Instant Weather Reports with ForecastFox

weather A few months ago, I told you about the fresh looking Google Chrome extension called Aniweather. It gives you a quick weather report and five day forecast, simply by clicking an icon in your web browser.

After reading a post from the Madras Geek, I decided to try out another instant weather tool called ForecastFox. It gives me the same types of weather info, but it offers just a little bit more. You can use ForecastFox in both the Firefox and Chrome web browsers.

In Firefox, you’ll get a new toolbar in the status section at the bottom of the browser. When you hover over each icon, you’ll get different reports.


In the Chrome browser, the ForecastFox icon is at top right of the browser.


Here’s what the weather reports look like in Chrome:


When you click on the map, you will be directed to the AccuWeather website to see the maps there.

To see the details of each day’s forecast, you can click on the day in the left sidebar.


ForecastFox offers the forecast for more days than Aniweather (shown below), however the Aniweather pop-up is much nicer looking, and it’s information comes from

arrow-down-double-3 Download ForecastFox for Chrome

arrow-down-double-3Download ForecastFox for Firefox

arrow-down-double-3Internet Explorer? Here’s an Accuweather Toolbar.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

The ForecastFox addon/extension is excellent for keeping me up to date on weather. It stays out of the way and does it’s job with no visible hit to my system performance. It deserves a thumbs up.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Google Chrome Celebrates Second Birthday, Releases Chrome 6

Two years ago, I was introduced to , one of the fastest browsers I had ever used for a while and it still continues to be one of the fastest. You can read my first impressions of Google Chrome.

Google Chrome Browser Experience

Google Chrome also has one of the fastest development cycles, and has quickly reached version 6.0 for their stable version and version 7 for their development cycle. Chrome 7 is exciting in several ways with the introduction of hardware acceleration and voice translation along with Chrome Labs which should be part of dev channel shortly.

Today, Chrome has celebrated its 2nd birthday with the introduction of the stable version of Chrome 6 for the masses. Chrome 6 is 3 times faster than the first version of Chrome, which shows leaps and bounds of improvement.

Chrome Version 1 Chrome Version 6

The thing I have liked about Chrome is the simplicity and speed. Over the past two years, Chrome has definitely made simple more simpler with subtle changes that have made using the browser a delight. Since it’s initial release, Google Chrome has added Chrome Extensions, auto-correction and several other features which make the browser one of the best available today.

If you haven’t used Chrome yet, I would definitely suggest you give it a go by downloading it at Don’t forget to read about all the we have talked about in the past too.

Happy 2nd Birthday Google Chrome.

Labs – Crazy Experimental Stuff Now in Google Chrome Canary

canary I enjoy using Google’s Chrome Canary build so that I can try out the latest features of Google Chrome. Today, Canary’s update included the Chrome Labs page. This feature has been available for a few days, but only in the Chromium code base. To bring up the Labs page, you have to open a new tab and type: about:labs(without the quotes).

Google may say that it’s Some crazy experimental stuff, but so far, it’s not that crazy. The only experiment available right now is Side Tabs. Once enabled, you can right click on any tab to enable or disable it. Here are two screenshots below to show you what it looks like.



As you can see, the Side Tabs really change the look of the browser. I miss the rounded tabs and I’m guessing that I won’t use this new feature often. The reduction in screen width isn’t worth the ease of navigation unless you have lots and lots of tabs open.

While I’m not excited about the Side Tabs lab experiment, I am happy to see the Labs page in Chrome Canary. At least I can hope they’ll stop using those stupid command line switches now.

Labs Extension: If you don’t like having to type about:labsin a new tab, there’s a Labs Chrome Extension that let’s   you click on a Labs icon to bring up the Labs page.

More New Features: Be sure to check out three other new features in Chrome 7, Chrome Web Apps, Voice Recognition and Hardware Video Acceleration.

If you have tips on using Chrome or need help fixing Chrome headaches, be sure to comment below or email me.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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


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 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.


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.

Google Chrome 7 Development Release available for Download

Google Chrome is a fast moving name in the web browser world now. It is undoubtedly the best web browser around and with the Google backing; it has made a reputed position for itself. The development cycle has undergone a considerable change and Chrome has attracted bug fix bounty hunters just like Firefox. In short, Google Chrome is on a perfect roadmap.

Keeping up with this, Google Chrome has moved to the next version with the release of a development version of Google Chrome 7, named 7.0.497.0. A test version of this is available already and the dev channel version is scheduled to arrive this week.

The settings and the look and feel of version 7 is the same as that of Chrome 6 till now. However, expected features like the support for web applications and the Chrome store are missing as well! They are scheduled to arrive later in September this year.

Google recently fixed ten security bugs in Chrome and spiced up the process with  bounties amounting to a total of ten thousand dollars.

With the chrome web store coming in October and web-application support  coming in September, Chrome has a busy year ahead of itself.

What do you think of the new version of Google Chrome? Try it out and do let us know.