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  1. Facebook Disconnect: Pull the Plug on Facebook When You’re on Other Sites

    Even when you're not on Facebook.com, Facebook's tentacles are nearly impossible to avoid on today's Internet: According to the social networking site's public statistics, more than one million sites (including this one) have integrated with the Facebook platform, and more than 150 million people interact with Facebook on external websites each month. For some Internet users, there's nothing wrong with this state of affairs, and Facebook Connect may make their web surfing more convenient: However, for others, this is either an annoyance or a privacy concern. For this reason, Google engineer Brian Kennish -- working in a personal capacity and not because anyone at the company asked him to -- has written Facebook Disconnect, a Google Chrome extension that blocks all traffic from third-party sites to Facebook's servers, though you can still browse Facebook.com just fine.

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  2. WebP: Google Hopes to One-Up JPEG with New, 40% Leaner Graphics Format

    CNET has the tantalizing, techy scoop on WebP, a new graphics compression format that Google plans to officially unveil later today. Based on WebM, the open, royalty-free video format launched earlier this year by Google, Mozilla, Opera, Adobe, and more than 40 other publishers, WebP aims to take on the ubiquitous JPEG standard of image compression, the first version of which was released way back in 1992. Like JPEG, WebP is a lossy format, meaning that some image data is lost over the course of compression, though at higher qualities with less compression it'll still look similar to the eye. WebP's chief advantage according to Google, however, is that it's far more efficient. When Google surveyed 1 million sample images across the Web, 90% of which were JPEGs, compressed them in WepP, and compared, they found that WebP offered "the same quality [as the JPEGs] with 40 percent smaller file sizes." Most excitingly, Google plans to bring native support for WebP to its Chrome browser in "just a few weeks." WebP isn't perfect, however: Encoding WebP image "takes about eight times longer than JPEG." Then there's the bigger question of whether WebP can catch on at all:

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  3. Extensions Finally Come to Safari! How to Enable them, and the Best Place to Find them

    In addition to Safari 5's uptick in performance and its formidable new built-in ad-blocking function, which will delight some readers and terrify some web publishers, the biggest change present in Apple's latest overhaul of its Safari browser is the long-overdue addition of Extensions.

    For me, and, I suspect, for many people who like the Internet, Safari's previous lack of extensions put it at a major disadvantage versus Chrome and Firefox. Browsing the Internet is an important enough part of many of our lives that it seems necessary that any good browser be easily customizable to reflect and ease our Web habits. Previously, Safari supported plug-ins, but these were always clunky and rather limited in scope; as soon as Safari 5's extension capabilities were rolled out, Pimp My Safari, which had been a go-to site for the fairly small Safari modding community, closed shop. But not before passing the torch to this site:

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  4. Google Chrome OS Coming in “Late Fall”

    A day after the news got out that Google was banning Windows use among its employees due to security concerns, they've announced, if not a hard release date, a release ballpark for their own Chrome operating system.

    According to Sundar Pichai, Google's VP of product management, Chrome OS will be coming some time in the "late fall."

    Reuters: "Chrome OS is one of the few future operating systems for which there are already millions of applications that work," Pichai said. "You don't need to redesign Gmail for it to work on Chrome. Facebook does not need to write a new app for Chrome."

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  5. Google Inc. Dropping Windows Over Security Concerns

    Yet more fallout from Google's Chinese security breach earlier this year: According to the Financial Times, Google is phasing out support for all versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, calling the change a "security effort."

    According to the report, since the attacks on Google by Chinese hackers in January, new Google employees have been given a choice between OS X and Linux. "'Linux is open source and we feel good about it,” said one employee. “Microsoft we don’t feel so good about.'"

    Kind of like Windows 7? Want to give Microsoft a chance? Well, you'll need lots of top-level corporate approval to do so:

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  6. Opera Parodies Chrome Speed Tests with Boiled Potatoes, Herring Sword Fights

    Earlier this month, Google rolled out a cheeky, competitive video that compared the speed of Google's Chrome browser with a potato gun, sound waves, and lightning, with Chrome getting the upper hand each time. Now, just days after Chrome for Mac and Linux phased out of beta, Norway-based Opera Software has launched a parody of the Chrome video with a distinctly Scandinavian sense of humor.

    Rather than compare the speed of their Opera browser to a shooting potato, they compared it to a boiling potato. Many hijinks ensue, including the titularly-alluded-to herring sword fight, in what is at once an homage to Google's video and a mockery of its silliness and pomp.

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  7. Google Unveils Plan for Printing on the Cloud, Hopes to Do Away with Pesky Print Drivers

    In a recent post on Google's Chromium blog, the company reveals that it has been thinking long and hard about how to deal with a commonplace annoyance with the potential to handicap cloud computing and make the company's web-based apps less useful: Printing. Specifically, "printing" as we know it today, involving print drivers that need to be installed for computers to communicate with nearby printers -- and which are often only available on CD-ROMs.

    Google Cloud Print isn't yet fully worked out, but Google's aim is that in the future, web apps using it will be able to print to any printer, regardless of drivers or operating system -- even if they're running from a mobile phone or other device:

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  8. Hey, Mac People! Here are 10 Great Google Chrome Extensions

    If, like me, you're both a Mac user and a Google Chrome zealot, you'll be happy to know that the latest beta release of Chrome for Mac, version 5.0.307, finally supports extensions. (Download it here.) It also adds a bookmark syncing feature, as well as a bookmark manager, a task manager, and a cookie manager.

    The newest Mac Chrome isn't perfect. It still has a few kinks, like, say, causing WordPress and Tumblr to crash repeatedly -- bad news if you're a blogger, to say the least. (Paging Google's engineering team.) But extensions really do add value in a meaningful way: even if you're not a total computer geek, you'll find that they can do a lot.

    You can access Chrome's extension manager by typing chrome://extensions/ in your search bar (no HTTP prefix), and you can browse the selection of Chrome extensions at Google's official page.

    Below, a few of our favorite Mac-friendly Chrome extensions:

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  9. Google Phasing Out Old Browser Support: Sayonara, IE6

    The Official Google Enterprise Blog has announced that come March 1, Google will be phasing out support for old browsers. Google Docs and Google Sites will be the first Google cloud functionalities to go, but the language of the post implies that others will follow. Though the change applies to Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, it's hard not to see one target at the heart of all of this: Internet Explorer 6.

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