As The Omni Group keeps working on OmniFocus 2 for Mac and Apple continues seeding new betas of iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks to developers, I have been reconsidering Reminders’ simplicity and enjoying the built-in iCloud sync, which, unlike other types of iCloud, is working fine for me. However, two things I miss from OmniFocus are the possibility to integrate the app with a web browser through bookmarklets and the system-wide Quick Entry panel; I use both tools on a daily basis to easily save a browser’s tab into OmniFocus’ Inbox, or to bring up a text field where I can jot down an idea and know that, no matter the app I’m using, it’ll be saved into OmniFocus. Luckily for me, Apple’s Reminders app comes with a good AppleScript Dictionary, which is likely something that Reminders’ core mainstream audience won’t ever care about, but that we can leverage to extend the app’s capabilities and input areas beyond Mountain Lion’s leather-and-paper window.

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Pending an official announcement from Google, Google Chrome for iOS now contains the previously announced voice improvements that lets you search the web without typing out a single letter. Covering the extra row of keys that used to present themselves as you typed, a floating bar replaces the previous voice button from the omnibox. Tapping it brings up a microphone where you can speak your query, and depending on the question, Google will read the answer back to you (for example, ask it what time it is in Italy). Just like Google Search, Chrome will read back the text to you as you speak, and the results feel nearly instant.

You can download Chrome for iOS from the App Store.

Chrome

I recently got annoyed by the fact that Google Chrome couldn’t open iTunes links in the iTunes app on my Mac, so I decided to look for a solution.

I haven’t been following Chrome’s (numerous) updates in quite a while, so I don’t remember when the app got a redesigned Settings page. In spite of the cleaner look, though, there’s still an option to manage “protocol handlers”, which are the settings that determine how Chrome should work with webpages that request to open other applications installed on a computer, such as Apple’s iTunes Preview website and iTunes. (more…)

Chrome

Released earlier today, Google Chrome for iOS has been updated with built-in Messages sharing and a new menu to access previously-visited webpages.

Available from the Share menu in the top toolbar, Messages integration brings up a modal Messages window to send a webpage’s title and URL to someone else. This is a good addition – I’ve long relied on bookmarklets and third-party apps to forward Chrome links to Messages – but unfortunately one I’ll make little use of, as iOS doesn’t let you quickly address a message to a pre-defined group of contacts.1

I find the new History menu much more interesting for my daily Chrome workflow. Similarly to Safari, you can now tap & hold the Back/Forward buttons to show a list of websites you have navigated to; tapping on one will take you back to that page. Like Apple’s implementation, this is a per-tab history; unlike Safari, the list of pages is shown in a dropdown menu rather than a full-screen modal view (on iPhone).

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Jan
22
2013

When there are no actual news or notable app releases, I prefer investing my time in creating something for other people.

Continuing my ongoing series of tips on iOS URL schemes, here’s an adaptation of my existing Due bookmarklet to work better with Google Chrome for iOS (which, as I’ve pointed out several times, has a very nice URL scheme). The following code (to install it, simply copy it and paste the entire string into a bookmark) grabs a webpage’s title and URL and sends them to Due (also powered by a great URL scheme). (more…)

Sort of. Here’s a fun experiment.

Today, I wanted to quickly send a URL from Chrome for iOS — my default browser — back to Safari. I know there are ways to do Safari-to-Chrome, but I wanted the opposite: from Chrome back to Safari. I needed to install some custom Mr. Reader actions, and Chrome was giving an error when tapping on the downloadable files. I figured I could make a bookmarklet to take the current webpage in Chrome and send it to Safari.

Not so fast. There’s no documented URL scheme on iOS for opening web links in Safari, except, well, the http:// scheme itself. In testing various bookmarklet ideas, I thought that replacing googlechrome with http in Jon Abrams’ bookmarklet would force Chrome to send a link to Safari. But as It Turns Out™, doing this sort of trick in Chrome for iOS:

javascript:window.open('http'+location.href.substring(4));

…simply opens a new tab in Chrome.

What I ended up using is a hack — and a very curious one — to leverage Chrome’s support for x-callback-url to open a link back into Safari. I was inspired by Cormac Relf‘s script, which I discovered yesterday when he showed me another script he made for Pythonista.

javascript:window.location='googlechrome-x-callback://x-callback-url/open/?url='+encodeURIComponent(location.href)+'&x-source=Safari&x-success='+encodeURIComponent(location.href);

As you can see above, we’re telling Chrome to open a new tab using…itself. The trick, at least theoretically, is to use an encoded location.href string to call back Safari, which is registered for the http:// scheme that Chrome, in this case, opens “externally”. Displaying x-source is needed per Google’s URL scheme specification; the name you give to x-source will be displayed as a “back” button in Chrome (as shown in the image above).

This is a profoundly inelegant and ultimately flawed solution. To make this “work” you have to:

  • Type the bookmarklet’s name, because Chrome has no bookmarks bar;
  • Nothing will happen.
  • Close Chrome;
  • Re-open it;
  • A wild new tab appears!
  • Tap the Safari button. It’s super-effective.
  • Safari will launch the link, closing the additional tab Chrome decided to open.

What is going on, exactly? Via JavaScript, we’ve forced Chrome to open a tab in itself, but doing so with x-callback-url inside a bookmarklet creates, for some reason, quite a strange behavior: the tab isn’t opened unless you close and re-open Chrome, therefore partially defeating the whole purpose of this bookmarklet, which is to quickly open a webpage in Safari. But, in spite of the clunky process, a new tab with a “Safari button” is created nevertheless, allowing you to tap it to launch Safari and close Chrome’s extra tab.

My conclusion is that we have three solutions: a) it’s not possible to create a straightforward Chrome-to-Safari bookmarklet; b) it’s possible in another way that I haven’t explored; or c) it’s possible with the x-callback-url hack, but in a different way.

If you have ideas, ping me on Twitter.

Jun
28
2012

Announced and demonstrated onstage earlier today during Google I/O’s Thursday event, Google Chrome is now available in the App Store for iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches running iOS 4.3 or above. Chrome for iOS, much like its Android relative, features draggable tabs and can sync preferences and bookmarks thanks to Chrome Sync support. This also means that credentials can be synced between desktop Chrome and your smartphone or tablet, letting you quickly log into your favorite sites. Easy to turn on/off Incognito Mode means you can browse the web privately — web history and session cache won’t be saved while it’s enabled.

Google Chrome for iOS is basically a web view — unfortunately you won’t get the performance of Chrome rendering or V8 as with the desktop versions. You will however, get the syncing features, style, and convenience of Google Chrome’s interface. Download Chrome for iOS from the App Store.

Update: Google Chrome for iOS now out in the US

Past the break, you’ll find Google’s latest video for their Chrome web browser, showing off the iPhone, alongside the previous desktop, Google Chrome OS, and Android versions. We’ll also continue updating this post with impressions and links as it finishes propagating worldwide. Stay tuned!

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Chrome 19 Syncs Open Tabs Across Computers and Smartphones

Google Chrome 19: Tab Sync

From the Google Chrome blog:

With today’s Stable release of Chrome, you can. When you’re signed in to Chrome, your open tabs are synced across all your devices, so you can quickly access them from the “Other devices” menu on the New Tab page. If you’ve got Chrome for Android Beta, you can open the same recipe tab right on your phone when you run out to the store for more ingredients. The back and forward buttons will even work, so you can pick up browsing right where you left off.

Signing into Google Chrome synced items such as your bookmarks in the past, but this release brings us closer to the continuity many of wish for with our web browsers: tab syncing between our devices. Google Chrome should automatically update in the background, but you can visit About Google Chrome in the wrench menu to manually update to the latest stable version. Chrome 19 is available today, while the tab sync feature itself is rolling out over the coming weeks.

Also updated in the latest version of Google Chrome is the apps Settings. The new Settings view makes seeing history and clearing out browsing data a cinch by moving them to the first menu. The Extensions sub-menu has pretty much stayed the same, but the Settings sub-menu now contains an expansive list of options you can use to set how Chrome tracks privacy data and how Google Chrome will connect to the Internet (this is where you’ll make Chrome your default browser as well). The options themselves aren’t new, but rather the presentation has been updated to show you general preferences first, while making advanced options a simple extension of the more commonly used browser settings.

In other Chrome related news, Google could be gearing up to release their web browser on iOS according to a tidbit found by Macgasm. If gushing over this mockup was any indication, we’ve been wishing for Chrome to land on iOS devices for a long time now. While Google hasn’t officially announced Chrome for iOS (we’re talking mere speculation), iOS devices may soon be able to take advantage of the tab syncing that was introduced in today’s update.

After using Google Chrome for more than two years, I still find it rather amusing that Google hasn’t released an iOS companion app to access your browser history, tabs and bookmarks on the go. Mozilla does this, third-parties have figured out a way to do this, yet Google doesn’t seem to think an iOS version of Google Chrome with, perhaps, a minimal set of functionalities would be necessary. Fortunately, a developer in the App Store has figured out a way to sync your Chrome session (that is, history, tabs and bookmarks) from the desktop to an app, aptly named Chrome Sync Pro.

Priced at $0.99, Chrome Sync Pro runs as a universal app on the iPhone and iPad (the latter doesn’t support landscape mode for some reason), and has three sections at the bottom to switch between your bookmarks, open tabs and history. When I first heard about Chrome Sync Pro my first concern was security — it turns out, the app gets your Chrome information through an extension that doesn’t communicate with third-party servers, but copies your browser’s data into a Google doc in your account. The data in Google Docs is encrypted in some sort of way, I believe, so that only Chrome Sync Pro for iOS can read it and display properly on your device. I’d like the developers to explain this process better, for sure, but I’m not deeply concerned about security and privacy as long as my Chrome data is passed along through OAuth to Google Docs.

On iOS, the app is very simple and functional. When you open it, it’ll refresh with the latest data from your Chrome browser and allow you to tap on links. Chrome Sync Pro supports different third-party iOS browsers instead of just Safari, although some personal favorites of mine like Grazing and iCab aren’t supported yet. There is a refresh button to update the sync results from your desktop computer, but I’ve found the extension to be stable and fast at syncing back tabs and history to Google Docs.

Chrome Sync Pro is a simple utility that could use a prettier interface and more third-party browser integration; for now, it gets the job done. If you’re looking for a way to make your Google Chrome data portable, Chrome Sync Pro is only $0.99 on the App Store.