Category Archives: Google Chrome Blog

The latest news from the Google Chrome team

The new, improved ChromeVox screen reader

Worldwide, 285 million people are visually impaired; 39 million are blind and 246 million experience low vision. As two people with visual impairments, we’ve experienced firsthand the transformational effects of assistive technology—specifically screen readers, which enable people to “read” the screen with synthesized speech or braille, and provide keyboard shortcuts to help people quickly navigate complex sites and apps. Today we’re introducing a new, more efficient and powerful version of ChromeVox, which is now the default screen reader on every Chromebook running on Chrome OS 56 or above. ChromeVox can be enabled at any time by pressing the key combination Ctrl + Alt + Z.

Our new version of ChromeVox makes the existing set of keyboard commands even easier, helping you navigate through sites, apps and the Chromebook interface without a mouse. The keyboard commands not only work in web pages, but also across other key parts of the interface, like the Chromebook status tray menu.

We’ve also added new ChromeVox menus that make it easy to find, learn and use all available commands. These menus feature a list of your open tabs, ChromeVox options, speech options, and lists of key items on the given page, such as links, headings or tables. Press Search + Period, or click on the ChromeVox icon in the upper-left corner to open the menus and explore.

Chromebooks are compatible with most USB braille displays, which generate braille based on what is currently on the computer screen. In the updated ChromeVox, you can use commands on the braille display keyboard to navigate through Chrome, rather than switch back and forth to the Chromebook keyboard. The result is a more fluid and streamlined experience for braille users.

A new ChromeVox Panel makes it easier for teachers who work with students who are visually impaired. The Panel shows text (and Braille captions if you choose) at the top of the Chromebook screen, so that a teacher can follow along with what a student is hearing or reading on a connected braille display.

Finally, we’ve added a new set of auditory features—known as “earcons”—that provide contextual information, like when you’ve reached a button, link or checkbox on a page, or when a page is still loading. Earcons have built-in stereo audio positioning that provide insight into how a given page or app is visually designed—for example, if you navigate to a button on the left side of the screen, you’ll hear the button earcon from the left speaker or headphone.

To send feedback or report issues from within ChromeVox, press Search + A then I. You can also post in the forum, or consider joining our ChromeVox-Discuss Google Group. We hope you love the new ChromeVox—but if you’re not ready to make the switch, you can still use the original version for now. Just press Search + Q to switch back to ChromeVox Classic. For more information, visit the Accessibility section of the Chromebook Help Center or watch our video about transitioning to the new version of ChromeVox.

Source: Google Chrome


Experience Virtual Reality on the web with Chrome

Virtual reality (VR) lets you tour the Turkish palace featured in “Die Another Day,” learn about life in a Syrian refugee camp firsthand, and walk through your dream home right from your living room. With the latest version of Chrome, we’re bringing VR to the web—making it as easy to step inside Air Force One as it is to access your favorite webpage.

For a fully immersive experience, use Chrome with your Daydream-ready phone and Daydream View—just browse to a VR experience you want to view, choose to enter VR, and put the phone in your Daydream View headset. If you don’t have a headset you can view VR content on any phone or desktop computer and interact using your finger or mouse.

You can already try out some great VR-enabled sites, with more coming soon. For example, explore the intersection of humans, nature and technology in the interactive documentary Bear 71. Questioning how we see the world through the lens of technology, this story blurs the lines between the wild world and the wired one.

Bear71
Bear 71: The intersection between humans, animals and technology.

Tour Matterport’s library of 300,000+ celebrity homes, museums, canyons, iconic architecture and other real places.

matterport
Matterport VR: The largest library of real world places in VR

Watch more than two dozen award-winning VR films with Within—from gripping tales set in worlds of pure imagination to documentaries taking you further inside the news than ever before.

VR WIthin NYT 16
Within: Extraordinary stories in virtual reality

Discover​ more than a million stunning 3D scenes in VR with ​Sketchfab, from your favorite anime and video game characters to famous works of art. Join the community and contribute your own creations, or just enjoy and share your favorites.

​Sketchfab
Sketchfab VR: enter new dimensions

Experiment and play in the WebVR Lab from PlayCanvas. Try teleporting around the space or playing a record with your Daydream controller.

webvr-lab
Explore the WebVR Lab from PlayCanvas

We want to bring VR to everyone on any device, and in the coming months we’ll add support for more headsets, including Google Cardboard. Try out these VR-enabled sites to be one of the first to experience the magic of VR on the web.

Source: Google Chrome


A new generation of Chromebooks, designed for millions of students and educators

Editor’s Note: At Bett, one of the largest education technology conferences in the world, we're announcing new Chromebooks designed for education. Check out @GoogleForEdu and #BETT2017 to follow along.

When I was a student, I juggled different tools throughout my day—a paper notebook for history, a shared desktop for writing, and a graphing calculator for math. In the years since, computers have begun to replace the need for those various tools—what we did on that calculator can now be done with an app, for example—allowing new possibilities for teaching and learning. Through our tools and devices, we try to help these possibilities come to life. Today both Chromebooks and Classroom are used by more than 20 million teachers and students, and we’re excited to announce that more than 70 million people actively use G Suite for Education.

Chromebooks have been the device of choice for educators because of their simplicity, security, shareability and low cost. And at Bett this week we're introducing a new generation of Chromebooks designed to adapt to the many ways students learn. Look out for new Chromebooks from Acer, Asus, HP, Dell, and Lenovo in addition to the recently announced Samsung Chromebooks—a powerful option for educators. With new apps, stylus and touch capabilities, we expect our partners will continue to build an even wider variety of Chromebooks in the future, including detachables and tablets.

More versatile Chromebooks

At Bett we’re featuring two devices: the Acer Chromebook Spin 11 and the Asus Chromebook C213, arriving late spring. We worked with educators and partners to design these Chromebooks for the specific needs of schools:

  • Stylus capability: Both Chromebooks come with an intelligent, affordable stylus for student note-taking and drawing. The low-cost pens resemble #2 pencils with a unique eraser for correcting mistakes and don’t need charging or pairing, so they can be shared and easily replaced if lost. These Chromebooks use an input prediction model built using Google's machine learning to ensure writing is extremely responsive. And with Optical Character Recognition in apps like Google Keep you can easily search handwritten notes.

Our math department was keen to get tablets so students could write out equations. Stylus on Chromebooks will be a massive help for mathematics. Roger Nixon, ICT Director Wheatley Park School, Oxford

  • World-facing camera: Schools everywhere have asked for world-facing cameras so students can use Chromebooks to capture photo and video from all directions. We carefully designed the camera on the keyboard side, so when a Chromebook is flipped, the camera faces outwards and students can hold it like a tablet.
  • USB-C charging: We heard from educators that multiple chargers and slow charging wastes precious time for students. Going forward, all Chromebooks will have standard super-fast USB-C charging, so one Chromebook cart can charge any device quickly.

A world of content on Chromebooks

Now educators have even more ways to find great educational content on Chromebooks:

From teaching design concepts to visual storytelling, Adobe apps on Chromebooks will open up avenues for our students. Kelly Kermode, Teacher Forest Hills Public Schools, Michigan
  • Creative apps: Today we‘re also announcing that creative apps on Chromebooks—WeVideo, Soundtrap, and Explain Everything—are available in the U.K. and Nordics at a discount from resellers XMA, Lin Education and Avalon Solutions when purchased as a bundle.

Recent updates to Google Classroom

On all Chromebooks, students and educators can use Google Classroom to collaborate, stay organized and save time. The Classroom Android app, now available on Chromebooks, opens up new possibilities to students in how they use their devices. With the help of a stylus-enabled Chromebook, students can complete their math homework by hand or sketch a visual for a science project by annotating documents directly in the Classroom app.

Students, teachers and administrators can also use their Chromebooks to try out the new Classroom features we rolled out earlier this month. Now, teachers can assign work to a subset of students, rather than just the entire class, and use new types of Classroom notifications to manage assignments. For administrators, we now offer more insight into how Classroom is used, with Classroom metrics in Admin Console reports.

We believe in the power of technology to help students learn how they learn best and teachers teach the way they find most effective. We’ll continue to work with educators in 2017 to build tools that support the important work they do every day.

Source: Google Chrome


It takes a teacher

Editor's Note: Today on World Teachers’ Day we want to shine light on the creative power of teachers worldwide. Over the next few months we’ll share a series of teacher stories, building towards a global online gathering of educators on December 3: Education on Air. Join the movement by sharing what teachers mean to you with #ItTakesATeacher.

In ninth grade, a science teacher named Grady Clay taught me that science is more than what's in our textbooks. He encouraged me to get hands-on through a research project on aerodynamics. With his guidance, I built a wind tunnel, tested a hypothesis, wrote a paper on the results, and presented to a room of real scientists. Mr. Clay challenged me to be a self-starter and problem solver, which ignited a passion for science and engineering that continues to drive me today.

RajenPreso_ITAT.png
Rajen at his 9th grade science presentation

Everyone has a story about a teacher who changed the course of their lives. We want to support educators in that effort by building tools that help them reach their students and create more time for teaching. Today we’re excited to share that more than 20 million teachers and students use Google Classroom. From collecting assignments to staying in touch with guardians, teachers all over the world use Classroom to stay organized and save time.

And the number of students using Chromebooks has grown, too — today more than 20 million students worldwide are using Chromebooks to create, collaborate and communicate.

It takes a teacher to empower students with skills of the future

In preparation for World Teachers’ Day, we talked to teachers all over the world — new, experienced, tech-savvy and traditional — to hear how they equip students with skills of the future and the role technology plays in their lives.

We heard one theme again and again. To engage their students, teachers create, collaborate, communicate and think critically — and they empower their students to do the same. Take a look at a few of these powerfully creative teachers inspiring their students in the classroom:
It takes a teacher

It takes a teacher to build a global community of educators

Today we’re announcing a way for teachers to share their creativity with one another: Education on Air, a free online conference to celebrate educators around the world and allow teachers to learn from each other.

Last year at the first Education on Air, more than 50,000 participants from almost every country heard from First Lady Michelle Obama, LeVar Burton, Michael Fullen and hundreds of educators about education and technology. This year, you can choose from 100+ sessions and engage with educators globally around key themes:

  • It takes a teacher to spark creativity: keynotes on skills of the future from Julia Gillard, Linda Darling Hammond, Professor Robert Winston, Jennie Magiera and many more.

  • It takes a teacher to improve student learning: research on how educators have transformed schools and measured their impact.

  • It takes a teacher to prepare students for the world: tips and tools to help boost student engagement, collaboration and productivity in the classroom.

Register today to join us on December 3 in the best seat in the house (your own!) to connect with other teachers, administrators and school leaders.  

Finally, celebrating teachers shouldn’t be limited to just one day — or even one week — of the year. Join our movement to celebrate teachers like Mr. Clay every day by sharing what #ItTakesATeacher means to you and spreading the message to educators and supporters worldwide.

Happy World Teachers’ Day!

Source: Google Chrome


Chrome on Android: Do more on every phone and network

The web is amazing. You can find the world’s information, stay connected to friends and family, do your shopping, or be entertained all by simply tapping on a link on your phone. But challenges like high data cost and slow, 2G-like connections often prevent our users from getting the most out of the web.

We want to make Chrome a better place for all our users to enjoy the mobile web. Chrome’s new features on Data Saver, downloads, and content discovery were designed to help you do more on the web, no matter what phone or network you may have.

Save more data, even on videos
We launched Data Saver to help you enjoy more content on the web while using less data. With Data Saver enabled, Chrome compresses the images and text you load, saving up to 60% of your data without changing the content you enjoy.

Now, we have brought the same technology to videos, which allows you to save up to 67% of your data when viewing MP4 format videos through Chrome. In India alone, this new technology is already saving 138 TB of data on video in a single week — roughly 14 years of HD video!

Data Saver is also becoming smarter. When you are on a slow connection, Data Saver will automatically optimize HTTP websites to their essentials. These optimized pages save up to 90% of your data, loading 2 time faster!
Less time waiting for pages to load, more data savings, and video support. You will be glad you turned on Data Saver!

A new downloads experience
We are also thinking about how you can keep using Chrome even when you go offline. We built the dinosaur game to keep you smiling even if you have no access to the internet, but we are doing even better.

With Chrome’s new download feature, when you come across a web page, music, picture, or video that you like, you can just tap the download button to save for later. You don’t need to worry about restarting your download if your connection is dropped, even for big video files. When Chrome goes back online, the downloads you’ve started will automatically resume.
To help you get back to all your content, we added a new home for all your downloads, right inside Chrome. Whether it’s the article you saved for later, or that movie trailer for the train ride home, you can access all the content while you are offline.
Downloads are now available on Chrome Beta and will be available soon for Chrome users everywhere.

Discover new content personalized for you
With features like Data Saver and downloads, Chrome is a great way to enjoy content on the mobile web. But we also want to make it easier to discover content you really care about.

Now, when you open a new tab in Chrome, you will see suggestions for websites to visit. But starting in the next release, you will be able to easily discover fresh content just for you. Whether it is the latest buzz from the web or getting back to your most recently downloaded pages, you can simply scroll down on the new tab page to discover all your content in one place!
These suggestions are also smart — as you use Chrome more, Chrome will learn what type of content you are interested in and suggest fresh content from your favorite sports team or your most visited sites. You’ll always have something interesting ready!

We believe that our focus on data savings, offline capabilities, and content discovery will make Chrome an even better place for you to experience the mobile web. Download the latest version of Chrome to be one of the first to try these features as we roll them out!

Posted by Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Vice President of Product and Data Minimalist

Chrome on Android: Do more on every phone and network

The web is amazing. You can find the world’s information, stay connected to friends and family, do your shopping, or be entertained all by simply tapping on a link on your phone. But challenges like high data cost and slow, 2G-like connections often prevent our users from getting the most out of the web.

We want to make Chrome a better place for all our users to enjoy the mobile web. Chrome’s new features on Data Saver, downloads, and content discovery were designed to help you do more on the web, no matter what phone or network you may have.

Save more data, even on videos


We launched Data Saver to help you enjoy more content on the web while using less data. With Data Saver enabled, Chrome compresses the images and text you load, saving up to 60% of your data without changing the content you enjoy.

Now, we have brought the same technology to videos, which allows you to save up to 67% of your data when viewing MP4 format videos through Chrome. In India alone, this new technology is already saving 138 TB of data on video in a single week — roughly 14 years of HD video!

Data Saver is also becoming smarter. When you are on a slow connection, Data Saver will automatically optimize HTTP websites to their essentials. These optimized pages save up to 90% of your data, loading 2 times faster!

ChromeOnAndroid_0.png
Less time waiting for pages to load, more data savings, and video support. You will be glad you turned on Data Saver!


A new downloads experience

We are also thinking about how you can keep using Chrome even when you go offline. We built the dinosaur game to keep you smiling even if you have no access to the internet, but we are doing even better.

With Chrome’s new download feature, when you come across a web page, music, picture, or video that you like, you can just tap the download button to save for later. You don’t need to worry about restarting your download if your connection is dropped, even for big video files. When Chrome goes back online, the downloads you’ve started will automatically resume.

ChromeOnAndroid_1.png

To help you get back to all your content, we added a new home for all your downloads, right inside Chrome. Whether it’s the article you saved for later, or that movie trailer for the train ride home, you can access all the content while you are offline.

chromeandroid3.gif
Downloads are now available on Chrome Beta and will be available soon for Chrome users everywhere.


Discover new content personalized for you

With features like Data Saver and downloads, Chrome is a great way to enjoy content on the mobile web. But we also want to make it easier to discover content you really care about.

Now, when you open a new tab in Chrome, you will see suggestions for websites to visit. But starting in the next release, you will be able to easily discover fresh content just for you. Whether it is the latest buzz from the web or getting back to your most recently downloaded pages, you can simply scroll down on the new tab page to discover all your content in one place!


chromeandroid4.gif
These suggestions are also smart — as you use Chrome more, Chrome will learn what type of content you are interested in and suggest fresh content from your favorite sports team or your most visited sites. You’ll always have something interesting ready!

We believe that our focus on data savings, offline capabilities, and content discovery will make Chrome an even better place for you to experience the mobile web. Download the latest version of Chrome to be one of the first to try these features as we roll them out!

Source: Google Chrome


Chrome: Faster and more battery-friendly



Last week, we released a new version of Chrome that includes new payment features and performance improvements. In fact, over the last year Chrome has seen double-digit improvements in speed and battery life. These improvements help you get more done, faster, and we thought you’d like an update.

Speed has always been a priority for Chrome. People spend so much time in the browser that even tiny page delays can add up to minutes of lost time every day. When measured with tools like Speedometer, improvements over the last year have made Chrome more than 15 percent faster on both desktop and Android. That’s good news if you’re working against a deadline or trying to place a last-minute order.

We also know that you want to get as much browsing time out of your laptop’s battery as possible. So Chrome now uses less battery for sites that people visit the most. For example, Chrome for Windows lets you watch more video on sites like Vimeo, Facebook and YouTube than it did a year ago.

Chrome 53 gives 2h 12m more Vimeo HD on a single charge

Of course, people use their browsers for more than just video. That’s why we’ve been improving battery life across the board, tracking progress using power measurement tools. As one example, Chrome for Mac now uses 33 percent less power for everything from videos and images to simple page scrolling. Whether you’re planning a vacation or getting work done, you now get more browsing time from a single battery charge.

We don’t just want Chrome to run faster, we want to help you get things done faster. That’s why we’ve also brought fast, seamless payments to Chrome on Android, including support for Android Pay, by adding support for the PaymentRequest web standard. So now when shopping online, you can check out with as little as a single tap.

New Payments at Groupon

Faster browsing, faster checkouts, and longer battery life — we think you’ll enjoy the latest release of Chrome.

Posted by Chris Cameron, Whittler of Watts.

Chrome: Faster and more battery-friendly

Last week, we released a new version of Chrome that includes new payment features and performance improvements. In fact, over the last year Chrome has seen double-digit improvements in speed and battery life. These improvements help you get more done, faster, and we thought you’d like an update.

Speed has always been a priority for Chrome. People spend so much time in the browser that even tiny page delays can add up to minutes of lost time every day. When measured with tools like Speedometer, improvements over the last year have made Chrome more than 15 percent faster on both desktop and Android.  That’s good news if you’re working against a deadline or trying to place a last-minute order.

We also know that you want to get as much browsing time out of your laptop’s battery as possible. So Chrome now uses less battery for sites that people visit the most. For example, Chrome for Windows lets you watch more video on sites like Vimeo, Facebook and YouTube than it did a year ago.

Chrome 53 gives 2h 12m more Vimeo HD on a single charge

Chrome 53 gives 2h 12m more Vimeo HD on a single charge

Of course, people use their browsers for more than just video. That’s why we’ve been improving battery life across the board, tracking progress using power measurement tools. As one example, Chrome for Mac now uses 33 percent less power for everything from videos and images to simple page scrolling. Whether you’re planning a vacation or getting work done, you now get more browsing time from a single battery charge.


We don’t just want Chrome to run faster, we want to help you get things done faster. That’s why we’ve also brought fast, seamless payments to Chrome on Android, including support for Android Pay, by adding support for the PaymentRequest web standard. So now when shopping online, you can check out with as little as a single tap.

New Payments at Groupon
New Payments at Groupon

Faster browsing, faster checkouts, and longer battery life — we think you’ll enjoy the latest release of Chrome.

Source: Google Chrome


Google Cast is now built-in to Chrome

Two years ago we launched Google Cast, an extension for Chrome that allowed you to show content from your favorite websites on the best screen in your home — your TV — using Chromecast.  Whether watching your favorite show on Netflix, or sharing a photo slideshow at a family gathering, Google Cast makes it easy to extend the web to the big screen.  


Since we launched Chromecast, we’ve been working to make casting even better. We've launched new Cast devices like Chromecast Audio and partnered with other manufacturers to make Cast-enabled TVs and speakers.  We’ve also made significant improvements in quality, with the vast majority of casting sessions now in HD.


Casting from Chrome has become incredibly popular: In the past month alone, people have casted more than 38 million times from Chrome, watching and listening to more than 50 million hours of content.


Today we’re happy to announce that Google Cast is now built fully into Chrome, and anyone can now Cast without having to install or configure anything.  When you’re on websites that are integrated with Cast, you’ll see the Cast icon appear when you’re on the same network as a Cast device — and with a couple of clicks you can view your content on your TV or listen to music on your speakers:


Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.49.32 AM.png


You can also view websites that are not integrated with Cast on your TV by selecting the “Cast…” menu item from the Chrome menu:



And you can now cast to even more places — including sharing with participants on a video call in Google Hangouts and the Cast for Education app, which we announced recently.  Now you can share your presentation with your coworkers during a Hangout or to your peers in the classroom.


With Google Cast and Chrome, you can share what you love to watch with those around you. We’re excited to make this available to everyone.  To get the new built-in Cast functionality all you need to do is make sure you have the latest version of Chrome.

Stephen Konig, Product Manager and House of Cards Binge-Watcher