The cool thing about rocking the beta version of a product is getting to experience all the shiny new things before anyone else, and the new tab page currently in the works for the Android version of Google Chrome is the kind of alluring update that makes doing so oh-so-tempting. It reduces the amount of clutter at the top of the screen, places search front and center, lists most visited websites in a single scrollable row, and provides prominent buttons for accessing bookmarks and synced devices at the bottom of the page.
If you're in the habit of using the fancy-pants Chrome Beta to get access to the newest features for your browser of choice, try this handy zoom gesture out. On any desktop page, double-tap anywhere, and on the second tap keep your finger on the screen. Then slide your finger up and down for a quick and easy zoom. It works the same way that the "pinch to zoom" function does, but with a single finger.
The Chromecast has identity issues. It may be based on Android, but it updates like Chrome. The device ships on the stable channel, but it's possible to switch it beta and dev channels. These options are progressively bleeding edge, but this comes at the obvious sacrifice of stability, and there's a strong risk of bricking your device. Granted, it's only $35, far cheaper than breaking a smartphone or tablet.
Rumors about Chrome OS running on a tiny HDMI stick started leaking out a few months ago, but we were all wrong about what it was going to be. The Chromecast is not a shrunken down Chromebox – it's not even really a Chrome OS device in the strictest sense. The Chromecast is Google's latest attempt to be invited into your living room. It also might be the first one to succeed.
If you've ordered (or picked up) your Chromecast dongle and you're raring to start sharing content from your devices to your television, you can take one more step to get ready by downloading the official Google Cast extension.
Community Manager Moritz Tolxdorff posted to Google+ earlier this evening encouraging users to download the extension, which will allow the sharing of media and tabs straight from Chrome to a Chromecast-connected TV.
If you're looking for yet another place to get your new $35 Chromecast, give your local Best Buy a ring. At least one lucky fellow was able to successfully buy the device from a Best Buy in South Carolina. Calls placed to several stores would indicate that's not the only one. However, most stores are expecting stock to arrive in the next day or two.
Full-size Best Buy stores are getting 20-30 Chromecasts in the first batch – high-traffic stores may get an extra allotment.
One of Google's problem areas has long been the living room, and the Chrome team looks to be coming to the rescue by leveraging the huge mobile device ecosystem. The Chromecast is a new device running a simplified version of Chrome OS. It enables you to get content from your phone, tablet, or laptop to a bigger screen. This is not a Chrome OS computer in a tiny package, but rather a smaller, cheaper, more capable Nexus Q.
One of the better recent additions to the Chrome browser is a remote desktop tool, developed and implemented by Google and usable between any two desktop computers running Chrome. When it showed up in the Chrome Web Store, we figured that it wouldn't be too long before some kind of Android integration was developed. Googler François Beaufort announced that work has begun on "Chromoting," an Android app that allows users to control remote Chrome clients.
A new version of Chrome has hit the beta channel, and that means it's on Android in the Chrome beta app. Most updates these days are staged rollouts, but I'm already seeing version 29 on all my devices. No promises, though.