Chrome Starts Blocking Extensions, Apps and Greasemonkey Scripts Outside Chrome Store

When Google launched the Store, it was one a good step ahead to provide users with Extensions and apps from a centralized location. However, Chrome still allowed users to install extensions and user scripts from any website making it a little insecure.

Chrome Blocking Extensions

However, it looks like Google is now beefing up on security and disallowing users from installing extensions, apps and user scripts from outside the . Users will now be prompted with a message saying “Extensions, apps and user scripts can only be added from the Chrome Web Store” when they try to install something which is not part of the Chrome Web Store.

While this is a good thing, it means that and Stylish scripts will stop working out of the box now unless a users changes Chrome’s settings or till they are included as a part of the Chrome Web Store.

So will users be able to still install extensions and scripts that are not part of Chrome Web Store? Well, the answer is Yes. Earlier this month, Martin from GHacks had posted about this problem and the potential fix. The fix is listed in a Chrome bug report which says:

You are no longer supposed to be able to install extensions off-store in Chrome. See  bug 55584  for details.

In order to install off-store extensions, the user must download them to a directory and drag them onto chrome://extensions/.

I intend to polish this UI a bit to hide the download bar so that people don’t click on it. I’d also like to add some UI that tells users that extension install is disabled off store or something, but we still haven’t figured out what that will look like.`

The bug referred in the above fix was a feature request which will allow enterprise users to disable users from installing extensions outside the Chrome Store while providing them with an option to whitelist other sources through an admin interface.

So dragging and dropping those extensions and user scripts to the extension page should currently allow you to install those extensions. You can also completely disable this feature by loading Chrome with the “–enable-easy-off-store-extension-install” flag. However, this is not recommended.

*Please note that the blocking currently does not happen in stable builds of Google Chrome.

Mute Video/Music Sound in Google Chrome

Tabbed browsing has definitely changed the way we access webpages in browsers. However, I have faced a few problems with multiple tabs, one of them being   a scenario where I have 20 tabs open in and one of them suddenly starts playing loud video or music.

Finding the offending tab is often like finding a needle in a haystack and the best recourse is to just mute your system music. But what if you are playing music on another app? You would mute that too right. Another solution would be to just close all the tabs at once and get rid of the annoyance. Neither of these solutions are really graceful.

There have been several forum threads about this issue, but Google engineers have stated that it is hard for them to isolate a tab which is playing music or video and allow users to mute them, thanks to limitations in the operating system.

However, there is an option in the form of a which will allow you to mute music or video sounds in all the tabs at once, using a toolbar option or a keyboard shortcut (Alt + W).

Mute All Tabs Google Chrome

The extension in question is the Chrome Toolbox Options, which also provides with several other interesting features to enhance your Google Chrome experience including preventing Google Chrome from closing down when you close the last tab and more.

The “Mute all tabs” is definitely a great feature, but what if you want to now find and close the tab which is playing the loud music or video? Are you going to go through each individual tab and find the culprit? Well, that would take a long time. Well, another extension called “Mute Tab” can come in handy.

Mute Tab is an   which will allow you to find out which tabs are playing videos, music or flash and then allow you to mute them. This is definitely handy if you want to find a culprit tab and shut it down rather than having to browse through individual tabs.

That’s it, using these two extensions will save you a lot of trouble, and probably embarrassment Winking smile when you are using Google Chrome. Do feel free to post your own suggestions if you use different methods to get rid of this annoyance.

Local Player – Plays Your MP3 Collection in Chrome Browser

I’m sure you all have your favorite music players. Why would you even need to play your MP3 collection using a web browser? I found one good reason. Recently, I was testing Splashtop, an operating system (similar to Browser Linux) that doesn’t have a music player installed. All I had was the Chrome browser. I was inspired to take a look in the Chrome Web Store for a solution, and that’s how I found Local Player.

Here are the main features:

  • A music player in your browser for LOCAL FILES.
  • Drag mp3/ogg files from file browser into the window.
  • You can also add files from a file dialog, which appears when you click the ‘+’ button.
  • You’ll find the file names show up, and the player will automatically start playing.
  • If you double-click a file name in the file list, it’ll play that file.
  • Supported file types – mp3, ogg, aac, and m4a

Once installed, you’ll find the app shown by it’s icon in Chrome’s New Tab page.

local-player-icon

The player controls are easy to figure out. Everything you need is there, including Forward, Back, Pause/Play, Progress, Volume, Random Play, Repeat and Color Themes. I chose the dark theme, as you can see in the image below.

Weather Window App for Google Chrome Browser

Google ChromeWhen Google announced the opening of the Chrome Web Store, I had doubts about it. I was already pleased with the wide range of Chrome browser extensions and didn’t see much difference between an app and an extension. (What are Chrome Web Apps?) However, the Web Store has been gathering momentum and now there are tons of cool apps available.

One Chrome extension that I loved and used often was the Aniweather extension. It gives a very nice looking display of the current weather and a forecast.

aniweather

I used it up until I found something even better. The Weather Window app from WeatherBug, far exceeded my expectations.

weather-bug

Once installed, the Weather Window app can be accessed by opening a new blank tab in Chrome and choosing the icon in the Apps section.

weather-bug-app-icon

The main screen shows an open window with a simulated view of the current weather conditions. The first thing you’ll have to do is to choose your location. The new location tab is found at the top of the page. You can enter a location by zip code or city name.

weatherbug-location-tab

Multiple locations can be added and will appear across the top of the page for easy access later. The tabs can be dragged and re-arranged as you wish.

On the right side of the weather window, you’ll see 4 icons. These represent Detailed Observations, Forecast, Weather Mapsand Cameras.

weather-bug-function-icons

The Observations icon displays current conditions.

weatherbug-observations

The Forecast icon displays a great deal of information. There are three tabs showing a summary, more forecasts and hourly forecasts.

weather-bug-forcast-function

The maps function displays some really cool looking weather maps. You can zoom in and out with your mouse scroll button. The map can also be animated to show the direction of the weather coming at you.

weather-bug-maps-function

The camera function shows you current web cam images from weather stations close to you. In the settings, you can choose for one of these to be shown in the main weather window by default.

weather-bug-camera-funtion

That’s all I have to show you right now.

arrow-down-double-3Install the Weather Window app from WeatherBug (Chrome browser only)

Also, check out the top 15 apps at the Web Store.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

This little web app gets a thumbs up. There isn’t much about the weather that it leaves out. Since it’s free, there’s no reason not to give it a try.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)


Chrome Web Store Analysis: Millions of Downloads, Top Apps and Interesting Facts

Google launched the on December 7th, 2010 at the conference. I have downloaded and used several of these apps on , many of these are really good apps and shows that the future of the web store is really bright.

However It has been almost 2 weeks since the Web store launched, so how has it performed? How many apps have are there in the web store? Which are the best selling apps? Which apps have been downloaded the most? To find answers to these questions I decided to do an analysis on how the web store has worked out and what the stats are like.

Chrome Web Store

I have based this analysis on the current numbers available at the Chrome Web Store since Google has not provided users statistics about the Chrome Web Store yet.

Facts About Chrome Web Store

First of, Chrome Web Store has seen millions of downloads, with the top 15 seeing over 1.5 million downloads so far. Here are some more facts about the Chrome Web Store and Apps:

  • There are ~2200+ apps in the Chrome Web Store right now
  • There are over ~10,500 and themes.
  • Top 15 apps have been downloaded over 1.5 million times
  • The top two most downloaded apps in the Chrome Web Store are games, and they account for almost half a million downloads
  • All apps except for are web shortcuts
  • NY Times is the only news app among the top 15 downloaded apps
  • Out of the top 15 downloaded apps, 9 are Google products
  • Groove Shark is the only music app in the top 15

Top 15 Apps in Chrome Web Store

The Chrome Store has several apps to choose from. I have written about quite a few of them (read about the Chrome Apps). Many of the apps are just web shortcuts, but the number of in-browser apps has been increasing. The top 15 apps on the Google Web Store currently features the following:

AppJump Is An App Launcher And Extension Manager for Google Chrome

Since the opened a few days ago, I have gone ahead and installed tons of new and in . However, having lots of extensions and apps can be a bad experience since it makes finding them a bit more difficult.

Chrome App Launcher

AppJump Launcher is a which allows you to quickly find and launch apps you have installed in Chrome. The extension provides you with a quick view of all the installed apps and extensions through an icon. Using that you can find and launch any app quickly.

In addition to the quick access to apps, AppJump also provides a full page view of all the installed apps and extensions where it allows you to launch apps, disable them or uninstall them. You can reach this full page view by clicking on the + button in the icon listing. The AppJump full page option is actually replacement for Google’s in-built extension manager.

Chrome App Launcher Manager

Well I am not done yet, another useful feature in AppJump is that it allows you to create groups and add applications to it. Using this feature you can easily browse apps or extensions based on the groups you create.

AppJump is definitely a great extension for Chrome and it makes managing all your extensions and apps a breeze while providing a beautiful interface for it. One thing I would like to see in a future update of AppJump is the ability to search apps and launch them, something similar to what Launchy does, but just for Chrome. Having that feature would definitely be awesome and was already on my wish list for Chrome.

Download AppJump for Chrome

Write Space Brings Distraction Free Writing To Chrome

The launched yesterday and though there are hundreds of apps many are just simple bookmarks to a webpage. However, there are some brilliant ones including the TweetDeck app for Chrome.

writespace_chrome_app

Write Space is another which is really good. If you are a writer or a blogger, you will definitely love this app since it allows you to write without distractions and just concentrate on what you want to write. Using this in conjunction with Full screen (F11) cuts off anything distracting from the environment.

Write Space also saves data on each keystroke, so just have to concentrate on writing and forget tasks like saving et all. This is definitely a really good app and I would suggest anyone who writes content to start using it.

Download Write Space app for Chrome.

Techie Buzz Verdict

Write Space is definitely a great app and can come in very handy to writers and bloggers alike. However, what I would love to see with Write Space is the ability to save the written content to the cloud so that I can start writing on one computer and then continue writing on another one without having to do anything.

Another thing I would want to see with Write Space is the ability to create multiple writing spaces and then sift through them through a menu or something. Of course that would make things a bit complicated, but it would be a good option to have.

Techie Buzz Ratings: 4/5 (Excellent)

TweetDeck App For Chrome Is Awesome

When Google announced their Chrome OS netbook and web store earlier today for , my initial thoughts were that I would definitely miss a lot of desktop apps, like Windows Live Writer and .

TweetDeck Chrome App

However, I guess my worries have disappeared now after I started using the TweetDeck app for Google Chrome. If you have already used TweetDeck on the desktop or on the or based device, you will see a very familiar UI with the Chrome App. The app allows you to add multiple accounts, follow lists and more among other things.

The app also has smooth scrolling within columns so that you can view updates you have missed. It is almost similar to the desktop experience you get. TweetDeck for Chrome also has almost all the features which you might find in the desktop app. TweetDeck for Chrome also imports all your settings from TweetDeck desktop to the web app making it easier to replicate your information.

TweetDeck is the perfect app that shows how much can be done within the browser and that living in the cloud is a really not going to be that bad after all. If you haven’t done it yet, go ahead and download the TweetDeck app for Chrome from here.

For those not in the know, TweetDeck is a social networking app for , , LinkedIn and MySpace among other things. You can download the desktop version of TweetDeck from here.

Chrome Web Store Is Now Live. Download Apps, Themes and Extensions

Chrome Web Store is now live and available to all users. You can download and install apps in right now. Chrome Web Store is the backbone of Chrome OS, the new operating system from Google which will run on netbooks.

Chrome Web Store

Chrome Web Store provides users with Apps, themes and among other things. You can also download collections of different apps, themes and extensions based on a certain theme.

The web store design is pretty cool and so are the collections of apps. You can go ahead and start downloading apps for Chrome at https://chrome.google.com/webstore.

P.S. Don’t forget to try your luck and get a free Chrome OS based netbook.

Chrome OS and Chrome Web Store Coming Today

Google will be unveiling two new things at today’s Chrome OS event. First of is Chrome OS, which is the netbook OS which makes heavy use of cloud technology and second up is Chrome Web Store, which is basically an app store for and Chrome OS.

Chrome Web Store - Sports Illustrated

Google OS has been able to get their hands on some screenshots from unlisted videos posted on the Google Chrome YouTube channel, the one above is a image of Sports Illustrated magazine in Chrome Web Store.

If you are excited to see what Google will be unveiling you can definitely do that by visiting the official channel for Google Chrome at http://www.youtube.com/googlechrome. The event will be live at 10:30 AM PST, check your local timings to tune in and watch the Chrome OS event live online.