July 30, 2010

~TECH-BYTES~ Your Favorite Byte of technology now on your Mobile!


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July 29, 2010

Safari Version 5.0.1 with Extensions

Apple announced today the release of its latest version of Web browserSafari. Version 5.0.1 introduces Safari extensions as well as an extensions gallery, bringing the browser into sync with other leading browsers, such asFirefoxChrome.

Extensions were initially added with the June release of Safari 5, but primarily for developer testing. This latest release brings extensions to the forefront, with the introduction of theextensions gallery.

The new version of Safari debuts with extensions by TwitterThe New York TimesAmazon andBing, among others. The extensions bring real-time functionality and integration to the Web browsing experience. The Twitter extension, for example, will notify you of mentions of the website your currently looking at and allow you to tweet about that site with an automatically created short link. The Bing extension adds search, translation and other functionality directly to any page - simply highlight text and the extension goes from there.

safari-extensions.jpg

According to the release, extensions are built with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript and are "sandboxed", or kept segregated from other parts of the user's filesystem to ensure that "they can't access information on a user's system or communicate with websites aside from those specified by the developer".

Last month, Chrome surpassed Safari in the U.S. to take over the number three spot in the browser market, putting Safari behind Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Safari had long held onto the number three spot in the U.S. but had already been relegated to the number four position worldwide. Will the introduction of extensibility, something the other top browsers already offered, bring Safari back into the race?

The latest version of Safari is available for both Mac and PC.

[SOURCE]

Pin Tabs in Firefox 4 Beta 2

The latest release of the Firefox 4 beta has arrived and among thehandful of new features introduced this round is the addition of "App Tabs." These favicon-sized tabs let you pin your most frequently used programs to the top-left side of your tab bar. In an introductory video, Mozilla suggests tabs for email, calendar, IM and streaming music - you know, Web applications.

But this new feature isn't a copycat of competing browser Google Chrome's forthcoming Web App support and accompanying Web App Store, sadly. It's a copycat of Chrome's simple "pin tab" option instead.


App Tabs are Just "Pinned Tabs" - No "Web Apps" Here


In Firefox, the ability to "pin tabs" - that is, make them into smaller tabs represented only by a favicon - has long been possible through the addition of a Firefox add-on. In Firefox 4 Beta 2, it's now a native feature. And while, yes, this is progress, it's also a somewhat disappointing reminder of how far Firefox has fallen behind Google Chrome, which has always had the "pin tab" feature in place, but shrank it down to favicon size back in October of 2009.

Google has long since moved on from basic pinned tabs and plans now for a built-in Web Application Store which will feature apps like those from Google itself (Gmail, Calendar, Docs) as well as choice selections from across the Web (Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, etc.). The store is open to all developers and will feature both free and paid applications.

Where's the Firefox Web App Store?


In writing about Google Chrome's Web App Store, some have suggested, by way of the commentsthat the store is just another "rework of speed dial and pin tabs." Another commenter pondered,"For the life of me, I cannot tell what the difference is between the 'web app' and the regular Gmail I've been using since before time."

What? You didn't see the cute floating icon?

OK, we jest...but we have to agree. Google Chrome Web Apps are very much a new-fangled combination of pinned tabs and "speed dial" favorites. The genius is in the Store itself and the business model behind it.

As Chrome is positioned as an iPad-alternative on netbooks and tablets,  Google is betting on the Web for its "App Store." It's enticing developers to make "Web Apps" instead of iTunes Apps, since Chrome HTML5-enabled Web Apps work anywhere Web standards are supported...including the iPad. While precise details on the cut Google plans on skimming off the top are still scarce (the latest news is that it will be "similar to existing app stores"), it wouldn't be surprising if that cut was considerably less than the one Apple takes now.

Meanwhile, the folks at Mozilla are still pondering what an "open" Web app store should look like, the implication being, of course, that Chrome's isn't as open as it could be. But while Mozilla drags its feet, Chrome's Web App Store is nearly a go for launch. And it's open enough for most developers, considering how many have already embraced it.

[SOURCE]

July 27, 2010

Google's New Dictionary OneBox

Google added a new OneBox result for definitions. The OneBox uses data from Google Dictionary, shows pronunciation information, short definitions and links to other reference sites like Dictionary.com and Answers.com. Google shows the definition of an English word only if it's likely to be useful, so you'll usually see the OneBox when you search for obscure words or technical terms.


"We added implicit triggering, which means you can simply search for [flummox] and find the definition, you don't have to search for [define flummox] or [what is flummox]. We've also improved the definition result snippet to show more details such as parts of speech and pronunciation," explains Google.

Unfortunately, Google's new OneBox is redundant and inconsistent. If you type [salient] in Google's search box, Google Suggest already shows a definition of the word from Princeton's WordNet.


Search for [define salient] and Google shows a definition from WordNet, not from Google Dictionary.


Tip: to trigger the new OneBox when it's not displayed by default, add en:en to your query. For example, search for [en:en emulsion]

[SOURCE]

Google Chrome Canary Build

Google Chrome's team added a new releases channel for early adopters and developers:Canary builds. Unlike the beta channel and the dev channel, Canary builds can be installed without overwriting a regular Chrome build. That means you can install both a Canary build and a regular build that could be on the stable, beta or dev channel.

The Canary build is only available for Windows, it's "installed to a different path, gets updated separately, and runs side by side with an existing stable/beta/dev installation". Google says that the Canary build will usually be the same as the dev build. "Sometimes if necessary, we may push additional updates on Canary build so its version is higher than dev."


"The canary usually updates more frequently than the Dev channel (higher risk
of bustage), and we're working on making it update as often as we have
successful nightly builds. When something doesn't work on the canary, I can
just fall back to my Beta Google Chrome," says Mark Larson, from the Chrome team.

Now that Google Chrome synchronizes bookmarks, settings and it will also synchronize extensions, passwords, browser history, it doesn't even matter that the two builds use separate profiles. Unfortunately, you can't make Chrome Canary your default browser. Google's explanation that it's "a secondary installation of Google Chrome" doesn't make any sense.

Lee Mathews from DownloadSquad thinks that having four flavors of Chrome is "Vista-esque". Google probably noticed that there are many people who install random Chromium builds and decided to offer a channel that updates even faster than once a week, while allowing users to install a stable version of Chrome, just in case the "bleeding edge" builds have major bugs or they're unstable.

Google Chrome Canary builds - Windows-only, for now.

[SOURCE]