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Google shows Chrome notebook, Web Store

SAN FRANCISCO–The Chrome OS hardware Google promised in July of last year is still not ready for prime time. But if you’re a developer or an eager early adopter, you’re in luck.

At an event today here in the city’s Dogpatch neighborhood Google showed us the not-yet-finished hardware that will run Chrome OS. It’s called CR-48, and it’s not much to look at: a plain, black, unbranded notebook that companies and individual users who are accepted into Google’s pilot program can use.

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Google unveils a prototype Chrome OS notebook called the CR-48.


The actual Chrome OS notebooks that normal people can buy, from Samsung and Acer, are delayed until mid-2011. When Google initially pitched the idea last year, it said we’d be seeing them right about now.

But we did learn about a lot of features we’ll eventually see in the hardware when it does arrive:

  • Every Chrome notebook will work with Verizon 3G service. Each user gets 100MB of free data per month for two years. You can also buy different plans, the first starting at a day pass for $9.99. There are no overage charges or cancellation or setup fees.
  • There are options to have different user IDs on the same machine as well as a guest mode with completely private (“Incognito”) browsing.
  • Your experience with setting up and using Chrome will be the same no matter what machine you’re using. Everything is synced through the browser.
  • They worked hard on tying the browser directly to the hardware for security purposes. There is auto updating, sandboxing at the OS level, and all user data is encrypted by default.
  • There’s also something called Verified Boot. Verified Boot makes sure that the OS is in the read-only firmware of the computer, so no software can modify it. When you boot Chrome OS, it checks to make sure nothing has been modified. Google is calling it “the most secure consumer operating system that’s ever been shipped.”

In the department of products that are actually ready for public consumption, today we are getting the Chrome Web Store. It had been previewed before, but it’s finally ready to go. The New York Times, Electronic Arts, Amazon, and Citrix demonstrated their apps for an audience of journalists and Googlers here today.

The store is integrated with the Google Checkout payment system so you can just click to buy and download apps. Some subscription apps have free trial mode, and some, like the New York Times app, work offline.

The Web Store will be ready for anyone to use “later today,” according to the event host, Vice President of Product Management Sundar Pichai. It’s made to work with the Chrome browser, but it does work with other “modern browsers,” according to Google.

We also got an update on Chrome browser features:

  • Automatic updates
  • Browser sandboxing. If a bad piece of code gets in your browser it won’t be able to get to the rest of your computer’s data.
  • Plug-in sandboxing. They’re starting to do the same thing with browser plug-ins like Flash and PDF.

CEO Eric Schmidt stopped by for a few minutes near the end of the presentation to talk up Chrome, specifically noting that he was against it when co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin said they wanted to be in the browser business. Schmidt said he tried to block the project but the co-founders went ahead and hired a team of browser experts that had worked on Firefox.

Originally posted at Circuit Breaker

Google’s Chrome Web Store open for business

Google's Chrome Web Store offers a variety of apps for download. width="540" height="389"/>

Google’s Chrome Web Store offers a variety of apps for download.

Google’s Chrome Web Store opened for business today, providing a centralized online marketplace for downloading Web apps for the Chrome operating system and the Chrome browser.

The marketplace, similar to Google’s Android Market and Apple’s iPhone App Store, is designed for Chrome 8, which was released last week. It offers apps, as well as extensions and themes, for customizing the browser.

Amazon said it is offering its Windowshop app, a stripped-down version of Amazon.com, on the marketplace. There also is an NPR news app, Facebook Photo Zoom, a New York Times app, and lots of games. The check-out process is integrated with Google Checkout.

The Chrome Web Store, which was expected to launch in October, was demonstrated at a Google event in San Francisco earlier today. The marketplace is only available in the U.S., but will expand to other countries early next year.

“The Chrome Web Store itself can be accessed using any browser. Currently only users of Google Chrome are able to install an app from the Chrome Web Store, which adds a shortcut on the Chrome browser’s new tab page,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement. “The protocols for describing and installing apps are all open-sourced and are free to be implemented by other browsers.”

Updated 2:26 p.m. PT to correct that you do not need the Google Chrome operating system to use the store, 2:07 p.m. PT with Google comment, and 1:10 p.m. PT with more details.

Originally posted at News – Digital Media

The Daily Show app: Everything but full episodes

The Daily Show app looks great on the iPhone, but it's even better on an iPad, where it takes full advantage of the extra screen estate. width="270" height="203"/>

The Daily Show app looks great on the iPhone, but it’s even better on an iPad, where it takes full advantage of the extra screen estate.

Screenshot by Rick Broida)

I’m a huge, huge fan of “The Daily Show.” It’s the single funniest thing on TV, and Jon Stewart is perhaps the smartest guy ever to sit behind a talk-show desk. (The less said about his interviewing skills, however, the better.)

Needless to say, it didn’t take a lot of arm-twisting for me to grab the new The Daily Show app–especially considering that it’s being offered free just for today. (I’m not sure what the price will be as of tomorrow, but we can look for clues in The Colbert Report’s The Word, which costs $1.99.) 

The app offers a lot for rabid fans like me, starting with a shareable quote of the day (and accompanying show segment) for roughly the last eight weeks’ worth of shows.

Tap the Topics button and you’ll see a spinning word cloud (or an alphabetical list if you switch views), with each item leading to handfuls–if not buckets–of clips related to that topic. These appear to date back as far as December, 2009–not the full archives by any stretch, but still plenty of stuff to watch.

Thankfully, all videos are commercial-free, at least for the moment. All you see is a brief Capital One graphic before each clip.

The Schedule button shows upcoming guests for at least the next few days, and the times each episode will re-air on Comedy Central the following day. (Wow, each one repeats four times. Who needs a DVR?) You can set reminders (15, 30, or 60 minutes) for any selected airing.

Finally, there’s the Tweets button, which shows not only #TheDailyShow and #JonStewart hashtags, but also the tweets for the show itself and four correspondents (Aasif Mandvi, Olivia Munn, John Hodgman, and Kristen Schaal).

What’s missing? Unfortunately, the one thing fans undoubtedly want most: full episodes. Great as it is to have access to complete segments (as opposed to, say, 30-second clips), it’s not the same as being able to watch an episode start-to-finish.

Maybe that will come. In the meantime, The Daily Show app is still a must-have for “The Daily Show” fans, and today’s the day to get it–while it’s free.

Originally posted at iPhone Atlas

Add-on offers Gmail-like UI in Thunderbird 3.3
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If you’re looking for a more Gmail-like experience in Thunderbird 3.3 alpha, a new add-on should be able to help you out.

Dubbed Thunderbird Conversations, the add-on offers a conversation view in the e-mail program, allowing users to have all their messages to and from another party in one place, similar to Gmail. The app “fetches” e-mails across every folder in the user’s Thunderbird installation. Users can reply to an e-mail inline, and access the add-on’s “contacts auto-complete” feature to streamline its use.

Thunderbird Conversations was first made available at the end of last week, but it was formally announced on the Mozilla Labs blog earlier today.

If Thunderbird Conversations sounds familiar to current users of older versions of Thunderbird, there’s a reason for that. The add-on is a totally rewritten version of the former Gmail Conversation View, available to those using Thunderbird 3.1. The add-on’s developer, Jonathan Protzenko, claims Thunderbird Conversations is “a significant improvement over previous versions.” However, he also noted on the Mozilla Labs blog that the new Thunderbird Conversations will only work with Thunderbird 3.3 because it includes “the required support” for the add-on.

A view of Thunderbird Conversations. width="468" height="371"/>

A view of Thunderbird Conversations.


Thunderbird 3.3 alpha was released at the end of November and includes support for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Along with its launch, Mozilla announced that the e-mail program would not support PowerPC-based Macs going forward.

Originally posted at The Digital Home