device. Miller, one of the world’s top Apple hackers, exploited a bug last year in the iOS app store that allowed an app he created to similarly download and execute new code despite Apple’s code-signing restriction, a measure designed to prevent unauthorized commands from running on iPhones and iPads.

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02 Jun 12 Android and Chrome OS to Tie Up?

Google has revealed that the next step for Chrome OS is a gradual convergence with Android, and not its use on a Chrome OS-based tablet. Both Chrome OS and Android carry the Google brand, the former used in desktop computing, while the latter, at mobile computing.

The convergence, reveals Google’s vice president of engineering, will be slow and gradual. This will allow both operating systems to coexist. Desktop and mobile computing, Google recognizes, are two very different things, of which people have different sets of expectations. However, the teams behind Android and Chrome OS today are now working closely with each other, envisioning a seamless Google experience in the future.

Yet Google is not the only company that desires such a unified experience. Apple, for instance, also has a desktop operating system, OS X, and a mobile operating system, iOS. The two operating systems have similar features that allow users to shift easily from a mobile device such as the iPod Touch, iPad, or Phone to a Mac. This year, Apple is pushing the envelope further by integrating iOS apps into the new OS X Mountain Lion.

Microsoft, learning from an earlier mistake of offering the same operating system across both mobile and desktop platforms, is also launching a new OS this year. Windows 8 is a desktop OS which features the Metro UI, a tile-based interface that is optimized for tablet use, but also works well on desktop computers and smartphones.

Today, Chrome OS may not have such a loyal following as Microsoft and Apple have. However, Google is determined that current developments may change that. As with Android, which started out small and ended up being present on many mobile devices, Chrome OS may take over the field of operating systems in the future especially as it converges with Android.

Already, the convergence is starting, with Chrome on Android already bringing some functions of Chrome OS onboard mobile devices. Users also get the same browsing experience from Chrome regardless of what operating system they are using.

Now, we simply have to wait and see where the results of this convergence might lead us in mobile and desktop computing.

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01 Jun 12 Android 4.0 tablets

Archos unveils low-cost Android 4.0 tablet for kids

An “Alvin and the Chipmunks”-themed tablet just for kids? Sounds great, but the skeptic in me says it’ll be underpowered and overpriced.

At $129.99, the Archos ChildPad definitely isn’t overpriced, especially when you consider that “adult” tablets (like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet) start at around $200.

As for power, one could argue that younger kids don’t need much. But the ChildPad has decent specs, including a 1GHz ARM Cortex processor, 7-inch screen, front-facing camera, and Android 4.0.

In other words, it’s more than adequately equipped for the likes of Angry Birds, educational apps, music, movies, and other kid-oriented stuff. Plus, it’s modeled in kid-friendly blue and white, and it comes with exclusive “Alvin and the Chipmunks 3″ content (consisting of clips, pictures, wallpaper, and an online game).


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26 May 12 Top Free Android Apps

If you own an Android smartphone, you will no doubt want to download plenty of great apps. While you may wonder about the best deals you can get from Google Play, formerly known as the Android Market, but there are plenty of quality apps you can get for free. These are all well worth exploring and downloading to your phone so that you can have the best experience in many areas, including entertainment, personal finance, navigation and more.

Google Wallet is one of the best free apps that is available for download on many Android smartphones. Created by a top developer, you will no longer have to worry about the best credit cards to have on hand when you are on the go as you can simply enter your information into this app and use it to make purchases at a variety of different vendors. This is a great app to have right at your fingertips on your phone, especially if you are a bit of a scatterbrain who occasionally forgets your wallet! It works with MasterCard credit card information.

Pandora Internet Radio is a fantastic app for Android smartphone owners who enjoy listening to music while on the go. Essentially, you can create your very own personalized radio station that you can listen to directly on your device. It runs on ads, but this is not an issue as the majority of what you will get is music. Simply select an artist or a band and the app will play them and artists and bands that are similar, which is a great way to be introduced to great music you have never heard before.

Facebook for Android is an essential free app that you can enjoy on your smartphone. It keeps you in the loop with the social networking website and all of your friends who use it. You receive many of the same features that you would have on your computer and can easily and quickly post status updates, reply to friends’ statuses and post photos and videos right from your Android phone.

Skype is a great free app that allows you to engage in video chats and IM sessions with others. You can use it to chat with anyone who has Skype, whether they have it on their own smartphone or on their computer. It is fun, easy and convenient to use.

Angry Birds is the most widely popular and successful game for mobile devices, including Android smartphones. It has recently reached one billion downloads with good reason as it is a great way to pass time. You may find yourself having loads of funs for hours on end while flinging the charismatic, colorful birds at the silly green pigs that have stolen their eggs. Even if you play for minutes at a time, you will find yourself coming back for more.

While many Android nay-sayers claim that Android has nothing over Apple when it comes to the number of apps, there is no doubt that Android does have a large number of high quality apps.  So if you have an Android phone, make sure to have the aformentioned apps on your phone to have the best Android experience possible.

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26 Apr 12 Android Gaming Tablet Looks Remarkably Similar to Sony PSP

This is not the PSP. Photo: JXD

The wonderful thing about Android is that it can be installed on any device if a company is willing to invest time in porting the OS to its hardware. But the bad thing about Android is that it can land in hardware of questionable pedigree — like a portable gaming system that looks remarkably similar to the product of another company.

The JXD S5110 is the Android-powered PSP clone many gamers have been secretly pining for. While Sony Ericsson’s current Android-powered gaming smartphone, the Xperia Play, is nice, its slide-out controllers lack the ergonomic styling of Sony’s PSP systems. The JXD S5110, however, borrows the PSP formfactor, and looks to be the perfect marriage of hand-held gaming hardware and Android.

Nonetheless, the JXD could run into trouble with its button design: The controller features triangle, circle, cross and square icons on its action buttons — and these buttons are registered trademarks of Sony.

And if looking just like the PSP wasn’t enough, JXD also touts the S5110′s ability to support simulators for the Nintendo 64, Game Boy Advance and Sega Genesis consoles. Apparently, the handheld will play everything from Tetris and Sonic the Hedgehog ROMs to official Angry Birds ports available on Google Play.

The Ice Cream Sandwich-powered console has a 5-inch, 800×480 capacitive touch screen, and includes an HDMI port that will push games and other Android apps to an HDTV for a big-screen experience. Powered by a Amlogic M3 processor with 512 DDR RAM, the S5110 also has a 0.3mp backside camera, USB 2.0 port, microSD slot and audio mini-jack port. Throw Wi-Fi connectivity into the mix, and the S5110 looks to be a pretty great piece of gaming gear.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to actually purchase the S5110 on JXD’s site. Wired sent emails to the company’s locations in China and Iran, and also reached out to Sony for comment, but neither company replied by press time.

Via Ubergizmo

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