After two years in development, the web-based Google Earth 9.0 debuted earlier this year. The new version runs entirely in the web browser, but it only works in Google Chrome. This is because it used Portable Native Client (NaCl), a technology that allows C and C++ code to run in the Chrome browser. Since no other browser bothered implementing NaCl, the Earth web app was exclusive to Chrome.
That is now changing, as the Twitter account for Google Earth revealed that Firefox support is in the works: Read More
Allo has now existed for more than a year, and there are some people who use it. Not many, by all accounts, but some! Those brave few will today be treated to a more widely available web client. When Allo for the web was launched in August, it only worked in Chrome. Today, support expands to Opera, Firefox, and iOS (sort of). Read More
Earlier in the month, Google released an official statement on a particularly virulent phishing email imitating Google Docs that was doing the rounds. That same day, coincidentally or not, an update to the Gmail Android app added a special warning page that pops up every time a link in one of the suspect emails is clicked. Now, Google is implementing further changes to help prevent future scams of this type. Read More
Chrome 58 was just released on the desktop a few days ago, and in speedier fashion than usual, Chrome 58 for Android is now available. This update focuses on improvements to Chrome Custom Tabs and Progressive Web Apps, includes dozens of minor improvements, and blocks HTTPS/SSL certificates from certain certificate providers. Read More
Chrome has offered the ability to add shortcuts to web pages on the home screen for a while now. When Chrome 51 was released in 2015, Google took it a step further by allowing certain sites to use Web App Install Banners, customize the shortcut's loading screen, and hide the Chrome UI.
Now Google is taking Progressive Web Apps a step further. Starting with Chrome Canary today and Chrome 57 Beta in the coming weeks, web apps added to the home screen will be near-indistinguishable from native applications installed from the Play Store. Read More
Google's very hot on the whole web apps topic, with it promoting things like Chrome Apps on both Chrome OS and Android, as well as things like Instant Apps, introduced earlier this year at I/O. Well, it seems like Google is preparing another assault, this time with 'Progressive Web Apps,' a way to make web apps more powerful and useful to end users, plus make it easier for developers to put them together.
A Progressive Web App is a powerful web application that can be used anywhere, on any OS. As you use the app more and more, it gradually will get more powerful. Read More
Google's Chrome development team regularly implements new APIs to extend the possibilities for web apps to behave more like their native counterparts. The most recent addition to the Chrome dev channel allows web developers to use Bluetooth to communicate with nearby hardware. This could be used for things like an online fitness tracker that gets data from a heart rate monitor or for a controller to drive a Sphero, all without installing a native app.
These things are possible with the new Web Bluetooth API. Still in the early stages of development, this allows a web application to query for Bluetooth devices based on their capabilities, then pass messages back and forth with little or no friction. Read More
As of this morning, most users are finding it back up and running normally
Starting early in the AM on July 14th, reports started coming in that Firefox and Safari can both use the web app again. IE users should be good to go, too. My own testing confirms this as well. Happy listening!
With no obvious cause, numerous subscribers to Google Play Music All Access have suddenly found that just about any non-Chrome browser cannot use the web app to stream songs. Read More
After paying a lot of attention to the mobile and connected TV experience, Netflix has announced a major overhaul of their browser interface. Before you sign in and get confused, today is just the beginning of the rollout, which they say will complete in a couple of weeks. Netflix bills this as the first major update in four years, though its look has certainly gone through several iterations over that time span. For a refresher, here's a side-by-side comparison of old and new (click to embiggen):
Left: current/old Right: new
Orange is the new black? Maybe, but black is the new white. Read More
Along with site notifications, the latest Chrome Beta v42 has another new feature for improving the web app experience. The ability to add a website to your home screen from Chrome has been there for a while now, but not all web pages are created equal in this regard. These shortcuts work best for fully-fledged web apps and now Chrome will let you know when you have visited a good candidate for home screen placement.
To get an idea of how it works, check out this GIF from HTML5 Rocks:
Perhaps the most important aspect of this feature is that it will not appear every time you visit a qualifying site. Read More