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There Won’t Be a “Pixel 2″, Confirms Google

Shutting down the rumor mill about a Pixel 2, PC World reports:

While the new Chromebooks are expected to be flagship products for their respective brands, don’t expect a repeat of the Chromebook Pixel; that product, which paired an Intel “Ivy Bridge” Core processor with an incredible 2560-by-1700 pixel touch display, was a “prototype” to show off the power of the Chromebook platform and will not be repeated, Caesar Sengupta, director of product management at Google, told a small roundtable of reporters on Wednesday.

So that’s it guys. Google won’t be sending you a Pixel 2.

Update, author of the PC World article got a response from Google on Pixel 2

A Google spokesperson just reached out to me with the following information:

We did not say that Pixel will not be repeated; we don’t comment on future or unannounced products. At launch we said Pixel was designed to bring together the best in hardware, software and design to inspire the next generation of Chromebooks, and to work with the ecosystem to continue to push the experience forward for touch and high-DPI web. We see that playing out.

So, stand down: There may or may not be a Google-made follow-up to the Chromebook Pixel in the future, but at this point, it’s certainly still a distinct possibility.

Google Won’t do Pixel 2, but….

But someone else might. It may not be called pixel 2, but someone else might make something that you all wish for, in the form of a Pixel 2. A Chromebook with touchscreen, high quality build, long bettery life etc. Something priced between $700 – $800.

chromebook  There Wont Be a Pixel 2, Confirms Google

I do not know if it is a good idea to do such a Chromebook right now though. For a preimum Chromebook to sell in large numbers, there needs to be a huge demand of reasonably priced and cheap Chromebooks already in place.

I am not saying that there isn’t a good market for Chromebooks already. There is defnitely good demand for Chromebooks, but there isn’t huge demand tha I am talking about.

When Chromebooks are a household name, someone might think of a Pixel-2-like Chromebook.

Comments? Thoughts?

I Want To Be In Your Circle (on Google Plus!)

Going a little off-topic today.

Can we meet, greet and talk a little more? My social network of choice? Google Plus! I spend a lot of time on Google Plus every day. I share/discuss mostly Chrome and other Google products, but occasionally, I share some random funny stuff. Here is my profile, you can follow from right here.

I have added a small widget to the sidebar here on the blog too!

Follow Chrome Story on Google Plus

If you want to avoid my rants and other non-chrome stuff I share, it is a good idea to follow Chrome Story’s official page on Google Plus instead of following me!

The Chrome Story page shares only the blog posts published here on the blog.


Thank you!!!

Speed Up Google Plus By Loading WebP Images on Chrome

This post is about speeding up Google Plus on Chrome. This post is also about a new Chrome API, and also about an extension that uses this API. Let us get started.

The API - chrome.declarativeWebRequest

Use the chrome.declarativeWebRequest API to intercept, block, or modify requests in-flight. It is significantly faster than thechrome.webRequest API because you can register rules that are evaluated in the browser rather than the JavaScript engine with reduces roundtrip latencies and allows higher efficiency. 

If you are a developer, official documentation is available here.

The Extension

François Beaufort from Google has created a sample Chrome extension to demonstrate this API. This Extension uses the chrome.declarativeWebRequest API to intercept, block, or modify requests in-flight.

Note: The API is not available on stable channel yet. You will need Dev, Beta or Canary channels to use this extension.

You can download the extension from here.

Speeding up Google Plus

Before we talk about how this extension will help you speed up Google Plus, a refresher on what WebP is.

chrome extensions  Speed Up Google Plus By Loading WebP Images on Chrome

WebP is a new image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. WebP lossless images are 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are 25-34% smaller in size compared to JPEG images at equivalent SSIM index. WebP supports lossless transparency (also known as alpha channel) with just 22% additional bytes. Transparency is also supported with lossy compression and typically provides 3x smaller file sizes compared to PNG when lossy compression is acceptable for the red/green/blue color channels.

Google is using the WebP format on their web properties to save TBs of data (both for users and Google). When you visit the Chrome Web Store, the default image format for extension screenshots is WebP.

On Google Plus, this extension can attempt to download WebP images whenever available. This will make your Google Plus feed load faster. Google is already using WebP format to serve images on Google Plus app for Android, speeding up the app and saving bandwidth for the user at the same time.

So, get the extension and try Google Plus now. Let me know if you find it useful!

Chrome OS Is Now a Windows 8 App – No, I am not Kidding!

Is there something wrong with the title of this article? May be. I am talking about Chrome running on Windows 8.1metro mode. But it looks just like Chrome OS. It has the same user interface, and has Chrome Apps.

Meet Aura – The Magic Software that Turns Any OS in to Chrome OS

Allow me to use ‘s little write up on what Aura is.

Aura is the (not so) new UI stack that we use in Chrome OS. It does not use native widgets for controls and it fully uses the GPU when available. Compared with the traditional UI stack as seen in Chrome 28 or 29, the only native element is the top level window. Everything else is drawn by Chrome, composited by the Chrome Compositor and uses Angle/GPU to present to the screen. Focus/Activation and in general input ins managed differently as well.

Q:Why are we doing this?
A:Because we want to unify the UI stack across platforms. The end result is that Windows, Linux and Chrome OS will use the same UI stack while today each have a different one. Along the way we gain much flexibility to do fluid UI animations; the kind you can see today in Chrome OS shell.

In short, it is the magic wand that turns Windows and Linux in to Chrome OS, making users feel like “Alice in Wonderland” (or Google land)

Windows 8.1 Metro Mode + Aura = Chrome OS on Windows

If you are running Google Chrome on Metro Mode on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 (which I am using now), you get in to Chrome OS like environment, thanks to Aura.

windows 8  Chrome OS Is Now a Windows 8 App   No, I am not Kidding!

Click to Zoom in

Only thing missing (at least on the front-end) is the wallpaper. I don’t that is far away, because there is already a placeholder (grey color) for wallpaper. When Chrome OS starts syncing your Wallpaper, it will sync here too.

For now, I get:

  • Multiple windows, including incognito
  • Re-size windows and move them around just like Chrome OS
  • Apps menu
  • Apps shelf (or the task bar)
  • Settings menu on bottom-right-corner (where I get a Chrome OS like “restart to update” message), and a power down (!!) icon.
  • A nice feeling, because I love Chrome OS.

Aura has been in the works for more than a year now. I remember seeing this back in 2011. It makes complete sense now why Google has put in a lot of on this project.

Packaged Apps to Fill the Gap

When Google puts Chrome OS as a Windows 8 app, there will be things missing from the true Chromebook experience. There are a few things that they cannot do anything directly, like the insane boot speed and the instant wake up. But there are a few things that they can fix with packaged apps.

Take the example of the Files app in Chrome OS which works as the “My Computer” of Chrome OS. It is available only on Chromebooks. But if Google wants, they can do a packaged app for the Chrome platform and that will take care of it on Windows 8 too. They can use the Android strategy of publishing stock Android apps to Play Store to reduce OS fragmentation.

Excited!

Things are getting hot. You guys will agree when you try this out for yourself. (Give it a few more weeks, and this will land on beta/stable channels.

#feeling-good

Source - The Verge. via 

First Look – Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

It was raining when I picked up Sandeep’s call. “Ha ha ha” he said with the joy of accomplishment. “Finally, I got it working”.

It has been a while since Sandeep started working on compiling the Chromoting for Android app from source. He is my go to  Linux guy and blogs here at Technix.

So, what did we finally get working?

Chromoting for Android

Meet the Chromoting for app for Android. Here is the official CL which explains what the Chromoting app for Android is for:

Add the beginnings of a Chromoting Android app

Currently, this has only the following capabilities:
+ Authenticate using a Google account on the phone
+ Query and display the host list from the Chromoting directory server
+ Connect to and communicate with the host service over XMPP/ICE
+ Establish peer-to-peer channels for communicating with the host service
Notable missing features are:
- Display the host’s desktop
- Handle any kind of input

It was sometime back in September. How far has the Android app come since then? Let us install the app and find out!

Installing Chromoting for Android App

Well, the regular installation steps, except for now, I had to check the “Unknown Sources” option that we all know of. Once that is done, installation went smooth.

android  First Look   Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

android  First Look   Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

android  First Look   Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

Connecting to a Remote Desktop from Android

There aren’t many options available for the app yet. There are two icons. One for refreshing the list of available remote hosts. The second is a dropdown list icon which is not working on the app that we compiled.

android  First Look   Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

Below the toolbar and icons is the list of available remote hosts. You pick one from the list and the app asks for the pin number for the host. Once you enter the PIN number, you are in.

android  First Look   Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

Here is me connecting to my Windows 8.1 PC from my Galaxy Note.

android  First Look   Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

android  First Look   Official Chromoting (Chrome Remote Desktop) App for Android

The App is still a work-in-progress. Things are not very smooth, and there are no settings or other features available yet. There was noticeable lag zooming in and out in the app. However, actions were happening near-instantly between the PC and my Android phone.

But stay tuned for more updates. (Yeah!! We have the build environment ready, so compiling the app to see new features won’t be hard!)

PS: I am not allowed to share the APK.

How to Use Chromecast – 3 Videos from Google

The Google Chrome team has uploaded 3 videos explaining how to use Google Chromecast. The three videos explain how to cast videos from Youtube, Netflix and Google Play Movies.

Chromecast: How to cast using YouTube

Chromecast: How to cast using Netflix

Chromecast: How to cast using Google Play Movies

Happy casting!

Chrome for Android Gets New Gestures and Search By Image

I ignored Chrome for Android for a while, didn’t I? I use Chrome for Android Beta on my Android phone, but I am not impressed by the start up speed of it. There is a lot to be done to get the mobile experience on par with the desktop experience of Chrome. Meanwhile, Google is adding new features and tweaking existing stuff. Here is a couple of them.

New Gestures

Chrome for Android beta recently got couple of new gestures. Here is the list:

  • Swipe horizontally across the top toolbar to quickly switch tabs (this gesture replaces swiping from the edge of the screen).
  • Drag vertically down from the toolbar to enter into the tab switcher view
  • Drag down from the menu to open the menu and select the item you want without having to lift your finger.

Need more help? Take a look at this image:

android  Chrome for Android Gets New Gestures and Search By Image

Search By Image

This is a new Google feature added to Chrome on desktop. The recent beta update is bringing this feature to Chrome for Android too. “With today’s Beta release of Chrome you can quickly discover all sorts of content related to an image by right-clicking on it, or by long pressing it on mobile devices, and selecting the option to search for it within your default search provider.” (Chrome Blog)

But still, I am waiting for better start-up speed!

Google Blocks Third Party Chromecast Apps (For Now)

With a recent update to Chromecast, Google blocked all the third party apps. Fling, the desktop app that sends local videos to Chromecast, and the Aircast Android app are among the blocked apps.

Heads up. Google’s latest Chromecast updateintentionally breaks AllCast. They disabled ‘video_playback’ support from the ChromeCast application. said Koushik Dutta.

Three new lines of code to short circuit everything but mirroring:

if(“mirror_tab” != a) {
    return null;
}

And also the “slideshow” code  has really been around since release he added, explaining the code change.

chromecast  Google Blocks Third Party Chromecast Apps (For Now)

But Why?

, a developer made this convincing point on Google Plus.

First some history. The Google Cast SDK is not finalized yet. Developers have to get their Chromecast’s accepted into the development program to even run their apps that they are developing. That means apps that are being worked on cannot be distributed as 1) you need to have your Chromecast whitelisted and 2) you’ll be using the developers app ID……..

…..All Chromecast apps must be approved through Google. Why? Google wants a great user experience for Chromecast. Google wants Chromecast to be a high quality device that overtakes the living room. Poorly designed and buggy apps need not apply. You all know as well as I do what the Google Play Store looks like. There’s plenty of amazing apps and plenty of horrible apps. Additionally, Google TV was a closed system too. Don’t forget that Chromecast is from the Google TV team. Google TV isn’t the most successful product……

So, Google is still working on the Chromecast SDK and the entire ecosystem to polish it and make the platform stable. But  the amount of enthusiasm around the product and the idea has brought things to how things are today.

Which is actually a good thing.

Really.

 

Chrome OS Comes to Servers with CoreOS

Meet CoreOS. “CoreOS is Linux for massive server deployments” says the homepage. But there is something more interesting that I want to tell you. Quoting a Wired.com article.

The project is based on Google’s ChromeOS, the new-age laptop operating system that automatically updates itself every few weeks, but unlike ChromeOS, it can run more than just your personal machine. It can run every web service you ever visit, no matter how big. And it will let the companies that run those services evolve their online operations much more quickly — and cheaply — than they can with traditional server software.

….You can think of CoreOS as a new substrate for the internet. Web giants such as Google and Amazon and big Wall Street financial outfits, including the NASDAQ stock exchange, have built similar server operating systems for their own use, but with CoreOS — an open source software project — Polvi’s startup is creating something anyone can use. “We’re building Google’s infrastructure for everyone else,” he says. In doing so, Polvi and his team hope this OS can more rapidly fill the security holes that plague our computer servers, while speeding the evolution of the software applications that run atop them….

chromebook  Chrome OS Comes to Servers with CoreOS

…..Google has long done this sort of thing on desktops and laptops. The search giant built its web browser, Chrome, so that it can automatically update the thing whenever it likes, and it eventually extended this arrangement to ChromeOS, which revolves around the Chrome browser. If you own a Chromebook, you get a new operating system every six weeks or so — and all you have to do is reboot your machine……

Looks like something to keep an eye on! Okay, I will do that for you guys. Stay tuned!

Editing MS Word Documents on a Chromebook

The ability to edit Microsoft Office files on a Chromebook offline was THE most wanted item in the wishlist of Chromebook users. Google recently added this feature by default to the development channel of Chrome OS. Here is a quick walk through of the MS Office documents editor for Chromebooks.

Opening MS Word Files on Chromebook

When you open up an MS Word file on the Chromebook, the Quickoffice app picks that up and opens up in a new tab. Quick Office is a company/product that Google acquired recently.

chromebook  Editing MS Word Documents on a Chromebook

What Options are Available?

The following options are available on Quick Office for Chromebook, and they all work just like MS Office on Windows or Mac.

File

  • Save ( Ctrl + S )
  • Save As ( Ctrl + Shift + S )
  • Print

Edit

  • Undo ( Ctrl + Z )
  • Redo ( Ctrl + Y )

Format

  • Bold ( Ctrl  + B )
  • Italic ( Ctrl + I )
  • Underline ( Ctrl + U )
  • Strikethrough ( Alt + Shift + 5)

You also have a toolbar with options like Save, Print, Zoom In, Zoom Out etc. The toolbar also has the formats list where you select different levels of headlines and also a fonts list. The following fonts are available:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Comic Sans MS
  • Courier New
  • Lucida Sans
  • MS Gothic
  • Matissse ITC
  • Symbol
  • Tempus Sans ITC
  • Times New Roman

And yes, you can change font colors and font background colors. And this is just of course the very first, and beta version of Quick Office for Chrome OS. We will see more things soon as Google updates and tweaks this plugin.

chromebook  Editing MS Word Documents on a Chromebook

Stay tuned for more!

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