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Chrome OS Isn't Ready For Tablets Yet

Chrome OS Isn't Ready For Tablets Yet

The Verge’s Dieter Bohn set out to review Acer’s Chromebook Tab 10 tablet, but ended up sharing his impressions of using Chrome OS instead. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from his review: If you’re not familiar with Chrome OS, you should know that there are three different tracks you can run Chrome OS on. There’s “Stable,” which is what most people should use. It’s the build I mostly used while testing this device and coming to the conclusions you see above. Then there’s “Beta,” which is a little on the edge but has been pretty solid for me. Lots of people run it to get slightly earlier access to new features. But because I wanted to see what the future of Chrome looks like, I also looked at the “Developer” build. Most people shouldn’t do this. It’s buggy and maybe a little less secure. Here be monsters. On a tablet, Chrome OS looks and feels a lot like it does when you have a keyboard. There’s a button to get to your apps, a task bar along the bottom, and a system menu in the lower-right corner. In the Developer build, you’ll find more squarish tabs and a system menu that’s been “Android-ified,” so it looks like the Quick Settings you’d see on an Android phone.

By default, all apps in Chrome OS go to full screen in tablet mode. Recently, however, split screen was rolled out. You tap the multitasking button on the lower right, drag one window to the left, then pick another open window to fill the right (or vice versa). You can then drag the divider to set up a one-third / two-thirds split screen if you like. That’s all well and good, but it’s the next steps that make this whole thing feel not quite baked. If you rotate the tablet 180 degrees, everything flips. So if you had a notepad open on the left and Chrome open on the right, when you flip it, the notepad ends up on the right. I found it disconcerting, but perhaps that’s just a matter of it being different instead of it being broken. Different UX strokes for different OS folks. […] I don’t want to be too harsh on the lagginess I experienced because it’s unfair to judge software that’s still in development. But I did experience a lot, even on the more stable builds. That’s a particularly egregious problem when there’s no physical keyboard. If there’s one thing that will drive a user crazy, it’s input lag. And I saw much too much of that, even on the Stable build, which is what most educators will experience with this tablet. I also felt at times that I was struggling to hit buttons with my finger that would have been no problem if I had a mouse.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
Chrome is Using 10-13% More RAM to Fight Spectre

Chrome is Using 10-13% More RAM to Fight Spectre

An anonymous reader quotes PCWorld:
The critical Meltdown and Spectre bugs baked deep into modern computer processors will have ramifications on the entire industry for years to come, and Chrome just became collateral damage. Google 67 enabled “Site Isolation” Spectre protection for most users, and the browser now uses 10 to 13 percent more RAM due to how the fix behaves.

“Site Isolation does cause Chrome to create more renderer processes, which comes with performance tradeoffs,” Googleâ(TM)s Charlie Reis says. “On the plus side, each renderer process is smaller, shorter-lived, and has less contention internally, but there is about a 10-13% total memory overhead in real workloads due to the larger number of processes. Our team continues to work hard to optimize this behavior to keep Chrome both fast and secure.” It’s a significant performance hit, especially for a browser battling a reputation for being a memory hog, but a worthwhile one nonetheless.
Chrome’s Spectre-blocking site isolation “is now enabled by default for 99 percent of Chrome users on all platforms.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
Chrome Beats Edge and Firefox in 'Browser Benchmark Battle: July 2018' — Sometimes

Chrome Beats Edge and Firefox in 'Browser Benchmark Battle: July 2018' — Sometimes

An anonymous reader quotes VentureBeat: It’s been more than 20 months since our last browser benchmark battle, and we really wanted to avoid letting two years elapse before getting a fresh set of a results. Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge have all improved significantly over the past year and a half, and as I’ve argued before, the browser wars are back. You can click on the individual test to see the results:
SunSpider: Edge wins! Octane: Chrome wins! Kraken: Firefox wins! JetStream: Edge wins! MotionMark: Edge wins! Speedometer: Chrome wins! BaseMark: Chrome wins! WebXPRT: Firefox wins! HTML5Test: Chrome wins!

Chrome looks to be ahead of the pack according to these tests. That said, browser performance was solid across all three contestants, and it shouldn’t be your only consideration when picking your preferred app for consuming internet content.
Chrome wins in four tests, beating Edge’s three wins, and Firefox’s two wins.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
Google Chrome 67 Released for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Google Chrome 67 Released for Windows, Mac, and Linux

An anonymous reader shares a report: Google released earlier today Chrome 67, the latest stable release of its web browser. According to changelogs released with Chrome 67, this version adds support for a Generic Sensors API, improves AR and VR experiences, and deprecates the HTTP-Based Public Key Pinning (HPKP) security feature. Probably the biggest change in Chrome 67 is the addition of the Generic Sensors API. As the name implies, this is an API that exposes data from device sensors to public websites. The new API is based on the Generic Sensor W3C standard. This API is meant primarily for mobile use, and in its current version, websites can use Chrome’s Generic Sensors API to access data from a device’s accelerometer, gyroscope, orientation and motion sensors. Another API that shipped with Chrome is the WebXR Device API. Developers can use this API to build virtual and augmented reality experiences on Chrome for mobile-based VR headsets like Google Daydream View and Samsung Gear VR, as well as desktop-hosted headsets like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality Headsets.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
Edge Beats Chrome in Battery Test, Says Microsoft

Edge Beats Chrome in Battery Test, Says Microsoft

The latest installment of Microsoft’s browser battery challenge shows once again that Edge consumes less energy than Chrome and Firefox. From a report: With the Windows 10 April 2018 Update rolling out across the globe, Microsoft thinks it’s once again time to square Edge up against Chrome and Firefox in a new battery-life test. Microsoft’s browser experiment shows a time-lapse of “three identical devices, three different browsers, streaming one video.” Firefox, Edge, and Chrome play what appears to be a Netflix video on three Surface Books. As usual, the Edge device lasts the longest, depleting the battery after 14 hours and 20 minutes. The Chrome device lasted 12 hours and 32 minutes, while the Firefox laptop ran out of steam after just seven hours and 15 minutes.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
Google Chrome To Remove 'Secure' Indicator From HTTPS Pages in September

Google Chrome To Remove 'Secure' Indicator From HTTPS Pages in September

Google announced Thursday it plans to drop the “Secure” indicator from the Chrome URL address bar — starting with Chrome v68, set for release in July — and only show a lock icon when the user is navigating to an HTTPS-secured website. From a report: The move is scheduled to take effect with the release of Chrome 69, scheduled for September, this year. Emily Schechter, Product Manager for Chrome Security, said the company is now comfortable making this move as a large chunk of Chrome’s traffic is now via HTTPS. Since most traffic is HTTPS anyway, it’s not necessary to draw the user’s attention to the “Secure” indicator anymore.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
Malicious Chrome Extensions Infect Over 100,000 Users Again

Malicious Chrome Extensions Infect Over 100,000 Users Again

An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica:
Criminals infected more than 100,000 computers with browser extensions that stole login credentials, surreptitiously mined cryptocurrencies, and engaged in click fraud. The malicious extensions were hosted in Google’s official Chrome Web Store. The scam was active since at least March with seven malicious extensions known so far, researchers with security firm Radware reported Thursday. Google’s security team removed five of the extensions on its own and removed two more after Radware reported them. In all, the malicious add-ons infected more than 100,000 users, at least one inside a “well-protected network” of an unnamed global manufacturing firm, Radware said…

The extensions were being pushed in links sent over Facebook that led people to a fake YouTube page that asked for an extension to be installed. Once installed, the extensions executed JavaScript that made the computers part of a botnet. The botnet stole Facebook and Instagram credentials and collected details from a victim’s Facebook account. The botnet then used that pilfered information to send links to friends of the infected person. Those links pushed the same malicious extensions. If any of those friends followed the link, the whole infection process started all over again. The botnet also installed cryptocurrency miners that mined the monero, bytecoin, and electroneum digital coins.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
In Blocking Autoplay Videos, Chrome Is Breaking Many Web-Based Games

In Blocking Autoplay Videos, Chrome Is Breaking Many Web-Based Games

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: An update Google rolled out for its popular Chrome browser this weekend helps prevent those annoying auto-playing video ads on many websites from disturbing your day with unwanted sound as well. But that update is causing consternation for many Web-based game developers who are finding that the change completely breaks the audio in their online work. The technical details behind the problem involve the way Chrome handles WebAudio objects, which are now automatically paused when a webpage starts up, stymying auto-playing ads. To get around this, Web-based games now have to actively restart that pre-loaded audio object when the player makes an action to start the game, even if that audio wasn’t autoplaying beforehand. “The standard doesn’t require you to do this, so no one would have thought to do this before today,” developer Andi McClure told Ars Technica. “With Chrome’s new autoplay policies, developers shouldn’t assume that audio can be played before a user gesture,” Google told The Daily Dot in a statement. “With gaming in Chrome, this may affect Web Audio. We have shared details on what developers can do to address this, and the design for the policy was published last year.”

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
You Can Now Run Linux Apps On Chrome OS

You Can Now Run Linux Apps On Chrome OS

Google today announced Chrome OS is getting Linux support. “As a result, Chromebooks will soon be able to run Linux apps and execute Linux commands,” reports VentureBeat. “A preview of Linux on the Pixelbook will be released first, with support for more devices coming soon.” From the report: “Just go to wherever you normally get those apps, whether it’s on the websites or through apt-get in the Linux terminal, and seamless get those apps like any other Linux distribution,” Chrome OS director of product management Kan Liu told VentureBeat.

Support for Linux apps means developers will finally be able to use a Google device to develop for Google’s platforms, rather than having to depend on Windows, Mac, or Linux machines. And because Chrome OS doesn’t just run Chrome OS-specific apps anymore, developers will be able to create, test, and run any Android or web app for phones, tablets, and laptops all on their Chromebooks. Without having to switch devices, you can run your favorite IDE — as long as there is a Debian Linux version (for the curious, Google is specifically using Debian Stretch here — code in your favorite language and launch projects to Google Cloud with the command line.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome
Google Says Chrome Blocks 'About Half' of Unwanted Autoplays

Google Says Chrome Blocks 'About Half' of Unwanted Autoplays

When Google released Chrome 66 just over two weeks ago, it received lots of attention and praise for introducing the ability to mute autoplaying videos with sound until you press play. Today, Chrome product manager John Pallett revealed that “the new policy blocks about half of unwanted autoplays.” VentureBeat reports: Pallett also shared that “a significant number” of autoplays are paused, muted, or have their tab closed within six seconds by Chrome users. He didn’t say how many exactly, as the number varies significantly from site to site. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone, given how much work Google put into this latest feature. Chrome decides which autoplaying content to stop in its tracks by learning your preferences and ranking each website according to your past behavior. If you don’t have browsing history with a site, Chrome allows autoplay for over 1,000 sites where Google says the highest percentage of visitors play media with sound (sites where media is the main point of visiting the site). As you browse the web, Chrome updates that list by enabling autoplay on sites where you play media with sound during most of your visits, and disables it on sites where you don’t.

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Posted by amiller in Blog, Chrome