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Google’s secret war on native apps, Android tablets

Google’s secret war on native apps, Android tablets

At Google I/O last week, Google dumped some rather big news, at least one of them expected. Android apps are come full force to Chrome OS, with Google Play Store even. Instant Apps were quite the unexpected surprise, but in retrospect Google had already sown the seeds as far back as 2013. But in the midst of the applause and hopeful cheers, there were also some murmuring and the raising of eyebrows. Is all of these just a subtle, cunning ploy by the Web search giant to make Android tablets obsolete, or, in the long run, even phase out native Android apps?

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Google Chrome to completely phase out Flash by Q4 2016. Almost.

Google Chrome to completely phase out Flash by Q4 2016. Almost.

Once and briefly the darling of interactive Web content creators, Flash has fallen by the wayside and has become more of a liability than a feature. Even Adobe has taken steps to de-emphasize Flash content in its own tools, while still keeping backwards compatibility a thing. In its stead is HTML5, which covers almost everything Flash can do, especially videos. To hasten Flash's demise from the Web, Google will disable Flash by default in its Chrome Web browser before the year ends. That said, it will still actually ship Flash even then, just in case.

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Samsung Internet browser for Gear VR now supports WebVR

Samsung Internet browser for Gear VR now supports WebVR

With all the coverage lavished on "proper" VR devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it might be too easy to forget the VR headset that was already in the market way ahead of those two. Made by Samsung in partnership with Oculus, the Gear VR is almost like a poor man's VR (though the real poor man's VR would be the original Google Cardboard), lettings users experience VR more easily. Provided they have the latest Samsung smartphone, of course. Now Samsung is expanding its headset's coverage by adopting what is to be the VR standard for the Web called, what else, WebVR.

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Google brings its Pinterest-like Search feature to desktops

Google brings its Pinterest-like Search feature to desktops

Late last year, Google introduced a new feature to its image search on mobile browsers. In essence, it worked pretty much like Pinterest, allowing users to "pin", (technically "star" in Google-ese) to save it for later browsing. While extremely convenient when you're browsing on your smartphone on the go, it's admittedly also a useful feature even when you're sitting comfortably in front of your desktop or laptop. Good thing, then, that Google is finally making that very same feature available on larger computers and, naturally, works well with its mobile counterpart.

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Polaris from MIT could substantially speed up web pages

Polaris from MIT could substantially speed up web pages

The Web is in a sort of a rat race. While Internet connections get faster, web sites are getting more and more complicated, balancing, even negating, those speed improvements. A few tech companies, particularly Google, strive to introduce technologies as well as best practices to help speed up the Web, but those solutions are usually limited to specific browsers or specific circumstances. A new project from MIT called "Polaris", however, is aiming for a browser-agnostic method that could make web pages load as much as 34% faster.

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Oracle is finally killing off the Java browser plugin

Oracle is finally killing off the Java browser plugin

The days of bloated, bug ridden, error prone web browser plugins are finally and truly numbered. Just last month, Adobe has practically started Flash's retirement from the web, pushing instead for a more standards-friendly HTML5. Now Oracle is doing the same, somewhat. Of course, it isn't dropping the ball on Java entirely but it is announcing the inevitable and probably demise of the Java web browser plugin. That said, what it recommends as a replacement is still a Java-based technology for launching full applications from a browser link.

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“Brave” new browser wants to profit from every site you visit

“Brave” new browser wants to profit from every site you visit

This morning I woke up and did what I do to start my weekday mornings; I read the news. One of the most interesting pieces I read was about a new internet browser being developed by the co-founder of Mozilla. That alone is pretty interesting stuff, but as I read further into it, I realized that Brendan Eich has completely lost touch with reality.

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Brendan Eich’s Brave browser fights ads with ads

Brendan Eich’s Brave browser fights ads with ads

Brendan Eich is a man that is familiar with the Web as well as controversy. After all, his is both credited and at times cursed for having created Javascript, one of the most widely used and, at the same time, reviled programming languages. He also co-founded Mozilla, from which he was practically forced to leave two years ago. Now Eich is back at doing what he does best: creating browsers and stirring up the pot. Brave, as it is called, is a speedy browser that blocks ads by default. And then it replaces them with other ads.

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Hangouts on the Web gets faster, simpler to use

Hangouts on the Web gets faster, simpler to use

Last August, Google introduced a new way to communicate on the Web via your browser. It re-launched Hangouts as a dedicated website in its own right, taking advantage of the full space that the browser window offers instead of a simple popup menu or browser plugin. Less than three months later, Google is pushing what could be the biggest update to Hangouts on the web yet. As you can expect, it has improvements all around, starting with its performance all the way to the user interface.

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Material Design Lite web framework brings style to websites

Material Design Lite web framework brings style to websites

Google introduced Material Design last summer, and now about a year later it has introduced Material Design Lite, a web framework for bringing the design language to the Web. Google makes various promises about it, including that it “gracefully degrades in older browsers”, all the while bringing a Material Design look to a website through JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. The components library gives access to various items like badges and buttons, while customization options lend it all a personal touch.

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The Internet is running out of room (for IPv4)

The Internet is running out of room (for IPv4)

The Internet is running out of addresses, and adding new domain names and suffixes isn't going to help. The resource we are on the verge of eclipsing is Internet protocol, or IP addresses. When the internet was first put to use in the 1980's, engineers created IPv4, which has an upper limit of 4.3 billion different IP addresses. We've almost accounted for them all. According to the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), only 3.4 million IP addresses are still available from the 1.3 billion IP addresses allotted to North America.

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Skype’s new SDK will bring chat to any web app

Skype’s new SDK will bring chat to any web app

Of all the things Microsoft has been historically good at, video chat wasn’t one of them. They left Skype lingering on the vine for far too long, and are only now bringing the service up to speed. It’s coming along nicely, though, and it’s about to be available everywhere. At Build 2015, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella quickly breezed past a unique new feature for Skype; a web SDK that will see Skype built right into other apps. Rather than build a native chat client, Developers can now call on Skype.

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