Buzz Out Loud 1253: Google has an honesty problem (podcast)

Here's the thing: Google keeps insisting that the data it snared from open WiFi hotspots isn't a big deal, it's useless, it was an accident, and so on. But now, some French investigators discovered that the "useless data" contains obvious passwords and recognizable snippets of email. Which isn't as "useless" as Google suggested, you know? Also, Apple iOS 4 is here; the Nook is, hopefully, resetting e-book reader prices to somewhere they should be; and you decide: Toshiba folding tablet, awesome or DOA? Or both?

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Dell pondering Chrome OS Netbook

When Google's Chrome OS arrives later this year, Dell could be ready to jump on board, according to a report.

Dell's Amit Midha, president for greater China and South Asia, said the PC company "wants to be one of the leaders" when it comes to adopting new technologies like Google's Android and Chrome operating systems, according to Reuters on Monday. Dell's interest in Android is old news, but it has to this point only played around with Chrome OS, stopping short of announcing plans to release a product based on the software.

Midha didn'… Read more

Shaky extension sync debuts in Chrome

Neither enabled by default nor particularly stable, the long-sought-after browser feature to synchronize extensions across multiple computers arrived Thursday in the developer's builds of Google Chrome.

Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google Chrome dev 6.0.437.1 for Windows and Linux, and version 6.0.437.2 for Mac, include a rudimentary version of extension sync that users need to manually activate, a collection of the usual bug fixes and performance tweaks, and also combines the stop and reload buttons into one to streamline the omnibox and free up space for extension icons.

To enable the extension … Read more

Free Chrome add-on turns Web into music library

ExtensionFM is a free Chrome add-on that catalogs every free MP3 file you run across and builds a virtual library. It's an amazingly convenient way to discover and catalog new music without waiting for downloads, and may convince me to use Chrome on a regular basis.

Chrome has always seemed like a solution in search of a problem: I've had Firefox installed on my PCs and Mac for years now and it works fine 99 percent of the time. If I need an alternative I can always go with the built-in Internet Explorer (Windows) or Safari (Mac). Chrome … Read more

Spell check may be Internet Explorer's Achilles' heel

A reader named Lenny responded recently to a post from last August about browser spell checkers to ask whether Internet Explorer 8 finally has a built-in spell checker. Unfortunately, the only way to get spell check and suggested corrections in IE 8 is by relying on the spell check built into the site you're visiting or by installing a third-party extension.

But even then, Firefox and Chrome out-spell-check IE in a landslide.

The earlier post compared Firefox's built-in spell-check feature with the spelling checker in the free IE7Pro extension for Internet Explorer. It seems IE7Pro is no longer … Read more

New Flock divorces Firefox, snuggles up to Chrome

Flock made its name as a Firefox remix that came loaded with custom add-ons for tightly integrating social networking with daily Web browsing. Just opened to the public, the Flock 3 beta keeps its social goals intact while replacing its Firefox base with Google-supported Chromium. The new Flock experience is vastly different than before, and is related to the old version in name only.

It's currently available only for Windows, although Flock CEO Shawn Hardin said in an interview two weeks ago at the CNET offices in San Francisco that a Mac beta should be ready in July. The … Read more

Firefox 4 upgrade ideas start becoming reality

Mozilla released a new Firefox 4 prototype late Monday that builds in support for Google's WebM video technology and several other changes planned for the open-source Web browser's next major version.

With WebM, Google hopes to liberate Web video from patent-related royalty constraints of today's prevailing video compression technology, H.264. Mozilla and Google are working to make WebM's VP8 codec a standard part of the new specification for built-in video being added to the HTML5 Web page design technology.

But the situation is complicated: Apple prefers the H.264 codec and has built that codec into its Safari browser, and Microsoft is doing so with IE9, its upgrade to Internet Explorer now under development. Google's Chrome is supporting both H.264 and WebM, whose video codec is called VP8.

Lending a bit of weight to the Mozilla and Google camp is Opera Software, the fifth-ranked browser in terms of share of usage. On Monday, it released an Opera developer version that adds WebM support among various other HTML5 additions.

The browser market is feistier than it's been in more than a decade. Back in the 1990s, the competition came down to Netscape vs. Microsoft. This time around, Netscape's Navigator has morphed into Mozilla's Firefox, Apple has launched five versions of Safari, Opera has kept the pressure on the bigger players, Google has entered the market with Chrome, and, most recently, Microsoft has fired up IE development after a long period of quasi-dormancy. … Read more

Buzz Out Loud 1247: Inside the Coke Zero and Mentos rocket car (podcast)

On today's show, size matters. You're going to hear that a lot. So, apologies in advance. Also, we have a great interview at the top of the show with Stephen Volz and Fritz Grobe, otherwise known as the Coke and Mentos guys. They've got a rocket car, a Coke Zero contract, and a dream. Also, Goatse wants to clear up some things, Mortal Kombat is back, and once again? Size matters.

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New security fixes for Chrome stable

Google pushed out an update for the stable branch of its Chrome browser Wednesday. The update, for Windows, Mac, and Linux, addresses multiple security bugs including nine tagged as high-level problems.

The high-level security bugs included cross-origin bypass in DOM methods that netted a security researcher $2,000 in Google's ongoing bug-hunting contest, a memory error in table layouts that earned another researcher $500, holes in the wall of the sandbox on Linux computers, HTML5-based geolocation events firing even after the relevant document had been deleted, and multiple memory errors.

This is the first security-fixing release for the stable … Read more

Chrome gets Google's new video tech

The developer's build of Google's Chrome browser now includes WebM, the open-source and royalty-free video technology that allows browsers to use cutting-edge streaming-video features without publishers paying a dime.

In the new Chrome dev released Thursday for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google has baked in support for the VP8- and Ogg Vorbis-powered, next-generation WebM codec.

The developer's build of Chrome is now the third major browser to support WebM, along with versions of Firefox and Opera that are still in development. Chromium, the open-source fountainhead of Chrome, added rudimentary support in mid-May. Google has yet to indicate … Read more