Browsers and extensions

Google Now notifications now alive in Chrome test version

Google, taking a big step in its effort to make Android and Chrome equally good homes for people's digital lives, has at last built its Google Now anticipatory notification service into its browser.

Google Now cards for Chrome are active in the very rough Canary build of Chrome, which is three steps removed from the stable version the company recommends for mainstream use. Not only that, the feature must be enabled by activating the Google Now flag by entering "chrome://flags/#enable-google-now" into the address bar then restarting.

Google has been working on building Google Now into ChromeRead more

Chrome 32 fights back against tab noise

Think of it as Google's annoying horsefly detector, where the irritating insect is one of your dozens of tabs streaming audio.

A new feature in Tuesday's update to Google Chrome brings to the masses a tab indicator to tell you when a site is streaming audio. The feature will add a speaker icon to tabs streaming audio, a red record button when a tab is using your Webcam, and a Google Cast icon when you're sending a tab to your Chromecast.

Google Chrome 32 brings to the fore other new features worth mentioning. It calls out potentially … Read more

MPAA joins Web standards group amid video DRM dispute

The movie business now will have a direct voice in a controversy about how to handle copy protection of videos on the Web.

That's because the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has joined the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a group that creates Web standards, such as the HTML technology that underlies every Web page on the Internet.

"Just met with W3C CEO Jeffrey Jaffe. We're excited to join W3C and look forward to listening, learning and contributing," tweeted Alex Deacon, the MPAA's senior vice president for Internet Technology at the MPAA. Jaffe has … Read more

Vimeo speeds its online videos, goes HTML5 by default

Vimeo has sped up its video-streaming technology and made the shift from Flash-powered video to HTML5 by default, the company said Tuesday.

The new player software improves performance, social links, and post-production capabilities, Vimeo Chief Technology Officer Andrew Pile told CNET. It loads in half the time -- not only when the video player populates on a Web page, but also when people click the play button.

Faster performance generally helps Web-based businesses -- Vimeo's new on-demand video-purchasing program through which people can rent or own videos, for example. Indeed, as Vimeo gradually distributed the new player to viewers, … Read more

Mozilla: In 2014, all your hardware belongs to us

Soon, you'll be able to get your hands on a Firefox OS tablet -- but only if you promise to develop for the fledgling operating system.

Launched last year on three smartphone models in 14 countries on major carriers such as Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom, Mozilla has partnered with hardware maker Foxconn to build tablets for Firefox OS developers in 2014, the company announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday.

The unnamed developers' tablet is "not intended" for the average tablet owner, said Andreas Gal, Mozilla's vice president of mobile.

"The … Read more

Twitter gives SPDY a leg up on Apple hardware

Twitter has released open-source software that iOS and OS X programmers can use to build in Google's SPDY technology for faster Web connections.

The software, called CocoaSPDY, is a library of prewritten software that programmers can incorporate into their own apps, said Twitter programmer Mike Schore in a blog post Thursday.

SPDY is designed to speed up Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the standard that governs how Web browsers fetch pages from Web servers. Some SPDY ideas are being incorporated into HTTP 2.0, but meanwhile, Google and other allies continue to advance SPDY.

Twitter said its tests have shown … Read more

Nginx upgrade funded by fans of Google's SPDY Web protocol

SPDY, Google's technology for speeding up Web browsing, is set to advance a step next month with support for the latest version in widely used Web site software called Nginx.

Three companies that like Google's approach -- Automattic, MaxCDN, and CloudFlare -- are funding Nginx developers to update its SPDY support to version 3.1, CNET has learned. Under the deal, SPDY 3.1 should arrive in Nginx 1.5 in January, a source familiar with the partnership said.

Nginx declined to comment on the plans, but its software supports an earlier version of SPDY and an upgrade … Read more

Google kicks toolbars out of Chrome Web Store

Google is kicking toolbars and other "multipurpose extensions" out of the Chrome Web Store in an effort to keep its browser's interface uncluttered and to protect users from unpleasant surprises.

The change will be disruptive to many extension programmers, but Google is giving them until June 2014 for existing extensions. New ones must abide by the new rules immediately, said Chrome engineering director Erik Kay.

"Extensions in the Chrome Web Store must have a single purpose that is narrow and easy to understand," Kay said in a blog post on Thursday. "While this has … Read more

OctaneCloud AMI zooms past expectations, now free

That was fast.

An unexpected surge in interest in the "future of streaming" -- OTOY's new OctaneCloud app and game streaming service that launched last month -- led the company on Wednesday to extend its free trial indefinitely.

"We were expecting to get a few hundred customers in a year, and we got 500 in the first month," OTOY's CEO Jules Urbach said. "The last time [Amazon] launched one of these services they got 500 [customers] in a year."

Hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), OctaneCloud streams core Autodesk applications such as … Read more

Google Dart target: Chrome soon! Other browsers...someday

Minecraft is one of the most widely used games around these days. So it was notable when the programmer who wrote it, Markus "Notch" Persson, embraced Google's Dart programming language for Web apps.

"I love it," Persson tweeted in November, shortly after Google released Dart 1.0.

That's music to the ears of Google developers who created Dart to rewrite the rules of Web programming and, as they see it, to overcome shortcomings of the JavaScript language at the foundation of Web apps today. To fully succeed, though, Google will have to persuade a … Read more