Google Chrome’s Bundled Games

The first Chrome 10 Dev Channel build bundles two HTML5 games: Poppit and Entanglement. The two games are added to the new tab page even if you’ve previously installed other apps.

Some users will probably be surprised to see two games they didn’t install, so Google should inform users that the games were automatically installed. Chrome’s source code makes it clear that Poppit and Entanglement are installed for all operating systems, except for Chrome OS. Probably a better idea would be to recommend some apps based on the browsing history.

{ Thanks, Dani. }

Change Default Zoom Level in Google Chrome

Google Chrome 9 lets you change the default zoom level for all pages, but this feature is more difficult to find because it’s only available in the tab-based settings page. Here’s how to change the zoom level:

1. Make sure that you use Google Chrome 9 (beta, dev), Google Chrome 10 (Canary) or a recent Chromium build. For example, you could type about: in the address bar.
2. Type about:flags in the address bar.
3. Click “Enable” next to Tabbed Settings and then click the “Restart” button at the bottom of the page. This will restart the browser.
4. Click the wrench menu and select Options.
5. Select Under the hood and pick a value from the “Page zoom” drop-down.

If you don’t like Chrome’s tabbed settings interface, you can go back to the standard settings dialog by disabling Tabbed Settings from about:flags. You won’t lose the default zoom level, but you’ll have to switch to the tabbed interface if you want to change it.

Bonus tip: Another option you can change from the tabbed settings interface is minimum font size (Under the hood > Web Content > Customize fonts > Minimum font size).

{ Thanks, Sterling. }

Google Chrome and Multiple Profiles

Google Chrome has always supported multiple profiles, but you had to use a command-line flag (–user-data-dir=”c:\path\to\the\profile”) to associate a profile with a folder where the browser will save its state.

At some point, Google added an option that allowed you to open a new window and use a separate profile, but it was quickly removed. According to a design document from Chromium’s site, this feature be available again.

“The multiple profiles feature will allow the user to associate a profile with a specific set of browser windows, rather than with an entire running instance of Chrome. Allowing different windows to run as different Chrome identities means that a user can have different open windows associated with different Google accounts, and correspondingly different sets of preferences, apps, bookmarks, and so on — all those elements which are bound to a specific user’s identity.”

Users will be able to associate a profile with a Google account and log in at the browser level. This is a great feature for Chrome OS, but it will also work in Google Chrome.

Google will associate each Chrome window with an identity. “On Windows (and Linux), this is accomplished with a colored and labeled menu-enabled tag at the top of the browser frame, next to the window controls. On Mac OS X, the window frame is too small to accommodate a tag; instead, we add an item to the menu bar, with a special colored background, in the same way the Windows tab is specially colored.”

{ spotted by François and David.}

Google’s Guide to the Web

Google Chrome’s comic book was a great way to introduce to the world a new browser, but not everyone knew what’s an URL or a web app. “20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web” is a guidebook created by the Google Chrome team that tries to address this issue by explaining complicated terms like “Internet”, “cloud computing”, “JavaScript”, “HTML5”, “cookies”, “URL”, “IP address” using illustrations and real life analogies. Here’s an example:

“An IP address is a series of numbers that tells us where a particular device is on the Internet network, be it the server or your computer. It’s a bit like mom’s phone number: just as the phone number tells an operator which house to route a call to so it reaches your mom, an IP address tells your computer which other device on the Internet to communicate with — to send data to and get data from.”

The guidebook is actually a great example of an HTML5 web application that works offline and Google recommends to read it in “Chrome or any up-to-date, HTML5-compliant modern browser”. Most of the examples from the book are about Google Chrome and that’s what makes it look like a Chrome ad.

Happy holidays from Google Chrome: free holiday Wi-Fi at 30,000 feet

Not too long ago, flying home for the holidays meant disconnecting for several hours until you touched down at your destination. Today, Wi-Fi technologies allow us to stay connected even at 30,000 feet above the ground, so we can read the news, browse the web (to beat the long-haul boredom) and send that last-minute planning email before the family reunion. This holiday season, there will be more connected flyers than ever before.

On the Chrome team, we’re big fans of innovations that make our lives on the web and in the browser better—and it all starts with more ubiquitous access to the Internet. So for this holiday season, we’ve teamed up with AirTran, Delta and Virgin America to offer free Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi on every domestic flight from November 20, 2010 through January 2, 2011.

We were excited by the response from last year’s free holiday Wi-Fi program, and thought that this would be a perfect holiday gift to help you stay connected to your loved ones as you head home. You can find out more about this partnership at If you haven’t tried Chrome yet, remember to download the browser before you take to the skies, or try it when you’re back on the ground.

Posted by Sundar Pichai

Google Chrome’s Version Number Is Meaningless

Google Chrome is the first browser that has a meaningless version number. Since Chrome is automatically updated, most people use the latest version of the software a few days after it’s released.

Google’s help articles aren’t the only ones that ignore Chrome’s version number. Yahoo has recently released a report that recommends developers to assume that Chrome users are running the latest version.

“Chrome has been progressing rapidly through versions, and Google has communicated its intent to continue rapid development and short release cycles. As a result, we’ve modified our strategy for Chrome to advise testing on the latest [generally available] release of Chrome as soon as it is issued, with prior versions moving to X-grade as soon as they are superseded.”

Now that Google Chrome has a new major release every six weeks, you won’t see too many new features. Chrome 7 focuses on “hundreds of bug fixes”, while Chrome 8 enables the internal PDF viewer. Chrome’s releases aren’t exciting because the browser is constantly improving and you don’t have to wait one year or more to see the new features.

Web Clipboard Extension for Google Chrome

Google released a Chrome extension for Web Clipboard, the Google Docs feature that lets you save and quickly retrieve text from the Web. The extension could be used to paste HTML content saved in Google Docs, to save some text you need to use on another computer or to copy multiple items to the clipboard.

“Content you copy to the server clipboard is stored on Google’s servers and remains there until 30 days have passed since you last took action on (for example, copied) a given content selection,” informs a help center article.

For some reason, the Web Clipboard from Google Docs doesn’t show the items saved using the extension, but this is probably a bug. The extension doesn’t support keyboard shortcuts, there’s no contextual menu entry for copy or paste and you can’t preview the text before pasting.

I still don’t understand why Google Notebook was discontinued. It could’ve been a much better Web Clipboard.

{ via Blogoscoped Forum }

Google Chrome Frame, Out of Beta

Internet Explorer users who can’t update the browser or switch to a better browser have another option for running modern web apps: Google Chrome Frame, a plug-in that uses Google Chrome to render the pages that include a required tag. Chrome Frame is now out of beta and can be installed if you use Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8.

Google Chrome Frame is especially valuable for enterprise users, so Google added a MSI installer that helps IT administrators deploy the software in a network.

Microsoft has recently released the first beta of Internet Explorer 9 and showed that it can develop a browser that’s fast, standards-compliant and better suited for running web apps. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer 9 can’t be installed in Windows XP, which is still the most popular operating system. Even if Internet Explorer 8 has been released more than one year ago, almost half of the users haven’t upgraded to the latest version of the browser.

Chrome Frame is already used by many Google services: Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Orkut and other services will start to support it soon. Chromium’s blog says that the main goals are to “to improve performance and ease the transition for users as they drop support for legacy browsers”. After installing Chrome Frame in Internet Explorer 8, I noticed that Google Reader loaded much faster and had a better performance. If you want, you can load all the pages using Chrome Frame, but it’s not recommended to do that.

Instant Search in Google Chrome

Google Chrome will add support for instant search, the feature released this week by Google. An early implementation is already available in Chrome Dev Channel and in Chrome Canary build. You can enable this feature by adding the following command-line flag to a Chrome shortcut: –enable-match-preview (in Windows, right-click on the shortcut, select “Properties” and append the flag to the “Target” value).

Chrome’s flavor of instant search is quite surprising. As you type a query in Chrome’s Omnibox, the browser shows a preview of Google’s results for that query. This is suboptimal because it doesn’t use Google’s predictions, which speed up entering a query. Instead of displaying the results for [weather] when you type “w”, Chrome only shows the results for [w].

When you select one of the suggestions from the address bar, Chrome previews the results for that query. If Chrome finds a web page that matches your query, it loads that page. For example, when I type “m” in the Omnibox, Chrome autocompletes my query as, since I frequently go to Gmail. If I type “n”, Chrome loads Google News. It may be useful for frequently visited pages, but loading a page just because I type a letter in the address bar is a bit too much. This way, you may end up loading a lot of pages while typing a query and that may be distracting and may slow you down.

This feature works even if Google is not the default search engine. Hopefully, it will be considerably improved before the next Chrome release.

{ Thanks, PhistucK. }

Google Chrome Latest Version

The nice thing about Google Chrome’s auto-update feature is that almost all users are running the latest version of the software. This is really important for web developers, who no longer have to worry that a large number of users haven’t upgraded from Chrome 2 or Chrome 3. It’s not necessary to test a site in multiple versions of Google Chrome and it’s safe to use features added in the latest version of the browser.

Gmail’s help center lists the supported browsers and includes the minimum version number required next to each browser, except Google Chrome.

Unfortunately, even if Chrome installs the latest version, you can’t use it until you restart the browser. Google started to add a little orange dot next to the wrench icon and show messages like: “Old school’s not cool. Google Chrome is woefully out of date because it hasn’t crashed or restarted in a while. Restart Chrome to apply update.”

{ The second screenshot is licensed as Creative Commons by Chris Messina. }