Flipboard Allows Magazines on Desktop Web Browser

Flipboard on the Web

In March this year, Flipboard introduced Magazines which allowed users to curate content and share them with others. These digital magazines can be curated by one person who can even invite other curators on Flipboard. Flipboard took a very unique look at growth and decided to work solely on mobile platforms as an app and was not available on the web browser. Today it has announced the web browser version for sharing magazines.

The Flipboard magazines on the browser keep the same layout it would show on a tablet. This basically means if you share a magazine you curate on Flipboard on social media, it can be viewed by everyone and not just the people who have the app.

Flipboard on the Web
Flipboard Magazines can now be viewed on your desktop browser

Flipboard’s new focus is ‘content sharing’

Flipboard was focused on how users consume their RSS feeds or even feeds from their social media account. With Flipboard Magazines, they basically have manually curated magazines. That was the first indication that the focus was shifting from just consuming content to actually ‘sharing content’.

So it was only logical that not everyone is expected to download an app just to follow a curated magazines and hence Flipboard new web friendly avatar. Personally I do think it is a good idea because if Google Reader had focused on getting people to share the content they consume, it might have had a very different story.

You can try out our Devils’ Workshop Magazine on Flipboard. Do subscribe to it to get the latest news and updates from this blog.

Link: Flipboard

Chrome updates with Richer Notifications and replaces WebKit with Blink

Chrome

Chrome has released an update for Linux and Windows users. The update version, will include two major changes. First is the planned move away from WebKit onto Blink. Blink is a forked version WebKit that is being implemented by Google. The second update is richer notifications on Chrome. Notifications were first implemented on Gmail, where users could get a pop-up displaying who has sent a new email to them.

Chrome Notifications
Desktop Notifications on Chrome

The new update will show richer notifications which are more interactive and descriptive as seen in the image below.

Richer_Notifications_Chrome

Configure Notifications on Chrome

  • The browser should update automatically on your Windows or Linux platform. The update is also available on Google.com/chrome.
  • The Richer notifications on Chrome will include many services and will show up with an icon on the system tray. if you have disabled notifications on Chrome, you can switch them on by entering Chrome://Settings in the address bar and then under “Privacy” click on “Content Settings”. In “Content Settings” users can look up “Notifications” options and also edit exceptions which are created by Google Apps.
  • When a notifications pops up, we can review the settings.

Chrome Notifications Settings

At the moment, I do not expect a lot of apps to have implemented “Richer Notifications” on Chrome, but developers will surely roll more out in time. This at the moment works on Chrome OS, Linux and Windows. The update for Mac will be released later.

Google Now on Chrome

This roll out of ‘Richer Notifications’ in Chrome, indicates the eventual plan to bring about Google Now on Chrome. Google Now currently on Android uses data like browsing history, maps, calendar details and email to push notifications on the phone called Google Now. The notifications are usually very intelligent, for example it calculates the amount of traffic on the road and tells you to leave for a meeting early based on that data.

The real big integration will be to have integration of Chrome and Android notifications at some point of time.

Do update your Chrome browser and let us know what you think about “Richer Notifications”.

(via Chrome Blog)

Opera releases its Chromium based browser for Windows and Mac

A few months ago, Opera has confirmed that it’s moving away from its browser engine Presto, adopting Google’s Chromium. Now that Chromium is based on Blink – which is a fork of Webkit, Opera too relies on it.

Today, they have released the future version (read: beta) of Opera. They call it Opera Next.

Opera Next on Mac

Firstly, the browser is already available for Android, and now can be tried on Windows and Mac too. As it is based on Chromium, it apparently shares a lot of similarities with it (take a look at the settings page).

The main focus seems to be on Speed Dial and Discover features. Discover basically allows you to browse through news, you might totally find it irrelevant if you already use something like Flipboard or any RSS reader. The Speed Dial tiles look huge and beautiful, they’re also customisable.

They have also introduced a new ‘Stash’ feature. It seems like a place for your favourite sites. You get a large preview of them in the Stash tab. But really, I didn’t find a point in it.

Like you’d expect, there’s Opera Turbo, which is the main reason for Opera being popular. It’s called ‘Off-Road mode’ in Opera Next.

The traditional version of Opera used to support share sheets on Mac, I really liked that. Opera Next on the other hand, doesn’t support OS X Mountain Lion’s sharing features.

As you can see, there’s not a whole lot of stuff they’ve released, but as Blink gets better I’m sure you can expect features in Opera (and Chrome).

Hit the link below to download and give Opera Next a try.

Link: Opera Next

Opera Embraces WebKit and Chromium

Opera browser has a very small following but they are very dedicated. For years it has been setting standards for other browsers but it could never become a force to reckon with as far as numbers were concerned.

Yesterday, Opera announced that it will be start a gradual transition towards WebKit and Chromium. This announcement is something Opera developers might not like. Adopting WebKit will also spell the end for its own Presto engine.

WebKit_Opera

Why Opera tilted towards WebKit?

Opera’s own web rendering engine Presto has lagged behind on performance in recent times. Opera anyways has a small share in the browser space but it could be get even worse as a lot of browsing habits move from the PC to the mobile and tablet.

WebKit Engine is pretty much the dominant one on the mobile scene. It is also used by Chrome and Safari. Opera has resources that are nowhere close to companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple. So adopting WebKit might make sense as it will not tie down to many resources for Opera.

Opera is also moving towards adopting Chromium. That is the open source browser/OS supported by Google. It is basically what Chrome is built on. Opera might be adopting Chromium to make it more accessible for 3rd part developers to make extensions or addons.

Pitfalls of adopting Chromium!

I am not entirely sure about Opera being very successful with a move toward Chromium. Most Chromium based browsers have not exactly been doing all that great.

Remember RockMelt browser which was leveraging itself as a social media browser? It did not work out too well. RockMelt as a browser now does not exist anymore and survives only as an App on the iOS platform.

What are your views on Opera and its decision to adopt WebKit? Do drop in your comments.

Additional Info:

Web Browser Engines is software component that takes mark up content like CSS, HTML, XML and image files and renders them into webpage we see on our browser. Popular web engines are WebKit (Chrome, Safari), Trident (IE), Gecko (Firefox) and Presto (current versions of Opera)

Convert Web Pages to PDF and Send to Google Drive

PDF have survived the the post-PC world. As a matter of fact, I think we will read a lot more PDFs because there will a lot more tablets being sold. Most websites do not publish content that really needs to be saved as a PDF file, but it might be necessary if you want to save a tutorial or a long 5000 word article.

As I accessing my files on different computers I tend to use Google Drive. Here is a handy Chrome extension I came across that converts a HTML page into PDF and saves it to your Google Drive.

HTML to PDF Save Google Drive

How it works:

  • Download and install the “Send to Google Docs” extension on your Chrome browser. The extension will show up a new icon next to the Chrome omnibar (address bar).
  • Now while looking up a website, just click on the icon.
  • The HTML page is converted into a PDF document. It opens a preview within Google Drive.

Some Negatives:

You have to be logged into your Google Account for this extension to work. Ofcourse that means we are not sharing our Google ID and passwords with a 3rd party, so it is not exactly a but drawback.

The files are stored by default in the root directory of Google Drive. Unfortunately it does not have the option of choosing a default folder to send the PDF to.

Also if you like PDF files and search for them try out these 5 tips for searching PDFs online.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Send to Google Docs (Chrome)

Chrome 25: Will Stop Sneaky 3rd Party Extensions

Google’s Chrome browser will soon crack down on sneaky installation of extensions. In a blog post, Google has confirmed that the external extension deployment will be disabled by default. This will actually shut off a major security loop-hole in the Chrome browser. Currently, third-party developers can actually install hidden extension to Chrome, without the user’s knowledge.

This happens because Chrome uses Windows registry mechanism for extension deployment. This can be used by software developers to install hidden extensions directly into the browser. So once Chrome’s version 25 is deployed, users will possibly a prompt to review the extensions being installed.

Chrome 25 - Cleanup Extensions

 

It will also show a prompt every time a extensions which are not from the Chrome webstore is being installed.

Chrome 25 - Cleanup Extensions

Is Chrome a year late?

This update to Chrome is actually surprisingly late. Currently we are on version 23 so it should a while before Chrome 25 is rolled out. Mozilla had announced something similar almost a year ago. But then Mozilla had also faced a major issue thanks to Microsoft pushing its Skype toolbar.

The toolbar caused many browser crashes for Firefox users. Mozilla finally added the Skype toolbar into the official Firefox block list. A few months later Firefox by default stopped allowing silent installations of add-ons. That was back in August 2011, so it seems Chrome is almost a year and half late.

Well its better late than never. Do drop in your comments.

Firefox 17 Released with Support of Facebook Messenger

Firefox 17 has been released officially for Windows, Linux and Mac users. The desktop browser which has struggled to grow consistently against rising Chrome. The new updated version is available today.

Facebook Messenger can also be directly used with Firefox 17. Just sign-in to your Facebook account and visit this page for Messenger for Firefox and click on Turn On.

It will show up with a sidebar of your Facebook chat friends

Facebook Messenger Integrated with Firefox 17

Other Updates on Firefox 17

  • Firefox 17 now is not supported on Mac OS X 10.5
  • Some old bugs regarding the New Tabs page, pointer lock for web apps and page scrolling on sites with fixed headers.
  • The new version will be useful for its Click-to-Play Plugin Blocks feature. The older versions of Flash, Adobe Reader or Silverlight bring up a prompt for users to update the plugins to newer versions.
  • Additionally if plugins are blocked by Firefox 17 on the current page you are viewing, then a icon on the address bar turns into a blue box.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Download Firefox 17

Automatically Scan Chrome Bookmarks For Bad Links

Bookmark Sentry Scans Bookmark Director

Even before websites had RSS feeds on them, people followed their websites by bookmarking pages on their browser. Even today, I have several webpages bookmarked on my browser.

Anyone with several bookmarks on a browser might be familiar with the issue of some bookmarks becoming defunct (bad links) or even being saved multiple times. Bookmark Sentry is an extension, that allows users to scan Chrome bookmarks for bad links and duplicate links.

Bookmark Sentry Scans Bookmark Director

Bookmark Sentry Features

  • Install the extension and it carries out a scan of Chrome’s bookmark directory.
  • It will show up 404 links, duplicate content and empty folders. With a single click all the errors can be cleaned up.
  • Users can also set the time for the extension to scan the bookmarks. I ideally set the scan to be done after 1 month as we do not bookmark too many webpages everyday.
Bookmark Scan Settings
Settings for Bookmark Sentry

As this extension works only on Chrome, you might like these cool tips to get more out of your Chrome browser.

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Bookmark Sentry

[Tip] Block Yourself from Facebook Unless you have Notifications Pending

Facebook is a great way to connect with friends from school and college. It is also a great way to keep track of what is happening in the lives of people you know. But most people generate very little useful information on Facebook. I often find 90% of the updates on Facebook being a waste of time.

Most status update can be about mundane things like describing the weather or sharing jokes which often are not funny and the worst of them all sharing funny cat images. But the social networking website is a very addictive service and often I find myself wasting time on it. For someone like me, who works online this can be a catastrophic distraction. 😛

But I do not want to stop using Facebook completely and wanted to look up a online tool that helped me.

Facebook Nanny is a Chrome browser extension which allows users to only access their Facebook account, only if there is a notification pending.

A popup message shows up telling the user to get back to work and not waste time on Facebook. 🙂

Users can also access their own profile on Facebook and messages but not their feeds and lists.

To allow yourself full access to Facebook, either you can login from a different browser, disable the extension or use incognito mode on Chrome.

Are there any other tools you use to stop yourself from spending more time on Facebook and similar sites?

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Facebook Nanny

Is Firefox the best Android Browser? Yes!

On my laptop, I hardly use Firefox except to keep it upgraded or sometimes when curiosity strikes. I love using Chrome on my computer and hence I was rather happy to see Chrome Beta on Android. Unfortunately Chrome on Android is still a bit buggy for me.

This is when I started using Firefox on Android. The browser today is out of beta, interestingly beating out Chrome which is still in Beta (check update below).

Firefox for Android Features

  • Firefox is compatible not only with Android 4.0 (ICS) like Chrome. It is compatible from Android 2.2 onwards.
  • The browser also prompts users to choose the search engine they want to use for every search. These include Google, Amazon, Twitter and Wikipedia. Considering we are using this on mobile phones or tablets, toggling through these four is handy.
  • Firefox also has quite a few add-on, much like its PC version. It is one of the few mobile browsers which has a ad-blocker.

There are the other options like synchronizing bookmarks, passwords and history. The browser also seems to be pretty fast and emphasis is on minimal use of typing out stuff.

Do try out Firefox on your Android phone and drop in your comments and views.

Link: Firefox for Android

UPDATE: The Chrome App for Android was updated a day after this post and is out of beta. Thanks Gokul Sukumar for the tip.