Tag Archives | Google Chrome

Chrome Ascendent

TechCrunch’s MG Siegler is reporting that Chrome is now the most-used browser among that site’s visitors, having slightly edged out Firefox in November. It’s yet another piece of evidence that Google’s browser is a major hit, especially among people who take their Web browsers really seriously.

Here at Technologizer, Firefox maintains the #1 spot–in fact, Chrome is only the third-most popular browser. (Internet Explorer is #2.) But Chrome usages is increasing at a steady clip, and both Firefox and IE have lost users over the past year.

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The Browser Wars' Odd New Equilibrium

Apple released version 5.0.1 of its Safari browser yesterday. It fixes one major security vulnerability. More pleasantly, it turns on support for extensions, which Apple is now collecting in its new Extensions Gallery. The quantity of available add-ins is skimpy compared to Chrome or (especially) Firefox, but there’s already some good stuff–I like Gmail Counter, which adds a button indicating how many e-mails have arrived since you last checked your inbox, along with a banner that rotates through recent subject lines. And Safari extensions have the most seamless installation process I’ve seen to date–one click, and you’re good to go.

Until now, when folks have asked me how the major browsers stack up, I’ve mostly praised Safari but noted that the lack of extensions made for a less customizable working environment. Now it’s got ’em. One more reason to consider using Safari, one less major distinguishing characteristic for the competition.

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Rise of the YouTube Video Games?

YouTube is a wonderful promotional tool for video games, among other things, but as a gaming platform itself? A couple creative examples show that it’s possible.

To promote both the Chrome Web browser and Adobe Flash, which is now integrated into the browser, Google put together Chrome Fastball. It’s a set of simple mind games using APIs from other websites, all strung together by video clips of a Rube Goldberg device. So, at one point you must answer a trivia question on Twitter (anonymously), and at another point choose the best way to travel between two points on a map. Each successful answer moves your ball along the contraption towards the finish line. It’s a cute little game that actually works just fine in other browsers, too.

The funny thing is, Chrome Fastball isn’t the only YouTube game I played today. To celebrate the premiere of Twilight: Eclipse, Benny and Rafi Fine created Twlight Eclipse: The 8-Bit Interactive Game. This series of YouTube videos is actually a choose-your-adventure with NES-style animations and audio. At the end of each clip, players must make decisions that send them on multiple branching paths. It’s a nice way to waste an afternoon even if you’re not into young adult vampire drama (I still can’t believe that’s a genre).

Obviously, YouTube can’t have full-blown games with controllable avatars, because it just wouldn’t be YouTube anymore at that point. But there’s potential to do some clever things with the interactivity YouTube does allow, as these games show.

One last note: Both games back up Google’s point that Flash is still relevant; neither one works on the iPhone’s HTML 5 version of YouTube.


Flock 3.0: The Social Browser Gets a Reboot

Half  a decade ago, a startup called Flock was formed to build a “social browser” of the same name–a Web browser aimed at people who like to use the Web to share stuff and otherwise interact with other people. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but the road the product ended up taking has been uncommonly twisty.

The original preview version of Flock, based on the same Mozilla browser code as Firefox, debuted in 2005. (Back then, only students could join Facebook; Twitter didn’t exist, period.) The first beta, which appeared a leisurely two years later, was significantly different and better; I liked it so much it became my default browser. Version 2.0 improved on it further.  But version 2.5, which appeared more than a year ago, was instantly obsolescent: It was based on Firefox 3.0 even though it appeared only shortly before Firefox 3.5 did, and there were rumors that Flock’s creators planned to dump Mozilla and move to Chromium, the open-source version of Google’s Chrome.

Fast forward to right now. It turns out that the rumors were true: Flock 3.0, which is now available as a beta download for Windows, is built on Chromium. Pretty much by definition, that means it’s significantly different from any version before it. But it turns out that the company hasn’t even tried to recreate the old Flock. This isn’t so much an upgrade as a reboot–an all-new answer to the question “What should a social browser be in 2010?”

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An Even Faster Chrome

This just in from Google: It’s released new Chrome betas which it says are 35% faster on the SunSpider benchmark and 30% faster on the V8 benchmark than the ones they replace. (Google tends to be shy about explicit comparisons with rivals, so I’m not sure how the new versions compare to the other two fastest-browser-on-the-planet contenders, Opera and Safari.)

And here’s a photo showing Google having fun testing Chrome’s speed:


Google to Mac Users: Ditch Safari and Firefox, Use Chrome

I’m not sure if this is new, or it’s just the first time I’ve noticed it: When I go to the Google home page on my MacBook Pro in Safari, I’m getting a little ad for Google’s own Chrome browser:

I started to wonder if it was a skirmish in the Google-Apple wars, but probably not: I’m getting the same ad in Firefox. (Not in Opera, though–I guess there aren’t enough users to make trying to lure them to Chrome worth the effort.)

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Google Chrome to Integrate Flash

What if Flash felt less like a browser plugin and more like a browser feature? Google and Adobe intend to try and answer that question. They’ve announced that future versions of the Chrome browser will come with an integrated version of Flash. Download Chrome, and you’ll get a preinstalled, ready-to-go copy of Flash; update Chrome, and you’ll get any available Flash updates.

I know that some folks reading this post will have an instinctive negative reaction to this idea–there are definitely those who dislike Flash enough that they want nothing to do with it. But ardent Flash avoiders are a tiny minority, judging from the fact that the vast majority of the world’s PCs and Macs have Flash installed. (They’ll be able to disable the preinstalled Flash if they want.)

Conceptually, I like the idea–but only if it makes Flash more or less transparent. Over the years, I’ve wasted a fair amount of time reinstalling and updating Flash, dealing with odd errors (like demands for more storage), and recovering from Flash crashes. If the integrated version results in a Flash that’s just there, it’ll be a good thing. And it would help make Flash more palatable in a world in which it’ll compete with open, browser-native HTML5 technologies–which is presumably part of the idea.

In related news, both Adobe and Google are working with Mozilla and other players in the browser community to build a new API for plugins–one which will allow for better integration than existing techniques. Again, good idea if it helps us forget we’re running plugins at all…


Chrome and Windows 7 Rising

Web data company Net Applications has released its market share numbers for January. ZDNet’s Adrian Kingsley-Hughes notes that it shows Google’s Chrome with 5.2% of the browser market, and that Chrome appears to be stealing users from Firefox.

Technologizer’s Web stats are, of course, representative only of the Technologizer community–and this site is small enough that fluctuation is normal. (For instance, the percentage of visitors who use Macs varies a lot from month to month, which can skew browser data one way or the other.) But for what it’s worth, the last few months of usage data shows Chrome growing almost continuously, and Firefox jumping around in no clear pattern:

September: 9.05%
October: 8.93%
November:  9.69%
December: 12.65%
January: 14.03%

September: 45.79%
October: 41.35%
November. 42.09%
December: 45.46%
January: 41.43%

Net Applications’ January data also has ten percent of Web users on Windows 7. With Technologizer visitors, it’s sixteen percent–making Windows 7 the second-most used version of any operating system, after Windows XP, which 38 percent of you are still using…

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