New Google Chrome v4 released

As you should know by now, I favour Google’s Chrome browser and today (finally), Google have released their latest stable build of the Chrome browser, 4.0.249.78. And as you can see from the screen shot above (if you’ve not already used their beta releases of v4 already) extensions and bookmark syncing are now available.

After my previous problems with the latest beta builds and instability on my laptop I was hesitant to stick to the beta builds and opted to wait for the stable version to be released.

Now, finally, I too can enjoy the benefits of over 1500 extensions and bookmark syncing.

Below is a list of the extensions I’ve just installed and tried out (you can click on any of the images below to go to the relevant extension download page):

Since I use Google Reader to keep up with all my various news/RSS feeds the first extension I’ve installed is the Google Reader one. It downloads and installs in, literally, seconds. If you’re already logged into Google the icon will already show you how many unread items there are. Clicking on the icon shows you unread items at a glance which you can click on the title to read the article or open Google Reader in a new tab.

Next on my list of wanted extensions is the 1-click Weather extension provided by Weather.com which gives you a toolbar icon showing the current temperature in your city and clicking on the icon will give you a detailed weather map as well as a mini forecast. If you’re using Windows Vista/7 you’ve probably already, like me, got the Windows Weather widget on your desktop but this is always using Chrome.

Like many other people, I too have and use my Gmail account, especially when sending emails when away from my own laptop and when sending interesting posts to friends. With this extension I can quickly keep a tab of any new emails arriving and the unread email count in my Gmail account right from my browser toolbar.

If you have a Google Wave, Google Voice account as well as Gmail and use Google Reader you can always opt to use the One Number extension which uses a single toolbar icon to monitor all your Google accounts together.

Even though I read most of what I’m interested in via Google Reader, I occasionally search for something through Google or click through to view the full post on the website, since it may be limited in the feed article. I’m so used to where ads appear and how they appear that they don’t really bother me, but others may enjoy the AdBlock extension (works similarly to Mozilla Firefox’s ad blocker – and it’s customizable too).

Update: for developers and designers out there – I’ve just seen the following post recommending 15 must have Google Chrome extensions.

These are just a few extensions that I’ve showcased here like I said there are over 1500 extensions to choose from. Go and have a browse, try them out, if you find an interesting one and it works well, let me know in the comments. Happy surfing!

PS: Remember you can manage your installed extensions (and their respective options) by selecting Extensions from the Tools menu or type in chrome://extensions/ in the address bar.

Sorry Google, Chrome has been vindicated!

Last week I ranted on about Google’s Chrome browser hanging my laptop and after non-use of Chrome the problem went away. Well, it seems that I had spoken too soon. The very next day my laptop hung again, and I had not used Chrome since before I wrote the blog post.

So, frustrated with the hanging, I did a little more digging and found out that there was a known problem with one of Microsoft’s Windows updates, MS09-065 (969947), which caused hanging of the OS (with mouse movement still working) for users with Nvidia and ATI video cards. Now, I know, it’s an XP problem but the update applies to Vista as well so I thought it might be exhibiting the same problems with Vista so I removed that update as well as the Nvidia driver update and re-applied the Nvidia driver update again.

It was a short-lived experience, as the problem returned.

So, I gave in and restored my laptop back to it’s clean, factory-install version of Vista and began rebuilding it again. Many, many long hours later and about 1.7GB of various windows updates later, it seems I have a usable laptop once again.

And yes, this post is being written and posted using Google Chrome, again my browser of choice!

Google Chrome – Brand Minus

For a long time now, actually since the very first release of Google Chrome, I’ve been an ambassador for how cool a browser it is and that it’s been my browser of choice ever since they released it. That is up until today when I realised Google Chrome has been the culprit of my Vista OS hanging (note, no BSOD). At first I thought it might have been a Windows Update or one of my other applications, however it always happened while I had Google Chrome also open.

Now, for over a year now I’ve never had any bad experiences with using Google Chrome (either with Windows XP or with Windows Vista). For the last couple of days I’ve explicity NOT used Google Chrome  and lo and behold, I no longer have to hard reboot my laptop anymore. And it seems I’m not alone – nor is it a recent occurance as others have had similar problems.

I guess I’ll have to monitor the news and forums feeds for a resolution before I used Google Chrome again – I sure am going to miss it until then!

Happy Birthday Google Chrome

It seems to be a week for birthdays this week. First the Internet turned 40, and now the Google Chrome browser, which I’ve blogged about a number of times already, is a year old. I raved about it when it was just released and today it’s still my default browser of choice, at home and at work.

The team at Lifehacker have put together a nice little roadmap of the last year from Google Chrome’s release to the public and where it stands today.

Happy Birthday, Google Chrome!

Google Chrome, the need for speed!

Back in September last year I told you about Google entering the browser wars with their own web browser, Chrome.  Then next day, I gave you my first impressions. If my job didn’t require me to develop web sites in Internet Explorer and Firefox I’d have long since set Chrome as my default browser. Although, for my own day-to day use I almost exclusively use Chrome as my browser of choice.

Today, Google have announced and released the latest stable version of Chrome.

stable-google-chrome-about

Some of the improvements and new features include:

Improved New Tab Page: The most requested feature from users was the ability to remove thumbnails from the New Tab page. Now you can finally hide that embarrassing gossip blog from the Most Visited

Ha, ha, I was wondering when this would be implemented – not that I have to worry about this but still a nice added feature. Watch the video later in this post to see how this works. I find this new tab page very useful for quickly getting back to pages I use frequently.

Full Screen Mode: If you’ve ever given a presentation or watched a large video using Google Chrome, you might have wished you could use every last pixel on your screen for the content. Now you can hide the title bar and the rest of the browser window by hitting F11 or selecting the option in the Tools menu.

Although I don’t use this often, at times I’ve found myself needing to maximize the window and this will now come in handy – in the beginning I often found myself looking for this feature since being used to it in IE and FF.

Form Autofill: Filling out your information in forms over and over again can be tedious. Form autofill helps by showing information you’ve previously entered into the same form fields automatically. If at any point you want to clear out your information, that’s easy to do from the Tools menu.

This is actually something I’ve often found very useful when filling in forms over and over again while testing – or similarly named fields on various websites (like your name, email address).

Increased Stability: Google Chrome is more stable than ever–we have fixed over 300 bugs that caused crashes since launch.

I’ve only ever experience one or two crashes while using Chrome but they’ve been isolated incidents and always only a plug-in or tab crashing.

Increased Speed: Making the web faster continues to be our main area of focus. Thanks to a new version of WebKit and an update to our JavaScript engine, V8, interactive web pages will run even faster. We’ve also made sure that JavaScript keeps running fast even when you have lots of tabs open. Try opening a bunch of web applications and then running your favorite benchmark. You can read more about V8 in our JavaScript scalability post on the Chromium blog. – source Google Chrome Blog

I’m going to see in the next few days/weeks whether this improvement is more apparent.

You can take a look at some other Chrome-related posts here. Are you not using Google Chrome yet? Why not? Go and download it now and try it out for yourself.

Google Chrome in 3D

google-chrome-3dHow awesome is this – finally 3D comes to a browser near you – none other than Google’s Chrome browser now supports 3D viewing.

For detailed instructions hurry on over to Google’s Chrome 3D page now!
All powered by new technology from Google called CADIE (Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity).

Chrome Experiements

Just in case you thought JavaScript wasn’t powerful then check out the Chrome Experiments site. You don’t need to use Chrome to view them but they’ll run better and quicker than most other browsers. 

These experiments were created by designers and programmers from around the world. Their work is making the web faster, more fun, and more open – the same spirit in which we built Google Chrome. – source Chrome Experiments

You can play Tetris, look at some physics experiments and even make your browser talk. Go and check it out

Think you’re a hotshot JavaScript programmer – got a cool experiment or fun game? Why not submit it to them and you could find yourself being showcased on their site too.

Google Chrome officially out of beta!

I guess I need to eat my words. Only yesterday I told you about Google Chrome being ready to come out of Beta, but I wasn’t sure as to when it would happen (since GMail’s been in Beta for over 4 years).

Well time for me to have a helping of my own words – Google Chrome is officially out of Beta. My previous version was 0.4.154.29 and the new official version is 1.0.154.36.

We have removed the beta label as our goals for stability and performance have been met but our work is far from done. We are working to add some common browser features such as form autofill and RSS support in the near future. We are also developing an extensions platform along with support for Mac and Linux.

100 days for a beta – not bad, good going Google. [via Lifehacker]

Google Chrome coming out of beta (soon)

google-chromeEarly on in September I told you about Google Chrome being launched and subsequent to that I gave you my first impressions regarding Google’s browser. Today I read on TechCrunch that Google Chrome, after nearly 3 months, will be coming out of beta. As to the exact date that this will happen still remains a myster – according to Google VP, Marissa Mayer.

Incedentally, today was the first time that my copy of Chrome has crashed (while viewing Google Reader as an application).  Coincidence? Did they build in a use-by-date in their beta? I’ve not looked at the source, so I’m not sure. 

As far as betas go when it comes to Google, I’m not holding my breath, since Gmail has been in beta since it’s public release back in 2004.

Extensions for Chrome (also coming soon)

I was just about to publish this post when I spotted another Chrome article on Gadget Advisor about the future of extensions for the Chrome browser, like there is for Mozilla’s Firefox. 

One of Google’s developers made the announcement that Google is looking into integrating third-party browser plugins for Chrome. They also released a design document that provided an outline for what needed to be done in order to add plugin support. 

Google Chrome: First Impressions

So as you may know, Google launched their own browser, Chrome (in Beta form) today. It was relatively quick to download and installation couldn’t have been simpler. The first big difference from other tab-enabled browsers is that the tabs appear at the top of the window, not below the address bar. There’s also no search bar as the address bar and search bar have been combined into what Google call the “omnibar”. If you just start typing keywords in the omnibar it will default to searching using whichever is the default search engine.

From a stability point of view, Google have made each tab a completely separate and isolated process with it’s own thread and memory, which means if something goes wrong in a tab, or it hangs, it doesn’t affect any of the other tabs or the browser. You can also easily drag the tabs away from the browser, as their own separate window, or drag and drop them to change their order. While dragging a tab it appears as a slightly transparent small window with the contents of that page. 

For developers the View Page source shows a colour coded view of the page source as well as offering you an element inspector – right clicking on any element of the page and selecting Insepct Element gives you an overview of the HTML element within the DOM as well as the associated style sheet information. The task manager (press SHIFT+ESC) shows you each tab, CPU time and allocated memory usage. You can also close any tab from there. 

One thing I noticed, which I didn’t like (which Firefox has as well) is that if you allow the browser to save passwords for various websites that they are accessible from the options page and allow you to view them as plaintext – serious security risk in my opinion if anyone accesses your machine while you’re not away (not a problem for me as I instinctivly lock my machine whenever I’m away from my desk).

Okay, I think that’s enough for now – if you want to have a look at a Screenshot Tour of Google’s Chrome browser go and take a look at the following post on Lifehacker’s website.

Want to try it out for yourself, go and download it now (remember it’s still in beta).

[UPDATE]

If you open up a new tab and you’ve visited other websites, like Amazon, and used their search functionality, you’ll notice that you can now search their site directly from the new tab page, without first going to the website, nice! 🙂 

The guys at Lifehacker have done a great job doing a speed and memory comparison between IE 8, Firefox 3 and Chrome – take a look and see the comparisons.

[UPDATE 4 September 2008]

For those of you who have been reading numerous posts about Chrome’s Terms Of Service (ToS) where you give up your right to any content you post and/or view through the Chrome browser: Google have updated Chrome’s ToS in this regard and you retain ownership of anything you post through the Chrome browser and they will not take any content and do with it as they please. (This was an “oversight” on their part as they simply used the ToS from Google Docs.)