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.

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!

VOTD: Finally, Google Opt-Out feature

Google ensuring they abide by the “don’t be evil” guideline are now offering users the option to opt-out and ensure their data is kept private. It’s a simple trip in the back of a van to an undisclosed location in the mountains. Check out the detailed report in the video below. [via Onelargeprawn]

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.

Doodle 4 Google – Winner Announced!

Earlier this month Google announced the finalists in the Doodle 4 Google competition. Today they’ve announced the winner, Christin Engelberth a 6th-grader from Harris Middle School in San Antonio, Texas.

google-doodle_winner

Christin wins herself a $15,000 college scolarship, a laptop and a $25,000 technology grant for her school – congratulations! You can see the other three national finalists here and all of the regional finalists here. [via Google Blog]

Doodle 4 Google

Earlier this year Google invited kids from around the United States to submit their doodles using the Google logo with the following theme in mind “What I Wish For The World”. They received over 28,000 doodles from all 50 states. 

There are 40 regional winners (in their various age-group categories) which you can review and vote for online. Entries close at midnight on May 18th, 2009. The winner will be announced on May 20th with the winner’s doodle appearing on the Google home page.

Below are a few samples from the various age groups – but go on and take a look for yourself, and vote.  [via Google Blog]

google-doodle1

My wish for the world is that everyone would get along and treat one another in a nice and loving way. We could all be friends! - Miriam Elizabeth Lowery (5)

google-doodle2

What I wish for the world is that every child and every adult have a chance to go to school and learn. If every person in the world could have the opportunity to go to school, it would make the world a better place, not only for the world, but for the people in it. - Lauren Sarantopolos (12)

google-doodle3

What I wish for the world is unity. The theme is represented by connected paper clips in my doodle because they represent unity. Each clip is interconnected much of the way people are. - Abigail Kois (12)

google-doodle4

Flowers bring color and fragrance into our lives. Their beauty and diversity reflects that of people. They can be playful or serious and even remind us of the cycle of life and death. - Emily Dorsey (16)

Gmail turns 5!

gmail_fifth_bday_cakeApril fools pranks aside, except this one! Released on April Fools day back in 2004 everyone thought it was most likely a joke – a beta product released by Google offering users a free email account with tons of space.

Five years down the line, it might still be in beta, but it’s most likely one of the best email products out there – and best of all it’s FREE!

The engineers who created Gmail were frustrated with the existing email solutions, and wanted to build a better tool for people who got a lot of mail, which meant rethinking everything from the ground up. They built an architecture that was a combination of HTML and JavaScript (this later became known as AJAX), which offered a smoother, faster interface. And they designed Gmail with the most demanding users in mind — Googlers who got hundreds of messages each day and power users with broadband connections, back when 56k modems were still the norm. – source Google Blog.

There have been lots of upgrades to Gmail since it’s release and there are still many more to come. With the 15GB of space you get with your email account and the powerful tagging and searching of emails you never need to worry about deleting emails to save on space – just tag and archive!

Want to know more or be kept up to date with changes to Gmail – then visit their blog or subsribe to their Gmail feed

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).