Full screen browsing and simpler searching highlight the changes in Chrome 27 for Android
Chrome for Android has been updated to version 27 (27.0.1453.90 to be exact), bringing one of the most requested features along for the ride -- full screen browsing. In addition, other changes like simpler searching and tab history made it into Chrome 27.
The Chrome team is excited to announce the promotion of Chrome 27 to the Stable channel. Chrome for Android 27.0.1453.90 contains a number of improvments including:
- Fullscreen on phones - Scroll down the page and the toolbar will disappear.
- Simpler searching - Searching from the omnibox will keep your search query visible in the omnibox, making it easier to edit, and show more on your search result page.
- Client-side certificate support - You can now access sites that require you to use a certificate and Chrome will allow you to select an installed certificate
- Tab history on tablets - Long press the browser back button to view your tab history
- And a ton of stability and performance fixes
The update is recommended, and you can get the latest version from the Google Play link above.
Via: Google Chrome
Google Now voice search goes live in the latest Chrome desktop builds
Ladies and gents, it's time to upgrade your Chrome browser. Google Now style voice search has just went live in the latest Chrome stable version for the desktop (Version 27.0.1453.93). As far as we can tell from
playing around testing things, the full contextual search isn't running like we saw in the demo during the Google I/O keynote, but the basic voice search and response is ready to go.
To get the latest update is easy. Open the settings in the Chrome browser, and click the Help line entry. Give it a second or two to start checking, and when it tells you to restart Chrome, just restart your whole browser session. When things come back, head to www.google.com and click the microphone in the search box.
You have to give permission (look for the bar across the top of the window) to listen to your voice, then start asking questions. Welcome to the future! We've got a couple screenshots after the break just in case you're not able to update or don't use Chrome.
The web becomes more and more capable each day, finding ways to replace what you do on your desktop. In the very near future you'll talk to your web apps, enjoy complex animation without the drain of Flash, and maybe even plug in your guitar. These features and more already exist, and they're coming to the broad internet this year.
No one has embraced “open” and cross-platform technologies the way Google has — or at least that’s what the company would like for you to think. The company develops some of its best products for iOS, despite competing with Apple’s operating system with Android. It develops new services, like the Google Play game services or Hangouts, and makes them immediately available outside of it’s own ecosystem. And, of course, it is able to maintain its “open” image despite becoming increasingly “closed.”
It’s easy to confuse Google’s near-ubiquity with openness. Since the company has started to spread into every aspect of our everyday lives, whether it’s by Android’s dominance in the smartphone market, the popularity of its Chrome browser, or its decision to build great products for the runner-up, iOS. This allows Google to capitalize on a future dominated by people using multiple devices and operating systems, but it shouldn’t be confused for being “open.”
Consider the latest additions to Chrome, which now allows users to converse with Google on their desktops. This has the potential to be a major expansion of Google’s reach into our daily lives, continuing the company’s goal of becoming a ubiquitous presence instead of something users simply visit — and it’s only available if you happen to use Chrome already. While that probably won’t be an issue, considering Google’s claim that over 750 million people use Chrome (on the desktop and mobile) each month, but it’s hardly “open.”
The same could be said for other Chrome-specific tools and services. Google is fond of conflating “the Web” with “the Web as viewed by Chrome,” offering demos of new technologies that, at least for now, are less about the Web and more about Chrome.
“On the Chrome team, our goal is to make the web better, both on desktop and on mobile,” said Google’s VP of Chrome Engineering, Linus Upson, during the Google I/O 2013 keynote. ”But that doesn’t mean loading the browser up full of features. The browser is a means, not an end.” While that might be indirectly true — additions to Chrome might convince other browser-makers to innovate as well — it’s foolish to think that Google isn’t improving Chrome so that it can continue to control the way we view the Web.
Then there’s Hangouts, Google’s new messaging service. There’s a lot to like about Hangouts: It’s well-designed, like many of Google’s other recent releases and updates; it’s available on iOS, Android, and the Web, making it easy for the vast majority of smartphone owners to communicate with each other; and it’s tied to users’ Google Accounts, which means that people won’t have to sign up for yet another messaging service. (And, of course, it allows for an endless number of “hangout”-related puns.)
But Hangouts isn’t as platform-agnostic as, say, Kik, which is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Ovi devices. And, unlike its Google Talk predecessor, Hangouts isn’t built on the XMPP standard used by Facebook Messenger, Skype, Microsoft Messenger, and other chat services. Users will be unable — at least in the beginning — to use Hangouts with third-party applications like Adium or Messages. Hangouts might be better than Google Talk, but it certainly isn’t as “open.”
Finally, there is the much-lamented death of Google Reader. Despite being used as the infrastructure for dozens of RSS-reading applications and services, Google decided to suspend Reader and force users and startups to wonder what the future of RSS might look like. This alone could be seen as a move against “openness,” but the truth is that Reader was never meant to power those services anyway; they were all using an “unofficial” API that many understood to be volatile from the start.
Now they don’t even have an unofficial API to build atop — but Google’s own newsreader, the Flipboard-like Google Currents, is still available for Android devices as well as the iPhone and iPad. Google killed a popular RSS-reading service that many had come to rely on for their news, but is still operating a “personalized” newsreader that most people probably haven’t even heard of.
None of this is to say that Google has an obligation to become the underlying infrastructure for, and main caretaker of, many of these products. It doesn’t even have to be “open” or cross-platform, really; Apple has shown just how well the “closed” and “You can develop for our platforms, but we won’t build anything for yours” approach can work. But it’s important to remember that, despite being more platform agnostic and “open” than Apple or most of its competitors (of which there are many), Google isn’t some beneficent magician that builds wonderful products and improves the Web without expecting anything in return.
[Image courtesy of Google]
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