Voice Translation Now Available in Chrome 7

Pack the bags … I’m heading up to Quebec for summer vacation. Now that there’s a web browser that can translate my English to French, I’m ready to ask for directions, locate the nearest restroom or order food at a restaurant. All it takes is my netbook, the developer’s version of Google Chrome web browser and a trip to this website.

english-to-french

Click on the little microphone icon. When it turns red, you can start talking to it. Click the microphone once again and it interprets your speech, then it speaks the same sentence in French. Amazing!

I found out about this today at the ChromeSource blog. Last week, I remember asking people what was new in Chrome 7, because I didn’t see much difference. Now I know that in addition to the support for Chrome Web Apps, Google coders have added the ability to talk to the web browser. Although that’s not really new, since   Opera’s had voice abilities for quite some time now, it’s new to me, and I’m excited about the possible new uses for something like this. Maybe in a few months, I’ll be able to talk to Gmail and have it type the email for me?


If you have your own tips on using Chrome, or it’s problems, be sure to comment below or email me.


Hardware Accelerated Browsing Experience: Chrome 7 vs. Firefox 4 vs. Internet Explorer 9

GPU accelerated browsing experience is the big new feature that all the major browsers are gunning for. The latest builds of Firefox, Chrome, Safari as well as Internet Explorer have this feature enabled. In fact, Opera is the only major browser without hardware acceleration support. Nevertheless, even Opera has hinted that this is something they definitely intend on doing. I won’t be surprised if we soon see a weekly build with hardware accelerated Vega (Opera’s graphics rendering engine).

In the meantime, Sebastian Anthony from DownloadSquad has recreated his earlier Aquarium test to compare the rendering performance of all the three hardware accelerated browsers. Here is the video:

Not surprisingly, Chrome came out on top. Internet Explorer also performed quite well. However, Firefox turned out to be 30% slower. Nevertheless, the bleeding edge speed offered by Chrome came at a cost. It was the most system resource intensive browser. In fact, system resources consumed turned out to have a direct correlation with the rendering speed. The question is, what is more important? Are you willing to opt for a heavier browser, if it provides more speed? Don’t forget to share your opinion with us.

Installing Google Voice And Video Chat in openSUSE

Earlier, Google rolled out an update which added Linux support for Google Talk’s Voice and Video chat. Unfortunately, the update has been packaged only a debian deb file. Fortunately, Jigish Gohil, more popularly known as “CyberOrg” in the openSUSE community has a solution.

The debian package is a archive consisting of the required libraries and a cron job, Jigish has extracted the files and rolled it into a tarball. To install, just download the tarball and extract it to the root folder. To do so, open the Terminal.

Switch to the root user:

su root

Next, use tar to extract and move the files

tar jxvf /path/to/downloaded/file/google-talkplugin.tar.bz2 -C /

Replace /path/to/downloaded/file with the location at which you downloaded the file. Restart your browsers, and you should be ready to start talking!

Update:

Google now provides an RPM package, just head over to the Download page and select the required file.

Google Brings Voice And Video Chat to Linux

After a long, long time – Google finally has introduced Voice & Video chat for Linux. Now while trying to start a Voice or Video chat, instead of showing “This system is not supported” – you get redirected to Google’s Chat download page.

Clicking on the “Install button” will  prompt you to download the Debian package file.

Google Video Chat package download

Once saved, just double click on the file to launch the package manager, and click  on install to Install the plugin.

Google Talk Video Chat Plugin

Once installed, just restart your browser and you’re all set to start video chatting in Linux!

The bad news that currently, only debs are packaged, which means RPM based distro users will have to wait a little bit longer.

Google Chrome Gets Speech Recognition and Labs

It’s no secret that Google sees the browser as a central part of future computing devices. The Chrome OS is just one of the many manifestations of this particular vision of the future. In Chrome OS, the browser (Google Chrome) is used to do everything from listening to music to editing documents and creating spreadsheets.

While Chrome OS based devices are still a few months away, Google is working hard to get its browser ready for various form factors. Just yesterday, we reported that future versions of Chrome will future GPU Acceleration that will enable it to do heavy duty computing (like scaling videos) with ease. Now DownloadSquad has discovered that speech recognition has been enabled in the latest Chromium builds. Of course, Chrome isn’t the first browser to get voice recognition. Opera received voice navigation support as far back as 2005 with Opera 8. However, this feature works only on Opera for Windows, and since its initial release there has been very little further improvement.

Google has also uncorked a few other handy features in Chrome, including support for device orientation and Google Labs. The former is an essential feature for netbooks, tablets and other accelerometer enabled devices. The latter on the other hand will enable curious users to get a taste of the latest features being cooked up by Google. To access it simply type about:labs in the omnibar (address bar). For now, Windows users can enjoy tabs on the left, while Mac users can play around with Google’s implementation of Tab Expose.

Google-Chrome-Labs

Image via GoogleSystem

What are Chrome Web Apps?

chrome We recently told you that the developers of Google’s Chrome web browser have released version 7 of Chrome. In order to use it, you have to be running the dev channel version of Chrome or the new Canary build of Chrome. One of the interesting new features in Chrome 7, is support for Chrome web apps, which will be available in the Chrome Web Store in October.

The question I’m raising today is What are these Chrome web apps?. An answer at Wikipedia was useful, but as I expected, it’s full of techno-jargon that immediately makes me skip through most of the article. I’ll save you the trouble of trying to sift through the jargon. In most cases, a web app isn’t any different than many existing pages on the internet. Any time you visit Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Google Docs, or even Youtube, you are using a web app. A web app is a web page that performs a specific job or set of jobs using your web browser. Usually web apps require that you download files and data that they need to function. Chrome extensions also have the same requirement and they offer you the ability to change the way pages look or add tools and services to existing pages.

So what’s the big deal? Why are they even called web apps instead of extensions? My best guess is that they are doing this to make it easier to market (sell) these downloads. However, even though web apps aren’t much different from Chrome extensions, there are a couple of differences.

One big difference is that you’ll only find most of them in the Chrome Web Store. Some of those web apps will be free, but most of them will likely cost you a few dollars. Google will make money on them and so will the people who create them.

Another difference is that the tab for a running web app looks different from a normal tab. Here’s a screen shot to show that. The tab on far left is a Gmail web app. It’s a single icon with no text. Next to it is a normal tab showing Gmail.

chrome-web-app

You’ll also be able to see all of your installed web apps on the Chrome New tabpage.

chrome-web-app-new-tab

I love the fact that only the icon is showing on web app tabs. That’s great for those of us who have lots of tabs open in the browser. Other than that, what is there to like about web apps rather than extensions? At this point, I don’t think that there’s much to like unless you like paying out money. It’s a great deal for Google and the web app developers. It’s not a great deal for the average surfer.

If you’d like to play around with Chrome’s new web apps, DownloadSquad has a page telling you how to install web apps. I’m not going to be using them much unless they are free.


If you have tips or opinions about Chrome web apps, be sure to comment below or email me.


Chromium Introduces GPU Rendering, Makes Chrome Better at Rendering Heavy Pages

Recently, a lot of work is being done to introduce GPU rendering into Google Chrome. New additions into web technologies like WebGL and 3D CSS has brought up a need for the web browser to be more CPU intensive. Most definitely, this is undesirable and Google Chrome is taking the right step in offloading the responsibility of rendering these components to the GPU. This will considerably improve the performance and responsiveness of Google Chrome.
google-chrome-logo

Google Chrome will feature a new GPU process in future versions that will manage all graphics related responsibilities. The GPU process will take in all graphics rendering tasks from the renderer process and send it to OpenGL or Direct3D. This access was not available to the renderer process earlier and neither is it now. However, the GPU process in question is allowed to run in a sandbox and have access to these graphics components of the OS.

This feature will be available for color conversion and scaling of videos. This will lighten the overburdened renderer process and give Google Chrome a smooth performance.

The idea of GPU rendering has just been implemented and the Chromium team wants to develop and advance more in this matter.

(Source)

Internet Explorer 9 User Interface Screenshot Leaked

Microsoft is preparing to unveil Internet Explorer 9 in September, however, there have been several IE9 screenshots which have been leaked in the past few weeks.

A new Microsoft IE9 user interface screenshot was reportedly posted on Microsoft Russia’s press site, this was spotted by Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet.

IE9 User Interface Leaked Screenshot

As you can see from the screenshot above, IE9 sports a very minimal interface with only few buttons on the top bar and icons for home, favorites and settings on the right hand top corner. According to Mary, IE9 may also support web applications, where users can easily open any website without having to open Internet Explorer.

IE9 may also have a support for tear-off tabs which is present in , , and Safari where users can drag a tab out of the current window to create a new Window.

Hopefully, in the next few weeks we would be able to end speculation on what IE9 is going to turn out like and see the actual browser in action. Oh well there are just 3 weeks left before the unveiling on September 15th.

Firefox 4 Beta 4 Adds Sync and Firefox Tab Panorama

Mozilla has released a new beta version of which includes Sync and Panorama Tabs. The new features allow users to sync their settings and create tab sets.

Firefox 4

Firefox 4 Beta 4 has been released for downloads. It adds two big features, namely Firefox Sync, which will allow you to access your bookmarks, history, awesome bar settings, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs across multiple computers and mobile devices. All of this information can also be accessed on your using the Firefox Home app.

Firefox 4 also has a new feature called Firefox Panorama earlier known as Tab Candy, which brings a new approach to tab management. Firefox Panorama makes it easy to organize information allowing you to create tab groups for different tabs and also allowing you to prioritize those tabs any way you want.

Firefox Panorama also allows you to quickly see an overview of al the tabs and to quickly locate and switch between tabs or groups of tabs. You can find more information about Firefox Panorama at this post or watch the embedded video below to see it in action.

There are several other features included in Firefox 4, you can read about them in the Firefox 4 Beta 1 review or browse all content related to Firefox 4. Find more information about Firefox 4 Beta 4 and download it for your OS from the official Mozilla blog.

Google Chrome Opens PDF Files Inline

Google has for long been able to read PDF files using , their browser though did not have the feature to open PDF files inline and unless you used an   to open the PDF files with Google Docs, you would have to download the file to your PC before you could view it.

Google Chrome PDF Inline

However, it looks like the latest dev version of Chrome (6.0.495.0 dev) now supports opening PDF files inline in the browser. This means that you can view any PDF documents you want in your browser without needing to download it. If you do need to download a document, just right click the webpage and click "Save as…" from the available options.

This feature is definitely a good one since users would not have to rely on a offline PDF reader to view files and can do so from within the browser itself. I tested this with several documents, out of the 10 I tested, Google Chrome was able to display all the 10 documents inline.