All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

16 Dec 12 Chrome’s New Tab page puts focus on Google Search

Most web browsers display a selection of popular sites that you have visited in the past when you open the new tab page. Some give you control over the websites displayed here, while others do not. Firefox users can for instance pin sites to their tab page to make them permanently available there, while Chrome users can only remove pages from the list that they want removed. And Opera users, they even get extensions for that page to fill it with dynamic data.

It appears that Google is currently experimenting with a new tab page for its Chrome web browser that moves away from the rather messy design that Chrome users currently have to deal with.

When you open a new tab page in Chrome right now, you get a representation of eight websites you visit frequently, bookmarks at the top, an option to switch to apps instead of websites on the page (a setting that Chrome remembers), options to browse recently closed websites, and a link to Chrome’s web store.

Chrome’s new tab page displays a Google search form prominently on the page, and below that either the most visited sites or apps.

google chrome new tab google search

What feels a bit strange at first is that a click in the search box redirects your request to the browser’s address bar automatically. Once you know that, it does not really make sense to display the search form on the page as you can as easily click on the address bar instead to start the search from there.

The new tab page is only available in Chrome Dev builds right now. To activate it, you need to switch a flag in the experimental section of the browser. Load chrome://flags in the browser and locate the flag Enable Instant extended API. Click on Enable to activate it and restart the web browser afterwards to load the new configuration.  You have access to the new tab page from that moment on. To disable, simply open the flags page again and click on disable this time to do so.

Adding a search to the new tab page does not make lots of sense as it is easier to search using the address bar directly. The best explanation that I can come up with as to why it has been added to the page is as a visual help for inexperienced users to search faster.

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Responses so far:

  1. Ahh. That looks like a good change. Especially for people who ‘search’ for direct URLs. It also looks complete / nice for me.

    Some people even google ‘’. This way they directly go to the page instead of searching.

  2. Not for me.

    After cleaning Chrome’s cache I lost
    Google’s new Tab page thumbnails and I haven’t found any way to restore them.
    Looking at the “Top Sites” sqlite3 file the thumbnails column is empty.
    I have re-installed Chrome with no change.
    I have deleted both “Top Sites” Top Sites-journal file. Still no change.

    Chrome Version 24.0.1312.40 beta-m

  3. The best new tab feature for me in Firefox is the blank one!I always know what I want to search!

  4. I think that it would be really good for full-screen users, i mean you can’t access the address bar in full Screen.

  5. Actually I think it SUCKS!!!! Why? Because I got used to EIGHT pages being directly accessible from the home tab and now it’s been reduced to just SIX! WHY????????????????????? If anything, I think they should have added 2 more and let people customize them. This design needs is moving in a good direction with the search bar upfront but if it’s at the expense of 2 tiles then I think it’s a mistake that I hope will be fixed soon.

  6. Google have announced their reasons for this development on the Chromium Blog.

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14 Apr 12 Why Facebook needs to build a browser

Microsoft is getting its ass kicked by Google.

Screenshot by Ben Parr/CNET)

Sometime in the next 12 months, Google Chrome will become the world’s most popular browser, knocking Microsoft’s Internet Explorer off the mountain it has ruled for more than a decade.

This fact should scare the pants off of Facebook.

In July 2008, IE controlled 68.5 percent of the market, according to Statcounter, while Chrome wasn’t even on the market. Now Microsoft’s browser is down to 34.8 percent market share while Chrome controls 30.9 percent of total browser usage. Chrome has grown by a percentage point the last few months, while IE has dropped by around the same amount.

It’s only a matter of time until Google dominates the browser market.

Now you may be asking yourselves: why should Facebook care about the fate of the browser market? Facebook’s a social network, not a desktop software company — why do the browser wars matter?

The answer lies in Google’s ambitious plans for Google+, the company’s “social spine.” It’s no secret that Facebook and Google are at war, and that Google would love to take the wind out of Facebook’s sails. Nothing less than control of the Web (and billions in ad dollars) is at stake.

Google+ as a standalone product hasn’t made a dent in Facebook’s growth, though. Google+ may have 170+ million users, but Facebook is still on track for the IPO of the decade.

Google+ wasn’t designed as a standalone product, however. It was made to augment and unify all of Google’s products. Google wants to become Voltron — each separate piece (Gmail, Chrome,
Android, Google Search, and so on) is strong on its own, but combined it’s unstoppable. That’s why Google launched Search + Your World, and that’s why Google+ integration in Chrome is inevitable.

Google wants to become Voltron.

Toei Animation)

Think about that for a moment. In a single update, Google could turn Chrome into its own version of Rockmelt — it would be a social browser that puts Google+ in front of users before they even have a chance to type in the address bar.

Don’t think Google will do it? It’s already started releasing extensions that integrate Google+ into Chrome. I suspect that these extensions are just precursors to their eventual integration into Chrome.

Facebook may be king of the Web right now, but the browser is still the gateway users must pass through to access the Web. Facebook can’t allow Google to control how 30.9 percent of its users access its Web site, especially as its ally (and investor) Microsoft continues to falter in the browser wars.

Facebook could try to counter Chrome with Facebook integration in IE, but it wouldn’t be the game-changing move Facebook needs to put Google on the defensive. The only way Facebook can knock Google off its feet is to build its own browser and use its massive reach to promote it.

The next battle in the war for dominance over the Web is going to be waged at the browser level. The only question is whether Facebook will take up the fight before it’s too late.

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14 Mar 12 Google Chrome to Get a Metro-Style Look for Windows 8

Windows 8 is shaping up to be a new battleground for the browser wars, with Google confirming plans for a Metro-style version of Chrome.

An unnamed Google representative revealed the company’s plans to Mashable. The official said Chrome for Windows 8 will be based off the existing desktop browser, as opposed to the Android version of Chrome. Google will improve touch support on the desktop side, but will also build a Metro version for the tablet-friendly side of Windows 8.

“Our goal is to be able to offer our users a speedy, simple, secure Chrome experience across all platforms, which includes both the desktop and Metro versions of Windows 8,” the Google representative said. Google hasn’t announced any features for Windows 8 Chrome.

Google Chrome to Get a Metro-Style Look for Windows 8This week, Mozilla revealed plans to bring its Firefox browser to Windows 8. In a blog post, Mozilla engineer Brian Bondy explained that browsers can have special privileges in Windows 8. Technically, they’re desktop apps, but they can also include a Metro-style version that runs within Windows 8′s touch-optimized interface. To use the Metro-style app, users must set the browser as the default in Windows 8.

Although Microsoft and Google have become rivals in recent years, Google can’t afford to ignore Windows 8. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 10 serves as the default browser, with Bing as its search engine, which means Google could lose a lot of its bread and butter search business if Windows 8′s Metro interface proves popular. In Windows 8, Chrome’s goal will be the same as it’s always been: Keep users hooked on Google Search.

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31 Jan 12 Entering Keyword “Download Chrome” in Google Search may Produce Malware

Security investigators at Websense are cautioning Web-surfers that doing an online search for the keyword “download Google Chrome,” may lead to URLs serving malicious software. Help Net Security published this dated January 25, 2012.

Notably, during 2008, there had been registration of the URL named suggesting that the site, a casual forum for Google Chrome plugin, represents a lawful site. Also, the details of the registration appear as suggesting that they were genuine information. Yet, this suggestion doesn’t wholly prove that somebody hijacked the website, although it does serve the purpose of circumstantial evidence.

Again, with regard to the websites that end-users search for, since these represent a lawful, unauthorized forum for Google Chrome plugin that downloads material from dual malevolent sites, investigators are certain that the former websites have been hijacked.

Disturbingly, hackers modified at least one of the sites’ web-pages for diverting surfers onto 2 malevolent sites injected with a JavaScript as well as an iFrame. These sites include a typo-squatted URL for Google AdSense and another situated at While the first site clearly isn’t Google owned, the second site remains unresolved as of now.

The actual server supporting Google for show_ads.js has been observed as where within the word “syndication,” the alphabet “l” has been replaced with “i.”

The Web-surfers mechanically get diverted onto the dual sites. Albeit the investigators don’t specify what malware the sites really harbor, it is most expectedly advertisements. Nonetheless, if scammers make quick changes, they maybe distributing attack codes as also hijacking the end-users’ PCs, the latter being unaware.

And as it’s most undesirable to have cyber-criminals hijack lawful websites, users must forever remain watchful about malevolent sites as also maintain up-to-date security software on their computers.

Meanwhile, Chrome getting attacked in the manner mentioned isn’t new. During April 2011, an attack against Google Chrome gave many fine web-links on Google search results’ first page; however the 6th web-link happened to be booby-trapped. Following that web-link produced a recommendation by Google Chrome for users to load appropriate application, with the message having a horrible grammatical error like “download the malicious software.”

» SPAMfighter News – 31-01-2012

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04 Jan 12 Google in hot water over sponsored Chrome pay-per-post promos

After being accused of violating its own sponsored content policy, Google is pointing the finger at a marketing company behind its Chrome browser campaign, Unruly Media. The company, which Google hired, will have to take the blame for the blatant self-promotion.

SEO Book first discovered that the phrase “This post is sponsored by Google” returned 400 pages advertising the company. In at least one case, a post failed to follow the “nofollow” rule, which Google has instituted so that webmasters can relay to search engines not to follow certain links. This means clicking these links won’t improve their page rank according to Google. But this pro-Chrome content wasn’t using “nofollow,” with the result being that Google’s page rank would improve via its self-sponsored articles. Unruly Media has said this was a mistake. 

Failing to attribute a Chrome link as “nofollow” isn’t Google’s only foul, of course. The company has made a lot of noise in the past year about punishing this very type of content on the Web. Google Search has made it clear it wants to cut down on content farms, punish posts written entirely for SEO, and the marketing material that floods the Web.

Google’s Panda update last year was focused on eliminating these search results. “This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful,” Google search team members Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal said. “At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

When the alterations revealed that a number of Google properties had received a boosted page ranking, there was some criticism launched at the site. But as the search engine has continued to tweak these changes, sites have adapted. But these Google-sponsored, pro-Chrome posts are precisely the stuff that Google was supposedly burying—so it’s surprising that the company would be creating it in the first place. Here’s one example: a blog post titled “Google Chrome Benefits Small Businesses” From TelecommutingMommies describes the benefits of the browser, and ends with a “This post is sponsored by Google Chrome” sign-off. Not exactly stimulating or unbiased material. 

What’s more, Chrome has been killing the competition lately. The browser now has 19.1-percent of the market share, largely at the expense of Firefox and IE. Google has been making a big marketing push to promote the browser, taking out heartstring-pulling ads encouraging users to take advantage of Chrome’s various features. While these ads might not be terribly effective at reaching those interested in browser technology and capabilities (for what it’s worth, we think these promos are too focused on emotion and come off as vague and abstract), they do show that Google is intent on selling Chrome.

And the sponsored stories are just more evidence of this—many of which are now leading to 404 errors. Check out a few examples below though–you’ll notice many of them include the phrase “Google Chrome helped this small business in Vermont go global,” which indicates there was likely some sort of outline included in the blog position description. 

Despite shifting blame, this doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in Google. Especially because the pay-per-post blogging jobs Unruly Media was advertising specifically imply that the content is supposed to influence page rank. No matter how you spin this, it seems like to some degree Google intends to make the rules but refuses to play by them. 



This article was originally posted on Digital Trends

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21 Dec 11 Google gives Mozilla lifeline as it renews Firefox deal

Firefox logosFirefox was once seen as the only significant alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer

Google has renewed a deal to remain the default search engine within Mozilla’s Firefox web browser.

The non-profit foundation said it had “negotiated a significant and mutually beneficial revenue agreement” with Google for the next three years.

Some analysts had predicted Google would back out of the deal as it tries to grow the market share of its Chrome browser.

Mozilla relies heavily on the income generated by search partnerships.

“Under this multi-year agreement, Google Search will continue to be the default search provider for hundreds of millions of Firefox users around the world,” said Gary Kovacs, Mozilla’s chief executive.

Alan Eustace, Google’s senior vice-president of search, said: “Mozilla has been a valuable partner to Google over the years and we look forward to continuing this great partnership in the years to come.”

The foundation said the exact terms of the deal would not be disclosed.

In its accounts for 2010, the Mozilla Foundation said it earned $121.1m (£77m) from agreements with Google, Microsoft and others. The Google agreement was thought to make up about 85% of that amount.

Browser war

The previous deal, which ran out in November, was signed before Google’s Chrome browser had gained a presence in the so-called “browser war”.

Some internet monitoring organisations suggest Chrome has overtaken Firefox to become the world’s second most widely used browser, behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Many put this down to lavish advertising campaigns undertaken by the search giant across the world.

Chrome’s launch and subsequent growth has now put it in direct competition with Firefox, yet Google remains financially responsible for Mozilla’s survival.

Firefox 9, the Mozilla browser’s latest incarnation, was launched on Tuesday. Mozilla said it was “30% faster” than previous versions – a problem that has been cited by many users switching to Chrome.

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25 Nov 11 Google’s iPad App: Almost Chrome, and Trouble for Apple


Google has earned a reputation of late for releasing troubled iOS apps. Gmail was so buggy in its initial state that Google had to pull it from the App Store. Google+ was temperamental too, and even now it lags behind its Android counterpart in getting new features. After the launch of iOS 5, Google had to pull its Voice app for a week due to crashes.

So when Google releases a beautiful, flawless iOS app like Google Search for iPad, I figure the company is up to something.

Despite the name, Google Search does more than spit back search results. The app presents you with big, colorful links to several Google services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Google+, Picasa, YouTube and Google Books. These are apps within the app, sliding onto the screen in a self-contained web browser. You can also search by voice within the app, and get instant search results as you type.

As is, I can see myself spending a lot of time in Google’s iPad app, but what’s frustrating is that with a few tweaks, Google Search could be a proper iPad web browser, and probably the best one. All it needs is a full URL bar instead of a search box at the top of the screen, some bookmarks and a way to open multiple browser tabs. The groundwork for a clean, snappy interface with useful search tools is already in place. Add some more features, and suddenly it’s Chrome for iPad.

And that’s where things could get really crazy–as in, Google creating its own competing app platform within iOS.

I’m not the only one to suspect a secret plot in Mountain View. Over at The Next Web, Matt Panzarino argues that this app is Google’s way of sneaking its own web-based operating system, known as Chrome OS, onto the iPad. He figures that Google could update the app over time, replacing each web app with native software, and he suspects that Google’s Chrome OS team is behind the whole thing.

I think Panzarino has it backwards. Instead of tying in more native apps, Google should be adding more web apps, not only from its own services, but from the Chrome Web Store. By working with third-party developers to make their web apps touch-friendly, Google could build up a tablet app catalog that works in its own iPad browser.

Some of the work is already done. Try accessing NPR’s Chrome web app from an iPad. It looks almost exactly like the native App Store version–it responds to finger swipes and it plays audio within the browser. Other apps are part way there. Vimeo Couch Mode, for instance, has the interface in place, but uses Flash for video instead of the iPad-friendly HTML5. (Vimeo’s main site uses HTML5 when accessed on an iPhone or iPad.)

(LIST: ‘Do a Barrel Roll’ and Several Other Fun Google Easter Eggs)

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23 Nov 11 Did Google sneak Chrome OS into the App Store?

Did Google sneak Chrome OS into the App Store?

Install the updated Google Search for iPad app (iTunes, free), touch the prominent Applications icon on the home screen and have a look around. Look familiar? It’s a spitting image of Google’s Chrome OS (found on the Chromebook) – at least functionally speaking, anyway.

It’s essentially a fancy HTML5 page with tiles for launching the innumerable Google web apps, like Gmail, Calendar, Docs, et. al.

Did Google sneak Chrome OS into the App Store?

While it might not be called “Chrome for iOS” or anything, what’s the difference?

Regardless of how you feel about Google’s various software tools, there’s a better reason to use the Google Search app for iOS: Voice Search.

Two over from the Applications icon is Voice Search, which (kind of) makes up for the iPad’s lack of native voice recognition, or worse, Siri. Touch it and speak your search terms in plain English, they get transcribed and searched in Google. Accuracy is excellent and on par with the excellent Dragon Go app, which sadly isn’t iPad-native.

Tip of the hat to The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino for picking up on it.

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22 Nov 11 Did Google sneak Chrome OS into the App Store?

Did Google sneak Chrome OS into the App Store?

Install the updated Google Search for iPad app (iTunes, free), touch the prominent Applications icon on the home screen and have a look around. Look familiar? It’s a spitting image of Google’s Chrome OS (found on the Chromebook) – at least functionally speaking, anyway.

It’s essentially a fancy HTML5 page with tiles for launching the innumerable Google web apps, like Gmail, Calendar, Docs, et. al.

Did Google sneak Chrome OS into the App Store?

While it might not be called “Chrome for iOS” or anything, what’s the difference?

Regardless of how you feel about Google’s various software tools, there’s a better reason to use the Google Search app for iOS: Voice Search.

Two over from the Applications icon is Voice Search, which (kind of) makes up for the iPad’s lack of native voice recognition, or worse, Siri. Touch it and speak your search terms in plain English, they get transcribed and searched in Google. Accuracy is excellent and on par with the excellent Dragon Go app, which sadly isn’t iPad-native.

Tip of the hat to The Next Web’s Matthew Panzarino for picking up on it.

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22 Nov 11 Google just used its Search app to sneak most of Chrome OS onto the iPad

With the announcement of its new Search app, Google gave iPad users more than just a slick and well-made native search app that bests the experience on any Android tablet. It also managed to squeeze the core elements of Chrome OS into Apple’s ecosystem.

Note that I say core elements, because there are aspects of Chrome OS that are obviously not represented here, but it is definitely a huge step in the right direction.

When you launch the new Google Search app, you’ll notice right away that there is a huge difference between it and the much maligned gmail app for iOS. The Gmail app uses a webview for its main component, which in the world of iOS apps is the equivalent of being lazy.

But I have it on good authority that the team that built this app is a completely separate endeavor. What I don’t know, but suspect, is that the team within Google that built this app has ties to the Chrome OS team.

The Search app is built using native controls, which give it a silky smooth operation and that feeling of quickness that doesn’t come easily to an app that is built on a thinly wrapped webview. It also means that you’re greeted with an interface immediately, rather than waiting for a webpage to load.

photo 17 520x390 Google just used its Search app to sneak most of Chrome OS onto the iPad

But the main feature of the app, which is really a simple and gorgeous implementation of Google Search, isn’t the most interesting bit here. To find that, just tap on the Applications button on the main screen.

From here, you have access to the following Google products, all within an iOS wrapper: Gmail, Calendar, Docs, News, Google+, Reader, Photos, Maps, YouTube, Translate, Voice, Offers, Finance, Books and Blogger.

Yes, accessing them over the web is slightly inferior to a completely native interface, but Google’s web apps are still a cut above many of the other apps out there. For one, they use all of the tricks that Apple provides to developers looking to leverage the enhancements to webkit that Apple has built into Mobile Safari.

photo 27 520x390 Google just used its Search app to sneak most of Chrome OS onto the iPad

If you’re familiar with the way that Google’s web apps work on iPad then you won’t be too surprised by what’s here. It’s still really awesome to flip back to the main page and access any of the other apps at a touch. It feels fast.

The Search app, by gathering all of these apps into one place and delivering them in a well-made wrapper, has presented iOS users with what amounts to all of the core services of Chrome OS.

The reasons why it has shipped a pack of its most potent apps in one convenient dashboard are evident if you look at the tablet landscape as we know it. Google’s “official” version of Android is losing the tablet race, flat out. Products from manufacturers that have no access to an ecosystem beyond the Android Market have proven not to work. Now, Amazon has launched the Kindle Fire, which stands to quickly attain ’2nd place’ status behind the iPad, utilizing a tweaked version of Android that Google will gain nothing from.

Meanwhile, iOS devices account for some 2/3 of mobile searches on Google’s platform, making it the largest outlet for Google’s primary product, ads. Google sees this and has effectively snuck what is very close to the ‘dream app’ for its fans who have an iPad onto the App Store.

Google also likely sees that it will soon have to fend for itself when it comes to getting those eyeballs on its products, as Apple continues its efforts to divorce itself from Google services.

Honestly, if Google were to continue to update this app, replacing each of the web versions of these apps with native ones, it could easily end up with a fully iOS-native version of Google Chrome, running on the iPad.

This particular app is an interesting vector for Google to choose, as its primary function—and the most predominant one—is the Google Search. This allows them to work out all of the mechanics of how the app will work, without ruffling any feathers.

Chrome, as an OS that was meant to be run ‘in the browser’ is an ideal candidate for seeding onto rival platforms. It can exist as a standalone entity in a way that no other OS can. That’s its power and what makes the way that this app was built and released so interesting.

It’s also interesting that the app is simply labeled ‘Google’ and not ‘Google Search’, which is the real name of the app and well within the iOS character limit for app names.

Imagine if this app were called ‘Google Chrome for iPad’. How would that go down with Apple?

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