September 28, 2009

Internet Explorer powered by Google Chrome

If you can't install Google Chrome and you must use Internet Explorer, there's a way to use Google Chrome's rendering engine inside IE: Google Chrome Frame. After installing the plug-in, you can test it by adding cf: in front of any URL from the address bar.

Google Chrome Frame is an interesting option for the developers that write web applications and use HTML or CSS features that are available in any modern browser except IE. They can add a meta tag at the top of a web page and enable the Google Chrome plug-in:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1">

Google also provides some JavaScript code that prompts users to install the plug-in. It's not very pleasant to ask users to install a plug-in if they want to use your applications, but it's easier than asking them to change their browser.
Google Chrome Frame is an early-stage open source plug-in that seamlessly brings Google Chrome's open web technologies and speedy JavaScript engine to Internet Explorer. With Google Chrome Frame, you can:

* Start using open web technologies - like the HTML5 canvas tag - right away, even technologies that aren't yet supported in Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8.

* Take advantage of JavaScript performance improvements to make your apps faster and more responsive.

There is a minor problem. If are want to open a website inside Internet Explorer using Google Chrome Frame, you need to manually prefix the URL with “cf:” (without quotes) to activate the Chrome engine. For example, you’ll have to type cf:http://gmail.com in the IE address bar to render this site using Chrome.

Since this involves some effort, here’s a simple workaround that will automatically open all websites inside the Google Chrome Frame without you having to type the “cf” prefix with every URL.

Download the chrome-frame.reg file and double click it. This will add a new entry in your Windows registry forcing IE to render all web pages with Chrome.

chrome registry hack

If you like to change that behavior to the default settings,  just open your Windows Registry (start -> run -> regedit) and navigate to the following key.
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\ChromeFrame\OptInUrls

Now delete the registry value that says * and Chrome Frame will become invisible again unless you manually invoke it with cf command.

[SOURCE 1 & 2]

Picasa 3.5 Adds Face Recognition

If you liked the feature from Picasa Web Albums that detects the faces in your photos and clusters them, it's now available in Picasa 3.5. Face recognition works locally, without sending data to Google's servers.

For some reason, the feature is enabled by default and it starts to process your photos right after installing the software. It's pretty slow and the accuracy is far from perfect: you might see multiple clusters for the same person and different people addded to the same cluster.



If you sign in using a Google account, you can choose people from your contacts when you're asked to add names for each group of photos. There's also the option to download the name tags from Picasa Web Albums if some of your photos are stored online.

"As with Picasa Web Albums, your reward for trudging through your photos to add tags is better organization, which for a massive library of old, archived shots can be hugely helpful," thinks Josh Lowensohn, from CNet.

Another new feature in Picasa 3.5 is geotagging using Google Maps. Until now, you had to install Google Earth to add locations to your photos. The latest version of Picasa has a "places" sidebar that lets you drag photos to a map.

Here are the direct download links for Picasa 3.5:

Windows: http://dl.google.com/picasa/picasa35-setup.exe
Mac: http://dl.google.com/photos/picasamac35.dmg

[SOURCE]

Google Street View's Partner Program

Google has a partner program for Street View. "Do you manage a unique property (pedestrian mall, amusement park, university campus, etc.) that users would like to visit in Street View? Through our Partner Program, you can now request Google to collect imagery of your location. Once the images are added to Street View, people all over the world will be able to virtually explore your property."

For now, the program is limited to properties that are interesting to Google's users. Some of the examples included in the FAQ: "zoos, parks, universities, amusement parks, outdoor marketplaces, stadiums, monuments, tourist destinations, and race tracks".