Google Chrome 13 Hits Dev Channels; Adds Background Apps Support, Multiple Profiles and More

Google has just released 13 to the dev channel and it has a lot of new features which include a working version of Multiple Profile switcher, experimental new tab page and tab grouping. Additionally, Google Chrome 13 also adds a new feature called Compact Navigation and the ability to restrict to search.

The new development version also adds an option to enable the Web Audio API and an option to allow "Background Apps" to continue running even when Chrome is shut down.

Background Apps are   which provide users with functionality that quietly runs in the background without intrusion. Background Apps could be apps that regularly check your email or account and notify you of new updates. The new feature in Google Chrome 13 will allow apps to continue running.

The new "Background Apps" feature is enabled by default, you can disable it by going to "Options -> Under The Hood" and deselect the checkbox next to "Continue running background apps when Google Chrome is closed".

Google Chrome Multiple Profiles

Google Chrome 13 also features a working version of the profile switcher which allows users to use different profiles for different Chrome windows. This will allow users to work with different profiles without having to keep logging in and out. Google Chrome 13 also has the latest Flash player – Version

Google Chrome New Tab Page

Google has been working on the experimental new tab page for a while and it looks like things are finally taking shape in Google Chrome 13. When you enable the feature from about:flags, you will see a new tab page which now lists most visited sites and apps in tabs. It also has additional tabs but they don’t have any content. The new tab feature could allow users to create customizable tabs where they can list out different apps, however, there is no option to customize them right now.

Chrome Hide Toolbar

Google Chrome 13 also has an option to hide the toolbar which can be done by right click on a tab an selecting "Hide the toolbar" from the menu options. Using this option hides the Omnibox and icons. I would prefer to have a keyboard shortcut to enable and disable this feature.  You will need to visit the about:flags page and enable the "Compact Navigation" feature to get this option.

Finally, Google Chrome 13 also adds a new option to restrict Google Instant to only searches. Prior to that, Google Instant would kick in even when you load any webpage. This could get annoying and a feature to disable it is a great addition. You will have to enable this feature in about:flags too.

Overall, it looks like Google Chrome 13 is shaping out really well. Some of the features like multiple profiles and new tab page are really exciting. Hopefully, these changes should hit the beta and stable channels soon.

Completely Get Rid Of Facebook Questions In Firefox And Google Chrome

The Questionsfeature in Facebook may be useful to some folks, but I don’t find it useful for a couple of reasons.

First, the questions are more geared towards fun and virality rather than usefulness. I agree that the nature of questions depends on the people you’re connected to but I have hardly seen anyone praising the usefulness of Facebook questions.

Second, whenever there is a world event like the Royal wedding or the launch of a new gadget, my timeline suddenly gets filled with dozens of irrelevant questions in which I have no interest at all. Worst thing is that the same question appears multiple times in the timeline, whenever there is a new answer or someone posts a comment to the question

And the notifications.Mr X has answered Mr Y’s question. After a while, this gets really annoying and the sad part is that Facebook does not allow you to block Facebook questions like you can block a particular application, game, invites or a user.

Here is what the FAQ page reads

As with other Facebook applications like Photos and Events, there is no way to turn off Questions.

If you’re fed up with the spammy nature of Facebook questions and want to turn off the clutter, try the Hide Facebook Questions extension for Google Chrome. The extension hides every evidence of the “Questions” feature so your news feed doesn’t get cluttered with polls.Once installed, you will need to refresh Google Chrome and the Questions feature will vanish from your timeline.

And so will the notifications that used to come when one of your friends answered a question asked by another Facebook friend of yours.



Firefox fans can try the more advanced FB purity add-on which lets you fix some other annoyances apart from hiding Facebook questions in Firefox. For example, FB Purity allows you to use the older Facebook commenting system, where pressing Enter or Return adds a new line to your comment, and pressing the “Comment” button submits the comment.

Both the browser extensions works out of the box there are no options to configure and nothing to tweak.

Internet Explorer 9 Being Rolled Out Through Windows 7 Update

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 to the world last month to much fanfare and millions of downloads. However, the rollout was only done through direct downloads for users.

Internet Explorer 9

However, not each and every user has upgraded to the latest browser from Microsoft and they do have a way to get it out; through Automatic Updates. Microsoft has confirmed that they are now rolling out Internet Explorer 9 to all users through the automatic update channel.

IE9 Windows 7 Update

The update will be rolled out as an important update to all users. It is not clear yet whether users have to upgrade to it compulsorily or not. I am unable to confirm this since I have already upgraded to IE9 but will do so shortly on another PC. The update will be a part of the regular updates rolled out by Microsoft.

If you haven’t used Internet Explorer 9 yet, you should definitely upgrade to it and check out our of tips and trick for IE9.

Google Chrome 13 Hits Canary Build; Stable Version Bumped to Chrome 11

Check updates at the bottom of the post

Google has just released 11 to the stable version of the browser for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. In addition to that the Canary build is now Google Chrome 13. Google Chrome development version has also been updated with the new Profile Switcher feature.


Google Chrome 11 includes several enhancements including speech input through HTML which allows users to speak text and then insert them into HTML forms. The Chrome Blog has a detailed article on how this works with Google Translate.

In addition to that, Google has also updated the development version of the browser to include the new Profile Switcher feature which will allow users to create and switch between multiple sync profiles for different windows. However, the feature is still being developed and does not allow you to create multiple profiles.

The Canary build of Google Chrome has also been bumped to Google Chrome 13 (v13.0.747.0). Both the development and Canary features look identical which means that most of the changes are under the hood.

Tab Grouping Google Chrome

Some of the visible changes in the development and Canary build include “Tab Grouping”, focus existing tab on open and the experimental new tab page which still seems to be experimental. Google Chrome 13 might be shipped to the development version after the Multiple Profile features is fully functional.

Update: Multiple Profiles now work properly in Chrome Canary build 13.0.750.0, this should hopefully be shipped to development version soon. The new Google Chrome 13 build now allows users to create multiple profiles for multiple windows.

Firefox Racks Up 100 Million Downloads in One Month

Mozilla might have come under heavy criticism over the past few months; however, clearly a lot of people still love Firefox. Within a month of its release, Firefox 4 has managed to cross 100 million downloads. Firefox 4 was a major update for the popular open source browser from Mozilla. Not only did it modernize Firefox’s interface, but it also (mostly) fixed the performance issues that plagued Firefox 3. Unfortunately, the massive overhaul also made it a challenging update to ship. Firefox 4 slipped from schedule on multiple occasions, and ultimately, some of the planned features had to be dropped.


According to StatCounter, nearly 8% of global internet users currently use Firefox 4. While that’s an impressive figure, more than 18% users are still on Firefox 3.6. So, there’s still plenty of room for Firefox 4 to grow. Internet Explorer continues to dominate the charts, with IE 8 commanding nearly 30% of the browser market. With nearly 17% market share, Chrome 10 is the third most popular browser out there.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Browser Version Market Share

Firefox 4 could well be the last big release for Firefox. Mozilla has decided to ditch the old update model in favor of a newer release cycle with faster iterations. This means that future versions of Firefox will have fewer new features in every release; however, we should get a new version of Firefox every 6 weeks. To facilitate this process, Mozilla recently launched a new channel called Aurora.

Even as Firefox continues to enjoy massive download figures, Chrome has managed to establish itself as a serious competitor, and is turning on the heat on Firefox and Internet Explorer. Opera Software has also stuck to its reputation of delivering innovative new features; however, it hasn’t quite manage to break free and make significant inroads. With Microsoft also upping its game, Mozilla truly has its work cutout. Checkout our earlier coverage to get a lowdown on the new features being considered for Firefox 5, and don’t forget to let us know if you have downloaded Firefox 4 or not.

Flock Browser – Official End of Support

flock-icon-250x250The original Kingof social browsers is as good as dead. The Flock web browser will dieon April 26th. Back in January, we told you that Zynga Acquires Flock; May Take Social Gaming To A New Level. As you probably know, Zynga is the social gaming power-house behind Farmville, Mafia Wars and a dozen other popular social games.

What wasn’t expected by many Flock users, was that they’d be abandoned so quickly, without anything to take Flock’s place. I just received my End of Supportletter today. Apparently they made the announcement on April 13th.

Flock said the following it their FAQ:

Flock will no longer be actively maintained, which means you can keep using the product, but key features will stop working after 4/26/11 and over time the browser will no longer be secure as software updates and upgrades will no longer be provided.

Here was one of the immediate responses from the Flock faithful.

David S: This sucks big time! Zynga’s decision to shut down this fabulous browser is an outrage and should be condemned. I have officially boycotted all other Zynga products and encourage others to do so as well. … I curse the day they purchased the property …

Since Zynga has decided to kill the Flock browser, what do they recommend that their users do now? Here’s what they said:

There are many browser choices. We recommend either Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

I think most people expected that Zynga/Flock would work on a new browser that is designed to work with social gaming. All bets are off now, but if you still want to use a good social web browser, I’d recommend Rockmelt, which gives you built-in access to Facebook and Twitter.

Google Chrome To Include Profile Switcher For Multiple Profiles

Update: Google Chrome 13 now supports creating multiple profile for different windows. Check out this post on the new changes in Google Chrome 13.

is one of the best browsers available today and with the Chrome Sync feature, it allows you to easily sync all your bookmarks, passwords, extensions, themes and auto-fill across multiple browsers. Chrome Sync is definitely a good option, however, users still face a problem if they want to have separate profiles for work and home.



The latest Canary Build of Google Chrome 12 (v12.0.741.0 canary build) now has a new feature which will allow you to have Multiple Profiles for different Chrome Windows. According to the description of the feature, Multiple Profiles associates every browser window with a profile, and adds a profile switcher in the upper right corner. Every profile has its own bookmarks, extensions, apps, etc..


Once you enable the Multiple Profiles feature, you will see a profile switcher at the right hand side corner. Users will be able to seamlessly switch between different profiles by clicking on this.   Users can also create a new profile through the switcher or through the options as seen in the first screenshot.

The Multiple Profiles feature seems to be under work right now and does not allow users to create a second profile yet. However, it looks they might add the new feature soon and ship it to the canary and development channel.

Multiple Profile is definitely a great feature and one that I have been waiting for a long time. To enable Multiple Profiles in Chrome (Canary Build Only) type about:flags in your address bar and head to the bottom of the page. Once there, enable “Multiple Profiles” feature and restart the browser.

Google Toolbar 7 Adds Instant Search To Internet Explorer 9

Some good news for Internet Explorer users.

Google has recently released a new version of Google toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Google Toolbar 7 making your web browsing faster, simpler and instant.

The newer UI of Google Toolbar 7 for Internet Explorer and Firefox is sleek and hides all the options under a drop down menu, as shown in the following screenshot



Enabling Instant Search In Google Toolbar 7

After you have downloaded and installed Google Toolbar 7, you will be first asked to choose your default search provider. You may either choose Bing or Google as your default search engine, hit OKand restart the browser for the changes to take effect.


To enable Instant search in Internet Explorer 9, go to the toolbar options panel by clicking the tiny wrench icon at the top right of Google Toolbar and choose Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing


Once you have turned on Instant search for Internet Explorer 9, you can preview search results on by typing the keywords on the Google search box of Google Toolbar.

Since I am a regular Google Chrome user, I confused this with the address bar of Internet Explorer only to find out that I have to type the same words in the Google search box of Google toolbar (and not in the address bar of Internet Explorer 9). You can also type Alt+G to get to the Toolbar search box more quickly.

Here is how the Instant search interface of Google toolbar looks like


To clear your search terms, hit the Escapekey on your keyboard and the search box will be highlighted, waiting for you to type the new keywords you want to search for.

With this new update, Google wants to push their instant search features deeper and let IE users get the feel of “Instant” search without having to use Google Chrome at all.

Privacy Options

Many features in Google Toolbar send anonymous usage information to Google, in order to improve your browsing experience.

If you’re concerned about the privacy of your system and don’t want to share anonymous usage data with Google, you can turn off specific privacy features from the preferences panel


Other features are quite the same as before, it’s just that Google has revamped the overall look and feel of Google toolbar by removing unnecessary UI clutter of buttons and icons from the toolbar panel. To customize which buttons and options appear in the toolbar panel, click the wrenchicon, go to Custom buttonsand choose the buttons you want to see in the toolbar area.

Overall, the new Google Toolbar adds a hint of Google Chrome in Internet Explorer 9. While I continue to use Google Chrome as my default browser, those who want Google’s Instant search feature on Internet explorer, can try the improved Google toolbar 7 here. The following video gives a short introduction of what Google toolbar 7 is all about:

You might want to check our ultimate list on Internet Explorer 9 tips and tricks

Firefox Launches a Dev Channel, Calls it Aurora

Until now, Mozilla Firefox has been available only from the Nightly, Beta and the Final release Firefox channels. This was a big drawback as users preferred a dev release which is stabler than the nightly and offers feature on time, allowing them to test it better. Enter Aurora- the solution to rapid and stable releases. The hard job for Mozilla here will be keeping the Aurora channel bug free and relatively stable.

The new dev channel will allow users to testFirefox ahead of beta releases and maintain a stable browsing experience at the same time. This will increase user-participation in the development process.


The Aurora channel was announced by the Mozilla blog as,

Today, we launch the Aurora channel as part of a broader initiative to create channels which deliver features to users at various levels of quality and polish. The Aurora channel is where users can test the latest features and innovations. Users can expect an increase in polish from the raw, cutting edge features in our nightly builds. Aurora releases may not be as stable as beta or final releases.

Not only this, each Firefox channel has a separate logo for their releases. You can download from the Aurora channel at this Firefox channel page. Alternatively, you can enable the Aurora channel using this method.

head to about:config and create a new string called app.update.desiredChannel — the value doesn’t matter. Then open Help > About Firefox and you’ll be able to switch channel.

The current offering from Aurora is a Firefox 5.0a2. Catch up with more details on the Aurora channel.

Hey Microsoft, HTML5 isn’t Native, Because the Web isn’t Supposed to be Native!

As you must have read by now, Microsoft introduced the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at the MIX11 conference. The announcement surprised many, including yours truly, since Microsoft is known for dragging its heels over Internet Explorer. There was a gap of five years between Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7, and a further gap of three years between Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8. Say what you want about Internet Explorer, but a significant portion of internet users still rely on Microsoft’s browser for surfing the web. Rapidly evolving IE augurs well, not only for Microsoft and IE users, but also the entire web. It’s all well and good if Opera or Chrome or Firefox implements cutting edge standards, but not many developers are going to use those features unless Internet Explorer also supports it.


Over the past year or so, Microsoft has largely been saying the right things, and making the right moves. Internet Explorer 9, which was a huge improvement over Internet Explorer 8, introduced support for several HTML5 and CSS3 standards. With Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft is continuing to focus on making IE even more developer friendly and standards compliant. The first developer preview itself has a fairly impressive changelog. CSS3 Multi-column Layout, CSS3 Grid Layout, CSS3 Flexible Box Layout, CSS3 Gradients, and ES5 Strict Mode are some of the major new features Microsoft has implemented. These are changes that should thrill developers, and excite general web users. IE 10 platform preview should be winning accolades. Instead, Microsoft has once again managed to annoy developers and web standards enthusiasts.

In the past, Microsoft has been heavily criticized for twisting facts, spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), and talking out of its behind. Microsoft has been trying to turn over a new leaf, but old habits die hard. Yesterday’s announcement was full of buzz-words and half-truths meant to influence the average joe. Microsoft’s official announcement proclaimed:

The only native experience of the Web and HTML5 today is on Windows 7 with IE9. IE9’s approach to taking advantage of what the operating system offers from the native graphics stack to jump lists in the shell maximizes performance, usability, and reliability.

The trouble is that no one is quite sure as to exactly what Microsoft means by native web and HTML5 experience. The phrase native webis by itself is an oxymoron. The web isn’t supposed to be native. The web is supposed to be operating system and hardware independent. The web is supposed to be open and uniform. While HTML5 and CSS3 strive to deliver a native app like experience, there’s definitely no such thing as native HTML5.

Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate VP of Internet Explorer, wrote, The best HTML5 is native to the operating system, so Web sites have the fewest translation layers to pass through. Like all PR-speak, this statement is purposefully ambiguous, and conveys a false sense of superiority.

Microsoft is also making a lot of noise about “full hardware acceleration” support. However, as far as I know, Firefox 4 supports hardware accelerated compositing on most platforms, Chrome has been testing this for a long time through the beta channels, and Opera has demoed it in a labs build.

Dismayed at Microsoft’s shady tactics, people have already begun speaking out. While Haavard from Opera Software lambasted Microsoft, Mike Beltzner (ex-director of Firefox) decided to be cheeky and sarcastic.


The use of dubious and shady marketing speak wasn’t Microsoft’s only blunder. In an attempt to justify the lack of Window XP support, Dean Hachamovitch wrote, Others have dropped support on Windows XP for functionality that we think is fundamental to performance. Others here implies Google Chrome, which removed GPU acceleration and WebGL for Windows XP in Chrome 10. However, what Hachamovitch ignored to mention was that Google intends to re-enable these features in Chrome 11 on Windows XP systems with reasonably up-to-date drivers. He also forgot to mention Firefox and Opera two browsers that have already demonstrated that Windows XP is fully capable of running modern browsers.

Through its reckless behavior in the 90s, Microsoft almost become synonymous with evil. It has been desperately trying to rebuild its image over the past few years. Internet Explorer 10 has lots of stuff that are worth getting excited about. Sure, a lot of it is stuff that other browsers have already implemented. However, the IE team has clearly been doing a pretty decent job over the past year or so. Cheap antics like this will only tarnish the efforts put in by the Internet Explorer developers, and antagonize users. We are already well into the new decade. It’s high time that Microsoft stops treating every one of us like a moron, and lets the products speak for themselves.