Almost precisely four years ago, Google rolled out a new Chrome App for Hangouts. Initially named "Ultra Violet" during testing, the app brought a bubbly and fun transparent UI with Facebook-style Chat Heads to Google's instant messaging platform. We hope that you didn't depend on it too much, though. According to a recent update to a support document, the Hangouts Chrome app will stop working "soon." Those of us still using Hangouts on the desktop are urged to migrate to the Head-less Chrome extension. Read More
Is it really an April Fools "prank" if what you put together actually performs its stated function? Either way, you probably won't want to keep the "Self-Browsing Chromebook" app on your machine for more than a day or so. According to Google's straight-faced Chrome Blog entry, the app is intended to automate your entire computer experience. What it actually does is take over your laptop with a full-screen interface that navigates around the web by itself.
And it's not just a random selection of websites loaded one after another. No, the slightly sci-fi app (which, yes, can really be installed on Chrome OS devices) uses its own cursor to select new links and scroll through pages, about one every three seconds. Read More
Are you eager to communicate your current hung-over status to your entire social circle without having to tell each and everyone of them to stop messaging you? Then you'll be thrilled at the latest update to Google's Hangouts messenger service. Actually, "update" might not be the right word - I suppose "retrofit" is more appropriate. On the Chrome app and the Hangouts portion of Google Plus, you can now set a semi-permanent status that appears to all interested parties.
This isn't really a new idea, in fact it's been a part of older messaging services for as long as I can remember (including Google's own Talk). Read More
Developer Koushik Dutta, Koush for short, is well known around these parts for any number of apps. There's the ClockworkMod ROM Manager. There's AllCast. And if you want to back up specific apps and the data that goes with them, there's Helium (formerly known as Carbon).
Helium scratches a real itch for the platform. If you purchase a new device or wipe an old one, Google can re-install your previous apps, but it usually won't pull down your settings or game saves. That stuff's gone.
Helium works great for rooted users, but non-rooted folks have had to turn to a Windows or Mac tool to get similar functionality. 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
As a Chromebook owner, I've waited a long time for Google to roll out a section in the Chrome Web Store dedicated to packaged apps. It didn't fundamentally bother me that many of the previous "apps" were just glorified bookmarks, I simply chose not to install them and desperately wanted a way to find the apps that were intended to run outside of a browser window. Today, Google has finally answered my prayers (yes, I pray to Google, don't you?), but the addition of the "For Your Desktop" section is just the beginning. The Chrome developers also have plans to port Chrome apps to Android someday. Read More
Google released the Google Keep note-taking service into the wild barely over a month ago, and now the Chrome app is here to make accessing the service as simple as using it. The app launches Google Keep in its own dedicated window, allowing you to take notes and manage to-do lists without having to search for them in a sea of tabs. There is also offline support, which could come in handy if the power goes out while you're brainstorming your next novel.
The Chrome app's interface is no different than Google Keep's existing web UI, which morphs into a tablet-friendly version whenever the website's window is shrunk down far enough. Read More