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chrome

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Chrome 54 Beta adds an updated New Tab Page, background video playback, and more [APK Download]

Chrome 54 Beta is now available on the Google Play Store, for you adventurous beta testers out there. This beta brings some very useful new features to Chrome, so let's dive right in!

New Tab page

Chrome 54 brings a redesigned New Tab page, and honestly, I'm not sure I'm a fan. The changed New Tab page still maintains the Google logo and the search bar, but does away with the Bookmarks or Recent Tabs buttons.

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Chrome Dev and Beta add a Read it later/Keep tab feature to Custom Tabs

Read it later apps are massively popular, with examples such as Instapaper or Pocket being among the most downloaded apps on Google Play. Google is also getting into the game now, albeit in a different way, with the Chrome team adding a read it later feature to the development versions of the browser.

As alluded to, both Chrome Dev and Chrome Beta have this, but in slightly different guises.

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Google+ push notifications now available on Chrome, seems a bit buggy right now

Several major websites have offered push notifications with Chrome (and other supported browsers) for some time, including sites like Facebook and eBay. Today Google+ is now supporting this feature, enabling users to receive notifications even when the site is not open.

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[Update: Now live] Hangouts Chrome extension updated with new UI

Hangouts on the desktop has always been a mess. First, there was the Chrome extension that always sits in your taskbar/menubar, with separate windows for every conversation. Later, Google released a Chrome app that looked (and functioned) much more like the Android app, with all of your conversations in one window. For some reason, both have remained on the Chrome Web Store.

Recently, Google announced that they will phase out Chrome apps, with Google recommending that existing apps be converted into extensions or Progressive Web Apps.

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[APK Download] Chrome 53 adds Android Pay support, Bluetooth API, and more

Google Chrome 53 is making its way to Android devices, with several exciting new features for both users and developers alike. Luckily I'm both, so I get to be double excited! Let's dive into the changes.

Android Pay support

This is, at least in my opinion, the biggest new feature. Chrome 53 now supports the official PaymentRequest API developed by the W3C (the organization that creates standards for the web). This means that once websites begin to adopt it, you will be able to check out using Android Pay instead of spending time filling out payment information for every site.

The PaymentRequest API in action.

The PaymentRequest API in action.

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Google plans to mark HTTP sites as non-secure in Chrome, will start with password and payment pages in early 2017

Google is preparing to make a significant change to how users are informed of security online. Beginning in January 2017, Chrome will subtly mark password and payment pages as non-secure if they use HTTP instead of HTTPS. This is just the first step toward marking all HTTP pages as non-secure with a more visible notice. 

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[Pretty cool] You can now add Chrome extensions from your Android device to your desktop's Chrome

I know how badly you want to be able to use extensions on Chrome for Android, and you maybe skimmed the title of this post thinking this might be it, but I'm sorry to disappoint you. It isn't. Chrome extensions are still limited to desktop versions of the browser, not mobile ones, despite how many prayers we all say each night for the contrary.

But here is what this post is really about. You know how sometimes you may get a link to a Chrome extension either from a search result or while browsing or even from some friend who thinks you'll really enjoy it?

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Chrome Dev adds a downloads manager and the ability to save a page for offline viewing

On both mobile and desktop, downloading things from the internet is pretty obviously a big deal. Since it launched in 2008, Chrome has had a download manager, and now the Android version is following suit, with a Download menu appearing in the latest version of Chrome Dev, version 54.0.2840.6.

'Downloads' is in the overflow dropdown menu. It's basically exactly what it says it is: a manager for files downloaded through the browser. However, it seems like it's a bit broken at the moment, as some files don't show up in the UI while others do. I downloaded an MP3 file and it didn't appear despite being on my phone, while a picture did show.

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Chromebook Pixel 2 discontinued, no replacement announced yet

The Chromebook Pixel 2015 (or the Pixel 2, as it is more commonly known), is just as interesting a device as its predecessor. It offers a fantastic build quality, touchscreen, dual USB Type-C ports, and more recently, the full Google Play Store. The Pixel 2015 was sold in two configurations, the base model for $999 discontinued in April, and another at the $1,299 price point with a faster Core i7 CPU, 64GB of on-board storage, and 16GB of RAM.

But now we say goodbye to the Pixel 2015. It has been out of stock since at least August 28, usually indicating the end of a product's life on the Google Store.

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Google Cast now fully integrated with Chrome, allows casting to Hangouts

Google has been testing Cast support in Hangouts for over a year, with the most recent sighting back in July. The feature never rolled out widely or was officially acknowledged by Google, until now. Casting directly to Hangouts is coming to everyone soon thanks to full Google Cast integration with Chrome on the desktop.

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