msgbartop
All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS
msgbarbottom

15 Jun 12 Spotify 0.5 (for Android)


Now fully optimized for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Spotify for Android (free to Premium subscribers, $9.99/month) is one of the most gorgeous Android apps I’ve ever seen, and I dare say better than Spotify for iPhone.

A top-to-bottom makeover this month adds buttery smooth navigation, faster streaming (320kbps) for higher-quality sound, eye-popping album art, and a few other power features. All it needs is support for local files, and I’m ready to delete all my other music players.

Spotify 101
For the uninitiated, Spotify (4.5 stars, free) is an online music service that lets you play songs from a mainstream-heavy library of more than 15 million tracks, build playlists, and get recommendations from other members or from Spotify’s own recommendation engine. Upgrading to a Premium account removes ad interruptions, and lets you store playlists offline (up to 3,333 tracks), and sync your account to an unlimited number of mobile devices. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you don’t have Premium, you can (and absolutely should) sign up for a free 30-day trial to enjoy our Editors’ Choice pick for premium music services on your Android device.

If you’d rather not pay a dime and don’t mind being unable to listen to individual tracks or albums on demand, Songza is the Editors’ Choice among free music services, and it supports iOS and Android. Slacker Radio ($9.99, 4.5 stars), another Editors’ Choice pick on the PC and iPad, serves tons of streaming radio stations. For a pure cloud-based music player, Google Play Music is a solid option, but you can only share a full stream with Google+ members and you can only add music you’ve purchased through Google Play.

Better Look and Feel
Spotify for Android looks more like Spotify for iPad (4 stars) than Spotify on an iPhone or desktop. The app sheds Spotify’s original black and green color scheme for lots of clean lines, white space, and grey trim. Graphics, particularly album covers, are so vivid they almost pop. It’s a beautiful way to play music on a tablet.

Navigation is faster and snappier, too, thanks to lots of buttery-smooth scrolling and swiping. For example, you can swipe left to access your Settings menu to open your playlists, Inbox, Friends list, song recommendations, and search box. The menu simply layers on top of an existing page.

Better Than the iPhone Version?
This is the first Android app I’ve reviewed that performs better than its iPhone counterpart. Not only is it faster and more intuitive, it also ports a few awesome desktop features.

Sound quality is better. You can now stream or download tracks at a deliciously high 320kbps, called Extreme mode. It’ll hog your data, so use it sparingly or with Wi-Fi. Spotify for Android also now supports gapless playback and crossfading between tracks, so there aren’t any abrupt pauses.

Looking for new music? From Settings, tap What’s New to see trending songs and playlists among Spotify friends and members located near you, or swipe through a slick carousel of new albums. This section is limited to only five options each, however. The desktop client recommends twice the amount. Spotify for Android also lets you build perfect playlists. For instance it adds Spotify’s Play Queue, a scrollable list that displays what songs lie ahead of your currently playing track. You can drop in tracks at any time, even if you’re listening to someone else’s playlist.

Adding two desktop-only features would make this app just about flawless. It needs to support locally stored files so I could finally delete iTunes. And it needs to support Spotify’s new app ecosystem, which I considered an awesome feature in my review of the desktop service. Spotify apps are simply third-party curated playlists; you’ll find big name apps from Last.fm, Songkick, and Rolling Stone magazine.

An Incentive to Upgrade
Spotify, our Editors’ Choice pick for premium music players on Android, is an incredible service that has essentially eliminated my need to ever buy music again. And it clearly understands mobile: Spotify for Android is a gorgeously designed app, approaching all the features offered by its desktop client. If it ever supports locally stored files, I’m deleting all my music player and music storage apps. Highly recommended.

For more Android Software, see:
•   Spotify 0.5 (for Android)
•   Instapaper (for Android)
•   Bump 3.3 (for Android)
•   Facebook 1.9.3 (for Android)
•   LastPass Premium Password Manager (for Android)
•  more

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405831,00.asp

Tags: , , , , ,

13 Jun 12 Any.DO (for Chrome)


To-do list fanatics, such as me, drool over good apps that sync seamlessly across multiple devices. Any.DO (free), which has apps for Android and iPhone, puts your daily tasks on more screens with a browser plug-in for Chrome. The extension syncs without a hitch and looks clean, but lacks any special features. Tasks themselves support reminders, additional notes, and a red label for high priority items, but settings and customization are nil.

View Slideshow
See all (8) slides


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)

For to-do list apps on iPhone, I’ve become a huge fan of Awesome Note ($3.99, 4 stars), which does not have a desktop app or browser plug-in at all. I wish it did, but I can live without it primarily because Awesome Note can sync both to and from Evernote , our Editors’ Choice for note syncing, which has apps for practically any device  you can name. That alternative solution is pretty good, though I’d still love to see Awesome Note on my desktop monitor. Some might say Microsoft OneNote accomplishes the task, but it operates more like Evernote in that it’s more set up for notes than to-do lists.

Any.DO serves basic to-do list needs reasonably well, but just doesn’t have anything special that might entice list makers to use it. In some ways Any.DO for Chrome reminds me of the iPhone app Clear (free, 2 stars), another to-do list that looks pretty and functions fine, but doesn’t meet the needs of its users.

Any.DO Features
Install the free Chrome extension for Any.DO, and it will appear in the upper right corner of your browser as a tiny icon: a blue label with check mark. To make syncing possible, Any.DO requires either a uniquely made account or Facebook authentication. And that’s the set up in its entirety.

You can create to-do list items, with annoying suggested autocompletes dropping down as you type, as well as folders to house them. The app comes readymade with a few samples of each to help guide you through the main capabilities and features. Beneath the icon hides a succinct display: options for showing your to-do list by time or by folder, a “clear completed tasks” button, a settings icon, and a button for popping out the app to its own window.

The settings icon contains nothing but a log-out option. The pop-out key does its job, but you can’t resize the new Window it creates. Any.DO’s developers have left themselves room on the menu pane, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they rounded it out with more options in the coming months. As-is, however, it looks dreadfully incomplete.

Better options start showing up within the tasks you create. To any task, you can add notes either as a block of text or line by line. You can also change the priority of the item, although you’re limited here to a red label or none at all, with no gradations. Reminders, when added to a task, pop up on the lower right corner of the screen, where you’d expect them. Reminders do sync across to your mobile device, so if you set an alarm in Chrome, it will buzz on your iPhone or Android phone as well… as long as the phone app has a chance to sync, that is.

Needs Work
Any.DO for Chrome barely covers the bases, and doesn’t add anything to its browser presence to entice a to-do list maker to use it. The concept—syncing via a browser rather than a desktop app—is sound, but more work is needed in terms of understanding users.

More Productivity App Reviews:
•   Any.DO (for iPhone)
•   Any.DO (for Chrome)
•   RescueTime Solo Pro
•   Slife (Premium)
•   Google Drive
•  more

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405687,00.asp

Tags: ,

12 Jun 12 Any.DO (for Chrome)


To-do list fanatics, such as me, drool over good apps that sync seamlessly across multiple devices. Any.DO (free), which has apps for Android and iPhone, puts your daily tasks on more screens with a browser plug-in for Chrome. The extension syncs without a hitch and looks clean, but lacks any special features. Tasks themselves support reminders, additional notes, and a red label for high priority items, but settings and customization are nil.

View Slideshow
See all (8) slides


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)

For to-do list apps on iPhone, I’ve become a huge fan of Awesome Note ($3.99, 4 stars), which does not have a desktop app or browser plug-in at all. I wish it did, but I can live without it primarily because Awesome Note can sync both to and from Evernote , our Editors’ Choice for note syncing, which has apps for practically any device  you can name. That alternative solution is pretty good, though I’d still love to see Awesome Note on my desktop monitor. Some might say Microsoft OneNote accomplishes the task, but it operates more like Evernote in that it’s more set up for notes than to-do lists.

Any.DO serves basic to-do list needs reasonably well, but just doesn’t have anything special that might entice list makers to use it. In some ways Any.DO for Chrome reminds me of the iPhone app Clear (free, 2 stars), another to-do list that looks pretty and functions fine, but doesn’t meet the needs of its users.

Any.DO Features
Install the free Chrome extension for Any.DO, and it will appear in the upper right corner of your browser as a tiny icon: a blue label with check mark. To make syncing possible, Any.DO requires either a uniquely made account or Facebook authentication. And that’s the set up in its entirety.

You can create to-do list items, with annoying suggested autocompletes dropping down as you type, as well as folders to house them. The app comes readymade with a few samples of each to help guide you through the main capabilities and features. Beneath the icon hides a succinct display: options for showing your to-do list by time or by folder, a “clear completed tasks” button, a settings icon, and a button for popping out the app to its own window.

The settings icon contains nothing but a log-out option. The pop-out key does its job, but you can’t resize the new Window it creates. Any.DO’s developers have left themselves room on the menu pane, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they rounded it out with more options in the coming months. As-is, however, it looks dreadfully incomplete.

Better options start showing up within the tasks you create. To any task, you can add notes either as a block of text or line by line. You can also change the priority of the item, although you’re limited here to a red label or none at all, with no gradations. Reminders, when added to a task, pop up on the lower right corner of the screen, where you’d expect them. Reminders do sync across to your mobile device, so if you set an alarm in Chrome, it will buzz on your iPhone or Android phone as well… as long as the phone app has a chance to sync, that is.

Needs Work
Any.DO for Chrome barely covers the bases, and doesn’t add anything to its browser presence to entice a to-do list maker to use it. The concept—syncing via a browser rather than a desktop app—is sound, but more work is needed in terms of understanding users.

More Productivity App Reviews:
•   Any.DO (for iPhone)
•   Any.DO (for Chrome)
•   RescueTime Solo Pro
•   Slife (Premium)
•   Google Drive
•  more

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405687,00.asp?kc=PCRSS02129TX1K0000530

Tags: ,

12 Jun 12 Any.DO (for Chrome)


To-do list fanatics, such as me, drool over good apps that sync seamlessly across multiple devices. Any.DO (free), which has apps for Android and iPhone, puts your daily tasks on more screens with a browser plug-in for Chrome. The extension syncs without a hitch and looks clean, but lacks any special features. Tasks themselves support reminders, additional notes, and a red label for high priority items, but settings and customization are nil.

View Slideshow
See all (8) slides


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)


Any.DO (for Chrome)

For to-do list apps on iPhone, I’ve become a huge fan of Awesome Note ($3.99, 4 stars), which does not have a desktop app or browser plug-in at all. I wish it did, but I can live without it primarily because Awesome Note can sync both to and from Evernote , our Editors’ Choice for note syncing, which has apps for practically any device  you can name. That alternative solution is pretty good, though I’d still love to see Awesome Note on my desktop monitor. Some might say Microsoft OneNote accomplishes the task, but it operates more like Evernote in that it’s more set up for notes than to-do lists.

Any.DO serves basic to-do list needs reasonably well, but just doesn’t have anything special that might entice list makers to use it. In some ways Any.DO for Chrome reminds me of the iPhone app Clear (free, 2 stars), another to-do list that looks pretty and functions fine, but doesn’t meet the needs of its users.

Any.DO Features
Install the free Chrome extension for Any.DO, and it will appear in the upper right corner of your browser as a tiny icon: a blue label with check mark. To make syncing possible, Any.DO requires either a uniquely made account or Facebook authentication. And that’s the set up in its entirety.

You can create to-do list items, with annoying suggested autocompletes dropping down as you type, as well as folders to house them. The app comes readymade with a few samples of each to help guide you through the main capabilities and features. Beneath the icon hides a succinct display: options for showing your to-do list by time or by folder, a “clear completed tasks” button, a settings icon, and a button for popping out the app to its own window.

The settings icon contains nothing but a log-out option. The pop-out key does its job, but you can’t resize the new Window it creates. Any.DO’s developers have left themselves room on the menu pane, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they rounded it out with more options in the coming months. As-is, however, it looks dreadfully incomplete.

Better options start showing up within the tasks you create. To any task, you can add notes either as a block of text or line by line. You can also change the priority of the item, although you’re limited here to a red label or none at all, with no gradations. Reminders, when added to a task, pop up on the lower right corner of the screen, where you’d expect them. Reminders do sync across to your mobile device, so if you set an alarm in Chrome, it will buzz on your iPhone or Android phone as well… as long as the phone app has a chance to sync, that is.

Needs Work
Any.DO for Chrome barely covers the bases, and doesn’t add anything to its browser presence to entice a to-do list maker to use it. The concept—syncing via a browser rather than a desktop app—is sound, but more work is needed in terms of understanding users.

More Productivity App Reviews:
•   Any.DO (for iPhone)
•   Any.DO (for Chrome)
•   RescueTime Solo Pro
•   Slife (Premium)
•   Google Drive
•  more

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405687,00.asp?kc=PCRSS02129TX1K0000530

Tags: ,

07 Jan 12 Chrome Beta Adds Speed, IE9-Like Download Reputation Protection


With Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft introduced the concept of protection from downloading malware based on “application reputation.” Google has now announced that the next major update to its Chrome browser will include a similar feature that protects users from downloading an installer file that, according to Google engineer Dominic Hamon, is “known to be bad, or is hosted on a website that hosts a relatively high percentage of malicious downloads.”

The protection targets the “social engineering” type of threat, rather than being a straightforward virus blocker. Often, users will see a Web site claiming to offer programs for protecting or speeding up their computers, while in fact the software being offered is spyware, adware, or another type of malware.

The new beta of Chrome 17 will also implement more pre-rendering of Web pages as you type in the browser’s combined search/address box. This is a nice browing-speed enhancer. For example, if often visit Facebook, typing just the letter “F” will autofill to the full www.facebook.com URL, as it does in most browsers. But in the Chrome 17 beta, not only will the address flesh out in the typing area, but the actual site will load in the browser window.


View Slideshow
See all (23) slides


Google Chrome 16


Add New User


Syncing Choices


New new-tab page notice

This pre-rendering follows a tradition of Google trying to get you to the site you want as quickly as your computer and the Internet allow. We’ve already seen Google Instant, which loads search results before you finish typing, and pre-loading with Instant Pages, in which Chrome tries to predict the next link you’ll click on and pre-render that. Of course, the basic speed of the browser’s operation, especially in JavaScript performance, was what made Chrome so popular in the first place.

In a separate update, the released version of Chrome 16 was also updated to version 16.0.912.75 to address several security flaws. The three highest-priority among these included “use-after-free in animation frames,” heap-buffer-overflow, and a stack buffer overflow in glyph handling vulnerabilities.

For a deep dive into all of the browser’s features and strengths, read our Editors’ Choice review of Google Chrome.

For more from Michael, follow him on Twitter @mikemuch.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398468,00.asp

Tags: , , ,

07 Jan 12 Chrome Beta Adds Speed, IE9-Like Download Reputation Protection


With Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft introduced the concept of protection from downloading malware based on “application reputation.” Google has now announced that the next major update to its Chrome browser will include a similar feature that protects users from downloading an installer file that, according to Google engineer Dominic Hamon, is “known to be bad, or is hosted on a website that hosts a relatively high percentage of malicious downloads.”

The protection targets the “social engineering” type of threat, rather than being a straightforward virus blocker. Often, users will see a Web site claiming to offer programs for protecting or speeding up their computers, while in fact the software being offered is spyware, adware, or another type of malware.

The new beta of Chrome 17 will also implement more pre-rendering of Web pages as you type in the browser’s combined search/address box. This is a nice browing-speed enhancer. For example, if often visit Facebook, typing just the letter “F” will autofill to the full www.facebook.com URL, as it does in most browsers. But in the Chrome 17 beta, not only will the address flesh out in the typing area, but the actual site will load in the browser window.


View Slideshow
See all (23) slides


Google Chrome 16


Add New User


Syncing Choices


New new-tab page notice

This pre-rendering follows a tradition of Google trying to get you to the site you want as quickly as your computer and the Internet allow. We’ve already seen Google Instant, which loads search results before you finish typing, and pre-loading with Instant Pages, in which Chrome tries to predict the next link you’ll click on and pre-render that. Of course, the basic speed of the browser’s operation, especially in JavaScript performance, was what made Chrome so popular in the first place.

In a separate update, the released version of Chrome 16 was also updated to version 16.0.912.75 to address several security flaws. The three highest-priority among these included “use-after-free in animation frames,” heap-buffer-overflow, and a stack buffer overflow in glyph handling vulnerabilities.

For a deep dive into all of the browser’s features and strengths, read our Editors’ Choice review of Google Chrome.

For more from Michael, follow him on Twitter @mikemuch.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398468,00.asp?kc=PCRSS03069TX1K0001121

Tags: , , ,