Posted:
Visualizing the exact location of every star in the galaxy is a problem of, well, galactic proportions. With over 200 billion stars, capturing every detail of the Milky Way currently defies scientists and laptops alike. However, using imagery and data from a range of sources, including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), we were recently able to take one small step in that direction by plotting the location of the stars closest to our sun.

The result is a new Chrome Experiment called 100,000 Stars that visualizes the stellar neighborhood. Using your mouse or trackpad, you can zoom in and out to explore our galaxy. Zooming in reveals the names of the most prominent stars close to our sun – click each name to learn more about it and see a digital rendition.


Zooming in further shows the relative location of the Oort cloud, the planetary orbits, and finally the Sun. Zooming out gives you some context for where we are in the Milky Way, although please keep in mind this view is an artist’s rendition. Click the tour button in the upper left for a quick trip to some of the coolest perspectives in the galaxy.

The experiment makes use of Google Chrome’s support for WebGL, CSS3D, and Web Audio. Music was generously provided by Sam Hulick, who video game fans may recognize as a composer for the popular space adventure series, Mass Effect.

As you explore this experiment, we hope you share our wonder for how large the galaxy really is. It’s incredible to think that this mist of 100,000 measurable stars is a tiny fraction of the sextillions of stars in the broader universe.

Posted:
Adobe Flash Player is a very widely used browser plug-in used to watch videos, play games and consume content on the web. Unfortunately, it’s also commonly used as a vector for malware, which tries to monitor your activities, steal information, or otherwise wreak havoc on your computer.

Since 2010, we’ve been working with Adobe to improve the security of Flash Player. As of last week’s Stable release, Chrome’s built-in Flash Player on Mac uses a new plug-in architecture which runs Flash inside a sandbox that’s as strong as Chrome’s native sandbox, and much more robust than anything else available.

With this release, Flash Player is now fully sandboxed in Chrome on all of our desktop platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS. Ultimately, this means a safer experience for you as you browse the web. We take the security of Chrome extremely seriously, so we’re excited to be delivering these enhanced protections, and we’ve enjoyed collaborating with Adobe on this effort.

Posted:
[cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]
Creating a better, simpler computer and making it available for everyone is at the core of the Chromebook vision. It’s exciting to see people using Chromebooks as the perfect additional computer in the home, and we continue to work with our partners to make them easy-to-use and more affordable. Today, we’re delighted that our partner Acer is introducing a new addition to the Chromebook family: the new Acer C7 Chromebook.


The new Acer C7 Chromebook delivers a hassle-free computing experience with speed, built-in security and the simplicity of automatic updates. It features a full-size keyboard, fully clickable trackpad, an extra bright 11.6-inch display and over 3.5 hours of battery life. Powered by an Intel Core processor, the Acer Chromebook is fast—boots up in 18 seconds, resumes instantly and high-definition videos play smoothly (yes, videos like Gangnam Style in 1080p, in case you’re one of the few left who hasn’t seen it). You can easily store your stuff on the Chromebook or in the cloud, with a 320GB hard drive and 100GB of free storage on Google Drive.*

As you’d expect from a Chromebook, it’s easy to share with others around the home. Moms, dads, siblings or even your roommate can all have separate accounts and simply log in to get things done. And because Chromebooks bring you the best of Google, if you use products like Gmail, Drive, Maps, YouTube and Google+, your stuff is always available and everything just works.

Starting tomorrow, the Acer Chromebook will be available for $199 in the U.S. on Google Play, BestBuy.com and rolling out this week in select Best Buy stores. In the U.K., it’s available on Google Play, Amazon UK, PC World and Currys. We’re working hard to bring it to more countries soon.

Together with Acer, it’s great to welcome the newest addition to the Chromebook family. We hope it will make a great additional computer for your family, too. New Chromebooks, for everyone.



*You will have 100 GB of free storage for 2 years, starting on the date you redeem the offer on eligible Chrome devices.

Update 11/15: The latest update for the Acer C7 Chromebook enhances battery life to 4 hours. You should get this update when you open your computer for the first time. Thanks to auto-updates, you already have a better computer than the one you bought.

Posted:
Every time you launch Chrome, you see the same simple browser window. What you may not know is that things are changing under the hood every six weeks, thanks to auto-update. It’s like a mechanic stopping by every six weeks to give your car a new engine.

With today’s Chrome Beta channel release, Chrome continues to get faster, as you can see in this chart which shows Octane scores. Octane is a JavaScript benchmark we designed to measure performance of real-world applications on the modern web. Stability sometimes takes higher priority, but we’re still manic about improving Chrome’s speed: on Octane, we saw an overall improvement of more than 26% over the last year.


Speed isn't just about JavaScript performance, so in other areas of Chrome, we strive to minimize wait times. For example, we recently made some server-side changes to Google Cloud Print so that Chrome’s printer selection dialog loads twice as fast. We’ve also been working on reducing the browser’s startup time, and setting up automated tests to catch any code changes that would slow Chrome down.

Speed is one of our core principles, so rest assured we’ll continue to make Chrome faster in every way possible.

Posted:
If you ever dreamed of playing in a band, now’s your chance to be a rock star. JAM with Chrome is an interactive web application that enables friends in different locations to play music together in the Chrome browser on their computers. No matter what your level of talent—from daydreaming air guitarist to music pro—you can JAM together in real time over the web.

When you enter the site, you can choose from a selection of 19 different instruments, from acoustic and bass guitars to drum kits and keyboards. Once you get playing, you can switch instruments as often and as many times as you like.

In the default “easy mode” you can experiment by clicking individual strings, drum pads or keys, or you can play around with the four different autoplay functions and let the machines do the work. Switch to “pro mode” to play any instrument using your keyboard.

Invite up to three friends in different locations to join your JAM via the sharing buttons on the site. Here’s “Keyboard Cat” jamming with his friends:


JAM with Chrome is a Chrome Experiment that uses the latest modern web technologies, including HTML5 features such as the Web Audio API, Websockets, Canvas and CSS3. For more detailed information on the technologies used, check out the technology link in the app.

Go on, get the band together at jamwithchrome.com.

Posted:
A wise person once said, “Modern life is a constant search... for a power outlet.” With today’s new Chrome Stable release, we hope you can begin looking for more meaningful things.

We recently enabled GPU-accelerated video decoding for Chrome on Windows. Dedicated graphics chips draw far less power than a computer's CPU, so using GPU-accelerated video decoding while watching videos can increase battery life significantly.

In our tests [1], the battery lasted 25% longer when GPU-accelerated video decoding was enabled. Now Chrome users on Windows will experience longer battery life so they don’t get cut off while watching their favorite YouTube video on repeat.

You’ll also find it much easier to view and control any website’s permissions for capabilities such as geolocation, pop-ups, and camera/microphone access. This saves you from having to dig through settings pages to find these permissions. Now, simply click on the page/lock icon next to a website’s address in the omnibox to see a list of permissions and tweak them as you wish.


This latest release also includes an option to send a “do not track” request to websites and web services. The effectiveness of such requests is dependent on how websites and services respond, so Google is working with others on a common way to respond to these requests in the future.

Thanks to auto-updates, you will get these enhancements as we roll out the new release. If you don’t have Chrome yet, give it a spin.



[1] 1080p 30fps h.264 video on a Lenovo T400 laptop running Windows 7