Tag Archives: Chrome

ARChon Runtime Enables Chrome Browser to Run Android Apps on Windows, Linux, and Mac

Earlier in the year, Google had announced that it was working on bringing Android app compatibility to ChromeOS. However, developer Vlad Filippov has gone one step further. He has tweaked Google’s Android Runtime extension to enable Android apps to be installed as Chrome browser extensions on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Android Apps

Here are the quick steps to get started with ARChon runtime, which lets you run unlimited number of Android APKs on Chrome browser.

  1. Download ARChon from here.
  2. Extract the contents.
  3. Open Chrome extensions tool and enable ‘Developer mode’.
  4. Click on ‘Load unpacked extension’ and select the extracted instance of ArChon from Step 2.
  5. Find the modified APK for ARChon from the web or download the APK and follow the instructions here to modify a new APK.
  6. Install ARChon for Chrome
    Install ARChon as an Unpacked Chrome Extension
  7. Extract the APK contents.
  8. Click on ‘Load unpacked extension’ and load the APK.
  9. Now, click on ‘Launch’ to start the app.
Running Android Apps on Chrome
Running Android Apps on Chrome

If you’re confused, check out the video demonstration below.

ARChon currently has several major limitations. The biggest is that it’s not automated, and the entire process has way too many steps for a casual user. It requires obtaining and modifying the Android app package (APK), which is not straight forward. It also doesn’t work for all apps. However, the Reddit community has been actively testing various apps. A small list of compatible apps and their direct download links is available here. Currently, there are better and easier ways to run Android apps on your desktop. However, this development is still exciting as it hints towards a future where all Chrome users might have access to the millions of Android apps available on the Play store.

[ Hat tip: OMGChrome WikiMedia ]

Microsoft launces Internet Explorer Developer Channel

On June 16, Microsoft announced that Internet Explorer will now have a Developer Channel release which can run side-by-side with the production/GA version of Internet Explorer on Windows 7 and Windows 8.x. This feature, which has long been available in Google’s Chrome browser and Mozilla’s Firefox, is a pleasant surprise to those who use Internet Explorer.

This release is a continuation of the effort Microsoft, and especially Internet Explorer team has started, to become developer-friendly by being proactive in communication about the roadmap and the features. This release, unlike the previous developer previews Microsoft created, not only runs side-by-side with the existing version of Internet Explorer but also includes changes to the UI as they are made.

Some of the key updates in this release include:

Updates to F12 developer tools

An enhanced debugging experience with event breakpoints that help you get to your event-driven bugs faster.

Richer analysis capabilities throughout the Memory and UI Responsiveness profilers, which support further reduction of noise through multi-dimensional timeline filter, while further increasing the semantic value of the data being reported by lighting up performance.measure() based instrumentation and dominator folding.

An improved navigation experience that provides more keyboard shortcuts (ctrl+[ and ctrl + ]), as well as new header notifications, which allows you to quickly determine whether any of the profiling tools are running or how many errors your page has.

The complete list of updates are on MSDN here.

IE Dev Channel F12 Tools
IE Dev Channel F12 Tools

Support for WebDriver standard

IE Developer Channel also comes with support for the emerging WebDriver standard through which Web developers can write tests to automate Web browsers to test their sites. It’s a programmable remote control for developing complex user scenarios and running them in an automated fashion in your Web site and browser. See how you can setup WebDriver in the IE Developer Channel, and try out this sample WebDriver project.

Support for Gamepad API standard and improved WebGL support

IE Developer Channel comes with support of the emerging Gamepad API standard that lets you use JavaScript to add gamepad support to your Web apps and games.

IE Developer Channel also improves WebGL performance and adds support for instancing extension, 16-bit textures, GLSL builtin variables, and triangle fans. This release improves our Khronos WebGL Conformance Test 1.0.2 score from 89% to 94%.

Status.modern.ie Gamepad Status
Status.modern.ie Gamepad Status

The team is promising frequent updates to the Developer Channel and we shall see how frequent that is. Given the pace and cadence across various other groups at Microsoft, it could be anywhere from two weeks (Xbox Music) to a month (Xbox One, Power BI) or three-four months (Windows, Windows Phone). Whatever it is, for developers this is much better than anything Internet Explorer has done in the past.

You can download the Developer Channel release from here.

Here’s Charles Morris introducing the Developer Channel IE:

Chrome Beta For Android Updated — Fixes Graphical Corruption And Crashes

Last night, the Chrome team updated the beta version of Chrome for Android to v27.0.1453.60 that includes some bug-fixes and includes some new bugs as well.

Chrome_beta

The list of bugs that have been squashed are as follows -:

  • 226691: Graphical corruption and blank tabs in tab switcher mode
  • 222805: Most Visited section thumbnails are misaligned in landscape mode for RTL languages
  • 228883: Search is still performed via Google when re-submitting omnibox query after switching search engine
  • Flicker while opening new tabs
  • Fixes for some frequently occurring crashes
  • chrome://history sometimes show duplicate items

However, being a beta some bugs are still present in this update including page flickering during navigation, and Chrome lagging when opening a new tab.

On my Nexus 4 and the Galaxy S3, Chrome and Chorme Beta are completely unusable for me. They both lag and stutter while loading slightly heavy websites, and even general zooming and panning around is not satisfactory. Given that both the phones in question here have quad-core CPUs, this is completely unacceptable.

Hopefully, the move to a new rendering engine in Chrome – Blink – will solve all the lag and rendering issues of Chrome for Android. A blink engine based Chrome version for Android, however, at best, is still more than a couple of months away.

Beta Version Of Chrome For Android Hits The Play Store

Google introduced Chrome for Android with Android 4.1 and the Nexus 7. With the launch of the Nexus 4 and Android 4.2, the company ditched the stock AOSP browser for Chrome. While Chrome for Android is feature-filled, it has some major performance issues even on devices with a dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM.

Google aims to bring Chrome for Android on level with its desktop counterpart in terms of security and performance. Keeping this in mind, the company has released a beta version of Chrome for Android in the Play Store. Like the beta channel for the desktop version of Chrome, the beta version of Chrome for Android will provide users with some new experimental features, under-the-hood changes, bug-fixes and much more.

The official blog post from Google states that the beta version of Chrome for Android should already feature at least 25-30% improvement in Octane benchmarks on average. Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 7 users who have already tried the beta version of the browser have also reported an improvement in the performance of the app.

The beta version of Chrome for Android can be installed side-by-side with the stable version available on the Play Store.

Google Chrome And Drive For Android Updated; Brings Native Spreadsheet Editor To Drive

Today, Google has released update for two of its most popular and useful Android apps – Google Drive and Chrome. The Chrome update change-log states that the latest update mainly brings some bug fixes and performance improvements.

While the latest update does bring about a noticeable improvement in the performance of the browser, it is still nowhere near the stock AOSP browser in Android. The scrolling has also been considerably reduced but there is still a long way to go before Chrome for Android matches the stock AOSP browser in terms of performance and smoothness. The latest version of Chrome for Android can be downloaded from here.

The Google Drive update brings about quite a few major changes including a native spreadsheet editor. Yes, Google Drive finally includes a native spreadsheet editor! Other changes include the ability to edit contents in a table and entering the edit mode in the app with just a single tap.

Below is the full change-log of the update -:

1. Edit Google spreadsheets in new native editor
2. Edit contents of tables in Google Docs editor
3. Formatting is maintained when copy/pasting within Google Docs
4. Single tap to enter edit mode in Google Docs editor
5. Add a shortcut to Drive files/folders to your homescreen for quick access
6. Send Link now supports copying link to clipboard

Google Docs for Android can be downloaded from here.

Android App Updates – Chrome, Twitter and Pocket Get Bug-Fixing Feature Filled Updates

Over the last one week or so, quite a lot of Android apps have got some major updates. Last week, Google released a major update for Chrome for Android. The latest version of Chrome for Android (v18) packs some major security and stability improvements, including a major sandboxing feature rewrite for better protection against malicious websites.

Below is the full change-log of the M18.1 update -:

This version update includes a number of security and stability improvements. Additional highlights
-Location preference now integrated to system level Google apps location setting.
-Youtube videos controls now work in full screen mode; videos continue playing after a screen lock/unlock
-Fixes to make third-party IMEs work better with Chrome

Last night, Twitter also released a major update for the official Twitter clients on all platforms. The v3.4 update for the Android version does not bring many new features or UI enhancements, except for the addition of a new cover photo like feature as in Facebook.

The full change-log is below -:

– New profiles with header photos
– Photo streams on profiles and events
– Pinch-to-zoom on photos
– Search suggestions for people, topics and hashtags
– Improved protected account management including the ability to accept or deny follower requests
– Other improvements, polish, and fixes

Lastly, Pocket (formerly Read It Later) also released an update for the Android version of their app that allows the users to listen to their articles saved in Pocket. There are tons of other bug-fixes as well.

New:
– Listen: Pocket can read your articles to you using Android’s Text-To-Speech feature
Updated:
– Manage Site Subscription feature now working on all versions of Android
– Improved full screen animation in Reader
– Disabled URL shortener when sharing to Evernote
– Minor UI updates
Fixed:
– ZTE Blade crash when opening an article
– Blank help screen on Jelly Bean
– After marking a link to “Read Later” inside an article, Archiving/Favoriting would affect the wrong link
– Minor bug fixes

The ability to listen to your saved articles in Pocket via Android’s text-to-speech system is really handy. If you have not already, it’s high time you start using Pocket to read articles in your free time.

Internet Explorer 9 Is The Fastest Browser On Windows

According to a study conducted by New Relic which measures browser speeds on both mobile and desktop platforms, Internet Explorer 9 takes the cake for the fastest browsing experience on Windows with load times of around 3 seconds, while Firefox 14.0 and Chrome 17 tied at 3.5. Safari for Windows 5.1 took 4 seconds to load the same page.

On the Mac side, Chrome is the winner with Chrome 13 reporting load times of 2.4. Chrome 19 on the other time has load times of around 2.7, tying it with Safari 5.1. In the survey, a total of 7 Chrome versions were tested. Firefox 11 for Mac took 2.8 seconds.

The mobile browser speed results are quite interesting. Apparently, Blackberries are in fact good for one thing; BlackBerry Opera Mini 6.5 took around 2.6 seconds to load pages, compared to Safari (iPad) 5.1’s load time of 5 seconds, and Safari (iPhone) 5.0’s load time of 6.2 seconds. The load time for Safari (iPhone) 5.1 was around 6.6 seconds. Opera Mobile 12 for Android’s load time was around 7.3 seconds.

The study was conducted in March 2012 over the course of one week, in which New Relic surveyed and measured the speed of 5 billion global page loads across PC and mobile browsers.

In conclusion, here’s a statistical tidbit: This year’s average page load is 5.5 seconds, compared to last year’s time of 6 seconds.

$1 Million Reward Offered by Google for Finding Exploits in Chrome

Google has offered a total of $1 million for hackers in the Pwn2Own hacker contest if they find security exploits in their Chrome browser, the company’s security team announced. In its sixth year of running, the Pwn2Own contest has seen vulnerabilities being exposed for fully patched and functional browsers such as Internet Explorer and Safari. However, no hacker group has tried aiming at Chrome, especially since it is well protected behind a sandbox.

ChromeLogo

Google stated that the rewards – awarded in a first-come first-serve basis to anyone who can show the exploit – will be tiered with $60,000 going for a full-browser exploit, $40,000 for a partial exploit and $20,000 as a consolation reward:-

$60,000 – “Full Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using only bugs in Chrome itself.
$40,000 – “Partial Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using at least one bug in Chrome itself, plus other bugs. For example, a WebKit bug combined with a Windows sandbox bug.
$20,000 – “Consolation reward, Flash / Windows / other”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence that does not use bugs in Chrome. For example, bugs in one or more of Flash, Windows or a driver. These exploits are not specific to Chrome and will be a threat to users of any web browser. Although not specifically Chrome’s issue, we’ve decided to offer consolation prizes because these findings still help us toward our mission of making the entire web safer.

The rewards will be given away until the $1 million mark is reached. The winners will also receive a Chromebook (yay!). However, Google withdrew from sponsoring Pwn2Own this year, since they found out that the hackers are not required to publish the entire exploit this year.

Originally, our plan was to sponsor as part of this year’s Pwn2Own competition. Unfortunately, we decided to withdraw our sponsorship when we discovered that contestants are permitted to enter Pwn2Own without having to reveal full exploits (or even all of the bugs used!) to vendors.

Chrome For Android (Beta) Released; Only For ICS Running Phones

Google just released Chrome, one of the most popular Desktop browsers out there, for one of the most popular mobile OS in the market, Android.

Chrome_for_Android

Chrome for Android is still in Beta, like any other Google product is when it is initially launched, but is feature packed to the brim. The Android version of Chrome comes with all the features, which we find in its desktop counterpart, including speed, syncing features and simplicity.

Chrome for Android automatically loads your top few Google search results in the background for faster browsing, has a URL/Search omnibox, comes with a UI, which is specifically made for small-screen phones, card view, and makes use of intuitive gestures. The Link Preview feature in Chrome for Android will make it easier for users to select a particular link out of thousands of them in a page, much more easier.

The best feature of Chrome for Android is its syncing ability. By syncing Chrome for Android with the same email ID they use on the desktop version, users can view their open tabs, sync their bookmarks, get smarter auto-fill suggestion and much more. Other features of Chrome for Android include Remote Debugging, GPU accelerated, 3D transforms, Full screen API, binary screenshots and much more.

Sadly, all this goodness comes at a price. Chrome for Android is only available for Ice Cream Sandwich running handsets and tablets, and only in selected regions of the world. If your handset/tablet is already running Ice Cream Sandwich, you can download Chrome for Android (beta) from here.

Google Chrome Vulnerable to Secure Address Bar Spoofing

If you thought the site you were browsing was secure simply due to the little s  at the end of HTTP, you may want to re-evaluate.

Security researchers at ACROS  have posted details concerning a vulnerability in versions 14 and 15 of Google’s Chrome browser. The issue comes from an inconsistency that Chrome has when following and rendering redirections to other web pages. This means that an attacker can redirect a visitor to a page that looks identical to a legitimate page, with a real looking HTTPS URL, when infact they are not on the expected page. This can lead to theft of credentials, credit cards and other personal information.

The crux of the issue comes down to Chrome being very quick to update the address bar, even before any of the page content has actually loaded. This allows the researchers to change the destination without it being reflected to the address bar. Most users will “confirm” they are on the correct page simply by reading the address page and matching it with what they are looking at, especially when the majority only visit a handful of specific websites.

While the newest releases of Chrome (16, beta and above) have had this issue resolved, Google’s browser holds a relatively large marketshare of approximately 20% world wide. That’s more than 70 million. If over 75% of those users have updated version, one can speculate that roughly 1.7 million users are susceptible to this attack. With Google’s auto-update mechanism, it’s highly unlikely that there are so many old installations.

At Techie-Buzz alone, more than 1 million of the 3.5+ million visitors use Chrome. Google Chrome has been growing at a very rapid rate, pushing Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox lower and lower. Chances are, you’re using Chrome because it’s fast, so if you want to stay as safe as possible, keep Chrome updated and take a look at some of the popular security/privacy extensions.