Update Wednesday wasn't particularly active this week, but Google did push a few bug fixers out before the day was done. While most of the apps only saw minor version revs with little more than minor tweaks, Chrome Beta 41 came down the pipe with some noteworthy improvements like pull-to-refresh and an option to block only 3rd-party cookies. However, it turns out that those weren't the only new bits to be found in this release.
Kid Accounts, Again
A couple of months ago, Google Play Services 6.5 landed with a handful of new bits and pieces, including the first signs of a feature referred to as Kid Accounts. Read More
At this year's Google I/O, the search giant got to announce that 300 million people were using Chrome on a mobile device. Less than half a year later, that number has grown to 400 million. Googler Darin Fisher made the announcement at this year's Chrome Dev Summit held just before the weekend.
During the talk, Fisher touched on a number of topics, some of which we're already aware of. In Android Lollipop, WebView is unbundled from Android, allowing for easier updates and better security (along with generally making life easier for developers). Over the course of this year, Google has also removed the artificial 300ms delay that followed taps in Chrome while the browser waited to see if a second tap was on its way. Read More
There's an update to Chrome Beta (v39) rolling out in the Play Store, and it brings at least one notable feature—Reader Mode. You can probably guess what it is from the name. It strips out all the superfluous stuff on a page, leaving you with just the content. If you want it without waiting, we've got a download for you.
The Chrome developers have released a new version of their browser that may not have a particularly exciting changelog, but it does lead to a better browsing experience. Version 36 should make text on those websites that don't have a mobile alternative render somewhat better. This, combined with non-specified performance improvements and bug fixes, should result in more enjoyable browser use.
Text rendering on a non-mobile website using a previous version of Chrome.
Update: And here's an "after" shot. Have fun noticing a difference.
These niceties are joined by some security fixes as well as a desktop Chrome update that shares the same version number despite its different changelog. Read More
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. Take, for example, the phrase "Google Play Gift Cards." Instead of just showing the text, Chrome will display the word "Google," a picture of a game controller for "Play," a present for "Gift," and a credit card for "Card." Once the initial shock and confusion wears off, it's kind of cute. Read More
Artist Janet Echelman builds giant, living sculptures that respond to the elements around them. These massive works of art typically sway in the wind, flow with the water, or respond to light. This time, Echelman's work is interacting with Chrome. Her piece, built in collaboration with Google Creative Director Aaron Koblin, now descends over water and walkways from a Vancouver skyscraper, changing color in response to the input it receives from visitors on the ground.
Echelman's sculpture is a 300-foot long web browser made of ultralight fibers stretched out against the sky. With the help of five high definition projectors mounted below, it displays the colors provided by a website running in Chrome on a smartphone or tablet. Read More
The platform behind this project is Apache Cordova, an open-source framework that enables web apps to be compiled much like native applications, allowing them access to native operating system functions and hardware sensors like the camera and accelerometer. Read More
Now you can play with Lego blocks on any device that supports Google's web browser of choice just by visiting the Build with Chrome website. Why? Because building things with blocks is fun. It's a task so intuitive that even babies can grasp it without being directed, and regardless of how old you are, the fun just doesn't go away. The tools may change, but the core concept doesn't need much in the way of innovation. So even though Google's latest Chrome experiment isn't particularly revolutionary, in this case, that's a good thing.
It can be a pain to put away Legos after playing with them, but this website does away with that inconvenience entirely. Read More
Since the dawn of Chrome Beta for Android, Google blocked it from the Play Store's search results for some reason. For those who use the browser as their default, this was a huge pain in the ass, as it meant searching Google to find a direct link to the browser when installing it on a new device. Sure, that may sound minor, but not being able to find your favorite browser from the device's Play Store search results is just annoying. You couldn't even find it directly from Google's developer page.
As of today, however, Google has finally made it searchable in the Play Store. Read More
PushBullet has made a name for itself by making it painless to move files from your computer onto your phone. Now the app is taking a bold step towards making it just as easy to move data in the opposite direction. The latest update to version 11.3 introduces push-to-Chrome, a promised feature that should make it possible to get links, notes, pictures, and other content onto any computer running Chrome. The update also introduces the ability to push lists for the first time, and when you create a new push using the app, you can now select what you want to push directly. Read More