Google Is Ready To Bet $20K on Chrome the Web Browser, Not the Chrome OS Powered CR-48 Notebook

Google is keen on betting huge amounts on its secure and sandboxed Google Chrome web browser. The hackathon at Pwn2Own has seen the Google Chrome web browser enter as a contender with prize money worth $20,000 and a CR-48 notebook, all from Google.


Given the success last year, Google Chrome is keen on seeing whether its sandbox has any discovered flaws this year. Breaking the browser makes breaking the underlying sandbox imminent and this amount of prize money will definitely attract some enthusiasts. Browser manufacturers are also in the habit of fixing security bugs last minute. Therefore, sniping is a risky option and it is best to have a proper investigation beforehand.

PC World has demystified all rumors regarding the bounty and has written,

There are some false reports that Google is offering the bounty for successfully cracking its Chrome OS-based CR-48 notebook. The Google CR-48 notebook will be awarded along with the $20,000 for a successful attack against the Chrome Web browser, but the Pwn2Own info clearly states that the notebook is merely a prize. There will be no attacks mounted against the Chrome OS, and the target Chrome Web browser will actually be running on the latest 64-bit release of either Windows 7 or Mac OS X.

With this year, Google Chrome will probably record a third year of being uncrackable. Its sandbox has been appreciated by many and it efficiently filters out all scripts disallowing them to run on the disk. This offer by Google is the largest on ever by a Pwn2Own participant.

While browsers like Internet Explorer are catching up in security, others like Safari have a reputation of being cracked instantaneously.


Google Chrome 9 Hits Stable Build, Google Chrome 11 Hits Canary Build

development lifecycle is like a fast paced car race. The builds are incremented every few months to mark major releases in the development and stable builds.

Google Chrome

Google has just released Google Chrome 9 as the stable build to users, however, Chrome 9 which has already been in the beta channel for a while is going to be rolled out to users starting today.

Along with that, Google Chrome 11 is now available in the Canary build and will shortly make it to the development channel. This push will mean that Chrome 10 will make it to the beta channel.

Google Chrome 9 supports features such as cloud printing and background apps manager. This will allow Google to push their Cloud printing feature to a large number of users which has been rolled out to Gmail mobile recently.

Chrome 9 should be available as an update to regular users starting today. If you want to update your browser, head over to Settings -> About Google Chrome and let it check for updates.

Microsoft: Take That Google, We Just Added H.264 Support For Chrome Users

Yesterday would have been a very eventful day at Google and Microsoft after Google accused Microsoft of stealing their search results and displaying it in the competitive search engine Bing. The day was filled with accusations and defense galore and lot of Google-and-Microsoft haters had a really big field day.

Day 2: Microsoft just did something that would irk Google even more, they rolled out a new Windows Media Player plugin for Chrome which supports the H.264 code. In a blog post, Microsoft said that they are rolling out these plugin which is also part of Internet Explorer so that Google Chrome customers on would be able to continue to play the H.264 video in spite of Chrome not supporting it.

Today, as part of the interoperability bridges work we do on this team, we are making available the Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome, which is an extension for Google Chrome to enable Windows 7 customers who use Chrome to continue to play H.264 video.

We believe that Windows customers should be able to play mainstream HTML5 video and, as we’ve described in previous posts, Internet Explorer 9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec.

The announcement could just be a right hand jab from Microsoft on Google’s chin after they had earlier declared to drop support for the H.264 codec in because of lack of openness and could fuel a much more deeper war amongst these two tech giants.

It also gives consumers of Google Chrome a chance to view the videos encoded with H.264 codec which they could not have done otherwise. In a battle of browsers Google Chrome, and have openly said that they would not support the H.264 codec because of royalty issues and would instead rely on the WebM codec, which is still not the best codec out there. Currently, it lacks hardware support and there is still a lot of work to be done with it. Microsoft and Apple on the other hand support the H.264 codec in the Internet Explorer and Safari browsers.

The said plugin is also available for Firefox but the main jabs taken by the article was at Google Chrome which is rapidly gaining more users from both Internet Explorer and Firefox.

So will this war continue to rage along? Will these competitors try to go down the throats of each other in the future too? Well, as per me they will. They will not let go off a chance to bring each other down. The wars had already begun, someone just put more fuel in the fire. What do you think?

Firefox and Chrome Browsers to Offer “Do Not Track” Options

Is it broke? Does it need Fixed?

Last month, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a consumer privacy report. The commission is apparently concerned about advertising and tracking cookies, which many consider to be intrusive, but not dangerous. Tracking allows advertisers to target users with custom or localized advertisements. In hopes of fixing this issue, the report suggested that web browser makers should add a Do Not Trackmechanism.

It’s not surprising that the FTC would suggest something like this. Government bureaucrats are always offering suggestions on how free market economies should be fixed, even when they aren’t broken. However, it is surprising that only a few weeks later, Mozilla’s Firefox and Google’s Chrome developers have already announced that they’ll be offering Do Not Trackin future versions of their browsers.

cookie_iconpac-man-gobble firefox-logo chrome-logo ftc-logo

Firefox Support

Alex Fowler, at Mozilla, announced support for Mozilla’s Do Not Track at his blog the other day. He said, we’re seeking ways to provide Firefox users a deeper understanding of and control over the flow of personal information online. We’re pleased to be able to share one of these efforts today ….

When a web browser visits a web site, the site asks the web browser for some basic information before displaying the page. This information is transmitted in the HTTP header, and the new DNT (Do Not Track) warning will be added to this header. Once this warning is received by a web site, it’s up to them to decide whether or not to attempt to read and place tracking cookies in the browser’s cookie cache.


This feature isn’t available yet, however, you can get an addon with the DNT header. Here are some frequently asked questions about DNT at Mozilla.

Chrome Support

Two days ago, the Google Public Policy blog posted an article telling us how they are handling the FTC request for a Do Not Trackfeature in Chrome. They said, Today we are building on this work, and that of others, by allowing you to permanently opt out of ad tracking from all companies that offer opt-outs through the industry self-regulation programs.

The Keep My Opt-Outs extension takes advantage of already existing opt-out programs offered by the Network Advertising   Initiative, which includes 50 different web tracking services. Later, an option will be added to the Chrome browser, with no need for an extension.



hangman-logoAs usual, a Government agency is looking for problems to fix so they’ll be able to brag that they are useful sometimes. Nobody’s going to dispute their suggestions in this case, and paranoid consumers may actually benefit from this initiative.

It’s not surprising that the browser developers would jump onto the band-wagon. They’ll do anything to avoid provoking government agencies from putting a collar (or noose) around their necks. These browser changes are a cheap solution to a problem that many people didn’t consider as being serious.

Sometimes, an action like this can have unintended consequences. This time, it might be a win for everyone except the advertisers. What effect will these changes have on the web sites which depend on the advertising revenue?

Enhance Your Facebook Experience In Google Chrome

By now you might have already known that is my favorite browser and I use it day in an day out on my Dell XPS as well as on the dedicated CR-48 netbook Google sent me.


I am also a very keen social networking user and use both and extensively. However, there are few things which could be done better with both of these services. Alas, it depends on Facebook or Twitter developers to make those changes, and many things I want in them wouldn’t be considered.

However, there are several out there which can easily enhance your experience with Facebook. In this post, I will try and list out the extensions I use on Facebook to enhance my experience with it. If you are looking for a desktop tool, don’t forget to check out the most Awesome desktop app for Facebook.

Beautify Facebook

Facebook Profile Beautifier

Tired of being forced on how you can view your profile without having the options to change colors or move widgets around? The Beautify Facebook extension will come in handy then.

The Beautify Facebook extension allows you to change the background for Facebook, apply transparency to content and more. It also allows you to tweak Facebook by allowing you to hide requests, Advertisements and more.

It also provides you with handy shortcuts for accessing frequently used pages. For example, you can use the Shift + h shortcut key to quickly go to the Facebook homepage from any other page, or Shift + p to go to your profile or Shift + i to to your inbox and so on. Overall, this extension is definitely worth trying out.

You will find the Options to edit the settings for Beautify Facebook extension when you visit

Download Beautify Facebook CR Edit. If you want to try out other options check out Facebook Stylist and Facebook Themed extensions.

How To Import Facebook Contacts To Gmail

I know that there are several ways to import your contacts to , one of which includes first importing them into Yahoo, and then exporting the address book, and then importing it into Gmail. However, that process is pretty long.

If you really want to import your Facebook contacts to Gmail, a   will come in pretty handy. The Chrome extension  called Facebook Friends Exporter provides users with an option to export their friends information from Facebook as a CSV file. The information you can export includes your Friend’s name, emails, phone numbers, screen names and websites. The good part about the extension though is that it also allows you to import these contacts into Gmail in a single click.

Export Facebook Friends

Once you have installed the extension, you will see an addition menu item called "Export friends!" in Facebook. Clicking the link will advice you to go to your friends page, however, the extension can also do that automatically for you.

On the next page, you will be shown a message about Facebook owning your friends and disclaimers which you have to accept. Once you do that, you can Get started with importing your friends and storing it locally.

Import Facebook Contacts to Gmail

The extension will then cache all your friends in and start importing them one by one. The process might take a while if you have a lot of friends and takes breaks in between (after it has accessed 60 of your friends profiles, otherwise Facebook will start displaying images for email address). Once the entire import process has been completed, you will be given an option to import your Facebook contacts into Gmail.

Facebook has been very strict about any script accessing contact information about your friends and have even banned users, so you might want to tread with caution here. Nevertheless, the script works and it’s hassle free, so go ahead and try it out if you really want to import your Facebook contacts to Gmail.

Download Facebook Friend Exporter

Google Chrome Now Includes Down For Everyone Or Me Notifications

Have you ever visited a website on a browser to be shown a message that the website cannot be loaded? Well, I have been through that several times. It could be due to a DDoS attack or due to a website suffering from heavy user traffic. However, the browser message is not always useful to end users.

That said, if you are a user (dev version for now), there is some cloud intelligence being used to determine why a website is down, whilst providing users with an option to still surf the webpage through a Cached copy available on Google.

Google Chrome Down for Everyone or Just M

Here is a recent page not loaded message displayed to me on the Chrome developer version when I visited Dropbox forums to take part in their treasure hunt.

As you can see from the screenshot above, Google Chrome is now including a message saying that "Other users are also experiencing difficulties connecting to this site, so you may have to wait a few minutes". I found this message to be quite useful since I usually rush to to figure out whether a website is just down for me or everyone else too.

Kudos to the Google Chrome team for creating such informative messages for error pages. It always helps because people usually want to know what is wrong, rather than having to deal with a stupid error page.

*This feature is currently only available in dev builds of Google Chrome, you might not see it in the stable build.

Google Gets Aggressive About WebM, Decides to Drop H.264 Support from Chrome

WebM Google has announced that it will be dropping support for H.264 in future versions of Chrome, and instead focus on high quality open codecs. Although Google’s announcement is surprising, it’s not completely unexpected. Last year, Google spent a fair amount of cash to acquire On2, the startup behind VP8. Later, Google unveiled its own open source codec called WebM, based on On2’s VP8. Now that WebM has begun to witness increasing amounts of hardware support, as well as improvement in performance, Google obviously feels that the time is right to put its foot down.

The core issue with H.264 has been that it is proprietary. Last year, MPEG-LA made H.264 royalty free forever for free web broadcasts, in an attempt to counter WebM. However, even that move was deemed insufficient since it didn’t include applications that encode and decode video, as well as commercial broadcasts. It also didn’t alleviate the threat that some other patent holding body might come calling.

Chrome will now join Opera and Firefox as browsers supporting only open video codecs, i.e. Theora and WebM. Microsoft had earlier announced that it will be supporting both H.264 and WebM in Internet Explorer 9, provided that the codec for the latter is installed on the system. Apple, which has been pushing for HTML5 <video> as an alternative to Flash, has been a steadfast supporter of H.264. It will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future as hardware decoding support (which is crucial for portable devices like the iPod and the iPhone) for WebM is still fairly limited.

Although Google’s decision to drop H.264 support from Chrome represents a major setback for H.264, don’t expect it to disappear immediately. Apple’s dominance over the mobile devices segment, and the lack of WebM support in tablets and phones is something Google will have to contend with.

Chrome Extension for URL Shortener

chromeEarlier today, Amit wrote about the new API for Goo.gI, Google’s URL shortening service. Google launched the service in December of 2009. Since that time, many people have adopted it over other URL shortening services such as and tinyURL. The two main reasons for adoption are that filters and warns people about bad web sites, and it’s also recently been recognized as the fasted URL shortener.

At first the links were only offered in the Google Toolbar. A little later, bookmarklets and other browser add-ons, such as for Firefox,   were offered.

I recently tried the URL shortener for Chrome.

The extension installs easily, just as most other Google Chrome extensions do. Once installed, you’ll see a little gray and green icon in the top right corner of the browser.


When you are at a website that you wish to create a short link for, click the icon to create the short URL. It’s simple to use, but there are also many other features that are offered in this extension.

* short URLs are automatically copied to clipboard
* show history and traffic
* add Keyboard shortcuts for posting to other services
* create short URL from right clicking on links
* create QR Codes

You can also create links and automatically post them to your favorite web services, such as Blogger, Delicious, Digg, EverNote, Facebook, FriendFeed, Gmail, Google bookmarks, Google Buzz, Google Reader, Hotmail, Instapaper, LinkedIn, Mail,   MySpace, Netlog, Orkut,, Posterous, Reddit, Read It Later, StumbleUpon, Technorati, Tumblr, Twitter, Yahoo! Bookmarks and Yahoo! Mail.


The only other URL browser extension that I’ve found as useful, is the Shareaholic extension, which has very similar features.

arrow-down-double-3Install the URL shortener for Google Chrome browser

Firefox On Top in Europe; Thanks To Google Chrome And European Union

Earlier today, Clif wrote on how Chrome and Safari are stealing users from IE globally, however, here comes more bad news for Internet Explorer. According to stats released by website tracking firm Stat Counter, has overtaken Internet Explorer as the most used browser in European countries.

Europe Browser Stats

According to Stat Counter, Firefox now has 38.11% share in the European market as compared to IE’s 37.52%. However, here’s the catch. Firefox is not gaining users from Internet Explorer, instead is the one that is making dents into their market share. According to the Stat Counter CEO, Firefox has more or less been stable, whereas IE has been the one losing market share.

Google Chrome has about 14.8% market share as compared to 5.06% in December last year. That itself is a huge gain. Firefox on the other hand have lost market share since last year.

In addition to Google Chrome, this feat can also be credited to the new browser ballot system for browsers that was enforced on all new Windows PCs by law of the European Union.

However, IE is still one of the top browsers in North America, but that crown could soon be placed on top of Firefox’s head too. Google Chrome is by far one of the best browsers available today. However, with around the corner and the new 11 browser it will be very hard for Internet Explorer to overcome the competition.

My prediction is that Google Chrome will own around 25-35% market share by end of 2011 and Opera should end up with 5-7% while Firefox remains stable or sheds some more users.