All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

05 Jun 12 Instapaper releases Android app

Instapaper, yet another app that’s been missing from Android, makes its debut, again minus some features available for iPhones and iPads. Like Instagram, Instapaper doesn’t have all the bells and whistles the iOS app does.

“We’re working hard to add additional features to Instapaper for Android,” according to a company blog post. “We believe that we’ve captured the core Instapaper experience but can’t wait to make the app even better.”

The Android app, which allows you to save Web pages for offline reading later, does include adjustable fonts, Dark Mode for reading in low light, folders, rotation lock and native Android sharing. The app also syncs between multiple devices, so you can pick up where you left off. 

And, like the iOS app, you can download up to 500 articles at a time. 

While it is missing some features for now, the app does support the various flavors of Android, including for 7-inch tablets such as Kindle Fire and Nook and big, honking 10-inchers such as the Xoom and Galaxy. The company said that all updates to come are free for customers who buy the app, regardless of which Android store it’s from.

The app goes for $2.99 and runs on Android 2.2 and beyond.

Instapaper for Android is available now on Google Play and is expected to be available soon for Barnes Noble’s Nook and on Amazon’s Appstore.



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30 May 12 Android clears court review of patent claims

Android did not infringe Oracle patents, court rules, in a major blow to Oracle. Android ruling means Oracle won’t collect billions of dollars in royalties from Google.


Dan Levine, Reuters /
May 29, 2012

In this file photo earlier this month, attendees chat at the Google IO Developers Conference in San Francisco. On Wednesday, a San Francisco federal court ruled that Google’s Android operating system for smartphones did not infringe Oracle’s patents.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/File


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Google Inc’s Android mobile platform has not infringed Oracle Corp’s patents, a California jury decided, putting an indefinite hold on Oracle’s quest for damages in a fight between the two Silicon Valley giants over smartphone technology.

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In a case that examined whether computer language that connects programs and operating systems can be copyrighted, Oracle claimed Google’s Android tramples on its intellectual property rights to the Java programming language.

Google argued it did not violate Oracle’s patents and that Oracle cannot copyright certain parts of Java, an “open-source” or publicly available software language.

RELATED: 20 essential Android tips and tricks

In addition to finding for Google on patents, the jury foreman told reporters that the final vote on a key copyright issue earlier in the case had heavily favored Google.

David Sunshine, a New York-based intellectual property lawyer who advises hedge funds, said the outcome of the Google trial was humbling for Oracle, which had it won, could have gained handsome payouts given the growing market for Android devices.

“It’s a huge blow,” Sunshine said.

For Oracle and its aggressive CEO Larry Ellison, the trial against Google over Java was the first of several scheduled this year against large competitors. Another trial is set to begin next week between Oracle and Hewlett-Packard Co over the Itanium microprocessor.

The verdict was delivered on Wednesday in a San Francisco federal court.

Oracle spokeswoman Deborah Hellinger said the company would continue to defend and uphold Java’s unique functionality.

“Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java,” she said.

Attorneys for Oracle looked grim after the verdict, while Google lawyers smiled and shook hands. Google general counsel Kent Walker said the company felt it was important to send a message by taking the case to trial.

“We didn’t want to back down when we felt the facts were on our side,” Walker said in an interview with Reuters.

Although the jury found earlier that Oracle had proven copyright infringement for parts of Java, it could not unanimously agree on whether Google could fairly use that material.

Without a finding against Google on the fair use question, Oracle cannot recover damages on the bulk of its copyright claims. And U.S. District Judge William Alsup has not yet decided on several legal issues that could determine how a potential retrial on copyright would unfold, if at all.

RELATED: 20 essential Android tips and tricks


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27 May 12 Insta-growth: Facebook purchase, Android app up Instagram uniques

A month after two of its two most important moments — its jump to Android and its acquisition by Facebook — Instagram has already reaped some of the rewards, seeing its number of unique visitors grow by 78%.

The dramatic gain in traffic placed the little photo filtering mobile app at the top of the web for growth in April, according to ComScore Inc., which released the statistics Thursday. 

Instagram brought in nearly 14.6 million different individuals to its service in April, making the app the 106th-most visited property on the Internet.

By comparison, the app grew by just 19% in March with 8.2 million uniques, leaving it No. 204 on the most visited list.

Instagram’s uptick was undoubtedly tied to the start-up’s expansion onto Google’s platform of Android phones, the leader of the smartphone market. The Android Instagram app arrived in early April, and at that time Instagram had about 30 million users.

After April’s growth, Instagram is now believed to have more than 50 million users, according to Venture Beat. And of course, the mainstream exposure it received following its Facebook pick-up couldn’t have hurt.

The social network giant bought Instagram just a few days after it added its Android app for the sum of $1 billion. The purchase is seen as a step by Facebook to expand its success to the smartphone platform and begin generating revenue from its mobile users.

But after Facebook released its own camera app this week, it will be interesting to see how Instagram’s growth in May and June will be affected. 


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22 May 12 Google Chrome becomes most used Web browser

Google Chrome surpassed Internet Explorer last week as the world’s most used Web browser, according to a statistic released Monday.

The Google Web browser received more usage than Microsoft’s browser during the week of May 14 to May 20, marking the first time Chrome has received the highest traffic for a full seven days.

Chrome is now ahead of Internet Explorer, with Firefox in third place and Apple’s Safari a distant fourth, according to the website StatCounter.

Google would not address the statistic from StatCounter directly, but the company did put out a statement.

“It’s great to see more and more people around the world experiencing the speed, simplicity and security of Chrome,” a spokesperson for the company said in an email. “We continue to remain focused on building a better browsing experience so that people can enjoy a better web.”

But while Chrome is finally No. 1 worldwide, there are still certain regions on the planet where Internet Explorer holds the title.

In the U.S., Chrome was still in second place, and that held true to a dramatic degree in some countries like Japan and China, as noted by The Verge.

However, the opposite held true in other countries and regions. In India, Chrome is the most used while Internet Explorer falls to third place, and in South America, Chrome brings in almost half of all Web traffic.

All in all, this is good news for Google because while browsers themselves do not make money, ad clicks from their search queries do. With more people using Chrome now, Google can rest assured its search engine is the default for most Web surfers.


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22 May 12 Breaking Up with Google Chrome Is Hard to Do

I am still in love with Google Chrome. It’s smooth. The tabs open in just the right way. It knows exactly what I want. It feels right. And, not to mention it’s one of the best looking browsers I’ve ever been with. Even all my friends love Chrome — a rarity. But Chrome, you’ve wronged me too many times. I shouldn’t have to put up with any more flash crashes, something that has turned into more than a daily occurrence. You have eaten far too many blog posts. And, while your little “Aw, Snap!” and “Whoa! Google Chrome has crashed” error notes used to endear me, it has gotten old. Chrome: This is over.

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The Rebound

Like any break-up, post-Chrome I sought an extreme rebound and migrated to Internet Explorer 9 after seeing its hip commercials. I still hated it. Especially compared to my beloved Chrome. For a heavy Internet user, like a blogger, Internet explorer didn’t handle tabs as well, putting them next to the address bar, instead of above it. It got all scrunchy, opening multiple windows got crowded, fast, and in general, it just felt very slow. (Other blogger tests confirmed that slowness.)

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But, those commercials just kept playing during Mad Men and, as I was in the market for a new browser, they enticed me for a second round. Thanks to a little help from Microsoft spokesperson Jenn Foss, the transition wasn’t as painful as expected. As for the tab situation, Foss explained that Microsoft put the tabs there to give the web page as much room as possible. But for super-users, who keep more than 8 tabs going at a time, the browser gives the option of having the tabs show up below the address bar. “You can now choose to have tabs be their own row,” Foss explained. “Just right-click above the one-box and select, “show tabs on a separate row.” With that you can literally go edge to edge with your tabs,” she continues. 

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Default Tabs. (Cringe):

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Much better:


Like all rebounds, however, I soon realized that IE and I would never last. Just like the tests say, man is Internet Explorer slow. The whole experience feels like retro Internetting. Not only does it take a very long time for pages to load, but the fonts and icons with their boxy look, feel old, compared to Chrome’s smoother edges and bigger font size. This blogger does not like to wait around. And realizing I could do better, I moved on.

The Exes Revisited

After a few days with Microsoft’s offering, I went back to some old favorites, Firefox for my work PC, and Safari for Mac browsing at home. Like any rekindling of an old-fling, at first I questioned why I ever left these guys. Firefox has all those extensions, it’s almost as pretty as Chrome, and works pretty fast. Then, I remembered all the flaws. One reason I dumped Firefox was because of bloat issues, which LifeHacker’s Adam Pash explains as such. “It’s not at all uncommon to see a Firefox installation eating up more than any running application on your system, and while the memory consumption itself isn’t that big of a deal (Chrome eats a lot of memory, too), the high memory usage is often accompanied by serious browser slowdowns, which is a very big problem, and one that, anecdotally, at least, we hear from tons of Firefox users and very few Chrome users,” he writes. It also has this infuriating tab issue, where it makes me scroll to see beyond 10 tabs. Also, why is its CTRL + F function case sensitive?

Also, why have neither of these browsers adopted the omnibox? For a harried Internet surfer, combining the URL box is one less thing to think about. Plus, I had to hand program both Firefox and Safari to do a Google search from the address bar. A few days with the old lovers, and the old issues resurfaces, an irritating reminder of the reason I left them in the first place. Then, Firefox had a flash crash of its own and that was it. Moving on.

A New Kind of Love

I am now getting to know Opera. We’re not boyfriend-girlfriend. We’re just seeing each other. Some might call it dating. Those speed tests have it as a pretty good match-up with Chrome. Though, it does feel a little slower. But that may be because it keeps me posted of its progress as it loads a page.

It also has some other nice features. Like, it previews the page behind the tab. CNET’s five-star review reads like an online dating profile for the browser. Like all partners, Opera is sure to have weaknesses and annoying quirks. Nobody, browsers included, is perfect. But, there’s a difference between abusive and annoying.

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17 May 12 Google shifting its Android strategy, seeks to fix fragmentation

Google is changing the way it approaches the production of new Android smartphones, seeking to end fragmentation among phones running the many different versions of its OS.

For its upcoming line of Nexus smartphones and tablets, Google will give early access to up to five manufacturers in order to bring some form of unity to the devices running the Android operating system.

Previously, Google would work with a single manufacturer at a time, helping it produce a lead device. This strategy produced successful phones, but it also left the market with many slightly different versions of Android.

All that variance has made it difficult for developers to create apps that work for every version of Android, and many Android users often get stuck with phones incapable of updating to the newest versions of the OS.

How bad is this fragmentation? Check out OpenSignalMaps, which created a graphic showcasing the many different versions of Android phones, to get an idea. Though the number of devices that appears is a bit exaggerated due to a variable, the amount is impressive.

Google will also begin selling phones to consumers itself as part of its effort to bring unity to the Android family. The search company also hopes both of these strategies help improve sales of Android tablets, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.


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10 May 12 Windows RT will ban Firefox and Chrome, says Mozilla

According to Mozilla, Windows RT, a tablet-centric iteration of the upcoming Windows 8 OS, could be hitched exclusively to Internet Explorer. 


Matthew Shaer /
May 10, 2012

A new version of the Windows 8 operating system could shut out browsers such as Firefox and Chrome, according to Mozilla.



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Sometime later this year, Microsoft will release three version of its latest browser, Windows 8: plain old Windows 8 (for the average user), Windows 8 Pro (for committed geeks), and Windows RT (for use on ARM-based tablet computers). Windows RT, Microsoft has hinted, includes all the usual Microsoft standbys, including Word and Excel, but the whole ensemble will be controlled by a touch-centric interface.

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Good news for tablet aficionados. 

And unfortunate news for Google and Mozilla.

RELATED: 10 most intriguing tablets of 2012

According to Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, Microsoft is planning to allow only one fully-functioning browser on Windows RT: Microsoft’s own Internet Explorer. Writing on the Mozilla blog, Harvey Anderson, general counsel for the company, lashed out at Microsoft for the slight, and called the alleged move “an unwelcome return to the digital dark ages where users and developers didn’t have browser choices.” 

Anderson continues: 

Why does this matter to users? Quite simply because Windows on ARM – as currently designed – restricts user choice, reduces competition and chills innovation. By allowing only IE to perform the advanced functions of a modern Web browser, third-party browsers are effectively excluded from the platform. This matters for users of today’s tablets and tomorrow’s PCs. 

Of course, Firefox wouldn’t be the only one excluded – Google’s Chrome would be left out in the cold, too.

Unsurprisingly, Google has said in a statement that it “shares the concerns” raised by Mozilla. “We’ve always welcomed innovation in the browser space across all platforms and strongly believe that having great competitors makes us all work harder. In the end, consumers and developers benefit the most from robust competition,” reps told CNET. 

It’s worth noting that Microsoft has not yet officially commented on the allegations from team Mozilla. Moreover, we’re a few months out from the Windows 8 launch, so things could still change considerably. 

Follow us on Twitter @venturenaut for more tech news.

RELATED: 10 most intriguing tablets of 2012


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27 Apr 12 Kindle Fire taking over Android side of tablet market, report says

The Kindle Fire appears to be burning up its competition — on the Android side, anyway. Inc.’s tablet computer is catching on in a big way, having grabbed 54.4% of the Android tablet market by the end of February, the fourth month that it was on sale, according to new data from comScore Inc. That represented a near doubling of the Fire’s Android market share since December, when it was at 29.4%.

In a way, the Kindle Fire is gobbling up the small fish in the pond — far outpacing Samsung’s Galaxy Tab (15.4% of Android), Motorola Xoom (7%), the Asus Transformer (6.3%) and others by Dell, Lenovo and Sony. 

But the big fish remains Apple’s iPad, which, according to the market research firm IDC, controlled about 55% of the entire tablet market as of the fourth quarter of 2011, with Android tablets accounting for about 45%.  In its release Friday, comScore declined to offer more recent overall market share numbers, so we don’t yet have an up-to-date snapshot of the broader tablet battle.

However, if the iPad-Android market split has stayed close to 55%-45% in the last few months,  that would mean about 30% of tablets currently shipping are Kindle Fires, putting the Fire an increasingly close second to the iPad.

That may make dismissing the Kindle Fire more difficult for Apple, which sold close to 12 million of its new iPads in the device’s first quarter on the market, a strong showing but not a record for iPad sales. In February, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook dismissed tablets like the Kindle Fire as an inferior competitor.

“A cheap prod­uct might sell some units,” Cook said at the time. “But then [consumers] get it home and use it and the joy is gone. And the joy is gone ev­ery day that they use it and they wind up not us­ing it anymore.”

Whether or not they’re using the Kindle Fire after they take it home, however, consumers certainly appear to be buying it.


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11 Apr 12 Instagram gives Facebook 5 million reasons to love recent acquisition

The new Android app from Instagram, which was recently gobbled up by Facebook, has racked up 5 million downloads. 


Matthew Shaer /
April 11, 2012

Instagram, seen here on an Android phone, has proved extremely popular among users of the Google mobile platform.



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Earlier this week, Facebook announced the acquisition of photo-sharing hub Instagram. The price tag? A reported $1 billion in stock options and cash, a hefty chunk of change even for a company that could soon be valued at $100 billion.

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In a message to users, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg maintained that although Facebook and Instagram offered very “different experiences, that the two platforms would “complement each other.” 

“This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.” 

RELATED: 20 essential Android tips and tricks

Plenty of analysts thought Team Facebook was nuts. (The deal, wrote one, “was an indication that Facebook does not have what it takes to stay in business.”) 

But today comes news that Facebook may have been prescient in gobbling up Instagram. According to VentureBeat, the new Instagram Android application tallied up a million downloads in the first 24 hours it was available. And it wasn’t just a quick burst of interest, either – over six days, downloads of the Android app topped five million. “Insta-growth,” VentureBeat called it. (30 million users already reportedly access Instagram through Apple’s iOS.) 

The question now is whether Instagram can continue to thrive under Facebook control, points out Mike Isaac of Wired. 

“Upon any relatively small startup being absorbed by a larger company, there’s almost always change in structure, workflow and even long-term product goals,” Isaac writes. “While both Mark Zuckerberg and Burbn CEO Kevin Systrom both promised that Instagram would continue as the standalone brand and product it is now, it’s difficult to imagine that the social giant’s influence won’t affect Instagram’s evolution at all.”

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut. And don’t forget to sign up for the weekly BizTech newsletter.

RELATED: 20 essential Android tips and tricks


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16 Dec 11 Google’s Chrome browser overtakes Internet Explorer 8

Google's Chrome browser entered the market in 2008.Did Google’s Chrome browser just become the globe’s most popular?

That’s what StatCounter is reporting.

It says Chrome topped Internet Explorer 8 in the last week of November, when Chrome took 23.6% of the global market and IE8 took 23.5%.

Of course, if you combine all of the versions of Internet Explorer, it’s still the browser champ. And in the United States, Internet Explorer is still on top, with 27% of the market.

So what’s driving the growth? Aodhan Cullen, chief executive of StatCounter, says businesses as well as consumers are adopting Chrome.

Microsoft, which includes Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system, used to have a lock on the browser market. Google didn’t even enter the market until 2008.

But Chrome recently surpassed Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox browser, which it used to support. Firefox launched in 2004 and drove innovation in the market, which was dominated by Internet Explorer since IE overtook Netscape’s browser in the late 1990s.

Google CEO Larry Page was always a proponent of Google’s getting into the browser market. Google began to build a browser in 2006, concerned that existing browsers were not good enough to support its online services or might lead users away from its search engine. (Microsoft uses Internet Explorer to send users to its own Bing search engine.)


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Photo: The logo for the Google Chrome Web browser is shown during a news conference at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., in September 2008. Photo credit: Paul Sakuma / Associated Press. 

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