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Today Google announced that it has began cracking down on multifunction extensions for its Chrome web browser. These type of browsers typically slow down a users machine by consuming massive amounts of system resources even while at idle.
A new Chrome Web Store policy has been put into place that states that all extensions must be designed with a single purpose, and extensions that do not fit the bill will be removed from the Web Store. Single-purpose design for extensions has "always been the intent of the Chrome extension system," Google's, Erik Kay, writes in a blog post. "These multi-purpose extensions can crowd your browser UI and slow down your web browsing - sometimes significantly. We're making this policy change to fix these problems and give users more control over their browsing experience,"
I'm a big fan of the 'OK Google' movement on my Nexus 5, and I can't wait to get my hands on Glass, but now there's a Chrome extension that gives you the same voice command ability with Google Search.
If you have a microphone hooked up to your computer, or alternatively if you're using a notebook/Ultrabook with one built-in, all you have to do is say "OK Google" and a question, and it will look it up for you. The best questions, I've found, are asking it about the weather, or time, or a crazy math question.
You can get this all from the Chrome Store, by downloading the extension and trying it out. Do let us know how your travels are with the extension!
If you're an IT guy, you would know the pain of all the bits and pieces Chrome can do - extensions, themes, and much more. Well, Google has just revealed a new function that acts like a factory reset button for Chrome.
The new "Reset browser settings" button will revert Chrome back to its default search engine, removing any saved searches to their original settings, homepage button and any pinned tabs get removed, startup and new tab tabs cleared, cookies, site data, and content settings all get wiped, and finally, extensions and themes disabled.
Google is also pushing a new malware download blocking feature soon, which should help increase its browser's security.
Earlier this morning, Google began pushing out the latest version of Google Chrome, and it is expected to take several days for the process to completely populate to all those who have auto updating turned on in Chrome. The update brings forth a new search by image option for the desktop version of Chrome, while the Android version receives a handful of new touch-based gestures.
On the Android version of Chrome 30, users will now have the ability to horizontally swipe across the top bar to quickly jump from one tab to another. Additionally, dragging down will reveal the entire tab switcher screen. I love this new feature as it allows me to very quickly access all of my tabs at once and makes searching through multiple tabs quick and easy. Users are also able to drag down the settings menu for quick and easy access.
The new "search by image" feature on the desktop version of Chrome 30 is pretty awesome as well. Now users can search for larger sized images simply by right clicking on a web-based image and selecting the new "Search Google for this image" option in the context menu. For those who use Google image search for wallpapers or for content, this feature greatly speeds up the image hunting process.
Following Google's lead, Mozilla has decided to deactivate most of the browser plug-ins used in Firefox. In the latest version of Firefox Aurora, almost all of the plug-ins have been disabled with the exception of Adobe Flash. Unlike Chrome's plan to ban plug-ins all together, FireFox will let its users choose which plug-ins they would like to activate.
Firefox says that the decision to disable most plug-ins would not only help speed up the browser, but it will provide a safer environment and remove many of the security vulnerabilities that modern browsers face. At one time, plug-ins were an important tool for development as well as implementing cutting-edge features such as video and animation, but over time web technologies advanced and everything can now be done using new technologies such as WebGL, WebSockets, WebRTC, and asm.js.
The move to disable plug-ins is also driven by the fact that most mobile devices no longer support many of them. Disabling plug-ins by default will help push development into a more mobile-friendly workflow and will allow developers to take the Internet to the next level.
Earlier this afternoon, Google announced that it has began rolling out a newly refreshed "new tabs page" that greatly speeds up searching from within the Chrome browser. The new tab page still features little windows to your most visited sites, but now features the Google search bar front and center.
Google says that at the moment only those who use the "stable channel of Chrome" will have access to the new tab page, and those users must additionally have Google set as the default search engine. Google is not limiting this new tab page to just Google search, and has opened the API to allow any search engine to be integrated into the new tab page.
A statement on Google's Chrome blog said:
When you're searching for information, speed matters. We're always thinking about how to shave milliseconds from every search you do, throughout our products. Last year, we started testing a feature in Chrome to make searching from a new tab faster and simpler. If you use Chrome's Developer or Beta installs, you may have already seen this in action. Many thanks for your feedback, which has helped us continue to hone the look and feel, and improve average time from query to answer - meaning you can find what you're looking for even more quickly than before.
Browser plug-ins are one of the largest security vulnerabilities facing today's computers, and Google aims to remove this issue from their Chrome browser once and for all. Starting in January 2014, Google will begin banning all of the most widely used browser plug-ins and will insist that developers begin using programming methods that use standards built directly into the web.
Most of the plug-ins featured on Chrome use the Netscape Plug-In Application programming interface, a technology that was state-of-the-art more than 10 years ago. Plug-ins should not be confused with much safer Add-Ons, which Google distributes through its Chrome Web Store. Fortunately, plug-ins such as Microsoft's Silverlight, Unity, Java, Flash, and Facebook Video will be white listed in the ban, so most of your services should continue functioning normally.
PAX PRIME 2013 - Microsoft is in attendance of PAX Prime 2013--why wouldn't they be? Their headquarters is just down the road--and is showing not only their Xbox equipment, but is also making a marketing push for Internet Explorer. In conjunction with Atari, Microsoft is showing off three classic games redesigned for touch and running in Internet Explorer.
Each player played three classic games for 60 seconds a piece. The three scores were then combined, with the highest scoring player getting a VIP vacation to the Tokyo Game Show in 2014. For those interested, the three games were Centipede, Missile Command, and Asteroids.
In the latest stable versions of Chrome and Chrome OS, Mountain View-based Google has been testing search-enabled tabs. These search-enabled tabs have been popping up in Chrome since December, but you've needed to run the test version of the browser to see it.
Google has now opened it up to a small number of users running stable copies of Chrome and Chrome OS, and all you need to do is have Google as your default search engine to see a search box appear in every new tab - a very nice, functional addition to new tabs. Google hasn't said whether this new search function will leak into every users Chrome, but it said that previous tests have been "encouraging."
Just how powerful is Google's grip on the global web browser market share? Very powerful. The Mountain View-based giant claim 43% of the global market with Chrome.
In the US, just 36% of Internet users use Chrome, which is one of the world's lowest rates. Internet Explorer is still dominant - I don't know how or why - in the US, with 30%. In South America, Google is king with 63% of the market.
Asia seems to favor Chrome, where Google see 49% of the market in its hands. Worldwide, Google take 43%, Internet Explorer takes 25% and Firefox scoops up 20%.