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Google Businesses The Internet

New Chrome Beta Adds Themes, Speed, & HTML 5 Video 207

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the battle-heats-up dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Google developers are always working on and updating Chrome in three channels — Stable, Beta, and Developer — in increasing positions on the bleeding-edge scale. Today the company thought changes to the Beta channel warranted a post on the main Google Blog. The advances range from the superficial addition of themes for customizing the browser's window borders to even faster speed under the hood to internal support for HTML 5 tags such as <video> and 'web workers,' which allows the browser to divvy processing work among sub-threads."
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New Chrome Beta Adds Themes, Speed, & HTML 5 Video

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:53AM (#28970677)

    When will google learn that plugins, especially something like adblock, is the killer feature they need to attract the "willing to switch" audience, a lot of whom are using firefox right now. I personally love Chrome for its speed and stability, used it for a week or so, but then switched right back to Firefox because I just didn't realise how it is to do many things in Firefox with extensions such as adblock, no script, autopager, del.icio.us integration etc.

    • by Bashae (1250564) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:57AM (#28970713)

      Maybe you're asking a little too much from Google. Remember that a significant share of their revenue comes from web advertising...

      • by noundi (1044080)
        I think mainly people hate the flashing banners (usually made in flash) jumping around the screen. The way google advertises is to me rather harmless. I have no problems with advertisement, it finances many of my favourite services, but when you're forced to dig your way through the ads in order to get to the content someone failed horribly. As far as I know adblock doesn't filter google ads.
        • by bunratty (545641)
          My impression is that AdBlock Plus for Firefox blocks all ads, or at least tries to block all ads. Chrome seems to block popup ads well, and if there were an extension that blocked just Flash ads that would be good enough for me. The simple text and non-animated graphic ads at the sides of web pages don't bother me.
          • Agreed. If there was a flash block extension and an extension to un-animate animated GIFs and such I'd use chrome. I don't mind Google's ads. Until then, I'll make do with Firefox.

          • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:20AM (#28971735) Journal
            I hate the flashing banners, pop ups, pop unders, and distracting flash animations etc as much as anyone. But I do not mind the content providers making a little money selling my eye ball time, if the ads are not distracting and if the ad load is not too much.

            In the non-cyber world, we all accept ads in the magazines and newspapers, realizing the subsidy they provide to the mags and papers. Same way here.

            I wish there is a way to set my browser agent to tell the websites something like:

            Will accept text ads.

            Will reject all animations gif, flash or javascript.

            Will allow 20% of screen real estate to ads.

            Content load time not less than 0.33 times ad load time.

            Currently looking for ads with keywords : digital camera, DVD cases/sleeves, air tickets to India

            • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @11:08AM (#28973657) Homepage

              Yeah, I'd like to set something like that in my browser, not just for my own ad-blocking, but I almost want to notify the websites: I am blocking your ads because they're big, slow-loading flash ads. Give me static images or text and I won't block them.

              Or what I almost, not really but *almost* want to be able to do is do it on a per-site basis. To be able to send the message to one website, "I'll accept animated GIFs because your site is awesome, but I won't load Flash files for any reason," and tell another website, "Meh, you kind of rot but I just happened across your site by accident. No ad revenue for you." Of course, it would require a lot of work to set that up, even if I had the opportunity to do it.

              And yes, I suppose I could send website emails, but I'd just be one nutjob sending an email, and I wouldn't think it'd do much. What I mean is, it'd be nice if we could all register our frustration in a simple, quick way that would be quantifiable to webmasters, maybe it would improve the situation. Like if someone could look at a set of numbers and say, "Look, if we use Flash, then 40% of our visitors will just block all of our ads, but if we use static images that only take up 14% of the display area, then only 20% will block those images," then maybe websites would actually be less annoying about ads.

              Sorry if I'm just pushing us off-topic.

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

                Give me static images or text and I won't block them.

                Adding @@|$image to your Adblock rules will allow image ads through on all sites. For specific sites, enter a URL before the $.

                • Thanks for the tip. My wish, however, was to be able to block ads in such a way that could signal to the person getting the ad revenue:

                  1. That I'm blocking their ads
                  2. Which ads I'm blocking
                  3. Why I'm blocking them
                  4. Under which circumstances my settings would automatically stop blocking them

                  The big idea here would be to make the system a two-way negotiation rather than a one-way push. The person making revenue from ad placement could then say, "Huh, not only am I not getting click-throughs, but when I put up F

            • by jeti (105266)

              My setup comes pretty close:

              1. Install Firefox
              2. Install the FlashBlock addon (https://addons.mozilla.org/de/firefox/addon/433)
              3. Type about:config in the address bar and set image.animation_mode to once (you have to type the value in)

            • is that you don't get flashing / talking / music / girls in bikinis / speeding gophers / outright lies in your newspaper or magazine.

              Imho online advertising did this to themselves, they were as annoying and eye catching as possible (and I mean that in the worst possible way) that people learned to HATE online advertising. I don't mind Google text ads and such, or even banners, but the flashing, animation and sound is the one spoiled apple that ruins the whole barrel.

          • by noundi (1044080)
            You're absolutely right. You know all these years of adblock usage has made me completely unaware of how much it actually filters.

            Adblock off [imageshack.us]
            Adblock on [imageshack.us]
        • by Hadlock (143607)

          I just use flashblock. Doesn't break the page (creates appropriately sized boxes where the flash ads would be), and has a big play button in the middle in case I need to see it (youtube, for example). And you're not hurting anyone's non-annoying ad revenue.

        • Yeah, but they have two options:

          • Block everyone else's ads, and appear monopolistic
          • Block all ads, including their own, and cut off their own revenue

          Either one is rather undesirable from their point of view.

      • > Remember that a significant share of their revenue comes from web advertising...

        No shit [informatio...utiful.net]

      • by m0i (192134)

        www.adsweep.org
        just add "--enable-extensions" to your chrome shortcut, then click the extension on the webpage and it will be active right away. now if some people could support the project..

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by BlueKitties (1541613)
        Adblockers were never intended to completely kill ads. Add blockers were intended to tell obnoxious advertisers to stop flooding a webpage with garbage. The idea is that, given enough people blocking bad ads, the makers will pipe down and stop flooding sites with ugly litter. Look at /. -- the ad system is so nice, I don't even feel the need to click "disable ads." I think Google folk probably know this, so I would not be surprised if we get a Chrome adblock soon.

        (Then again, I've recently fallen in love
      • Maybe you're asking a little too much from Google. Remember that a significant share of their revenue comes from web advertising...

        They could add an Adblock with the following criteria:

        -Blocks flash ads.
        -Blocks ads when they take up a large percentage of the page(say, over 10%)

        This would eliminate ads on most other sites and search engines, without interfering with them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Goaway (82658)

        Except they have explicitly mentioned AdBlock as something they want to support through their in-development extension system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by beelsebob (529313)

      Yes, when will google learn to add features that block their core business model to their platform for getting at said business.

      • by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:30AM (#28971059)

        Adblock is needed because of all those blinking and colourful flash ads that are all around. Googles ads are quite moderate and most people would not mind to see them, so your statement is false.

        This would give a lot of people the motivation to switch to Chrome, which would be a gain for Google while not having big add revenue losses (actually they would gain add revenues, as the js cross site google ads would not be blocked any-more).

        They're problem is probably, that this would raise anti-competitive questions they want to avoid, so this could only be done with an open plugin system (via trusted third party plugins).

    • by markkezner (1209776) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:31AM (#28971071)
      While plugins would be useful, I think you have the wrong idea about Google's motives with Chrome. Chrome is Google's bid to change the browser market to make it a better platform for their core business, web applications.

      Google isn't as concerned with making Firefox users switch to chrome, because they are already using a (mostly) standards compliant browser. IE is the real target. This seems to explain why, if I browse to google.com in IE7, I'm greeted with an ad banner that invites me to give Chrome a try. Google does not do this if I browse with Firefox or Safari.
      • by AP31R0N (723649)

        Chrome also seems to be a prototype/training platform for the Google OS.

        Will Google get in trouble for blocking ads while showing theirs? Users might not mind so much, but advertisers and sites that thrive on ad revenue might.

        i'm pleased that they are using the term beta more correctly with Chrome.

      • Yeah, when you get down to it, Firefox is just Google's other unofficial browser. AFAIK an awful lot of Firefox's funding comes from Google anyway, and Firefox still uses Google by default. It doesn't hurt Google for users to have lots of options in browsers, just so long as they all use Google for their search bar.

    • When will google learn that plugins, especially something like adblock, is the killer feature they need to attract the "willing to switch" audience, a lot of whom are using firefox right now. I personally love Chrome for its speed and stability, used it for a week or so, but then switched right back to Firefox because I just didn't realise how it is to do many things in Firefox with extensions such as adblock, no script, autopager, del.icio.us integration etc.

      Oh here we go again! :)

      SRWare Iron is the same browser as Google Chrome except it has all the privacy concerns removed.

      IT ALSO HAS ADBLOCK SUPPORT.

      SRWare Iron - http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php [srware.net] ADBLOCKER SUPPORT: "11.10.2008: Adblocker integrated in Iron

      The wish of many users comes true: We integrated an Adblocker in Iron! With a filterlist so nearly all online-advertising can be blocked. A working list can bedownloaded here and just has to be copied to the Iron folder (e.g:

    • There is a lot of active work on extension support for Chrome, so I'm pretty sure Google realise how important this is to people. Despite SO many (still ongoing) claims that Google would make it technically impossible for an adblocking extension to work, one already exists [adsweep.org], along with mouse gestures [ghacks.net], and a start at integrating with delicious [chromeplugins.org].

      Yes, they're all still very rough around the edges, but that's what I'd expect from an extension system in development. Of course, their existence isn't enough to sto

    • by uberjoe (726765)
      Chrome does have an adblock like software. Adsweep [adsweep.org]
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by joelpt (21056)
      I think it's fair to say Google is aware of the demand for extensions, since the dev channel version of Chrome currently has support for it.
      http://www.killertechtips.com/2009/05/13/download-sample-google-chrome-extensions/

      Of course the extensions are still rather primitive, but they do work.

      Ad blocker: http://adsweep.org or http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/46974
      Flashblock: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/46673
      Delicious & Twitter: http://www.chromeplugins.org/extensions/lightweight-delicious-bookm
    • Why do you need to block ads? Most sites I visit don't have annoying ads. But then I don't visit porn sites (that's what file sharing is for), warez sites or anything else questionable and I don't visit the sort of sites were gullible AOL users are known to hang out. These sorts of places are prime areas to find lame ads.

      Rather than bulking out your browser with add-ons to avoid these ads, try moving up evolutionary ladder and quit being a mouth breather. You'll find it's much better.
    • by Francis (5885)

      There is an adblock alternative for Chrome though - http://www.adsweep.org/ [adsweep.org]

      I'm using it now - it's not quite as good as adblock, but it's pretty effective. If you want to use the new Chrome Beta, you can use the new extension framework. If you want to stick to the stable chrome distribution, you can use the user script version.

      I've been happy enough with it that I've switched from Firefox to Chrome as my primary browser.

      The thing I miss most about adblock was giving me the option to selectively allow certai

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:58AM (#28970715) Homepage Journal

    Has Google managed to get Chrome install in the "program files" director yet? The fact that it installs in "application settings" is the number one reason I can't install it.

    • by mrak_attack (928476) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:15AM (#28970887)
      Installation to the "App Data" folder makes it possible to instill Chrome by users without Admin rights. For installation into Program Files you need admin rights or special permissions tweaking.
      • by TJamieson (218336) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:13AM (#28972595)

        It also enables the seamless autoupdating for non-Admin users.

      • by The Moof (859402) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:21AM (#28972729)
        I imagine trying to circumvent IT policies isn't winning anyone over in a corporate setting. It's probably doing the opposite. Crazy as it sounds, those IT restrictions are there for a reason, and we don't want people installing and running their own software.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        A recent World of Warcraft patch moved the entire game into "AppData" as well, they claimed it was a "necessity" for Windows Vista 64-bit compatibility.

        WOW *does* incorrectly keep Add-Ons in Program Files, so what was happening is that some Vista users (depending on their permissions) were getting their Add-Ons installed into the fake Program Files folder that Vista keeps around for retarded software written by retarded developers who don't understand permissions. The solution to their problem was to move *

  • by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:59AM (#28970725)

    The first thing that really got me about Chrome was how well it seemed to learn my browsing habits. At least, that was my first impression when I booted it up. The first view you get in Chrome is the "most visited websites" page or something like that. As a incognito porn site surfer, I was really taken aback and worried about privacy issues.

    It took a long time in Firefox to fix the URL history functionality. It used to keep the URLs in some cache so that it could be called up right away when you started entering a URL into the address bar. Now, the URLs at least seem like they are gone forever when you delete them from your History.

    IE still has this problem (in addition to completely retarded address bar behavior). In fact, if you delete the entire browsing history at once, the URLs themselves can never be deleted except by completely clearing the cache, but then that also deletes the "cover" sites that I visit to make it seem like my surfing is just innocuous browsing and not the hardcore porn viewing which it ostensibly is.

    So if Chrome wants my patronage, I think the first thing it needs to do is convince me that my personal privacy is safe. That my URLs aren't going to be cached and exposed at some inopportune time, and that it isn't tracking them for me to helpfully find other related websites.

    In this way, I've found Firefox to be the most accommodating browser on the market today. It does what I want and doesn't try to be smart about it. Funny how so many things in life work better that way.

    • by ethebubbeth (786347) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:05AM (#28970793)
      Just put chrome into Incognito Mode (ctrl+shift+n, or do it from the menu). That accomplishes the same thing as Mozilla Firefox in Private Browsing mode and should prevent it from storing history while you porn surf.
    • by mumb0.jumb0 (1419117) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:08AM (#28970825)

      As a incognito porn site surfer, I was really taken aback and worried about privacy issues.

      Interesting choice of words. Chrome has an "incognito mode". From the blurb shown when you open the browser in that mode:

      Pages that you view in this window won't appear in your browser history or search history, and they won't leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files that you download or bookmarks that you create will be preserved, however.

    • It is being x86 only means that it will never ship for ARM, Symbian. It is a show stopper for me since I heavily use smart phones, powerpc machines etc. for browsing.

      I know the OS X developer and he is a nice person who doesn't drop PPC support for nothing. If it is not supported, it must have a reason. i386 ASM? Whatever. I don't want to rant too much about a browser which I can't use 3 of my 6 machines anyway.

    • Just create a new Firefox profile for porn surfing. You can then run that profile with "firefox -p <profilename>".

    • Don't look at child porn and you'll be fine.
  • After all of Ben's ranting about how inconstant Linux is I am sure glad they choose to turn on the silly blue boarder by default on Linux. Because now it really fits into every Linux desktop. Yah for branding. http://groups.google.com/group/chromium-dev/browse_thread/thread/b89ab99a0c848b89# [google.com]
  • by psymastr (684406) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:15AM (#28970893) Homepage

    Does it have smooth scrolling and adblock yet? If not then I can't move. Especially after the huge speedup in FF 3.5.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by TREE (9562) *

      How can you *stand* smooth scrolling? It's so slow!

      It's one of the first things I turn off, in any app.

      • by gardyloo (512791)

        Agreed. Smooth-scrolling feels mushy, like a 1977 Lincoln Continental.

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        How can you *stand* smooth scrolling? It's so slow!

        Works on my machine(s)! (TM)

      • I remember when my computer got locked up because of Smooth Scrolling.

        It was years ago, in Win98. An IE window had an endless loop pumping out new lines, and the browser was trying to scroll to the bottom. It locked up explorer, so I had to reboot.

        Thankfully that isn't possible in Win2k and up.

    • by Joe Tie. (567096)
      No idea on the smooth scrolling, can't stand it myself. But adsweep, pretty similar to the adblock extension on firefox, was one of the very first functional 3rd party extensions created for chromium.
  • by KlaasVaak (1613053) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:16AM (#28970901)
    I'm just not going to give google more info about me by using their browser.
    • by curunir (98273) *

      FWIW, at one of the sessions at Google I/O, a Chrome dev offered a reason for why they do that. From what he said, Chrome will use usage patterns from other Chrome users to pre-fetch DNS results of likely off-site links. For example, a Chrome user that views this story will likely have their browser find DNS results for googleblog.blogspot.com and www.appscout.com prior to clicking on either of those two links since a significant proportion of previous visitors will have clicked on those links. Of course, [

  • by pzs (857406) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:18AM (#28970935)

    I'm a not-very-happy Firefox user, since I find it has horrendous memory leaks. I can get it up to 2GB virtual memory in a morning's average browsing. Yes, I have tried the tips on the Mozilla site [mozillazine.org].

    However, I have become addicted to a controlled web experience with NoScript and Adblock. I won't be switching to Chrome until I can get similar tools.

    • by pmontra (738736)

      However, I have become addicted to a controlled web experience with NoScript and Adblock. I won't be switching to Chrome until I can get similar tools.

      Me too!

      About the memory leaks, Firefox 3.0 solved that for me on Windows and I'm using a lot of extensions. I'm on Linux now so this might be totally different beast. Did you try disabling one extension per day and checking the level of your RAM after browsing all the day?

      • by pzs (857406)

        I only use AdBlock and NoScript and there are no issues listed.

        I do run a lot of windows, rather than tabs - usually half a dozen, some with sub-tabs, spread across many virtual desktops. Still, I've been running Firefox for about 4 or 5 hours today and it looks like this:

          3206 pzs 20 0 1132m 639m 28m R 1 8.1 92:38.58 firefox

        which seems very high.

        • by pmontra (738736) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:51AM (#28972205) Homepage

          Oh I see. I'm running Firefox 3.5 like this (I'm on Linux too):

          1213m 272m 43m R

          and this is not a problem. The first figure 1213 MB includes also libraries shared with other programs. 272 MB is how much memory Firefox is using on its own. 639 MB for you, which is quite a lot but if you have a lot of tabs and windows it should be expected.

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      How the hell can you get such memory leak? I'd consider myself a power Internet user, yet I never manage to get past 400Mb.

      Tell me your secret.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Clarious (1177725)

      In all 4 years I have been using Firefox, I have never seen it went pass 800MBs RAM, even with the heaviest browsing (about 70+ tabs), so I can't understand why people complains so much about it consuming too much ram :-/ Sure it consume quite a bit of ram with normal browsing (171MB with 10 tabs open on Linux right now) but I haven't seen any memory leak yet. I also tend to keep Firefox open for several days too.

      • by pzs (857406)

        Man, there must be something seriously broken with my (vanilla Ubuntu) install. I regularly have to kill Firefox because it's causing my 8GB machine to hit the swap.

    • by Tom9729 (1134127)

      What version of Firefox are you using?

      I've experienced memory leaks in the past, but recently I've been using Firefox 3.5 (on Fedora 11) and Firefox doesn't get over a few hundred megabytes. That's with 7-8 tabs running for several weeks straight.

    • It would be a shame if those MBs of RAM would be lying around unused! If
      the browser can cache something you might still need, why not store it on a
      if-another-app-needs-the-space-I'll-free-it level?

      Seriously, I only have problems when I use adobe flash.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wilsoniya (902930)

      I can get it up to 2GB virtual memory in a morning's average browsing.

      (emphasis mine)

      Virtual memory has no real bearing on the quantity of physical ram occupied by an application. Virtual memory is a large, expandable, virtually contiguous slice of memory provided by your OS's memory manager. What you're looking for is resident memory. My current FF3.5 session is 'using' 973 MB virtual memory but in reality only 163 MB physical (resident).

    • Back in the mists of time when I used to care about filtering out ads (I was on a dial-up connection) I'd run a Privoxy proxy server. Was very effective at ad blocking. Works with any browser, and runs on almost all OSs too.

      Quick google search shows that Privoxy is still going strong.

    • Both of those addons leak memory like crazy.

      A big part of that memory usage is probably caused by them. I bet you wouldn't leak to 2GB nearly as fast, if you disabled your addons. Mind you, your browsing experience would be degraded.

  • by C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:41AM (#28971217) Journal

    are they supporting theora (like firefox) or just h.264 ? both would be great, of course.

    • by Locklin (1074657)

      I just noticed the latest chromium update on Linux requires ffmpeg. It will be funny if Chromium/Linux supports all formats while Chrome only supports h.264 by default.

    • by Piranhaa (672441)

      IIRC, Chrome will support both Ogg/Vorbis. Apple is only supporting h264 in Safari, while FFox will only support Ogg/Vorbis. When h264 gets added to a browser, royalties need to be paid (which is why Mozilla won't go that route). Google is happy to pay and Apple doesn't want Ogg/Vorbis because it doesn't support hardware decoding (same reason why iPhone doesn't support flash).

    • Last I heard, Chrome was supposed to support both Theora and h264. I think it's the only browser doing that-- Firefox is Theora only, Safari is "whatever Quicktime supports" which doesn't include Theora unless you install the codec. I'm not sure what Opera is doing, though.
  • AdSweep != AdBlock+ (Score:4, Informative)

    by rshol (746340) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:46AM (#28971283)
    Downloaded the latest Chrome Beta (3.0.195.4), installed AdSweep, failed to be impressed. AdSweep loads ads the first time you visit a page in a session then erases them, highly annoying. The biggest problem I had was that I failed to notice any speed difference between Chrome and Firefox 3.5.2 on the sites I visit. If anything my non-scientific observation was that with AdSweep loaded, Chrome was significantly slower than Firefox.
  • it does seem strange that all this talk of Chrome OS and yet they're still pushing Chrome to Windows users first. Either these are two very different projects or Google is going to have to do much work getting these two groups synced up for the Chrome OS release.

    LoB
  • Having passed all of the different Acid Tests [acidtests.org] with a perfect score on the latest JavaScript oriented Acid [acidtests.org] test.

    My thumbnail look at Sunspider scores shows about a 20% overall speedup over the latest Firefox beta, but Firefox wins in enough of the individual tests that I expect BOTH to improve quite a bit, that is if the fastest times on each are used, even Chrome's time would be 20% better.

  • When I went to the Themes page, I got this message: "We're sorry, but themes are available for Google Chrome 3.0.195.3 and above only.: The funny thing is, the about box says I'm running 3.0.195.4!

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