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'Touchless' Chrome's here: Prepare for more search shouting

It's bound to happen to someone this holiday season. You're up to your elbows in a Thanksgiving (or Hanukkah) turkey's chest cavity when you're hit by a nagging feeling that you've forgotten a key part of the recipe. Most of us would have to spend the next five minutes scrubbing bird innards off our hands and then drying them off enough to check the recipe without dirtying the screen or keyboard. Until now.

As of Tuesday, Chrome users can keep their mitts all up in that bird's business and simply shout a search for "super easy and intrusive Thanksgiving turkey recipe" across the room at their browser. So long as you've got a new Chrome extension installed, all you need to do is give the "OK, Google" command that will be familiar to users of Google Now on Android devices followed by your search or question.… Read more

How to enable guest browsing in Chrome for Windows

Have you ever gone back to your computer after letting someone use it for "just a second" and found it in disarray? Maybe they logged you out of all your accounts because they wanted to check Facebook or their e-mail. Or perhaps they did a little window-shopping on Amazon and now you're getting strange product suggestions on the home page. To help you and your guests maintain some sense of privacy while sharing the Web, you can use Chrome's guest browsing mode.

Guest browsing was first available in Chrome OS as a way to let Chromebook … Read more

Autosave makes Awesome Screenshot more awesome

Awesome Screenshot just got more awesome. When I wrote about this Chrome extension last year, I liked its simplicity. It granted you three capture options -- visible part of the page you are viewing, a selected area, or the entire page -- and after taking a screenshot, it opened up a new tab where you could annotate your screenshot and then save it locally or online.

I used it for a time as my default Chrome screenshot utility but eventually stopped because I don't annotate most of the screenshots I take. Sure, it comes in handy once in a … Read more

Chrome beta disses plug-ins, speeds tapping on Android

Google released a beta of Chrome 32 on Thursday, fulfilling a promise to block many plug-ins and speeding up some tap operations on Android.

And Imgur fans will be eager to know that the new release also brings support for animated WebP images, a feature already added to Google's image format but that had to overcome hurdles before finding a place in Chrome, too. Some advocated for a shift to plain old video, but animated GIFs have attained newfound popularity. Google promises smaller file sizes with animated WebP as an alternative, said Urvang Joshi, the Google programmer who championed … Read more

Google building Spark, a Web-based development tool

Google likes Web apps, but one area where native software remains dominant is programming tools. A Google project called Spark that came to light Thursday could change that.

Spark is a Web-based IDE (integrated development environment) that runs in a browser for developers writing Chrome apps, according to Google's Francois Beaufort, who tracks Chrome developments closely. That means, among other things, that Chromebook coders would have a way to be productive without having to move to a Windows, Mac, or Linux box.

"This is still the very beginning," Beaufort said on Google+. "There's not much … Read more

Four ways to combat YouTube's new comment system

With Google's change to YouTube's comment system, you are now required to have a Google+ account in order to post a comment. This has angered many users who would rather continue posting under their current anonymous profile or simply don't want to be forced to create a Google+ account. People are so irate that a petition has been started to bring back the old way of commenting.

Personally, I like Google's attempt to clean up YouTube comments, but what has me worried about this change is the ability it has given users to post URLs in … Read more

Acer slashes $50 from C720 Chromebooks

For a while, it seemed like Chromebooks had a sweet spot of $250, so Acer rose to the challenge and priced this year's new Chromebook C720 at that level -- $50 higher than last year's C710.

On Friday, it released an updated version of the C720 -- back at $199.99.

The Acer C720-2848 Chromebook is 0.75-inch thick, weighs 2.75 pounds, sports an 11.6-inch, 1,366x768-pixel display, and matches the previous Acer C720 model. For now, it retails at Best Buy and Amazon.com. It will be in the Acer store in December, according to … Read more

Add to-do list, weather, and pretty backgrounds to Chrome's new tab page

I could do without the heavenly wallpaper and inspirational quotes, but Chrome extension Momentum does add a couple of useful items to Chrome's new tab page.

The first time you open a new tab after installing Momentum, the extension will greet you with a celestial image and ask for your name. After that, it'll greet you by name and a rotating cast of inspirational wallpaper images. An inspirational quote rotates at the bottom of the page. Above its personal greeting Momentum displays the time and below the greeting it asks you to enter your main focus for the … Read more

Add a full OS X Terminal to Google Chrome

Do you regularly access the OS X Terminal, and are you a Google Chrome user? If so, then you can tack on a small add-on to Chrome that will give you a fully fledged Terminal right in your browser.

OS X Daily recently had a neat hint where, as part of the Chrome developer tools, Google supplies a Terminal plug-in that gives you access to the BSD command line interface within the browser, allowing full access to the system as if you had opened up the Terminal program itself.

To install it, simply go to the DevTools Terminal application page … Read more

Google aims for slicker Web graphics, but can it get there?

More than three years after it was introduced in a white paper, Google's Portable Native Client, or PNaCl, launched for developers on Tuesday.

Pronounced "pinnacle," PNaCl works by allowing developers to compile C and C++ software to Web apps. Potentially, it could be a huge boon for developers who want to get their audio and video decompression software, image editing tools, or the complex engines that power video games by simplifying the "translation" from native code to the Web.

In its blog post announcing that PNaCl is ready, Google summarized the technical aspects of PNaCl … Read more