Archive for the ‘Chrome OS’ Category

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Google Chrome, a browser built on the Blink layout engine that aims to be minimalistic and versatile at the same time, is now at version 31.0.1650.26 Beta.

After the release of a development and stable version, a new Google Chrome Beta is now available, bringing a few much needed changes and improvements.

According to the announcement, a “kiosk_only” manifest attribute has been added for platform apps, a content switch has been added to turn off unprefixed MediaSource API, a wrong policy used for secondary users has been corrected, a tablet layout regression has been corrected, and much more.

A complete list of bug fixes and changes can be found in the official changelog.

Download Google Chrome 31.0.1650.26 Beta for Windows
Download Google Chrome 31.0.1650.26 Beta for Mac OS X
Download Google Chrome 31.0.1650.26 Beta for Linux

Rovio’s latest game, Bad Piggies, is now available via Google Play and the App Store, and as a PC and Mac download, but it has not yet made its way to the Chrome Web Store. These pigs can indeed fly – “Bad Piggies,” the spinoff to the monster hit game “Angry Birds,” set a new record by soaring to the top of the charts just three hours after release.

Scammers have quickly taken advantage of this, introducing bogus versions of Bad Piggies into the Chrome Web Store that exist primarily to serve up in-browser advertisements thanks to a few plug-in permissions.
Barracuda Networks’ lab today discovered a knock-off of the new and wildly popular “Bad Piggies” game which includes a phishing plug-in that may have injected an aggressive adware program into more than 82,000 Chrome browsers.
The lack of a free online version for Bad Piggies left space for others to capitalize on the instant success of the game. Just days after the game launched, Jason Ding, a research scientist from Barracuda Networks, found seven free versions of the games in the Google Chrome web store.
Jason Ding notes that all of these games are being distributed by the same site: playook.info. After installation, the games insert their own advertisements into popular websites. Barracuda found that after deploying the games in a test environment, they inserted advertising from playook.com into sites like Myspace, eBay, IMDB, Yahoo and MSN among dozens of other sites on the Chrome browser.
If you have already installed, uninstall them immediately and change your passwords on other websites if possible,” Barracuda said. The firm also warned users to be wary of plugins that requires a lot of suspicious permissions.

Google released a Chrome 5 beta build this week that brings a significant boost to the browser’s JavaScript performance, improved support for emerging Web standards, and a number of noteworthy enhancements to the browser’s cloud synchronization framework. After running the beta for most of the day, I’m convinced that Chrome is reaching a sweet spot of feature richness and leading performance that will make it a real winner.

Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine benefits from a particularly profound advancement in the new beta. A major optimization effort by the V8 team in Denmark has increased the browser’s JavaScript performance by roughly 30 percent. When we conducted benchmarks to see how it compares to competing browsers, we discovered that it has taken the lead, edging in slightly ahead of the swift Safari nightly builds. The test was conducted with the SunSpider benchmark suite on a quad-core Mac Pro. The new Chrome 5 beta completed the benchmark in 338.4ms, the Safari nightly completed it in 373.4ms, Opera 10.53 came in third place with 389.6ms, and Firefox crawled in last with 741.8ms.

READ MORE: Arstechnica

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Google Chrome is already an extremely secure Web browser. Armed with its exploit-thwarting sandbox, Chrome remained untested at Pwn2Own this year, while other browsers were hacked within minutes.

Still, it never hurts to bolster your defenses, and there are plenty of good options for doing just that over in the official Google Chrome Extensions Gallery. Let’s take a look at nine which are well worth installing — see you after the break, Chrome fans

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View Thru – The millions of short URLs floating around on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the Internet might be a convenience for some, but they can also be a big threat to your safety. Just like the Rickrolls of yesteryear, there are those who “poison” shortened URLs, hiding their malicious destinations behind a jumble of letters and numbers.

With View Thru installed, you’ll see a tooltip appear whenever you hover over a link, which includes the title of the destination page and its unshortened URL.

WebOfTrust (WOT) – I’ve recommended WOT for quite some time. Its community-powered ratings help surfers avoid Internet dangers through easy-to-understand color coding. Not sure if you should click that link in your Google or Bing search results? Green = go. Red = stop. Yellow = proceed with caution.

WOT even has you covered if you haplessly stumble onto a malicious site; instead of loading the page, you’ll be shown a big, blacked-out warning instead (see the header image), letting you know that other WOT users have given it a big, collective thumbs down.

McAfee Site Advisor – If you don’t recognize the WOT name and aren’t sure about its ratings, you may well want to check out McAfee’s Site Advisor extension. They’ve been in the computer security business for a long time and know a thing or two about what’s safe and what isn’t.

Unlike WOT, Site Advisor doesn’t display ratings next to all the links on a page and it will only prevent access to untrusted sites — and then only when you tell it to via the extension’s options. By default, it just displays a color-coded alert icon, so I strongly recommend making the change.

LastPass – One of the most common ways that people put themselves at risk online is poor password habits. They use the same password everywhere, and they tend to choose words which are easily hackable. LastPass helps out by making it easy to create and use different strong passwords on all of the Web sites you log in to.

All you have to remember is one well-chosen master password. From there, use the built-in strong password creator and let LastPass encrypt and store your passwords on their remote servers. Don’t worry, not even LastPass staffers can decrypt your password file. They’re safe in the cloud — and probably a lot safer than if you’ve been using Chrome’s built-in password saving feature.

PasswordFail – If it’s not a weak password getting users into trouble, there’s always the possibility of bad Web programming putting people at risk. PasswordFail will notify you whenever you happen upon a site that is known to store passwords in plain text. Why is that bad? Because if anyone every gets their mitts on the database, they’ve got instant access to everyone’s logins (instead of a bunch of usernames and password hashes).

This one is as much about getting Web sites to institute better password storage and handling procedures as it is about letting you know where to tread lightly.

KB SSL Enforcer – Plenty of popular Web sites offer more secure SSL encrypted versions of their login pages, but they don’t send users there by default. If you’d prefer to see the lock icon and https:// at the start of your Omnibar, before typing your details into Facebook, Twitter, or Google (and a bunch of other sites), check out this extension.

It works via redirection, so you’ll see the plain old http:// version of a page briefly before KB SSL Enforcer loads the secure version of the page. This is a must-have extension to bolt on to your portable Google Chrome install.

Credit Card Nanny – No one wants to have a pile of unwanted credit card charges turn up on their statement. Nanny aims to prevent that from happening by alerting you to fraudulent or risky Web checkout forms that simply zap your CC details to someone’s email inbox in plain text. It’s hard to believe some Web stores still think it’s ok to operate like this in 2010, but it’s true.

TrustGuard – One other extension to keep an eye on is TrustGuard, which taps into the customer ratings at TrustPilot.com. Think of it as WOT for Web stores. Customers submit ratings for shops, which TrustPilot then tabulates into an overall score from 0 to 10. Stores with an 8 or better get a green check.

Trust Guard takes those ratings and pops them into your Chrome Omnibar, giving you a quick heads-up about a store’s customer satisfaction. At least, it’s supposed to — I couldn’t get ratings to appear on any of the sites I tested. TrustGuard is fairly new, though, so it’s worth checking into later, especially if you do a lot of shopping online.

Update: TrustGuard’s developer has already fixed the issue!


FlashBlock – I know Chrome’s sandbox makes it particularly tricky to exploit, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to leave one of the Web’s most used attack methods to run unquestioned. Adobe Flash is used commonly by malware thugs to perpetrate drive-by attacks on unsuspecting Web users.

By letting FlashBlock stop Flash elements in their tracks, I then have the choice to load them only on sites I trust.

Got another safety-minded extension for Google Chrome that you recommend to users? Share with us in the comments!

Google Chrome, like Firefox, has the ability to increase its functionality and capabilities through the use of extensions. If you’re a web developer, Google Chrome comes with a nice set of developer tools built in that will make your life easier. But there are also a number of extensions that will give you even more tools at your disposal. The great thing about extensions is that they allow you to perform tasks that would normally require you to switch over to another application. Being able to perform certain tasks without leaving your browser can be a big time saver.

Here are 13 Google Chrome extensions that you should find very useful.

Color Picker

google chrome extensions

Color Oicker lets you quickly get the Hex and RGB values of any color! Also adjust Hue, Saturation, and Balance.

Firebug Lite

google chrome extensions

Firebug Lite is a tool for web developers, that allows you to edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page.

Domain Availability Checker

google chrome extensions

This extension checks the availability of a domain name. What’s the point of going to another page when you can check it from your toolbar.

Aviary Screen Capture

google chrome extensions

Aviary Screen Capture allows you to ake a screenshot of any webpage and edit it directly in your browser with Aviary.com applications. Plus it has convenient access to the Aviary website and tools.

Lorem Ipsum Generator

google chrome extensions

Lorem Ipsum Generator gives you an easy and convenient way to generate dummy text for your design mock-ups.

IE Tab

google chrome extensions

Use Internet Explorer to display web pages in a Chrome tab. Some sites can only be displayed using IE, and with this extension you can now see those sites without leaving Chrome. Great for web developers who want to test the IE rendering engine, users who use sites with ActiveX controls, and users who want to use the explorer view for local files (i.e. file:// URLs).

MeasureIt!

google chrome extensions

MeasureIt! gives you the ability to draw out a ruler that will help you get the pixel width and height of any elements on a webpage.

PlainClothes

google chrome extensions

This extension styles — or rather “unstyles” — the web. Just imagine: text is black, backgrounds are white, unread links are blue, visited links are purple, all links are underlined. Or any other colors you like. And all text is rendered in your default fonts (as defined in “Options” > “Under the Hood” > “Change font and language settings”). Everywhere. Automatically.

Eye Dropper

google chrome extensions

Eye Dropper and Color Picker extension which allows you to pick color from any webpage or from advanced color picker.

Speed Tracer

google chrome extensions

Speed Tracer is a tool to help you identify and fix performance problems in your web applications. It visualizes metrics that are taken from low level instrumentation points inside of the browser and analyzes them as your application runs. Speed Tracer is available as a Chrome extension and works on all platforms where extensions are currently supported (Windows and Linux).

Pendule

google chrome extensions

Pendule extends the already built-in developer tools of Chrome.

Resolution Test

google chrome extensions

Resolution Test changes the size of the browser window for developers to preview their websites in different screen resolutions. It includes a list of commonly used resolutions as well as a custom option for you to input your own.

Snippy

google chrome extensions

Snippy allows you to grab snippets of web pages and save them for future use. It captures rich contents and preserves formatting, so you can capture paragraphs, images, links and more.

Just a few days ago, Google announced the release of the Chrome OS source code. Within less than 24 hours, the web was littered with disk images for running the new OS on virtual machines such as VMWare and VirtualBox. I even managed to put together my own Google Chrome OS download in the form of a complete VirtualBox appliance. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve taken it a step further, and now you can easily try it on your own computer from a USB thumb drive.

Before You Get Started

Before you decide to download Chrome OS, there are probably a few things I should tell you about it. It is in the very early stages of development, so there is still a lot of stuff that doesn’t work. In fact, it may not work for you at all.

You should also be made aware that this operating system is very simplistic by design, as it is intended for use on netbook computers. By definition, a netbook is a small and inexpensive laptop intended for very casual use such as web browsing and simple office tasks. When you launch Chrome OS, pretty much all you get is a web browser. Don’t be surprised if you go through all this and say to yourself, “I did all that work just to log into a freakin’ browser?”

Requirements

First of all, you will of course need a USB drive you can use to try it out. The disk image is 2,988,442,112 bytes, so you’ll probably need a 4GB thumb drive to be able to use it. If you have any files on your USB drive that you need, be sure to back them up to a safe place because this will wipe all the data from your USB drive. Consider yourself warned.

You will also need a computer that allows booting from a USB drive. You’ll need to instruct your computer’s BIOS to boot from the USB drive instead of the hard drive like it normally does. When you boot up your computer, it should provide you with information as to how to bring up a boot menu. On some machines it is the F8 key and others the F12 key or some other key.

If it all scrolls by too fast, some computers will allow you to pause the boot sequence by pressing the Pause key. That should give you all the time you need to read all that stuff on the screen to see if you can find out what the boot menu key is (if there is one). If you don’t see anything about a boot menu, you could also try editing your BIOS settings to boot from the USB drive. You may wish to consult your computer (or motherboard) manual on how to do this.

You will also need a little bit of luck. Chromium OS may or may not work on your computer hardware. I did successfully run it on two home-built frankenstein computers (with ASUS motherboards), but it did not successfully recognize the network adapter on my Dell laptop. All of this work may be for nothing, if it ends up that Chromium OS does not like your network adapter. Ah yes, I forgot to mention that you do also need a computer with a network adapter.

Finally, you’ll need to download the necessary files to put Chromium OS (that’s what the open source version of Google Chrome OS is called) onto your USB drive. I’ve packaged it all together in a torrent for you:

Download the Chromium OS for USB Torrent (Right-click and Save As)

You’ll need a good BitTorrent client like µTorrent to download it. If you’re new to BitTorrent, be sure to check out our Big Book of BitTorrent. You’ll learn more than you’ll ever want to know about it.

The torrent has a zip file that includes the disk image, as well as a Windows tool for putting the image onto a USB drive. The program you’ll use to create the Chrome OS USB boot disk is called Image Writer for Windows. It’s a nifty little tool for writing disk images, it’s free, and it’s open source.

You don’t need to download it seperately because I’ve already included it in the torrent. I just wanted to mention the good folks that developed the great application and send them some link love as well.

Installing Chromium OS to your USB Drive

Unzip chrome_os_usb.zip, and launch Win32DiskImager.exe. If you need a program to unzip the archive, you can download IZArc. If you get the warning below when you launch Image Writer, don’t sweat it. It’s looking for a floppy disk that’s not there.

Once you’ve got Image Writer running, click the folder icon and select the chrome_os.img file (it should be located in the same place where you extracted the zip file and launched Win32DiskImager.exe).

Connect your USB drive to your PC. If you have autorun enabled, you may want to wait a few seconds for your computer to do its thing. Just close whatever window may pop up. Next, click on the Device dropdown and select the drive letter that corresponds to your USB drive. Then, click Write and the program will commence writing the disk image to your USB drive.

Boot Up Chromium OS

You’re now ready to boot up Chromium OS! You can just leave the USB drive in your machine and reboot it. When the machine boots, press the boot menu key on your keyboard. Select your USB drive from the menu. In about 10 seconds or so, you should see the Chromium OS login screen.

chromium-os-login

Login with chronos and password. This will log you in as a local user. Once you log in, you should see what looks almost just like the Google Chrome browser. If you click on the Chrome sphere in the upper left corner, you should see a Google Accounts login page telling you to log into Welcome. Log in with your Google Account.

chromium-os-welcome-login

If you do not see this page and you get a browser page that says it could not find the page requested, then unfortunately luck is not on your side. It means that Chromium OS doesn’t like your network adapter. You could still however try it out in a virtual machine if you so desire. If you were able to succesfully log in, you should then see the application page.

chromium-os-app-page

As you can see, it is all in the cloud. All the applications you see on the app page bring up different webpages, and everything you do takes place within the browser. In my experience, although it did boot up relatively fast, the browser tends to run a bit slow and is a bit jumpy. Although the calculator and notepad launch properly in little popover windows, the apps don’t work and nothing loads into the windows at all.

The To-do List application doesn’t work either, and you get a Google.com account login page. Note, this is not the same as a Google Accounts login so you won’t be able to log in with your Google Account. The Google.com login page is only for Google employees. The Contacts application brings up a Google Talk gadget that doesn’t appear to work.

As I said earlier, a lot of the stuff isn’t working right. You’ll also see right at the top of the application page a message that says UI under development. Designs are subject to change.

All the other applications are simply links to webpages. One thing that I found rather amusing is that when you click on the Hotmail icon, it takes you to Gmail. However, the Yahoo! Mail icon does indeed bring you to the Yahoo! Mail login page. I suppose Google likes Yahoo! better than they do Microsoft.

So what do you think of Chrome OS? Do you think it is the netbook operating system of the future?