Your Android device could end up unlocking Chrome OS thanks to a new API

A new API for Chrome OS has been discovered, and curiously asks that other devices be able to unlock your computer. The less-than-creatively named API, “chrome.screenlockPrivate”, was spotted originally by Chrome aficionado Francois Beaufort. The API linked to a corresponding Drive file, which outlines the simple, yet oddly sublime, utility.

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The code review also has a short description, which reads “The chrome.screenlockPrivate API allows select apps to control the ChromeOS ScreenLocker.” A simple objective, it could be a really interesting feature for Chrome OS, and even the Chrome browser. If our mobile device is forced to be in proximity to our Chrome OS device to use it, it adds a layer of security Google is highly keen on, which is multiple devices guarding one another.

It also brings thing like Guest Mode into play, wherein you could simply leave your Chrome OS computer at home or the office, and those without your device (and by virtue API pass) could use it. We also like it as an anti-theft feature, which essentially locks a device down for most who would be interested in taking such devices anyway. In that way, it might be more interesting than we think.

The language notes that it has the ability to be used with USB, NFC, or Bluetooth. This calls into play smartwatches, Google Glass, your Android phone, other computers, and even NFC tags. We like the idea for a ton of reasons, most notably enterprise and education. If, by virtue of being in a class kids were prohibited from using their device as anything but a learning tool, Chromebooks for Education just got a lot better.

Dell Chromebook 11 unveiled for education

The HP Chromebook 11 may not have returned to an available status just yet, however there is a Chromebook 11 coming from Dell. The company announced their first Chromebook this morning, the Dell Chromebook 11. Unlike the HP model though, Dell has their Chromebook 11 heading to the education market.

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The Dell Chromebook 11 is expected to arrive in January and will be available in a 4GB and 2GB variety. And to clarify, that is a reference to the RAM. Dell has yet to offer a specific price and have instead mentioned how the notebook is “expected to sell below $300.” It should also be pointed out the Dell Chromebook 11 will be available for those in the US and the UK.

That all having been said, this model Chromebook will be sporting an 11.6-inch display with a resolution of 1366 x 768. There will be Intel HD graphics, a 720p front-facing webcam, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, a pair of USB 3.0 ports and HDMI for connecting to an external display. Dell has also said the battery will be able to provide up to 10 hours of run time.

The remaining specs include a 16GB SSD drive and 4th generation Intel Celeron 2955U processor. Along with the hardware, Dell has some software goodies for the Chromebook 11. One item in particular is access to the Dell Wyse PocketCloud application which provides a “personal cloud” across devices. That app will be available for download by way of the Chrome Web Store. Otherwise, similar to other model Chromebooks, the Dell offering will have access to the other Chrome apps including Google Docs and Google Cloud Print.

SOURCE: Dell

HP Chromebook 11 replacement charger appears in Play Store

HP officially announced the Chromebook 11 back in early-October. This model arrived as a Chromebook with an 11.6-inch display and while there was some mention of the color options at launch, there was something slightly more interesting. The HP Chromebook 11 used a microUSB charger, just like you would see with a smartphone or tablet. But as we later learned, that caused an issue.

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The HP Chromebook 11 was abruptly pulled from the Play Store (as well as with all retailers) in November. And while that caused some initial confusion, HP later confirmed the notebook was pulled to due issues with the charger. According to a statement from HP, they paused sales “after receiving a small number of user reports that some chargers included with the device have been damaged due to over-heating during use.”

The trouble is, since that point things have been on the quite side. And while the Chromebook 11 remains unavailable for purchase, a sign that it will make a return has appeared. We have yet to see a Chromebook 11 listing in the Play Store, however a coming soon style listing for a charger has appeared.

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The charger doesn’t have a ship date yet and otherwise, is simply showing a price of $19.99. We have yet to hear anything from HP, however we would expect any current HP Chromebook 11 users to get a replacement for free. But if anything, this listing does imply that owners may want to be on the lookout for a message from HP.

Otherwise, looking back to that earlier statement from HP and we see the following warning;

“customers who have purchased an HP Chromebook 11 should not use the original charger provided with the product. In the interim they may continue using their HP Chromebook 11 with any other Underwriters Laboratories-listed micro-USB charger, for example one provided with a tablet or smartphone. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Google search updated with option to open apps with relevant results

Do you consider yourself a heavy Googler? If so, you’ll be pleased to hear about a couple of Google search updates that are rolling out today.

The Big G has announced that users searching for a piece of information can now be presented with links to open up an app that contains the relevant info. For example, someone searching for Michael J. Fox may be given the option of opening up the IMDb app to learn more about the actor. It’s worth noting, though, that an app will need support for the “Open in app” feature baked into it to appear in search results. The list of apps that currently support it include IMDb, Newegg, OpenTable and Wikipedia.

Google search can also help users to find apps related to a particular topic that they haven’t yet installed. Performing a search for “fantasy football apps” will present a list of apps available in the Google Play Store, complete with links to the app pages and their download links.

Today’s Google search updates sound like they ought to make it easier and quicker for users to find the relevant information that they’re hunting for, whether that’s on the web or in an app, and I think that that’s something that we can all get behind. The improved app integration is now rolling out as part of an update to the Google Search app for Android and in the Chrome and Android browsers. For more info on the updates and how developers can add support for these features to their apps, just slide your cursor down to the Google links below and get to clickin’.

Via: Engadget
Source: Google Inside Search blog, Google Support, Google Play

Upcoming Google toolkit will help developers create Chrome apps that also run on Android (and iOS)

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It looks like Google is preparing to release a toolkit that will soon allow developers create Chrome apps that extend, not only run on the desktop, but Android (and iOS) devices as well. The boys at The Next Web made the discovery after stumbling upon Mobile Chrome Apps repository on Github, revealing Google’s upcoming plan to effectively extend beyond the browser.

Google declined to comment on their upcoming plans, saying that while they’re not ready to make anything official just yet, developers are more than free to use their tools that were uncovered. Using the new toolkit, developers can modify, tweak, and test their apps for smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Once everything is running properly, these hybrid apps can immediately be published to the Google Play Store where you’ll be able to download and install them like any other app.

It looks like, for the time being, only Android 4.o+ devices will be supported, with an expected release as early as January of next year. We’ll keep our eyes peeled in the meantime developers can hit up the source link for more info on getting started with Chrome apps for mobile.

[via TNW]

Chrome offline apps set to launch on Android and iOS in 2014

Google is set to bring Chrome packaged apps to mobile, as well as desktop. The apps in question, which recently launched as “Desktop apps” in the Chrome Web Store for Chromebooks (or “Offline Apps” elsewhere), act just like web apps except they operate outside of a web browser, and don’t need an Internet connection. While we’ve long expected Google to bring Chrome extensions to mobile, this represents a new frontier in Google’s platform functionality.

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The project was discovered by The Next Web, who stumbled across a GitHub repository named Mobile Chrome Apps. Innocuous at first, it quickly became interesting when the project was found to be led by a Google software developer, Michal Mocny. The project is designed to give Developers a well rounded experience in programming and launching Chrome apps across platforms, and includes everything from bug fixes to testing.

Interestingly, the apps are meant for both the Play Store and App Store, but no nation of Windows Phone is made. The requirements suggest that Android 4.0 and up will be supported, with iOS functionality marked as TBA.

Chrome apps are written in HTML5, which has traditionally been reserved as a web-centric markup language. By offering HTML5 apps for offline use, Google is pushing the boundaries of operating systems, essentially challenging the need for one altogether. We see tho currently with Chrome apps finding a home on the Windows home screen and menu bar. By crossing into mobile, Google is continuing to push boundaries with the simplest of technologies.

The apps are said to be ready for beta testing as early as January, and we’ll be sure to watch for them in the Play Store. We’d like to think a Play Store update would serve as a precursor for a launch, as these would likely get their own section within Google’s storefront.

MyPermissions gets an update, brings cross platform information protection

We’ve all done it — bypassed the alert page, telling us what permissions an app or webpage seeks. We are in such a fervor to get to our content that we ignore the warning signs. Then, from time to time, we wonder when we sent that tweet about saving money, or that Facebook post about our “favorite new app!” Pretty content in knowing we didn’t actually do that, the wheels start turning.

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MyPermissions is a pretty great way to check out who’s doing what on your mobile device, as well as who has permissions for accessing your info. If you’re noting those tweets about your favorite coupons for baking soda all come from the same spot, you can access MyPermissions to find out if they’ve got access to “act as you”.

The Chrome extension (as well as Firefox, Safari, and Opera counterparts) for MyPermissions recently saw a big update, with tweaks to the UI and real-time alerts. If you sign up with MyPermissions, it will notify you in real time of those third party apps or services accessing your info, and even posting to your accounts as you. It gives a full list of which apps have access to what, and even an option to report or delete them from your life. It works for Android apps, as well as Chrome extensions — even those for Drive.

It also lets you know which of those sites that you signed in with using your Facebook or Google+ accounts has access. If you’re not always at a computer, there is also an Android app that does much of what the extension does. If your online privacy and safety is a concern, we like MyPermissions as a one-stop shop for seeing what services can access your info, or even pretend to be you.


Google Account Access Page updated

Google’s Account Access Page has been given a facelift today, bringing a better way to see which Chrome apps and Android devices are accessing your information. Often times, we download an app and don’t think twice about what it’s asking for, only to later wonder just which of our apps and services are accessing things like contacts or web search history.

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Whatever operating system you’re using, if it accesses your Google information, the Account Access Page has you covered. The page now shows larger thumbnail images, and lists which devices are linked to your account. It also shows all devices that have been given access to your information, and allows you to revoke that access. We were a bit surprised at how many older devices we had listed!

Of course, if you want to access individual Android app permissions, that has to be done via the device itself. You can revoke access to devices or Chrome apps, but not alter them in any way. Like anything else, it’s a bit of an all-or-nothing proposition with permissions.

The updated page does clear things up a bit, and makes it really easy to manage what is accessing your info. We hope this paves the way for further advancements in managing your device and apps in a macro sense, especially via Android. We like Android Device Manager, but that’s an emergency utility.

Always listening “OK Google” feature lands on the desktop via Chrome extension

Ever wanted to have that hands-free experience of activating Google Search with your voice but are currently confined to working on your computer? Google has you in mind when it made this Google Voice Search Hotword extension for the Chrome web browser which brings the now iconic “OK, Google” phrase to desktops and laptops.

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Simply install the extension, which you can download from the link below, and you’re good to go. Of course, you’ll need to have a mic installed on your system, but a lot of laptops come with those nowadays. This will allow you to then simply use voice commands not only for searches but also for things like setting reminders and calendar events, doing unit conversions, and more. You can always type in these search terms or commands yourself, but speaking out commands to your computer is much more convenient and cooler, at least if you’re not in a situation that would make it awkward.

The extension is currently in beta and is definitely far from perfect. It does have some limitations, aside from being unsurprisingly exclusive to Google’s web browser. The hotword only works when you have a Google search tab open in Chrome and when Chrome is the currently active window in the foreground. Thus, the feature doesn’t work when you’re doing something else, but it shouldn’t be much of an issue for people who work and live inside the browser, which is perhaps Google’s primary target anyway.

This Chrome extension is definitely no Motorola Moto X or Open Mic+ Android app. But when you’re stuck with using a computer and need a quick and easy way to start a search, then this Google feature might just do it in a pinch.

Download: Google Voice Search Hotword Chrome extension