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.
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.
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.
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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If you haven’t heard about Flutter, then you probably missed our review a few months back. Flutter is a small, uncomplicated program that allows a computer’s webcam to read your gestures and control some media players like iTunes, Windows Media Player, VLC, and QuickTime.
Three simple gestures help you to move from one spot on the playlist to another, and even pause the player. Flutter supports simple gestures, and while it doesn’t have the wizardry of a Kinect yet, it can be surprisingly effective for controlling your songs and movies from a distance.
With the launch of a new version, Flutter extends its support for Chrome, PowerPoint, and Keynote. The Flutter Chrome extension now allows you to use hand gestures on YouTube, Pandora, Grooveshark, and Netflix. The Flutter blog says:
This new version is (in some sense) going back to our roots. The installation process is very simple: the new Flutter app automatically opens the Flutter extension URL at the end of the tutorial. Simply clicking “Add to Chrome” allows you to enjoy songs, movies and more using gesture control within your browser.
A few little touches add to the user friendliness of the app. You can toggle it on and off from the icon in the System Tray. You can set a ‘Preferred’ app by right-clicking the same icon and choosing among the applications that Flutter supports. The choice basically gives you control over a preferred app even as you work on another.
The new improved version of Flutter is a welcome announcement for the New Year.
Source: Flutter Blog
As we head into the New Year, Google’s latest Nexus smartphone, the Nexus 4, remains sold out completely through the Google Play Store with no return in sight. Those who still wish to buy it might be waiting a few weeks before it comes back into stock but that doesn’t mean that you’ll need to check the Play Store every day. Instead, there are three much easier methods of checking for Nexus 4 stock on the Google Play Store.
Since the November, the Nexus 4 has been extremely scarce. The 8GB sold out almost immediately after the device went on sale for a second time through Google’s Play Store and a few weeks after that, the 16GB Nexus 4 displayed the same bold sold out symbol which prohibits customers from ordering the device. The Nexus 4′s bumper case remains sold out as well.
Google has not yet said when the Nexus 4 might be relieved of its supply issues, leaving prospective buyers wondering when they might be able to get their hands on LG’s first Nexus smartphone.
For those who might be looking to order, checking the Google Play Store for availability might have already become a daily ritual. Personally, I used check it every day in the hopes that Google would finally be offering it again because I have no interest in paying exorbitant amounts of money for the Nexus 4 through site’s like Craigslist or eBay. One of the beautiful parts about the Nexus 4, after all, is its price tag.
Fortunately, I decided to cut that daily routine out and move on to greener pastures. What I mean is that there are easier ways to ensure that you’ll be ready to buy a Nexus 4 once the device comes back into stock.
Here now, we show you how to check for Nexus 4 stock through the Google Play Store not only in the U.S., but in other countries as well.
The presents are piling, the fire is crackling, the drinks are flowing and in some parts of the world the snow is falling. From all of us at TechCrunch, we hope everyone is having a merry Christmas. For this week’s giveaway, we wanted to do something extra special, because well, it’s Christmas! The lucky winner of this giveaway will win a Nexus 4 and a Nexus 10. Want them both? Details to enter are below.
The Nexus 4 is the brand new world phone from Google that comes with all of Google’s latest apps, including Google Now. You can read our review on the almost perfect phone here.
The Nexus 10 is the latest tablet from Google. Dubbed the “the ultimate tablet for watching movies or reading magazines,” the Nexus 10 runs Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, features front and rear-facing cameras, and much more.
Here’s how to enter:
1) Become a fan of our TechCrunch Facebook Page:
2) Then do one of the following:
- Retweet this post (making sure to include the #TechCrunch hashtag)
- Or leave us a comment below telling us what you love most about Christmas
Please only tweet the message once or you will be disqualified. We will make sure you follow the steps above and choose our winner on New Year’s Eve night. Anyone in the world is eligible. Good luck everyone and merry Christmas!
Almost as quickly as November came to a close, news broke from StatCounter indicating Google’s Chrome browser overtook Mozilla Firefox as the second most popular browser worldwide for the first time. Internet Explorer, the incumbent for years still remains king of the pile, but even Microsoft has to be looking at their dropping share as an impending challenge to keep up with Google.
Unlike other browsers in the segment, Chrome appears to be the fastest growing browser of all time globally, rising to an unprecedented 25.69 percent share of usage in just over three years. Delving deeper into the numbers, Chrome still falls short of Firefox for usage in North America and Europe, but tops the charts in South American countries, well ahead of Internet Explorer and nearly doubling Firefox usage.
The masses seem to be abandoning Internet Explorer in favor of alternatives. The sinking ship used to be sole property of Microsoft until recently, when it appears a change in strategy sprung a few leaks in Mozilla’s boat as well. Mozilla introduced an accelerated release schedule earlier this year, which saw Firefox go from version 3 to version 8 in less than a year.
As most folks in the industry know, changing anything that quickly is a recipe for disaster, and here’s why:
It’s still unclear why Mozilla adopted this strategy. Perhaps they decided they needed to increase the pace and align version numbers with Microsoft Internet Explorer.
To make matters worse for Mozilla, Microsoft has actually made significant improvements to Internet Explorer 9. Unfortunately, the browser version is not bundled with Windows 7, so they are likely challenged with trying to migrate users of their newest operating system.
Only time will tell whether the expected release of Windows 8 in the New Year will put a dent in Chrome’s meteoric rise to fame.
Register now for SES London 2012, the Leading Search Social Marketing Event, taking place 20-24 February, 2012. SES Conference Expo features presentations and panel discussions that cover all aspects of search engine-related promotion. Hurry, early bird rate expires February 3!