We've known about Project Hera for quite a while, and at Google I/O today, it was confirmed by Google's Director of Product Management for Chrome, Avni Shah. Hera is a new way for the web and apps to interact with each other on Android via an API, allowing apps like Chrome and Docs to use multiple scrolling items in the Recents menu at one time. Combined with the visual overhaul in the L release, this may drastically change the way that users interact with content.
Google's reinvention of the Chrome bookmark system, called Google Stars, was first spotted by Florian Kiersch nearly a month ago. Today, it looks like the Chrome extension and web interface are already live for the public, preceding any official word from Google about the burgeoning bookmarking service. For now, it looks like Stars is still in a dogfooding or testing phase.
Users who install the Chrome extension (linked at the bottom of the post) will be able to access the service's web interface, which will automatically "add the Google magic to your data," collecting a history of topics you're interested in or things you've bookmarked, arranged automatically by date.
Update Wednesday continues with yet another new apk. This time we're being treated to a regular version bump for Chrome Beta. The changelog isn't as dramatic as we've seen in previous updates to the browser, but it's hard to turn down improvements and bug fixes. The focus seems to be a little more on fine-tuning the experience as we should see smarter suggestions for text entry and improved text rendering on non-mobile optimized web sites.
While Chrome Beta users have been on version 35 for the last several weeks, those who prefer to stay with the Stable build are finally getting a taste of what's been cooking under the beta hood for a while now. This includes some navigation enhancements, improved video support, and a few others.
- Undo Tab Close
- Fullscreen video with Subtitles and HTML5 controls
- Support for some multi-window devices
- Support for casting some videos with Chromecast
- Other bug fixes
Version 35 is rolling out through the Play Store now, so jump in and grab the update.
I have a confession to make: I'm a terrible speller. I know what you're thinking, "how can someone who writes for a living be bad at spelling?" Honestly, if it wasn't for spellcheck, I probably wouldn't have this job right now. So, thanks for spellcheck, um, spellcheck inventor!
Considering how many times a day Chrome has to correct stupid spelling mistakes (like mine), I think Google realized an intervention was due.
Google released the Chrome Remote Desktop extension a while back, but it was designed for use with other computers. That's fine if you have one handy, but your phone or tablet is probably more readily available. I know that 95% of my remote desktop access happens from a mobile device, so it makes sense that Google would have a Chrome Remote Desktop app for Android – it just took a long time to happen.
Time keeps marching forward, and Google keeps improving the mobile version of its Chrome browser. Those who want to see the new goodies before everyone else can check out the official Chrome for Android Beta, which updates to version 35 today. The official changelog mentions some interesting additions, including at least one that was there already: support for Chromecast on HTML5 videos.
Videos on your device have gotten better too, with better HTML5 controls and subtitle support (for those clips that include them).
Google does its part to celebrate the major US holidays, not to mention quite a few others, but April Fools' Day appears to be its favorite. The company goes all out every year, and it's already looking like 2014 may just be its very best effort yet. In addition to scattering Pokemon all over Maps, Google is now dispersing emoji all throughout Chrome.
The feature is optional, but once enabled, Chrome will replace certain words with emoji.
Google sometimes gives us a hint of what it's working on if you're willing to dig for it. Buried in the new Chrome Beta for Android update is something called contextual search. It's not completely functional right now, but you can take a peek at some aspects of it.
To enable contextual search in Chrome Beta, go to chrome://flags/#contextual-search in the address bar. Tap enable to activate this feature, then restart the browser using the button that pops up.