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Chrome 13 Instant Search

Google released Chrome 13 on Aug 3rd, 2011.

This release contains over 5200 changes, but one of the bigger changes includes a new feature called Instant Pages.  Instant Pages basically preloads the first search result for “some” pages, and upon clicking displays the first page instantaneously.

I did some testing with this new feature to see how it works.  Obviously, results may vary based on what you search for and the Chrome team indicates that this works only for “some” pages.  I found that it worked in some pages as well but it didn’t always work as described.  It’s possible during my testing that either I was too fast in clicking the search links, my internet connection wasn’t fast enough at that particular moment, or the site behind the instant search was too slow to respond.  Further testing and usage will be needed, but I can see some value already with this feature.

Another thing I noticed is that the first Chrome search result appears with the a blue arrow next to it.  Apparently this arrow has been around previously to this release, but it appears to also serve as an indicator of an Instant Search result according to this article/post.  Evidently the blue arrow has annoyed some users already and in normal Google fashion there is a way to turn it off as well.

All-in-all, Chrome 13 seems to be another great release in my initial testing so far.  I will be exploring the other big features next, such as Print Preview and Print to PDF.  Looks like Mac users will have to wait a bit longer for the printing features though so I will only be able to test on my Linux and Mac machines.

If for some reason you didn’t get the auto-update you can trigger a manual update of Chrome by clicking the wrench icon, then opening “About Google Chrome”.  Have fun!

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Why would Google Chrome remove H.264 video support?

The Google Chrome web browser project recently divulged that they plan to drop support of the H.264 video codec.  It’s left the web/computing industry scratching its head.  Google is getting a firestorm of responses back on this, and deservedly so.

Why would Google make such a move like this?  H.264 “is the standard” for playing and encoding video.  H.264 is open and is royalty free for users.  MPEG LA has even recently stated here that it “will continue not to charge royalties for Internet Video that is free to end users.” The good folks at MacRumors.com as have journaled it here also.

This move by Google is perplexing to many and appears to be inconsistent with the mission for open standards they seek.  What’s confusing is that they are continuing to allow Adobe Flash as a standard.  As you know Adobe Flash is essentially a vendor locked solution to one vendor (Adobe).  H.264 is now an open standard, not something that Apple owns.  Yes,  Apple has a vested stake in H.264, and has basically worked to drive this to the standards base, but H.264 has essentially become the best ubiquitous video standard we have today.  Its used in almost everything we use today to play back video.

As a result of Apples efforts and the standards bodies,  we now have a free standard that is common to mobile phones, PCs, Macs, and game consoles.  Oh and don’t forget your AppleTV’s, BoxeeBox, and GoogleTV devices.  Most of these devices have hardware decoding chips built-in to boost HD video performance.  WebM is going to have to rely on software decoding, probably for a long, long time.   As you know, hardware decoding of video is far faster than software decoding.  WebM on these devices using software decoding will likely result in choppy and slow playback.  Basically I can’t see many companies getting on-board with WebM, just for the previous commitment to H.264 as the standard.

Google is claiming that they want a truly open web standards focus going into their web browser.  The claim is that WebM and Theora are the defacto standard for open web video.    From early reports on WebM, is it isn’t close to coming to the capabilities of H.264.

Is Google taking a swing at Apple or is this something else?  What are your thoughts on Google’s decision?  Do you agree or disagree?  Feel free to share them here them in the comments section.

Poll: Which Web Browser do you use?

I used to be primarily a Firefox user but about six months ago I made the full switch to Google Chrome on all my Mac’s and PCs (exception to Safari on my iPhone & iPad of course). For me, Chrome seems to be the best browser. Best meaning, fast and plenty of support for extensions (plug-ins) that I use. What browser do you use primarily? If you have multiple machines, answer for the most used including mobile devices.

My Internet speedtest

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http://www.speedtest.net/

latest test on 05/03/08

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