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  1. Chrome now uses Duplex to fix your stolen passwords Image Credits: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek / Getty Images Google announced a new feature for its Chrome browser today that alerts you when one of your passwords has been compromised and then helps you automatically change your password with the help of… wait for it… Google’s Duplex technology. This new feature will start to roll out slowly to Chrome users on Android in the U.S. soon (with other countries following later), assuming they use Chrome’s password-syncing feature. It’s worth noting that this won’t work for every site just yet. As a Google spokesperson told us, “the feature will initially work on a small number of apps and websites, including Twitter, but will expand to additional sites in the future.” Now you may remember Duplex as the somewhat controversial service that can call businesses for you to make hairdresser appointments or check opening times. Google introduced Duplex at its 2018 I/O developer conference and launched it to a wider audience in 2019. Since then, the team has chipped away at bringing Duplex to more tasks and brought it the web, too. Now it’s coming to Chrome to change your compromised passwords for you. Image Credits: Google “Powered by Duplex on the Web, Assistant takes over the tedious parts of web browsing: scrolling, clicking and filling forms, and allows you to focus on what’s important to you. And now we’re expanding these capabilities even further by letting you quickly create a strong password for certain sites and apps when Chrome determines your credentials have been leaked online,” Patrick Nepper, senior product manager for Chrome, explains in today’s announcement. In practice, once Chrome detects a compromised password, all you have to do is tap the “change password” button and Duplex will walk through the process of changing your password for you. Google says this won’t work for every site just yet, but “even if a site isn’t supported yet, Chrome’s password manager can always help you create strong and unique passwords for your various accounts.” It’ll be interesting to see how well this works in the real world. Every site manages passwords a little bit differently, so it would be hard to write a set of basic rules that the browser could use to go through this process. And that’s likely why Google is using Duplex here. Since every site is a little bit different, it takes a system that can understand a bit more about the context of a password change page to successfully navigate it. In addition to adding this feature, Google is also updating its password manager with a new tool for important passwords from third-party password managers, deeper integration between Chrome and Android and automatic password alerts when a password is compromised in a breach. Source: Chrome now uses Duplex to fix your stolen passwords
  2. Google has been slowly edging towards it but today the company finally added a Save Tag Group command to the tab right-click menu on Chrome Canary. The feature needs to be enabled via the Tab Groups Save flag. It presents the feature is non-functional, but when enabled it will save the tab group to your bookmark bar. When you switch the toggle off the group will be removed from your bookmark bar. Tab Groups appear to be under active development at Google and Microsoft at present, so hopefully we will see the feature fully fleshed out in the near future. via techdows, Leo Varela Save Tab Group feature finally arrives on Chrome Canary
  3. Changelog: https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/2021/08/the-stable-channel-has-been-updated-to.html Downloads: Consumer x86 (71.2 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acvksryijph5436b4vd2wlr6pa7q_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe Consumer x64 (73.7 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/do72cijpiyhdsrdbpx3wgvzzyy_92.0.4515.131/92.0.4515.131_chrome_installer.exe Enterprise MSI: x86 (73.6 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise.msi x64 (76.2 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise64.msi Linux: x64 (76.5 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb x86 (76.2 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm Mac: (99.5 MB) https://dl.google.com/chrome/mac/stable/GGRO/googlechrome.dmg
  4. Load tabs in batches with the Load Background Tabs Lazily extension for Firefox and Chrome When you start Firefox, the browser loads the last page that you accessed. The rest of the tabs from your previous session are available, but they aren't loaded until you click on them. You may edit a preference in about:config to make the browser open all the tabs, but this becomes a problem since Firefox will load everything at the same time. It would be better to have a few tabs to load, as it reduces the impact on your system. The Load Background Tabs Lazily extension helps you with this. The plugin was inspired by a legacy add-on called Load Tabs Progressively. Just like the original, the new extension can be configured to load a specific number of tabs automatically. You will need to enable the preference I mentioned for the add-on to work. Change the value of the following setting from true to false, browser.sessionstore.restore_on_demand There are a few more options that might interest you, which you can find on the official AMO page, along with an explanation for the permissions required by the add-on. Chrome users have it easy, just install the extension and it works out of the box. By default, Load Background Tabs Lazily only loads one page at a time. Click the add-on's button on the toolbar, and then on the "Open Options page". Set the value of the first option on the page, Maximum number of tabs to load concurrently, to a number from 1 to 5. Let's say we choose 3, and you have 12 tabs open when you exit the browser. When you re-open the browser, the extension will load three tabs, after which the rest are loaded in batches of 3. Switching to a non-loaded tab will force it to load, even if the previous one has not been loaded completely. Load Background Tabs Lazily also works with new tabs that you open, it is in fact the primary feature of the add-on. This can be very useful for people with a weaker computer. The extension's description is a bit tricky, it throws terms like Line, Discarded Tabs, Blocked Tabs, etc., without explaining what they are. The list of tabs that the extension handles at a time (3, in our example) is called a Line, it's kind of like queued tabs. Click the add-on's button to view its pop-up interface. The first option in the menu, can be used to pause or resume the tab loading queue. Tabs that have been paused are Blocked tabs. The 2nd option in the menu jumps between tabs that haven't been loaded or are stuck. Clear the Line discards the tabs that haven't been loaded, i.e. it stops the process instead of pausing it, but you can resume the Line by clicking Add Blocked Tabs. Session proof tabs (enabled from the add-on's settings) are those that will not be saved when you close the browser, nor can you use the undo close tab option. Discarded tabs are self-explanatory, I recommend toggling the option under the Discarded tabs setting, which enables a shortcut to the browser's context menu. Right-click on any page, and you'll be able to add it as a discarded tab to the Line. You can exclude websites from the lazy loading process, by entering the hostnames (URLs) in the box at the extension's Options page. While you are at it, you can customize the font type and colors used by the add-on. Load Background Tabs Lazily doesn't display a tab bar context menu by default, but you can enable it from the settings. This allows you to remove tabs from the line, reload the tabs or discard them, without using the add-on's interface. There is a way to limit the number of tabs that the add-on opens, you can turn it on in the Advanced Options page. Download the Load Background Tabs Lazily extension for Firefox and Chrome. The latter is in beta, and has fewer options. The description also mentions that the Chrome version may stop working when Google enforces the Manifest v3 API. The Firefox add-on isn't compatible with Temporary Containers, and a few other plugins that prevent lazy tab loading. The extension only works if the tab's URL begins with HTTP or HTTPS. The jargons in Load Background Tabs Lazily can be confusing, and the lack of a help file/tutorial makes the learning experience a bit complicated. I found the add-on handy while using it the Open Multiple URLs extension, that I reviewed recently. Landing Page: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/load-background-tabs-lazily/ Load tabs in batches with the Load Background Tabs Lazily extension for Firefox and Chrome
  5. Google patches 8th Chrome zero-day exploited in the wild this year Google has released Chrome 91.0.4472.164 for Windows, Mac, and Linux to fix seven security vulnerabilities, one of them a high severity zero-day vulnerability exploited in the wild. "Google is aware of reports that an exploit for CVE-2021-30563 exists in the wild," the company revealed. The new Chrome release has started rolling out worldwide to the Stable desktop channel and will become available to all users over the following days. Google Chrome will automatically update itself on the next launch, but you can also manually update it by checking for the newly released version from Settings > Help > 'About Google Chrome.' Eighth exploited zero-day patched this year The zero-day patched on Thursday and reported by Google Project Zero's Sergei Glazunov is described as a type confusion bug in V8, Google's open-source C++-based and high-performance WebAssembly and JavaScript engine. Even though type confusion weaknesses would generally lead to browser crashes following successful exploitation by reading or writing memory out of the bounds of the buffer, they can also be exploited by threat actors to execute arbitrary code on devices running vulnerable software. While Google said that it is aware of CVE-2021-30563 in the wild exploitation, it did not share info regarding these attacks to allow the security update to deploy on as many systems as possible before more threat actors start actively abusing. "Access to bug details and links may be kept restricted until a majority of users are updated with a fix," Google said. "We will also retain restrictions if the bug exists in a third party library that other projects similarly depend on, but haven’t yet fixed." In all, Google has patched eight Chrome zero-day bugs exploited by attackers in the wild since the start of 2021. Besides CVE-2021-30563, the company previously addressed: CVE-2021-21148 - February 4th, 2021 CVE-2021-21166 - March 2nd, 2021 CVE-2021-21193 - March 12th, 2021 CVE-2021-21220 - April 13th, 2021 CVE-2021-21224 - April 20th, 2021 CVE-2021-30551 - June 9th, 2021 CVE-2021-30554 - June 17th, 2021 More details on previously patched Chrome zero-days The Google Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has shared additional details earlier this week regarding in-the-wild exploitation of CVE-2021-21166 and CVE-2021-30551 Chrome zero-days. "Based on our analysis, we assess that the Chrome and Internet Explorer exploits described here were developed and sold by the same vendor providing surveillance capabilities to customers around the world," Google said. On Thursday, Microsoft and Citizen Lab linked the vendor mentioned in Google TAG's report to Israeli spyware vendor Candiru Threat actors deployed the surveillance vendor's spyware to infect iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows devices using Chrome zero-days and Windows unpatched flaws. Microsoft researchers found that Candiru's malware was used to compromise the systems of "politicians, human rights activists, journalists, academics, embassy workers, and political dissidents." In all, Microsoft said it discovered "at least 100 victims in Palestine, Israel, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, Spain, United Kingdom, Turkey, Armenia, and Singapore." Google patches 8th Chrome zero-day exploited in the wild this year
  6. Changelog: https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/2021/07/stable-channel-update-for-desktop.html Downloads: Consumer x86 (70.3 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acbk2p6d7tnkvp2drf2henkbmfua_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe Consumer x64 (72.7 MB): http://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://edgedl.me.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://redirector.gvt1.com/edgedl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://dl.google.com/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe http://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe https://www.google.com/dl/release2/chrome/acnvpw5foavblqygnfjpxzoktvmq_91.0.4472.164/91.0.4472.164_chrome_installer.exe Enterprise MSI: x86 (72.8 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise.msi x64 (75.2 MB) https://dl.google.com/dl/chrome/install/googlechromestandaloneenterprise64.msi Linux: x64 (79.7 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_amd64.deb x86 (79.3 MB) https://dl.google.com/linux/direct/google-chrome-stable_current_x86_64.rpm Mac: (98.3 MB) https://dl.google.com/chrome/mac/stable/GGRO/googlechrome.dmg
  7. Open Multiple URLs is an extension for Firefox and Chrome that can load several URLs in a couple of clicks When I want to open a lot of links at once, I don't like copying and pasting each one of them in a new tab. Why? Because this is something that an add-on can simplify: the one I've been using is called Open Multiple URLs. The name should tell you what it does, but I'll explain how it works. Click the add-on's button on the toolbar and a large pop-up panel will appear. Paste a list of URLs in the box, and hit the Open URLs button. The extension will open each link in a new tab, all it takes is two clicks and a paste hotkey. That saves you a bit of time. Remember, the add-on can only recognize one URL per line from the pasted content, so if your links are pasted like they're one paragraph, it won't work. Sometimes, when you try to copy a link from a webpage, your browser may include the text from the page as well. Open Multiple URLs will purge the text from the copied content, and presents you the URLs. To do this, paste the text in the add-on's interface, and click the Extract URLs from Text button at the bottom. This is very useful if you are saving the links for reference. Opening a bunch of tabs at the same time can be resource intensive, to avoid this, check the first option in the bottom left corner. This makes the extension create idle tabs, which will only load when you click on them. Open Multiple URLs works with Firefox containers, so any links leading to sites that you have assigned a container for will open in the container as usual. But there is no option to open all URLs in a specific container. Speaking of containers, Open Multiple URLs has a bug when you use it with the "load tabs when clicked" option enabled. e.g. If you have a Google container, and one of the pasted URLs contains a link to Google's website, the idle tab will appear on the tab bar like the rest of your tabs. But when you click the container tab, your browser will load the page in a different tab. That's how it's supposed to work. The problem is that the original tab (the inactive one) does not disappear after the link is loaded in the container tab, it gets stuck. So, if you close the 2nd tab, the add-on will create another tab automatically to open the link from the idle tab, and this will continue to happen until you close the original tab manually. This issue does not affect normal tabs (non-containers). The 2nd option in Open Multiple URLs' is a little odd, it loads the tabs in random order, kind of like the shuffle button in music players. Personally, I didn't find this useful, but maybe you will. Download Open Multiple URLs for Firefox and Chrome. The plugin is open source. I've been using this add-on regularly for a few weeks, and it has been a real life-saver to open several links from mails and chats. The extension does not support hotkeys, nor does it have a context-menu shortcut, both of which could make it easier and faster to open links. An option to load URLs in a specific container would be welcome too. Landing Page: https://github.com/htrinter/Open-Multiple-URLs/ Open Multiple URLs is an extension for Firefox and Chrome that can load several URLs in a couple of clicks
  8. NelliTab is a highly customizable new tab extension for Firefox and Chrome Not everyone likes the default new tab page in the browser, because it's boring. Besides, why use that when you can add speed-dials of your choice. NelliTab is a highly customizable new tab extension for Firefox and Chrome. Before using it, the add-on displays a message asking you to set a root folder for it. Click the banner, and scroll to the bottom of the side panel. Select a bookmark folder, I recommend creating a new folder for the add-on. You can add multiple root folders. Since the folder is empty, we have to add some shortcuts to get started. Right-click on the bookmarks panel and NelliTab's context-menu will appear. Click on the New Bookmark option, and enter the URL of the site. The add-on does not name the shortcut automatically, so you have to rename each one manually. Hit the enter button and the extension will assign an icon for the dial. This works for some services like YouTube, Twitter, etc. If the website's icon isn't found, you can upload (assign) an image file. Use the new folder option to create a new sub-directory in the current folder. You can rearrange the shortcuts by clicking and dragging a bookmark to a new location. To rearrange the folders, mouse over it, and click and drag the move button. Hold the shift key and mouse over a folder to enter edit mode. This is useful for selecting multiple shortcuts, and editing them. If you have a lot of dials and are having trouble finding a specific site, use the search tool in the top right corner. Open the add-ons settings page by clicking the gear icon in the corner. There are a ton of options here. Enable permissions for the Top Sites, History and Downloads sections, and the add-on will add shortcuts for each site in those folders. You may revoke these permissions with a click, if you change your mind. NelliTab comes with over a dozen themes to choose from. If you don't like those, change the colors (background, foreground border), the font type, size and toggle the visual elements to create a custom theme. The extension also supports wallpapers, so if you can set an image as the speed-dial page's background. The icon style is customizable as well. The add-on has some animations for the mouse hover effect, these are disabled by default, but you can switch them on if you want to. The add-on opens the selected bookmark in the same tab, but you can set it to load the website in a new tab, background tab or a new window. Enabling captions displays a favicon below the dial. Backup and restore NelliTab's settings, so you don't have to start over. Download NelliTab for Firefox and Chrome. The add-on is not open source, but it does not display ads, or syncs your content with a server and the privacy policy is good. The extension does not require registration for an account either. Overall, I think it is a good extension. Since it relies on bookmarks folders, there is obviously no way to add a website to the dial from the context menu. The plugin's icon search is a hit-and-miss for some sites. I would have liked an option use the favicons or a thumbnail of the webpage as the speed-dial's image. Landing Page: https://nellitab.io/ NelliTab is a highly customizable new tab extension for Firefox and Chrome
  9. Here is how you disable FLoC in Google Chrome The latest version of Google Chrome Canary has a new feature to disable FLoC -- Federated Learning of Cohorts -- in Google's Chrome web browser. FLoC is part of Google's controversial plan to change the world of advertising. The core idea is to change the way users are tracked on the Internet. Instead of tracking individual users, FLoC introduces technology that allows advertisers to track users based on cohorts, groups of users who share the same interests. FLoC is beneficial for Google, but not so much for Internet users. The EFF called FLoC a terrible idea, largely because it is not as private or better as Google advertised it. Most Chromium-based browser makers reject FLoC outright. Brave and Vivaldi block FLoC in the browser already. One option that Chrome users had to opt-out of Floc was to disable third-party cookies. Now, with Chrome Canary build 93.0.4528.0, comes a setting to control FLoC directly. The setting is not yet visible by default, but users may enable it in Chrome by making a change on the browser's experimental features page: Load chrome://flags/#privacy-sandbox-settings-2 in the address bar of the web browser. Set the flag to Enabled. Restart Google Chrome. The flag is available for in all versions of Chrome, and has the following description: Enables the second set of privacy sandbox settings. Requires #privacy-sandbox-settings to also be enabled When set to enabled, it unlocks the FLoC toggle that gives users control over the feature. Note: Google is running experiments in select regions currently. Privacy sandbox trials and FLoC may be disabled in the browser depending on the region and automated participation in the experiment. To manage FLoC, do the following: Load chrome://settings/privacySandbox in the address bar of the browser. If turned on, disable FLoC on the page to turn off FLoC. You may also turn of Privacy Sandbox trials there, if turned on. Closing Words The only way to be really sure that FLoC does not come near your browsing is to use a browser that is not Google Chrome. Most of these offer better functionality than Google Chrome anyway at this point. Here is how you disable FLoC in Google Chrome
  10. Restore "Open in Tab" In Google Chrome on Android (disable Tab Grouping) Google introduced Tab Groups in the company's Chrome web browser some time ago. The main idea behind tab groups is to improve the manageability of tabs in the browser by grouping them automatically. Say, you open the Ghacks website, and then two articles in new tabs in Chrome. Instead of displaying the articles as individual tabs, all three tabs would form a group automatically. When you are done, you may close the group and with it all of its tabs. Tab Groups are not liked by all Chrome users, and recent changes to the code for Chrome on Android have sparked quite the controversy. Previously, Chrome users could disable Tab Groups by disabling the feature on Chrome's experimental flags page. Chrome would stop creating tab groups automatically. The update invalidated the flag. While still there, setting it to disabled has no longer an effect. Chrome is still creating tab groups automatically, and there is no option in the menu to open a link in a new tab (and not inside the tab group). Chrome users on Android have two options by default when it comes to opening links by long-tapping them. Either open the link in a tab in the group or open it in an incognito tab. Disable Chrome Tab Grouping It is still possible to restore the option to open links in a new tab, and not in a tab group, in Google Chrome for Android. The functionality is powered by an experimental flag, and it is possible that this flag is going away at one point, rendered useless by Google, or modified. For now, here is what you can do: Load chrome://flags in the Chrome version on Android. Use the search at the top to find Tab Grid Layout. Set the flag to Disabled. Restart the Google Chrome browser on Android. The classic option to open links in a new tab is restored after the restart. Set the flag to Enabled or Default to restore the status quo. Closing Words Chrome was never a browser that gave users lots of customization options. Often, Google would introduce a change and remove options after a while. Making Tab Groups the default and only option in Chrome is a classic Google move. It is possible that the feature is still being worked on and that options to disable it will be introduced, but I would not hold my breath. For now, disabling the Tab Grid Layout will restore the classic behavior. Restore "Open in Tab" In Google Chrome on Android (disable Tab Grouping)
  11. Google rediscovers RSS: tests new feature to ‘follow’ sites in Chrome on Android It isn’t Google Reader, but it could be the start of something Google is testing a new feature for its Chrome browser on Android that lets users “follow” sites to create an updating list of new content they publish. The feature is based on RSS, an open web standard that’s been the backbone of many popular web aggregation tools in the past. That includes Google’s own, much beloved (and now defunct) Google Reader. The test is small-scale: following sites will only be an option for some US users of Chrome Canary (the bleeding-edge version of Chrome that lets enthusiasts access beta features). Users will be able to follow sites from the browser menu, and updates will be aggregated in a card-based feed that’s shown when users open a new tab. It’s not clear whether this feed is wholly dependent on sites providing RSS support, or if Google will fill in the gaps itself. Although this is just an early test, it’s nonetheless exciting for a certain sort of web user who misses the glory-days of RSS (and, by extension, a mode of internet discovery and distribution that faded years ago). At its core, RSS allows users to maintain a personalized feed of new content from favorite sites, blogs, and podcasts. And although tools that utilized these feeds were briefly very popular, they were eclipsed for numerous reasons. Exactly why RSS fell from prominence is complicated. (Here’s a story from Vice and one from TechCrunch that help explain.) But whatever the ultimate cause, many see its demise as a turning point for the web: the moment when decentralized, chronological feeds were replaced by the engagement-driven algorithms of social media giants. The halcyon days of 2013: the year of Google Reader’s death. Image: The Verge Because the rise of Facebook, Twitter, and the like have had so many obviously bad effects (misinformation! Hoaxes! Nazis!), many look back wistfully on RSS as a sort of Golden Age for the web that failed from a surfeit of nobility and deficit of cunning. “If only RSS had thrived!” they say. “All this nastiness could have been avoided.” Perhaps. What’s clear is that Google is responding to a demand for new (read: old) ways of engaging with the web. “We’ve heard it loud and clear: Discovery & distribution is lacking on the open web, and RSS hasn’t been ‘mainstream consumer’ friendly,” tweeted Google’s head of web creator relations, Paul Bakaus. “Today, we’re announcing an experimental new way, powered by RSS, to follow creators with one click.” What happens next is anyone’s guess. Will Google follow through and push RSS-powered features to all Chrome users? Or will it get bored of a product that’s not integral to its bottom line? (As it did with Google Reader.) Bakaus, at least, suggests there’s more to come. “This is only the beginning of a bigger exploration, and to get this right, we need your feedback,” he tweeted. “Hit us up via @WebCreators to let us know what we need to build for you. I’m very excited about it!” Source: Google rediscovers RSS: tests new feature to ‘follow’ sites in Chrome on Android
  12. View and access your recently closed tabs with the Undo Closed Tabs Button extension for Firefox and Chrome Did you know that Firefox has a hotkey to reopen a closed tab? Press Ctrl + Shift + T and the tab comes back. This can be a lifesaver, but if you close several tabs, and then realize you need one of them back, that's when it becomes a problem. You have to keep using the keyboard shortcut several times, until you get the tab you wanted, or you could open the recently closed tabs folder in the browsing history. Besides being unable to see the list of closed tabs, there's also the added task of having to close the other reopened tabs. So much for convenience, that's quite a hassle, right? I reviewed an extension called Undo Close Tab, which makes the task simpler. Undo Closed Tabs Button is a similar extension, but with more features and in my opinion, a much better menu. Install the add-on and click its button, and the menu pops-out. I'll compare the two extensions, to explain why I think the newer one is better. Undo Closed Tabs Button's pop-up menu does not have an extended context-menu with Firefox's toolbar options, like the other extension. Though the menu is similar in size, the plugin doesn't waste any of the space. Undo Closed Tabs Button displays all 25 tabs in one go, without a sub-menu. The add-on's tab menu lacks one important option, open in Container tab. I don't think it might be possible to add support for that, since add-ons cannot access the settings of other add-ons. That being said, the extension does reopen a closed tab in the container it was opened in. The vertical tab list in Undo Closed Tabs Button has the favicon and tab-title. You can open all closed tabs with a single-click, using the button in the bottom left corner. Or, if you want to discard them, hit the 2nd button, Forget all the closed items. The Chrome version of the extension has a shortcut that takes you to your browsing history. You know, the chrome://history tab. The gear icon takes you to Undo Closed Tabs Button's settings. The option labeled, "Number of tab sessions to be displayed", doesn't actually refer to your sessions, rather it is related to the number of tabs to be listed in the pop-up menu. The default value is 25, so it displays a total of 25 recently closed tabs, in chronological order. You can set it to a higher value if you don't like scrolling through the list. The only other setting on the page allows you to change the font size of the tab titles. Download Undo Closed Tabs Button for Firefox and Chrome. I couldn't find a Git repo for Undo Closed Tabs Button, so if you want to check its source code, you'll have to analyze the XPI manually. The other add-on, Undo Close Tab does not have a right-click menu at all., but the context menu in Undo Closed Tabs Button is kind of worse. It would have been better if the add-on displayed Firefox's tab bar menu, but instead it has the Page context menu, which is of no use to us. Every option listed in the menu applies to the extension's pop-up panel, and not the tab that you right-clicked on. e.g. If you click on View Page Source, you expect to see the webpage's code, instead the add-on will open a tab with the code of the menu. Maybe that's harsh, but I think it was worth mentioning, and hope it's just a placeholder. I would've liked a search bar in the menu, it could make finding tabs a bit easier. Landing Page https://mybrowseraddon.com/undo.html Source: View and access your recently closed tabs with the Undo Closed Tabs Button extension for Firefox and Chrome
  13. Custom Scrollbars is a Firefox and Chrome extension that lets you set the color and width of the scrollbar Do you like customizing your web browser? A lot of people use themes to give the browser a new look. Some take it up a notch and use a custom CSS file, to make it unique. Most themes don't change all elements of the interface, especially the scrollbar. Custom Scrollbars is a Firefox and Chrome extension that lets you set the color and width of the scrollbar. Custom Scrollbars will not change the color of the bars by default. Go to the add-on's options page, and toggle the Yes button under "Use Custom Colors". A couple of new setting should appear, these allow you to set the color of the scrollbar's thumb (the bar that you click and drag) and the track. The settings page has a Live Preview section that shows you what the scrollbar looks like, it's an interactive demo, so try it before applying the changes. There are two ways to set the shade, either use the color wheel to pick the gradient, or enter a specific Hex color code in the box. The two sliders next to the wheel can be used to adjust the hue and the transparency of the scroll bar and track. If you want to revert to the default colors, disable the custom color option. Doing so however makes the add-on forget the previous color settings. You can optionally modify the scrollbar's width with this add-on, but it doesn't let you set the values manually. Instead, there are three values, Default, Thin, and Hidden. The thin setting makes the scrollbar about a third of the original's size. The other option doesn't just hide the bar, it removes it entirely, i.e. try clicking the edge with the mouse, the page will not scroll. But you can still use the mouse wheel, arrow keys, Page Up/Down keys to scroll a page. Custom Scrollbar has an option to control how websites can override your settings, you can prevent sites from doing so entirely. Or, you can let the websites change only the color or just the width or both options. It worked on all websites that I tried it with. The add-on's description mentions that it on does not work with Facebook, and is a known issue. When I tried it on Facebook, it worked, so the description is probably outdated. Don't forget to hit the save button at the bottom of the extension's settings page, to apply the modifications you made. I had no issues using the add-on with different themes either. The only problem I had with it was on Twitter, where the colored bars appeared in different sections of the site, but that was because I'm using a script (GoodTwitter2), the normal site works fine with Custom Scrollbars. Custom Scrollbars is an open source add-on. Download it for Firefox and Chrome. The latter was released recently, but works just as well as the Firefox plugin. The add-on does not offer a way to allow specific websites to use their own scrollbar, nor can you set a custom color on a per-website basis, but that's just me nitpicking. Trouble finding the right color that goes with your theme? Use a color picker tool like ColorMania to help you find the color code of any element on the screen. Landing Page https://github.com/WesleyBranton/Custom-Scrollbar/ Source: Custom Scrollbars is a Firefox and Chrome extension that lets you set the color and width of the scrollbar
  14. Perfect Home is a Firefox and Chrome extension that lists your bookmarks as speed-dials in new tabs Speed Dials are a must-have feature for me in any browser that I use. While I prefer Group Speed Dial for my regular usage, I often jump through other add-ons every month or so to test them. That's how I landed with my current choice, Perfect Home. This is not your usual speed dial add-on, in that you can't add dials on your new tab page directly. Rather, Perfect Home uses your browser's bookmarks folders and displays them like speed dials. It's not the first add-on to do so. The extension lists your bookmark folders, as well as web shortcuts that you have in the main folder. By default, this should be the Bookmarks Menu directory, but you can set a custom main folder from the add-on's settings. Clicking on a folder in Perfect Home's interface lists its contents, and selecting a shortcut takes you to the corresponding web-page, just as a bookmark should. Right-click on a dial to open it in a new tab, background tab, new window, and copy the URL. Browsing through folders is a bit cumbersome, and kind of the opposite of what a speed-dial does. So I'd suggest adding your favorite sites to the primary Bookmarks folder or Docked Folders, which I'll explain in a bit, this will allow you to access them much faster. If you don't want to clutter the folder with many shortcuts, you can use the plugin's built-in search function to find a specific site. You can edit a bookmark's dial, and enter a different title and URL. You can also set a custom thumbnail from a file or the web. But you can't change the bookmark's location, i.e. move it to a different location. This is a limitation in the browser, so you'll need to use Firefox's bookmark manager for modifying the shortcuts. Let's take a look at Perfect Home's settings, click on the gear cog button in the top-right corner, and a menu should appear. We have already seen what the main folder setting is for, the next option is Docked Folders. Click on the button, and select the folder that you'd like to add. It will appear in the bottom of the window, click on it and it pops-out to list its contents. Perfect Home allows you to customize the color of the background and the text, grid width, gap, tile size, width, etc. You can toggle an option to open links in a new tab. Advanced users can use a custom CSS script too. There are a couple of privacy toggles in the add-on's settings panel, enabling these options allows the add-on to fetch favicons using Google, and themes from GitHub. To switch to a different theme, head back to the Customize menu, there are just 4 themes to choose from, but you can always tweak the settings manually. The extension has a built-in import and export tool, that you can use to back up your preferences. Want to start over? Hit the Reset button, and the settings will be reverted to the default values. Perfect Home is an open source add-on. Download it for Firefox and Chrome. I don't like the default color of the menu and the docked folder, they are not exactly easy on the eyes. Landing Page https://github.com/perfect-things/perfect-home Source: Perfect Home is a Firefox and Chrome extension that lists your bookmarks as speed-dials in new tabs
  15. Chrome 90 is here with an AV1 encoder and new augmented reality APIs Google released Chrome 89 over a month ago, offering a bunch of new features and improvements including enforcing developers to offer offline experiences for progressive web apps (PWAs) and new APIs for content sharing. Now Chrome 90 is here, headlined by enhancements such as support for read-only files in clipboard, a new AV1 encoder, and blocking of HTTP port 554. Chrome 90 includes an AV1 encoder that is optimized for video conference calls. The AV1 codec offers better compression efficiency which means that it will be very beneficial to users on networks with low bandwidth speeds. The browser will also be blocking port 554 for HTTP, HTTPS, or FTP servers as it has been used in some attack vectors. It is interesting to note that Chrome previously blocked this port too but unblocked it after backlash from enterprises. However, Google has once again decided to restrict connections via this port as its usage on Chrome's Dev channel is just 0.00003% of all requests. Other developer-facing improvements in Chrome 90 include allowing web applications to query device attributes, a CSS property for smoother interpolation between aspect ratios and two others for handling clipping margins, enhancements to certain HTML tags, as well as a shared superclass and constructor for ranges. Similarly, an API has been released that allows web components that make use of Shadow DOM to use server-side rendering (SSR) to reduce reliance on JavaScript and improve performance. Custom elements will also be able to expose their state using the state() pseudo class. WebAssembly now supports exception handling, and Chrome will now be placing protections against the application/x-protobuffer MIME type by adding it to the list maintained by Cross-Origin-Read-Blocking (CORB). The browser also used a content security policy directive to allow developers to disable Flash. But now that Flash is dead, this directive is being discontinued too. Furthermore, Chrome will manage file pieces which are downloaded out-of-order in a simplified way, making the job easier for web developers who previously had to write code for this themselves. WebAudio and file URL management techniques are also being changed to align with industry standards and offer better interoperability with other browsers. Over on the consumer-facing side of things, a significant addition is the ability to paste read-only files from the clipboard instead of having to rely on drag-and-drop. With respect to augmented reality (AR), sites can now use WebXR to query and estimate environmental lighting conditions to offer more natural effects. In the same vein, the WebXR Depth API allows calculation of environmental depth to enhance physics-based effects and occlusion. If Chrome on your device has not updated to version 90 automatically, head over to Help > About Google Chrome to trigger the update. Next up is Chrome 91 which is currently in the Dev channel, scheduled to hit Beta on April 22, with a Stable release expected on May 25. Source: Chrome 90 is here with an AV1 encoder and new augmented reality APIs
  16. Customize your new tab page with random wallpapers, quotes with the Mue extension for Firefox and Chrome I like to spruce up my desktop with a new wallpaper now and then, just because. I don't do this as often with my browser, because I have many speed-dials in my new tab page, so you can barely see a background. I wanted to try something else for a change, and decided to go with the Mue extension for Firefox and Chrome. Besides the cool background, it displays some additional content in every tab. This includes a greeting, a clock widget, and a random quote. All of these can be customized, or completely turned off from the add-on's settings. In fact, you don't have to set up any option, everything's ready-to-use, when you install the add-on. The star button in the bottom right corner lets you mark wallpapers as favorites, and the full-screen icon next to the star, removes all visual elements except the wallpaper. The latter isn't a permanent setting, it's just useful to get an unobstructed view of the background. See that search bar in the top left corner? Mue uses DuckDuckGo as the default search engine, but you can switch to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ecosia, Yandex, Qwant, Ask, Start Page, or a custom search provider of your choice. So, where does Mue source the images from? The extension's has its own image database which is community driven, if you notice the names appearing in the bottom left corner, you can see the name of the person who contributed that photo. Want even more images? Click on the gear button in the top right corner to open Mue's settings. The Background section has an option that says "Background API", click on the menu and switch to the Unsplash service. While you're on this screen, you can adjust the blur effect and brightness of the image. It also has options to use a custom background, which can be an online image, or one that you upload to the service. Local images don't seem to be supported by the add-on. Not a fan of the photos? You can have a solid color as the background too. You may configure the Clock widget from the Time settings, it has an optional 24-hour clock and an analog mode. Do you like the Greeting displayed in new tabs? Well, you can include your name if you'd like to add a personal touch. As I mentioned earlier, you can toggle any of the widgets if you want a more minimal experience. Mue is an open source extension. Sometimes when you open a new tab, the add-on takes a couple of seconds to load the background image. That's okay I guess, but occasionally the image stayed blank. Head to this page to try out an interactive demo of Mue. Download the extension for Firefox and Chrome. The marketplace didn't work for me at all, it was stuck at "Loading..." endlessly in both Firefox and Chrome (Edge). It seems to be hosted at https://marketplace.muetab.com/, which was giving me errors. It was only then I noticed on the project page on GitHub, that the developer has shared a roadmap (on Trello), which acknowledges that the Marketplace isn't working. The market and its add-ons, will hopefully be fixed in version 5.0, which will be released this year. It's not a dealbreaker, as the other features work just fine. I would have liked the extension more if it supported speed-dials or bookmarklets. That being said, Mue is a very impressive add-on. Landing Page https://github.com/mue/mue Source: Customize your new tab page with random wallpapers, quotes with the Mue extension for Firefox and Chrome
  17. Chrome Incognito to get complete dark mode It doesn’t matter whether your Windows or macOS using a light or dark theme, the whole Chrome Incognito window including menus and other parts to go as dark soon. What you need to know: To differentiate between normal and private windows, Chrome uses a separate dark theme for the Incognito window. In Incognito Mode, the avatar menu that shows the number of incognito windows open and the three-dot main menu still look white Google is planning to turn the elements in Incognito UI that appear as white to dark by disregarding the Operating system that has a light or dark theme enabled. Chrome Incognito Interface on the desktop to get dark mode The Chrome team wants to apply this via a new flag in Chrome Canary on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS. You need to visit the chrome://flags page and enable “Enforces dark mode UI on desktop“. This results in Chrome ignoring Windows 10 light mode or other customizations and keeps Incognito mode to true dark mode. The change also turns Tab Search, Chrome Labs, Reading list, Side Panel, and context menu to black as well. Incognito brand consistency Generally, theme and customizations apply to Chrome normal mode, but not incognito. To keep incognito consistency in desktop, Chrome to “remove any theme or background customization done by the user on the Incognitor UI” This change requires “Incognito brand consistency for desktop” to be enabled. The experimental features related to Chrome incognito UI dark mode landed recently and not working yet. But the result can be expected and seen when you open a new incognito window in Chrome and set the color in Windows 10 Personalization Settings to dark. That’s the real dark mode. Google is aiming to enable that by default for Chrome Incognito Mode. Source: Chrome Incognito to get complete dark mode
  18. Web Translate is a Firefox and Chrome extension that displays the translation of the selected text Every once in a while, I visit websites which are not in a language I'm familiar with. While translating the entire page is a good idea, sometimes I may only need just a sentence or two to be translated. Normally, I paste the lines into a translation extension that I use. But you know how it is, sometimes the translation makes no sense, and you may want to try a different one. Web Translate is an extension for Firefox and Chrome, that displays the translation of the selected text in a pop-up or modal, and also lets you choose the translation service you want to use. The add-on places an icon on the toolbar, which you can use to access its interface. The UI is a pop-up window, and it may look familiar if you're using the Group Speed Dial add-on, that's because both extensions are written by the same developer. Visit a web page that is not in your default language, and right-click anywhere to access the browser's context menu. Select the option that says Translate Page, and Web Translate will open a new tab with the Google Translated version of the page in your default language. You can also click on the add-on's button, and then on the second option in the sidebar to do the same. This isn't convenient than the right-click menu, but the pop-up interface has many other options. Do you want to translate specific text on the page? Highlight the content, access the context menu and select Translate "selected text". Doing so opens the Web Translate's interface with the first tab in focus, and the extension automatically makes a query with the selected content in the "source" pane. After a second or two, the translated version of the text is displayed on the other pane. The Translate tab's interface differs based on the service that you select. For instance, if you're using Google Translate, you will see options to mark a translation as a favorite, listen to the translation using text-to-speech. The paper icon sends the translation to the clipboard. Found an incorrect translation? Edit it by clicking the pencil button. The share button lets you send the translation via Email, Twitter, etc. Switch to the Microsoft Bing Translator, and you'll only see the original text and translation panes, and a list of commonly used phrases. DeepL Translator has options similar to Google's, but also lets you save the translation as a text document. Click on the settings button and you can change the default translation service, you may choose from: Google Translate, Microsoft Bing Translator, DeepL Translator, Yandex Translate and Baidu Translator. The settings page has options to change the size of the sidebar, toggle the context menu options for translate text/page. Dislike the pop-up interface? Web Translate can be set to open in a modal, or in a new tab or a new window. This also works for the context menu actions. You can toggle an optional Dark mode for the add-on's interface. Download Web Translate for Firefox and Chrome. The extension is not open source. The Chrome version doesn't support Google Translate in the pop-up/modal. According to a comment from the developer, this seems to be due to a limitation in the browser. The add-on is also available for Mozilla Thunderbird. I switched to Simple Translate last year (from "To Google Translate"), and have been quite happy with it. But, I think Web translate does an equally good job. Landing Page https://fastaddons.com/ Source: Web Translate is a Firefox and Chrome extension that displays the translation of the selected text
  19. Move tabs between windows, detach tabs, save your browsing session with the SplitUP extension for Firefox and Chrome Tab Manager Plus has been my go-to add-on for finding, managing my tabs. Combined with OneTab for saving my sessions, it has made my browsing life quite easier. But I'm always on the lookout for interesting plugins. The latest one that I have been testing is SplitUP, this is an extension for Firefox and Chrome that allows you to move tabs between windows, detach the tabs, save your browsing session, and more. Install the extension, click on the new icon that has appeared on the toolbar, and a modal should pop-down. This is SplitUp's interface. It lists all tabs that you have open, with the favicon and title of each tab. In case you have multiple windows, the tabs will be listed on a per-window basis, you'll have to scroll down to view the other windows. Click on a window's name to collapse its list. Want to move a tab from one window to another? You can do this by dragging and dropping the tab to the window's list. Moving multiple tabs is possible too, check the boxes next to the tabs, or use the select all button on the toolbar, click on the SplitUp button at the bottom of the interface, and the tabs will be moved to a separate window. Mouse over a tab in the list, and an X button will appear next to it, click on it to close the tab. You can close multiple tabs at the same time, by marking them and clicking on the trash can button. The search bar at the top can be used to find specific tabs. It supports fuzzy search, so you can enter the partial text of the website's URL or the tab's title. The results appear instantly as you type. Select a tab in the list to jump to it. SplitUp can be used to save your browsing sessions, click on the Save button (Floppy Disk icon) to save the session. Your saved sessions can be accessed by clicking on the ribbon (Bookmark icon) at the top. To restore tabs from the session, select them and click the SplitUp button to load them in a new window. Here's the best part, you can select specific tabs and save them as a session. And yes, you can save multiple sessions. The extension also allows you to export your session (2nd icon from the top right) to a plain text file. There is no option to import a session from the text document, thought it can be handy if you're using an extension like OneTab. SplitUp will display a speaker icon to the left of tabs that have some video/audio playing. Click on the icon to mute the tab, to unmute hit the icon again. The default color scheme of SplitUp is the Dark mode, but you can switch to a light theme. In my opinion, both seem flashy with the bright colors. The add-on does not have a settings page, so you can't customize its appearance or behavior. SplitUp is an open source extension. It is available for Firefox and Chrome. The add-on's menu was very slow to appear in Chromium based browsers, I tested it with Edge and Brave. The Firefox version didn't have this issue for the most part, it only happened once. I kind of stumbled on to a fix for this. I had been experiencing some network issues, and had disconnected from my Wi-Fi network (to switch to a different one) from the system tray, and for some reason this also caused the extension's menu to pop-up instantly. It worked normally after I re-enabled the primary network. This also worked with the Chrome extensions, but the pop-up delay issue seems to occur consistently with those browsers. Landing Page https://github.com/onaralili/SplitUp Source: Move tabs between windows, detach tabs, save your browsing session with the SplitUP extension for Firefox and Chrome
  20. Google is pushing 64-bit Chrome on Android If you are using Chrome on Android devices, you may run a 64-bit version of the browser after the upgrade to Chrome 89 on the device, instead of the 32-bit version of the browser. Google started to push the 64-bit version of Google Chrome for Android to devices that match specific system requirements. In other words: not all devices will see the upgrade to Chrome 64. The following minimum requirements need to be met (all of them): The device needs to run Android 10 or newer. The device needs to have at least 8 Gigabytes of RAM. You can check out the installed version of Chrome, including whether it is 32-bit or 64-bit, in the following way: Load chrome://version in the address bar of the browser. The first entry, called Google Chrome, displays the installed version of the web browser and its architecture. If Chrome is not at version 89 already, you need to update the browser to version 89 first to run the 64-bit version of the browser on the device, provided that it meets the requirements. The Android version is displayed under OS on the same page. Check the installed RAM on Android Pixel 3a with just 4 Gigabytes of installed RAM. To check the RAM that is installed on the device, do the following: Open the Settings on the device. Search for "memory". Select the "System > Developer Options" result. The installed memory is displayed. Note: if you have not enabled Developer options on the device, you may need to do so first. Open Settings > About Phone, scroll to the Build number listing, and tap on it seven times (may vary, but you should get information that Developer options are now enabled on the device after the operation). Google added the requirement in 2019 that Android applications needed to support 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, going forward. Existing apps that are not updated anymore remain available as 32-bit only versions, however. ARM announced in October 2020 that ARM Cortex-A "big" cores" will only support 64-bit code from 2022 onward. One of the main effects of switching to a 64-bit application is that it may utilize more RAM on the device. Performance may benefit from the switch because of that. The move to 64-bit apps may also benefit security, power consumption, and enable support for features that may not be possible on 32-bit devices. Source: Google is pushing 64-bit Chrome on Android
  21. Chrome for Android can now preview a page before opening a link Risky clicks no more “Preview page” now appears an an option when you long-press a link. Screenshot by Jon Porter / The Verge Chrome’s Android app now lets you preview a webpage before committing to clicking on a link, 9to5Google reports. The feature appears to have been enabled via a server-side update to version 89 of the browser, and can be accessed by long-pressing on a link and then tapping “Preview page.” It seems to be Android-only for the time being. It’s a small, but helpful, feature if you want to quickly check the contents of a webpage without fully leaving your current page. Maybe that’s to get the gist of an article by reading its first couple of paragraphs, or because you’re still vigilant about being Rick-rolled in 2021. The feature has been included in other browsers for a little while now. On iOS, both Safari and Edge already default to previewing a webpage when you long-press a link, and by default neither require the additional step of selecting “Preview page” from a menu. Chrome’s support for link previews on Android has been in the works for a little while, and was spotted while it was in development way back in December 2018 by XDA Developers. Now, however, it appears to be available to everyone without having to be manually enabled. Source: Chrome for Android can now preview a page before opening a link
  22. Google makes it easier to test experimental features in Chrome The company wants to collect more feedback on future updates. Thomas Trutschel via Getty Images It turns out increasing the cadence of Chrome updates isn’t the only change Google has planned for its web browser. In a tweet spotted by 9to5Google (via XDA Developers), Chrome design head Alex Ainslie detailed a new feature that makes it easier to try out any experimental functionality that Google is working on. As of this week, the browser’s Canary version includes a beaker icon where you can enable experimental features, as well as send feedback to the Chrome team. 👩‍🔬 We hope to gather more feedback about @googlechrome updates as they're in development. If you're using Canary today (and soon Dev and Beta) you'll notice a little beaker on the toolbar that makes it easier to try out new stuff and share suggestions about how it should evolve. pic.twitter.com/doPLzJbnRW — Alex Ainslie (@alexainslie) March 5, 2021 In the past, trying out experiments in Chrome meant enabling flags. That made them tricky to access if you didn’t know what you were doing. It also wasn’t easy to see at a glance which ones you had enabled. Ainslie said Google is adding the menu to collect more feedback on updates as they’re in development. To that end, the beaker icon will make its way to the developer and beta versions of Chrome as well. That means you won't have to use Chrome's least stable release to see what Google has in store for users. Source: Google makes it easier to test experimental features in Chrome
  23. Chrome extension turns on YouTube captions when eating noisy chips A new AI-powered Google Chrome extension will automatically turn on YouTube extensions if it detects you are eating noisy chips. I doubt few people have not experienced hearing a movie, TV show, or video while someone next to you is loudly eating chips. To make it easier to watch YouTube videos, creative agency Happiness Saigon partnered with Frito-Lay to create the 'Lay's Crispy Subtitles' browser extension that automatically enables YouTube captions when it detects you are eating chips. To achieve this, Happiness Saigon trained an AI algorithm using 178 hours of recording people eating chips from all over the world. BleepingComputer tried out the extension and was pleasantly surprised by how the extension immediately turned on YouTube captions when our microphone picked up the noisy sound of eating chips. YouTube watchers will know when the Lay's Crispy Subtitles extension is at work as it will also briefly display the extension logo in the top right corner of a video when it activates captions, as shown below. Lay's Crispy Subtitles auto-enabling captions BleepingComputer performed some tests with other food groups, such as peanuts, carrots, and cereal. While peanuts and carrots were not noisy enough or crunchy enough, eating cereal also enabled captions in our tests to see what would trigger the extension. However, your results may vary depending on how noisily you eat your food. Chrome extension turns on YouTube captions when eating noisy chips
  24. Google speeds up its release cycle for Chrome Image Credits: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto / Getty Images Google today announced that its Chrome browser is moving to a faster release cycle by shipping a new milestone every four weeks instead of the current six-week cycle (with a bi-weekly security patch). That’s one way to hasten the singularity, I guess, but it’s worth noting that Mozilla also moved to a four-week cycle for Firefox last year. “As we have improved our testing and release processes for Chrome, and deployed bi-weekly security updates to improve our patch gap, it became clear that we could shorten our release cycle and deliver new features more quickly,” the Chrome team explains in today’s announcement. Google, however, also acknowledges that not everybody wants to move this quickly — especially in the enterprise. For those users, Google is adding a new Extended Stable option with updates that come every eight weeks. This feature will be available to enterprise admins and Chromium embedders. They will still get security updates on a bi-weekly schedule, but Google notes that “those updates won’t contain new features or all security fixes that the 4 week option will receive.” The new four-week cycle will start with Chrome 94 in Q3 2021, and at this faster rate, we’ll see Chrome 100 launch into the stable channel by March 29, 2022. I expect there will be cake. Source: Google speeds up its release cycle for Chrome
  25. Chrome 89 rolling out: Reading list, Tab Search, Profiles redesign, and more Following version 88’s release on Android, Mac, Windows, and Linux, the next release of Google’s browser is rolling out. Several user-facing enhancements will start rolling out with Chrome 89. For those that share computers (and browsers), version 89 is revamping Chrome profiles. It starts with a modernized page for selecting profiles “when Chrome opens.” A picker is also available in the dropdown menu that appears after tapping your avatar image next to the Omnibox. The creation experience has also been updated with users first prompted about turning on Chrome Sync to get “bookmarks, passwords, history, and more on all your devices.” This involves signing in to your Google Account, while the next step is to customize your profile with a name and theme color that helps differentiate windows. This feature is rolling out to desktops over the coming weeks. Chrome 89 is also getting a simple Reading list that’s available by tapping the star icon in the address bar. In addition to “Add bookmark,” there’s a new “Add to reading list” option. A “Reading list” folder appears in the Bookmarks bar. It’s partitioned by “Unread” and “Pages you’ve read,” with the latter achieved by tapping “Mark as read” — “Delete” is right next to it — when hovering over pages. After launching on Chrome OS in December, Tab Search is coming to desktops. You can tap the dropdown icon in the top-right corner or use Shift+Command+A (Mac) to get a list of pages open across all windows. The browser displays five at a time, while you can also quickly close tabs from this view. If it’s not yet live, manually turn it on: chrome://flags/#enable-tab-search Chrome 89 continues work on less intrusive permission requests. Google will automatically block prompts — like for website notifications — that you’re unlikely to permit. Instead of a prompt, a struck-through bell icon will appear at the end of the address bar. Tapping opens a pop-up to allow alerts that you’re interested in and link to manage settings. Google’s work to encourage HTTPS adoption continues in this release. When users don’t specify a protocol as they enter a URL, Chrome 89 will first attempt to use HTTPS before falling back to HTTP (as necessary). This change is coming to Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android first with iOS following in the next update. The WebHID (human interface devices — keyboards, pointing devices, and gamepads) API is enabled by default in Chrome 89 on desktop to help improve connectivity. Similarly, this release allows web pages to control 3D printers and microcontrollers without the need for additional adapters or drivers through the Web Serial API. Enabled in Chrome 89 for Android, Web NFC allows websites to read and write to NFC tags. Following the desktop browser in version 85, today’s release allows Android to decode AVIF images natively. This format is smaller in size than JPEG or WebP for faster loading, and features HDR color support. Chrome 89 and newer will require x86 processors to support Streaming SIMD Extensions 3, or otherwise the browser will not install. SSE3 was introduced on Intel CPUs in 2003 and on AMD chips two years later. This change does not impact ARM processors. Source: Chrome 89 rolling out: Reading list, Tab Search, Profiles redesign, and more
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