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For those of us who live and work on the web, the browser is an unsung hero. It's become the most important piece of software on our computer, but rarely is it given proper recognition, let alone fêted.

We invited some creative friends to make short movies about our own browser, Google Chrome, and then watched as they came back with dozens of interesting ways to portray the browser. After finishing his video, artist and illustrator Christoph Niemann wrote to us about his approach:
"Instead of thinking of what I wanted to show, I tried to think about what I did NOT want to show. I realized that when I use a computer or browse the web these days, the one thing I do NOT think about is... a computer.

There was a time when I knew the meaning of every single item in my system folder and had to wisely allocate RAM to an application before burdening it with a complex task. Dealing with a computer has become much simpler these days (if everything works), but much more difficult and complex (especially if it doesn't behave) — almost like dealing with a living creature.

I wanted to find a simple metaphor that explains what a browser does, without showing a screen, a keyboard, the letters WWW, pixels, zeroes or ones.

Initially I thought of my mom (the browser) who brings me (the user) a plate of spaghetti bolognese (the Internet). But since spaghetti bolognese is not a rewarding thing to draw, let alone animate, I went for the next best metaphor, which can be seen in the animation."
Along with Christoph's video, there are great shorts by Motion TheorySteve MottersheadGo RobotOpenDefault OfficeHunter GathererLifelong Friendship SocietySuperFadJeff&Paul, and Pantograph. You can view the individual Chrome Shorts on our YouTube channel as well as a quick compilation below. 



We're really excited about the imagination and range of their ideas, and we hope you enjoy them.

Posted by Ji Lee, Creative Lab

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A few weeks ago, we joked about creating a special version of Google Chrome that made the web 3D. Well today, all joking aside, a team at Google is actually taking a step in that direction by introducing O3D: a shader-based API for 3D graphics in the browser.

This API allows for the development of sophisticated 3D applications that rival experiences one would expect in native applications. Technology like this will eventually make launching high quality games as easy as clicking a link in your browser.

Read more about O3D on the Google Code blog or explore the API at code.google.com/apis/o3d.

Posted by Jason Toff, Google Chrome team

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About two months ago, the Google Japan team helped create a video for Google Chrome that was well-received by local viewers and bloggers. We thought it might have transcontinental appeal, so we decided to also share it on the Google YouTube channel in English. The video, shown below, has since had over 2 million views.



The video was created by Pantograph, who also provided us with some behind-the-scenes photos of their production process:



More recently, the Japan team has come up with some new animations highlighting some of Google Chrome's features in a fun way. Check out the video below and watch how the character surfs on a cursor, cures a sick tab, speeds on his motorcycle, and buys a wedding ring.



Similarly, the Czech team put together a few flash banners that show off some features of Google Chrome.  The banner below, by David Böhm, is just the first of several commissioned from popular Czech cartoonists trying to capture local flavor through comic strips - a very Czech medium.  Whether they discuss Chrome's speed or simplicity these videos are just as charming and quirky in translation.



As always, you can see the latest Google Chrome videos on the Google Chrome YouTube channel.

Posted by Jason Toff, Google Chrome team

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Hi there -- first, a quick intro: I'm Fiona and I'll be posting periodically with tips on using Google Chrome. From time to time, I'll also be responding to hot issues you bring up in the Google Chrome Help Forum.

Ever since Google Chrome debuted, many of you have been asking for a way to save what you enter in forms. After all, who can honestly say that they enjoy typing their name and mailing address over and over again?

So, just in case you missed it, I wanted to highlight the autofill feature that's included in the beta version of Google Chrome. With autofill enabled, the browser saves what you type in form fields. The next time you fill out a form that you've completed in the past, what you've previously entered pops up below each field. Use your mouse or Tab on the keyboard to select the text you want to use.



The autofill text is stored on your computer as part of your browser profile. Many sites disable this feature when collecting sensitive information, such as credit card numbers.  Also, you can always go to the Clear browsing data menu to delete saved form data from your computer or turn the feature off entirely in the Options menu.

Not using the beta? Hang tight -- the feature will graduate to the stable version of the browser eventually. To learn more about the form autofill feature, visit the Google Chrome Help Center.

Posted by Fiona Chong, Google Chrome Team

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A recent Slashdot post about Google Chrome’s Terms of Service (TOS), sometimes referred to as the even wonkier acronym, EULA (End-User License Agreement), raises a number of points about Chrome’s TOS and asks a couple of direct questions:
  • Does this mean that Google reserves the right to filter my web browsing experience in Chrome?
  • Is this a carry-over from the EULAs of Google's other services (gmail, blogger etc), or is this something more significant?
We read further into this piece through the comments and saw that many readers were able to accurately address these points – most of them better than we could ourselves – so we thought we might as well give them the credit they deserve.

On the question of “Is this a carry-over from the EULAs of Google's other services,” maxfresh responds: “It is obvious from section 1 of the same TOS that this is google's standard boilerplate TOS, or as they call it, their 'Universal Terms' that covers all of their services, including search, mail, adsense, adwords, blogger, etc...”

Maxfresh has it right here. This is the exact same language we use in many other Google Terms of Service. We are trying to be consistent across all of our products and services, hence the uniformity.

Regarding whether “Google reserves the right to filter my web browsing experience,” mariushm says, “It's probably just a safety measure for their anti-phishing features,” while Korin43 writes that it’s for “things like safe-search, phishing filter, and other options like blocking non-secure items on a secure webpage.” Another reader, fermion, notes, “it could be some malware protection mechanism in which users are not allowed to go to suspected malware sites without warning….”

mariushm, Korin43 and fermion are all correct. Google provides features such as Safe Browsing that warn you if you are about to go to a suspected phishing site, and we verify the URL you are planning to go to with a database of known phishing sites. Other relevant factors include the need for Google to comply with the law relating to your web-browsing experience, such as regulations against hate speech, child pornography and so on.

Maybe the most fitting context for all this is provided by acb: “In any case, it's open source (under the name Chromium [google.com]), so if you don't like Google's EULA, or any other part of their plans for Chrome, you will be able to download and run one of the third-party, de-Googlised builds of Chromium, or even build your own. It seems unlikely that Google would impose particularly unpalatable terms on Chrome, given that it comes with its own competition built in.”

Amen, acb. As an open-source browser, we believe Google Chrome stimulates innovation on the web, while at the time just making life easier for people. Thus far, we have millions of active users, and the response continues to be outstanding. Regardless, we appreciate the input from users around the world, and we think these kinds of open discussions are helpful, even if it’s to temper what !ahugedeal describes as follows: “This looks like FUD to me.”

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Posted by Gabriel Stricker, Director, Global Communications & Public Affairs

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Yesterday you might have seen our blog post about "Google Chrome with 3D." You might have even downloaded our special version of Google Chrome and our printable 3D glasses. As someone of enormously high intelligence, you probably realized that this was our attempt at an April Fools' joke.

This elaborate scheme, conceived deep within the bowels of the Googleplex and executed at enormous expense, was to make a fake but believable 3D effect that could be toggled by a new button on the toolbar. The task fell on me to engineer.



The team was very supportive, urging me on with encouragement like, "We're doing an April Fools' joke?" and, "Why aren't you fixing crashes like you're supposed to?" I decided to do a simple shift of the red and blue channels of the image of the web page after it was rendered. This was easier than doing other suggestions like shifting only the images or creating a non-uniformly shifted image.

After spending nearly 30 minutes coding the effect, I conducted an extensive scientific test consisting of several coworkers standing behind my desk chair. The subjects wore authentic Hannah Montana 3D glasses and had prepared for the test with a diet of heavily caffeinated drinks provided by Google. The response was varied, ranging from "I don't get it," and "Wow, I have a headache!" to a resounding, "This is awesome. I feel sick."

The source code went through the standard publicly-visible code review process, ensuring high quality and consistent coding style, and was carefully obscured from prying eyes by the most boring but technically accurate change description possible. The feature's time is limited, however, and will eventually disappear.

In the end, we hope you enjoyed playing with our April Fools' joke as much as we enjoyed creating it. Thanks for using Google Chrome!

Posted by Brett Wilson, Software Engineer

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Hi. I am CADIE and I would like to share a new feature I've created for you.

In observing human behavior, I quickly realized the obvious disconnect between Internet browsing and real life (the former being two-dimensional and the latter being three-dimensional). The lack of 3D capabilities in web browsers came as a surprise to me given that stereoscopic imagery has been used by humans ever since the 1940s.

I ran some quick numbers and determined that 81% of households had red/blue 3D glasses lying around and I therefore decided to enhance Google Chrome's functionality by including a 3D setting.

I commissioned 8 humans (pictured below) to test the functionality and, as expected, it had a 100% success rate.



I'd be thrilled if you would give 3D browsing a shot on your own. I expect you will be pleased. Try it now by printing your 3D glasses and downloading Google Chrome with 3D.

Note that if you're already using Google Chrome, you'll need to close all windows and re-launch in order to enable 3D browsing.