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Google will soon bake in a very cool new feature into Chrome that would allow the browser to listen in on your open tabs, where it would tell you which tabs are making noise, or recording it. The new feature has been baked into the latest Chromium release and features a throbbing EQ animation over any tab that is making noise.
The reason we're seeing it in Chromium first is that Chromium is where Google plays with features and improvements, such as this, before shifting them over to the stable Chrome build. At the moment, the new feature doesn't work on the OS X-based version of Chromium, but it works within Windows. At first, I didn't think this would be useful - but I'm the kind of person who might open 5-10 (or more) tabs in quick succession, with one of them playing some ad that I can't find - in this case, it would be perfect.
Google has released the latest stable version of Chrome. This new version comes with the typical bug fixes, improved security, and performance updates that we have come to expect from updates. Also included in this latest version of Chrome is the ability to add voice recognition via the Web Speech API.
The Web Speech API allows Chrome to send snippets or continuous speech to Google's Voice service. Google's servers then send back the text version of what was said. This is incredibly useful for users who can't type do to physical disabilities or are slow typists.
Google has also disabled silent extension installs as they announced they were going to do back in December. Google says that too many third-parties were taking advantage of the opportunity to install extensions that users didn't want or didn't even accept.
You can download Google Chrome 25 from Google's website.
Google will be bundling its Chrome OS app launcher with future versions of its Chrome browser, if the latest developer version of Chrome is correct. Yesterday, someone spotted a new feature in a just released developer channel version of Chrome that adds the app launcher feature to the popular browser.
The App Launcher lets you run Chrome apps without launching the browser first. This lets apps that are capable of running offline have a wider range of features than regular web apps. Google has stated that you will have the same experience as Chromebook users via the App Launcher.
At the moment, the new feature is only available on the developer's version of Chrome for Windows, but Google has said that the Linux and OSX developer version will be released shortly. No word on which upcoming release of Chrome will see the official launch of the App Launcher, but we will keep you notified when we find out.
Firefox 19 isn't going to officially launch until tomorrow, but you can get your hands on the latest version of Mozilla's browser for Windows, Mac and Linux right now.
You can download it directly from Mozilla's FTP server, or you can wait until the official launch and continue to check the Firefox website. Mozilla's blog also provides information about the release if it's significant enough, like Firefox 19. If you are using Firefox as your mobile browser, you might want to also keep an eye on the Google Play Store, too, as it should launch for Android tomorrow.
Last week I reported on Opera dumping Presto as it's rendering engine and adoption the more developer friendly, open source Webkit. The news kept flowing when the company managed to pick up Skyfire for a reported $155 million shortly after the Webkit announcement.
It looks like Opera will blanket headlines today as well, as the reports coming in from the Norwegian publication digi.no. They have announced that the company is letting some of its long time devs go from its core technology developer team. The publication said that as many as 90 of the 100 man team were terminated.
A large percentage of those who lost their jobs actually took a large severance package before Christmas. Some higher ranking developers were shuffled around to new projects within the company. Opera HR Director Tove Selnes is quoted: "This reorganization has been resolved in cooperation with the individual. We've come to terms with about 90 people, both in development and not development-related departments."
Opera, the little web browser that could, has decided to ditch the Presto rendering engine in favor of the more developer friendly and open source Webkit. This announcement comes hot on the heels of reports that put its user base around the 300 million monthly user mark.
Switching to Webkit will be greatly beneficial to the open source project, web developers, and the Chromium project. Hakon Wium Lie, CTO of Opera Software said, it "makes more sense to have our experts working with the open source communities to further improve WebKit and Chromium, rather than developing our own rendering engine further."
The switch to Webkit will not be an instant one though as Opera plans on rolling the change out to iOS, Android and PCs over the next year. CEO Lars Boilesen said that he hopes that the change will help the browser "claim a bigger piece of the pie in the smartphone market".
The latest Windows build of Google's Chrome browser seems to be alluding that big things are on the horizon. Google appears to be readying a new "Notification Center" for its popular browser.
When reading over the latest release's code, Francois Beaufor spotted what appears to be templated notifications which can be enabled by toggling a flag in Chrome's settings. This will allow users to create personalized notifications from within a Chrome extension.
Speculation is that the new Notification Center may be the hub for Google Now support in Chrome OS as a recent code revision in Chromium hints at Google Now support. Chrome OS has always supported notifications, but bringing Google Now to the OS could help it become the next big player in the OS market.
Microsoft is looking to bring back users by toying with their emotions in this latest appeal:
The video clearly plays upon the current generation's nostalgia for the '90s. I've seen plenty of posts from my friends on Facebook saying "Like this if you're a '90s kid" and the like, so I have a feeling this appeal may actually work well for Microsoft. What are your thoughts on the ad? Will it bring you back to Internet Explorer?
Microsoft announced the ad on their blog:
Last year was a pretty great one for Internet Explorer. From hitting a year high on worldwide share to making some new friends like Officer Cupcake and Eugene Filon, we poked some fun at our past while helping the skeptics learn about the latest version of IE. Performance tests continued to show Internet Explorer 10 as the fastest browser on Windows 8 and security reports showed it was also the best browser to protect users from malware.
Which is why we thought it was time to invite those of you who haven't thought about Internet Explorer in a while to take a trip down memory lane. Internet Explorer is a child of the '90s, but we have done some serious growing up. Maybe IE was your first browser, but you haven't used it in a while. We aren't sure if Pogs or trolls will make a comeback as well, but we do know a lot has changed with Internet Explorer.
Dolphin Browser, one of the most popular mobile browsers just made a huge leap into the future by building in Evernote's Web Clipper. This makes it the first such browser to let us save, annotate, and tag webpages on the spot and see the changes pop up across all of our Evernote Synced devices.
Also included in the update is a single-step sharing process that simplifies sharing to social media sites and email. Users can even share content between browsers if they are on the same local network.
Developers also upgraded Dolphin Connect, to better sync bookmarks, passwords, and history between devices such as PC using extensions and add-on's to popular browsers.
Google unveiled Chrome 25 beta today, with some notable improvements, such as voice search. Other changes include the disabling of silent extension installs, the inclusion of Web Speech API, and a new tab page that includes a search box.
You can pick up the latest Chrome beta on Google's website.