Google Chrome’s new tab

This is the new Google Chrome New Tab window in Canary (latest build):

New Google Chrome New tab

I see where Google is going with this. This is really advantageous for Google. Effectively they are changing people’s perception of what a browser and Google is and moving Google ever so closer to the user. Google is now the browser. And Google Plus appears to be part of the browser now.

I don’t think the FCC is going to be too pleased, but well, that’s another story.

On the dismissal of Google Reader

On one hand I’m tremendously shocked that Google would end a service that people relied on so much, and the other they do have the right to terminate anything that they are giving out for free.

The “Don’t be evil” argument is not even remotely related this so people who bring this up time and again are just whiners, or worse.

Google Reader has been in my Chrome most visited website for years and I would faithfully just click on it when I’m bored to see the list of content providers whose RSS I have subscribed to.

It does make me have lesser faith on Google services though. When would they call an end to life for Gmail perhaps? Will I continue to use free web services? Yes, only to get scalded once more.

Google self-driving cars deemed ready

I’m all for this:

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Complete 300K Miles Without Accident, Deemed Ready For Commuting

Google’s self-driving car project is probably one of the most audacious experiments the company has embarked upon. Today, Google announced another milestone for this project: its fleet of about a dozen autonomous cars has now driven 300,000 miles without a single accident under computer control. While this is obviously very positive news for the project, Google warns that “there’s still a long road ahead.” The cars still need to learn how to handle snow-covered roads, for example, and how to interpret temporary construction signs and other situations that could throw its systems for a loop.

Google also announced that it has added the Lexus RX450h hybrid car to its self-driving car family.

Source: Techcrunch

People can be affected by the emotions when they drive, with driver-less technologies this can be circumvented. I’m waiting for this, it puts back the auto in an automobile. I can’t wait for this to be in Singapore one day. We could very well have our first accident-free day.

[And meanwhile, I am hearing some rumors about Mr. Lee Kuan Yew.]

Microsoft proposes S&M

Just learnt about Microsoft’s S&M proposal. Horrible naming — almost like dark humour for journalists.

S&M vs. SPDY: Microsoft and Google battle over the future of HTTP 2.0

Lumbered with the truly awful name of HTTP Speed+Mobility, or HTTP S&M for short, Microsoft’s vision of HTTP 2.0 is mostly very similar to SPDY (and it admits as much on the Microsoft Interoperability blog), but with additional features that cater towards apps and mobile devices. “The HTTP Speed+Mobility proposal starts from both the Google SPDY protocol and the work the industry has done around WebSockets,” says Jean Paoli from the Microsoft Interoperability team. WebSockets in this case refers to a feature in HTML5 that allows websites (or indeed web apps) to open up bidirectional, real-time channels with remote servers over TCP, which is something that neither HTTP nor SPDY is capable of.

In short, the entire purpose of SPDY is to speed up the web — which isn’t a bad thing, and nor is it surprising, considering Google’s fanatical penchant for speed, but Microsoft is basically saying that speed isn’t everything. With HTTP Speed+Mobility, Microsoft is saying that we should also take into account factors such as battery life and bandwidth cost, both of which will play a big part in Windows 8 in specific and mobile computing in general.

Source: Extremetech

Not exactly new news but still worth watching.

Just got an Android

I finally gotten a HTC Desire HD as some may know. What I like about it is really the browser.

Not surprisingly the Android platform has applications that are — how shall I put it — less exciting. Compared to the Apple iPhone it has a lesser application store. Notable applications on the Android includes Gmail, Twitter and Maps.

Google did Maps very well and give it away for free. It’s the app that I am most willing to pay for but can’t.

What’s lacking in the HTC Desire HD for me is a Japanese keyboard and battery. The Desire HD can last me for a day, sometimes less all thanks to the huge screen. Sense UI is a beauty to look at but I wish users can easily uninstall applications such as Peeps and Teeter. The keyboard height is a little too tall for my liking too.

Overall I like the HTC Desire HD especially the small little features to discover of the user’s hand is holding the device and then reducing the ringtone volume. That’s a neat touch and it delights me that the phone is design with much consideration of how the user can possibly interact with the phone less apparently.

Google to shut down Wave

Google announces that Google Wave is to be no more, amongst reasons cited are that it hasn’t gain the traction Google has hoped for. This is hardly surprising for me, Google Wave is just too complex for most. It tries to be everything and failed to stand out.

Google Wave logo

(It’s time to wave goodbye.)

Update on Google Wave

Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web. (Source: Google Blog)

RIP. And thank goodness I didn’t explore the Google Wave API much.

So this is Chrome OS

I saw the Install Chrome OS option on Parallels and thought I’ll just install and try it. There’s nothing much to do there actually. Most of Google custom domain apps aren’t working with Chrome OS. It requires you to be on the Google-owned domain.

Chrome OS screenshot

Here are some of the apps. If you click on the chess icon, it launches an Adobe Flash made chess game online. Those apps are just bookmarks to the online websites.