msgbartop
All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS
msgbarbottom

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.

tampermonkey

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.

Enjoyed the article?: Then sign-up for our free newsletter or RSS feed to kick off your day with the latest technology news and tips, or share the article with your friends and contacts on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ using the icons above.


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
    WOT
    Lastpass
    Andd app shrotcuts like gmail gdrive drop ox etc :)

Article source: http://www.ghacks.net/2012/12/29/the-5-chrome-apps-and-extensions-i-used-most-in-2012/

Tags: , , , , ,

19 Dec 12 Google Play Adds Music Matching Feature, 320k Cloud Streaming


Google Music LogoMusic junkies in the United States just received an early holiday gift from Google in the form of a music matching feature, and free 320kbps cloud streaming from Google Music’s online locker.

Google Music is a free service that allows users to upload a maximum of 20,000 songs to an online storage locker accessible via the web and Android devices. The software itself leaves a small footprint and runs in the background, automatically uploading new tracks from your library. The downside of the service is that for digital music packrats (self included), the initial upload process can literally take weeks (my personal music collection clocks in at 52GB).

Similar to Apple‘s iTunes Match, Google Music will now simply scan your local music library and instantly add those tracks to your locker, though don’t expect to see under-the-radar indie bands to populate just yet. Additionally, Google will provide enhanced 320kbps streaming of the matched files, even if your originals are encoded at a lower bitrate. The icing on the cake is that Google is offering this to users completely free of charge, unlike Apple and Amazon’s similar services which run $25/year.

Google’s 320kbps stream quality is also higher than Apple and Amazon’s 256kbps.

Of course, record labels still need compensation. AllThingsD reports that Google is essentially subsidizing the free music match service by paying labels directly. Though unconfirmed, anonymous insiders indicate that Google is paying these music labels a hefty sum upfront.

With the Nexus 7, Google’s strategy was selling the tablet at a compelling price (arguably at a loss if you take into account the bundled $25 Google Play coupon) to introduce new users into the Google Play ecosystem. This free music matching service is certainly another strong initiative to beckon consumers to the Android side of the fence.

The service launched last month in Europe.

I’ve been using Google Music since it launched and love how effortless it is to keep my music collection in sync across all my devices. This just sweetens the pot.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Read my Forbes blog here. Email questions or tips to jevangelho@gmail.com.

Article source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonevangelho/2012/12/19/google-play-adds-music-matching-feature-320k-cloud-streaming/

Tags: , , ,

19 Dec 12 Scan and Match Rolls Out to Google Play in US


The scan-and-match technology Google rolled out to Google Play last month in Europe is now available in the U.S.

The option saves you from having to upload all your music song by song; Google will scan your music library and add matching songs online via the cloud.

“Add up to 20,000 songs from your music collection to Google Play and stream it to your Android devices and your computer, anywhere you go,” the Google Play team said in a post to Google+.

The move “gets your songs into your online music library on Google Play much faster,” Google said. Music will be streamed at up to 320 kbps.

Amazon and Apple have similar services, but both cost $25. Scan and match was added to Amazon Cloud Player in July, while iTunes Match went live in Nov. 2011.

Google Music launched just over a year ago, and it lets users store songs in the cloud for free and buy tracks directly from Google Play. Users can store and stream up to 20,000 songs in the Google cloud for free, and buy other songs from Google Play.

For more, see PCMag’s review of Google Music, our hands on with iTunes Match, and review of Amazon Cloud Player.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2413359,00.asp

Tags: , , , ,

07 Jun 12 Chrome OS in-depth: Cloud-centric simplicity, evolved


By (@jr_raphael) G+

Google Chrome OS

Using Chrome OS is an interesting experience: In a strange way, it’s both new and completely familiar at the same time.

Chrome OS, after all, is an operating system built around Google’s Chrome browser. Most of the apps you use are cloud-based services — things like Gmail and Google Docs. But taken out of the typical operating system context, all those elements take on a whole new feel.

I’ve been using Chrome OS for the bulk of my computing needs these past several days. It’s part of my two-week Chrome OS experiment; with the launch of Google’s new Chromebook and Chromebox, I wanted to go beyond the traditional review and really get to know what it’s like to live in Google’s evolved cloud environment.

And evolved it certainly is. Chrome OS has come a long way since its launch 17 months ago, transforming from a series of locked-down browser windows into a full-fledged operating system. With its latest Chrome OS refresh — along with the vastly improved new Chrome OS hardware — Google has finally realized its vision for a cloud-based computing platform. The potential we saw in the beginning has been transformed into something far more polished and complete.

Ladies and gentlemen, Chrome OS has arrived.

Getting to know Google’s Chrome OS

The beauty of Chrome OS lies in its simplicity: You power up your Chromebook or Chromebox, and within seconds, you’re ready to roll. Once you’ve typed in your Google credentials, all of your bookmarks, Chrome extensions, and Chrome settings are in front of you — even your most recent open tabs from your PC or Android device are there — just like they appear on any other system you use. There’s no complicated setup, no messy drivers to deal with, and no hassles to keep you from getting online and getting down to business.

The cloud-centric approach comes with some other nice benefits: You never have to worry about updates, as Google regularly pushes fresh software onto the system in a seamless manner (much like it does with its desktop Chrome browser). You don’t have to mess with antivirus software, as the nature of the Chrome OS system makes infections very improbable. Even if your system did somehow become compromised, it could be reset in a heartbeat; remember, all your stuff is stored in the cloud, including your apps and settings.

Chrome OS systems also don’t get bogged down and progressively slower over time, like most traditional computers tend to do. And you never have to deal with involved installations or program upgrades; with Chrome OS, it’s all streamlined and simple.

Chrome OS, as I mentioned, revolves around the browser — but as of this latest incarnation, the browser actually isn’t the entire operating system. Google has built a desktop-like OS around Chrome, allowing you to position multiple windows on-screen simultaneously. You can maximize, minimize, and resize windows, set a desktop background, and quickly switch between windows or load new programs using a launcher bar at the bottom of the screen.

Chrome OS Desktop

The launcher bar shows icons for all of your currently loaded windows and programs. You can also pin any app there to create a quick-launch shortcut; you can opt to have the app open in a regular tab or in a full-size program-like window. The right corner of the launcher bar shows the current time along with your battery and data-connection status; you can click that area to access settings and more detailed system information.

Chrome OS Menu

This revised setup makes the Chrome OS experience far more welcoming than it’s been in the past. In its early incarnations, Chrome OS felt a bit restrictive; the entire environment was nothing but a full-screen browser window, and while that offered some practical advantages, it was somewhat jarring to use. With the newly expanded environment, Chrome OS has come into its own and found its way as a platform.

Chrome OS and life in the cloud

When you talk about Chrome OS, words like “app” and “program” are all relative. Nearly every app opens in a browser window and is based in the cloud.

Two years ago, the idea of abandoning traditional local programs would have struck me as ludicrous. Today, I’m a lot closer to the cloud-centric way of life Google envisions: I use Gmail for my email, Google Calendar for schedule management, and Google Docs for document storage. (I tend to use Microsoft Word while at my normal Windows 7 workstation, but I keep all my documents synced with Google Docs/Drive for easy on-the-go access.)

The multidevice lifestyle — using a laptop in my office, an Android tablet in the house, and an Android phone pretty much everywhere — has moved my focal point away from the stationary desktop. Sure, I have stuff stored locally, but it’s all synced to the cloud in one place or another. My computing life has become more and more mobile over the past few years, so it only makes sense for my data to follow that same trend, too.

In that regard, Chrome OS makes more and more sense to me, particularly with the recently introduced improvements. Aside from the new desktop, Google has given Chrome OS a full-fledged file manager: You can actually store some data locally, if you want, which is helpful when dealing with images, attachments, and the likes. Plus, when you plug in a memory card or USB storage device, Chrome OS automatically pops up a window with its contents, allowing you to open or work with the files.

Chrome OS File Manager

Google says its Google Drive cloud storage service will be fully integrated into Chrome OS within the next several weeks as well. You can use Drive — or any other cloud storage service, for that matter — right now, but the added system integration should make it even easier to manage cloud-based files and upload or share local files as part of the core environment.

Chrome OS now has a pop-up media player, too — you can play songs and videos from a memory card, external drive, or the local drive while working on other tasks — and a limited image-editing tool with commands for cropping, rotating, and adjusting brightness.

Chrome OS Image Editor

Making Chrome OS do more

All of Chrome OS’s functions can be supplemented and expanded with services from the cloud — using, for example, Google Music or Pandora to stream songs or a more robust image editor like Aviary (free in the Chrome Web Store) to manipulate photos. Aviary isn’t as robust as Photoshop or Illustrator; if your computing needs regularly require those types of heavy-duty local programs, Chrome OS may not be the answer for you. But for the majority of day-to-day computer use, the cloud-centric setup is surprisingly easy to embrace.

And if you do need to get to traditional desktop programs from time to time, Google actually has a tool to make it happen. Chrome Remote Desktop, a free app, allows you to gain remote access to any Windows, Mac, or Linux system; all you have to do is install the extension on the computer’s Chrome browser, set up a PIN and enable remote access, and you’re good to go. Once you establish a connection, you have the remote computer’s desktop in a live window on your Chrome OS system; you can run programs, open files, and input text as if you were sitting right there.

Chrome OS Remote Desktop 

I used the Remote Desktop app to connect to my Windows 7 laptop from a Chromebook, and I found the experience to be quite good: With a solid data connection on each end, lag was minimal and it basically felt like I was using the Windows 7 system. The setup is still in beta and consequently has some limitations — you can’t currently see secondary monitors on a remote system, for example, and you can’t hear audio remotely — but all in all, it was very smooth and impressive.

Chrome OS has built-in support for VPN connections, too, and advanced users can find third-party apps for things like terminal emulation and SSH connectivity.

The Chrome OS caveats

For all its positives, Chrome OS isn’t without its drawbacks. First and foremost, if you aren’t comfortable living in the cloud, Chrome OS isn’t going to be for you. By its very nature, Chrome OS revolves around cloud-based applications and data; if you’re set on the idea of running programs locally and storing your information on a hard drive in your home, you’re going to find Chrome OS frustrating.

Then there’s the issue of offline access. Despite the fact that Chrome OS is focused on the Web, Google has made massive progress in making the system more suitable for use without an active Internet connection. There are, however, still some limitations. In the next chapter of my Chrome OS experiment, I’ll take a close look at the realities of using Chrome OS offline.

Offline access aside, some of the Chrome OS apps simply aren’t up to par with their desktop-based equivalents. Go sign into Google Docs (technically now part of Google Drive) and you’ll see what I mean. Using Docs isn’t a terrible experience, by any means, but it’s generally not as good or as complete of an experience as what you get by using a traditional desktop office suite. Depending on your needs and priorities, this may or may not be a problem for you. Personally, I tend to live in my word processor during the day; I’m still more comfortable in Word, with its fuller functionality and familiar shortcuts, but for most tasks, I’m finding it increasingly easy to work in Docs as I get more accustomed to it.

Similarly, I work faster in Photoshop — where I manipulate images and create graphics for stories — and have more options and tools there than I do in any Chrome OS-based application. If I’m working on something complex, it’s still easier for me to jump into Photoshop than to try to get it done in a Chrome OS application.

Finally, while Chrome OS offers support for multiple monitors (and both the new Samsung Chromebook and Chromebox have the ports to make it happen), the software currently only allows you to duplicate your desktop on the second monitor. I’m used to working in an extended-desktop scenario, so losing that capability is a bit of a downer for me. Google tells me extended-desktop functionality is in the works for Chrome OS, but it’s not there now — and at this point, there’s no firm timeline for when it’ll arrive.

All in all, it’s a tradeoff: Chrome OS gives you fast, simple, hassle-free computing that’s fully portable and not tied to any single machine. It gives you seamless ongoing system improvements and lets you say so long to many of the annoyances that accompany regular computer use. But it also lacks some of the functionality and power you find in a traditional computing environment. The question is ultimately whether the tradeoff makes sense for you.

Android Power TwitterI’ll explore the issue more in the final few chapters of my Chrome OS experiment. Later this week, I’ll take that deep-dive into the Chrome OS offline experience. After that, I’ll share my impressions of Samsung’s Chromebox desktop computer and will then bring it all together with some final thoughts and conclusions.

In the meantime, if you’ve missed any of the previous chapters, you can find them in the box below.    

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on , Twitter, or Facebook.

Article copyright 2012 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Article source: http://blogs.computerworld.com/20274/chrome_os_cloud_centric_simplicity

Tags: , , , , ,

27 Apr 12 Control music in Chrome without switching tabs


By midafternoon, I usually have so many tabs open, I can’t keep track of them all. It’s really a nuisance when I have music playing on one of my many tabs and can’t locate it quickly to mute the song that’s playing to answer the phone. Enter Music Controller, a Chrome extension that adds a button to the right of your URL bar. The button, which features a music note, provides access to any song currently playing on any tab in your current Chrome window.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET)

Music Controller claims to work with Google Music, Grooveshark, Mog, Rdio, Pandora, and YouTube. Using a
Mac, I could not get it to work with Google Music. And it recognized Rdio but failed to list any tracks played with that service. For the others, however, it worked as advertised. Click on the button to open a small window that lists any song (with artist info) currently playing or paused in any of the above services. Next to each song listed is a pause button and, if you are listening to a playlist, fast-forward and rewind buttons. Thumbs-up and -down buttons are present if the music service has a rating system. A mute button at the top lets you quickly mute any song playing, and if you click on a song, you’ll be taken to the tab where that song is playing.

Music Controller works only with music services accessed via Chrome, so it doesn’t work with apps such as iTunes and Spotify. If you use either of those on a Mac, Skip Tunes will prove useful.

(Via AddictiveTips)

Article source: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57422249-285/control-music-in-chrome-without-switching-tabs/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=

Tags: , , , , ,

26 Apr 12 Control music in Chrome without switching tabs


By midafternoon, I usually have so many tabs open, I can’t keep track of them all. It’s really a nuisance when I have music playing on one of my many tabs and can’t locate it quickly to mute the song that’s playing to answer the phone. Enter Music Controller, a Chrome extension that adds a button to the right of your URL bar. The button, which features a music note, provides access to any song currently playing on any tab in your current Chrome window.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET)

Music Controller claims to work with Google Music, Grooveshark, Mog, Rdio, Pandora, and YouTube. Using a
Mac, I could not get it to work with Google Music. And it recognized Rdio but failed to list any tracks played with that service. For the others, however, it worked as advertised. Click on the button to open a small window that lists any song (with artist info) currently playing or paused in any of the above services. Next to each song listed is a pause button and, if you are listening to a playlist, fast-forward and rewind buttons. Thumbs-up and -down buttons are present if the music service has a rating system. A mute button at the top lets you quickly mute any song playing, and if you click on a song, you’ll be taken to the tab where that song is playing.

Music Controller works only with music services accessed via Chrome, so it doesn’t work with apps such as iTunes and Spotify. If you use either of those on a Mac, Skip Tunes will prove useful.

(Via AddictiveTips)

Article source: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57422249-285/control-music-in-chrome-without-switching-tabs/

Tags: , , , , ,

25 Apr 12 android market



Google reboots Android Market, launches Google Play

Google is rebuilding Android Market.

The Internet giant, looking to create a more comprehensive source for movies, apps, music, and e-books, is folding Google Music and Google eBookstore into one store, now renamed Google Play, according to Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content for Google. The changes go into effect today.

Google Play marks a radical departure from Android Market, which has been a fixture of the company’s mobile platform since the debut of Android more than three years ago. The move is a tacit admission that offering apps, games, and e-books–the main features of Android Market–isn’t enough more

Originally posted at Media Maverick

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/posts/?keyword=android+market

Tags: , , , ,

21 Mar 12 How to control music without switching tabs in Chrome


Whether you’re the DJ at your workplace or you just like to browse Web radio at home, there are a zillion options for listening to your favorite tunes. One drawback of Web-based listening is keeping track of the tab that’s playing the music when you need to backtrack, skip ahead, or otherwise control the flow. Unity Player is a great, free Chrome extension that lets you use basic controls from any tab. Here’s how to use it: 

  • Install Unity Player here. 
  • You should now have an icon in the upper right of Chrome that looks like a musical note. When you’ve got music playing in some other Chrome tab, just click that icon to bring up a small control panel featuring the album art.
    Unity Player in action.

    Unity Player in action.

    (Credit:
    Rob Lightner/CNET)

  • Skip ahead, pause, backtrack, thumbs-up, or thumbs-down as you wish. 
  • You can also click the album art thumbnail to bring up the tab that is playing the music if you want to make changes or close it entirely. 

That’s it! The range of music apps covered is fairly broad and includes Grooveshark, Turntable.fm, Google Music, and Pandora. There’s no support for Spotify or Last.fm yet, but I’d expect the developers to add them pretty quickly if they can. (Last.fm is a part of CBS Interactive, which also publishes CNET.)

Article source: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57401231-285/how-to-control-music-without-switching-tabs-in-chrome/?part=rss&subj=software&tag=title

Tags: , , ,

11 Nov 11 Chrome OS gets Windows friendly with NTFS support


Google has checked off yet another item on the list of things to do to make Chrome OS more usable by adding support for NTFS file systems in the latest stable update.

That’s excellent news if you use your Acer AC700, Samsung Series 5, or Google’s own Cr-48 in tandem with a Windows system. If you got an external hard drive or flash drive (or a whole milk crate full of both) and you formatted them using Windows’ own NTFS, you can now plug them in to access photos, music, and videos on your Chromebook.

Many major Linux distributions ship with NTFS support from the get-go, and it was somewhat surprising to see Chrome OS (which is built atop Linux) launch without it. Better late than never, though, right?

Several other important changes were pushed as well, including support for the multimedia codecs needed to play back those music and video files. Video decoding performance has also been improved, so hopefully that Atom CPU won’t cause you any further grief if you fire up a clip. The Chrome OS connection manager has been tweaked and now gives users the option of setting preferred networks — handy if your list of SSIDs is getting a little on the lengthy side. The revamped new tab page has also arrived, bringing its app-friendly organizational magic to Chromebooks.

Google’s also using the new tab page to push Music and Games apps. They’ll appear by default, though some users (presumably those who live outside the United States) have reported that the pair haven’t appeared on their Chromebooks.  That’s a safe bet, since the Google Music service itself is still U.S. only.

More at Google


Article source: http://www.geek.com/articles/chips/chrome-os-gets-windows-friendly-with-ntfs-support-20111110/

Tags: , , ,