Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Google Chrome Frame ... Chrome performance for IE users!

Google is now offering Internet Explorer users the chance to experience Chrome levels of speed when it comes to JavaScript execution. Is this a clever way to poach users or little more than a tech experiment?

The technology, known as Chrome Frame, is, in the words of Google, “an early-stage open source plug-in that seamlessly brings Google Chrome’s open web technologies and speedy JavaScript engine to Internet Explorer.” It helps make the Microsoft browser better in two respects:

  • 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.

In other words, Chrome Frame is a plug-in for Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 (to those still using IE 6, shame on you or your IT department) that makes Internet Explorer a better browser.

Clear so far? Good.

But there’s a gotcha. It involves web masters adding tags to their web pages:

Enabling Google Chrome Frame is simple. For most web pages, all you have to do is add a single tag to your pages and detect whether your users have installed Google Chrome Frame.

So if you go out and install Chrome Frame today, chances are you won’t notice any difference whatsoever. Google hasn’t published a list of sites that see a performance boost thanks to Chrome Frame.

Now, on the face of it Chrome Frame seems like interesting technology. After all, it allows users to get a better browser without actually updating their browsers. There’s a fair bit of hassle associated with changing browsers, and for the new browser to “stick” the user has to change old habits, and as we all know, old habits die hard.

It’s also interesting that Google has chosen to target IE. By releasing a plug-in that in effect makes Internet Explorer better, Google is in effect making a very bold statement - “if you can’t fix IE, we will!”

Which leads me on to the next question - why is IE the worst browser in terms of performance and compatibility? I’m having a hard time believing that the IE dev team isn’t populated with the same level of talented, geeky high achievers that Google has working on the Chrome team. The issue has to be down to management.

But is Chrome Frame anything more than just political play between Google and Microsoft? Well, I’m having a hard time seeing the plug-in gaining much traction amongst IE users unless Google can really stir web developers and get them to start tagging pages. Maybe if users start seeing download links to Chrome Frame on popular sites then users might start getting hooked.

The truth is that Internet Explorer needs to improve independent of plug-ins. There’s no real reason why the most popular browser, one developed by a multi-billion dollar company, lags far behind the rest in almost every test of benchmark you throw at it. I’m not sure if Microsoft has been deliberately crippling Internet Explorer in order to keep us hooked onto desktop apps rather than move to the cloud, or whether the project is simply bogged down by internal issues, but it’s something needs to be done now. A plug-in like Chrome Frame might be just what’s needed.

Can we have a Chrome Frame plug-in for Firefox next, please?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Google unveils Google Fast Flip

If you are a online geek and would like to get to know latest happenings around the world with a click of a button through online media agencies, you may come across that a rich media file takes lot of time to download, which can be frustrating.

To address the needs of above said problems. Google has new solution which enables to flip through articles really fast without unnatural delays, just as we can in print.

This new solution for iPhone and Android powered devices would let you seamlessly and  rapidly flip forward to the content you like, without the constant wait for things to load. Imagine taking 10 seconds to turn the page of a print magazine!

"Today we're adding a new experiment to Google Labs: Google Fast Flip, a new reading experience that combines the best elements of print and online articles. Like a print magazine, Fast Flip lets you browse sequentially through bundles of recent news, headlines and popular topics, as well as feeds from individual top publishers," said a blog post at Google.

Post added, "As the name suggests, flipping through content is very fast, so you can quickly look through a lot of pages until you find something interesting. At the same time, we provide aggregation and search over many top newspapers and magazines, and the ability to share content with your friends and community."

It further said that the new tool offers end users with fast browsing, natural magazine-style navigation, recommendations from friends and other members of the community and a personalized selection of content.

Google Buys reCAPTCHA

Google has acquired reCAPTCHA, a company that provides visual security codes for protecting more than million websites from spam and fraud. Yes, reCAPTCHA are the ones who make those boxes with squiggly letters that are required to be entered.

In its official blog, Google said that the acquisition was intended to use ReCaptcha's technology as a security measure in Google entities. Apart from that, ReCaptcha's expertise will also be used for Optical Character Recognition technique for their book-scanning project.

ReCaptcha is a company from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science that works towards twisting two words in order to confuse spam bots and scripts from spamming websites. ReCaptcha uses anOCR Software that can read passages from news clips, old books and articles which make Google much interested. Hackers use the same software to get through CAPTCHAs.

However, the reCAPTCHA software itself isn't perfect and a hacker group dubbed Anonymous had used brute forcing/guessing algorithm to crack it.

Currently, ReCaptcha is helping in digitization of old New York Times issues, which is what, we think, got Google interested.