Google Chrome TV Commercials Coming Soon

Google isn’t known for using advertising to gain market share. But it looks like that wont be the case for their shiny new browser: Google Chrome.

Chrome ads have been showing up all over the Web on Google-owned sites like YouTube as well as third-party websites like LinkedIn. Now, the company is set to launch TV ads to promote the Web browser and they’ll be starting as early as this weekend.

The commercial itself was developed by Google Japan and is…. abstract. There is no voice over and no people. The video has the simple message “Install Google Chrome” at the end. It’s all very Apple-ish.  I almost expect the “there’s an app for that” voice to show up at the end.

What is now clear is that Google is committed to growing Chrome’s marketshare moreso than any other product in recent memory. This is to be expected, now that they’ve officially entered the browser game each Chrome install equals another user that gets Google as their default search engine. That said, Chrome is still lacking two key things: a Mac version (for those who run Mac’s) and an extension platform. Rumor has it that some announcements relating to those items may come at Google’s developer conference later this month…. until then I’ll hold onto FireFox.

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PWN2OWN Hacking Competition – All browsers hacked

As he had already predicted, cracker Charlie Miller has won the PWN2OWN contest by cracking Safari and Mac OS X within seconds of the start of the competition. “It took a couple of seconds. They clicked on the link and I took control of the machine,” Miller said after his accomplishment. He took home the USD 10000 prize, as well as the MacBook he performed the exploit on. Internet Explorer 8 fell a while later by cracker Nils, who also cracked Safari and Firefox after being done with IE8.

Miller cracked Safari running on a fully patched installation of Mac OS X on a MacBook. The details of the exploit will not be given out until Apple has published a patch to ensure that others don’t run with the exploit and abuse it. This is the second year in a row that Safari on the Mac is the first to fall in the PWN2OWN contest, again by Miller’s hands.

A while after, Internet Explorer 8, running on Windows 7, also fell. Windows 7 was running on a Sony Vaio P, and was cracked by a cracker named Nils, who wishes to remain anonymous. He also won a cash prize and got to keep the Vaio P. Several Microsoft security folk were on sight to witness the exploit. This exploit is also kept under wraps until Microsoft releases a patch. Later on, Nils also broke into Safari (Mac) and Firefox.

All the cracks happened on day one of the contest, which means the operating systems and browsers were fully patched, with no additional plugins loaded. So far, only Chrome hasn’t been cracked yet, but that probably won’t take long, seeing how quick the first browsers were exploited.

Still on the table… this year’s contest will also offer a $10,000 prize for every vulnerability successfully exploited in Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian, and the iPhone and BlackBerry OSes. The competition runs through Friday… so it ain’t over yet.

CanSecWest PWN2OWN

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PortableApps.com Suite 1.5 with new menus and customization

PortableApps Suite 1.5The PortableApps.com Suite, a full-featured app package that runs from a USB drive, has upgraded with a crisper-looking and more customizable menu, the latest versions of a ton of great freeware, and other improvements.

A new theme brings some transparency, mouse-over effects, and display improvements to the PortableApps menu, but the release notes bury the big news—you’ll be able to theme the suite yourself in the next release, due out in less than two weeks. The app icons on the pop-up menu can be renamed or hidden, applications can be launched as an administrator, and the menu can hide all the icons and switch wallpapers on whatever PC you’re on.

A PortableApp thumb drive loaded with a customized Firefox browser, office suites, IM clients, KeePass, and other portable offerings is a great way to get things done when you’re at a computer that’s not your own—or testing out stuff on your system you don’t quite want to install and muck around with.

The PortableApps.com suite comes in three flavors (basic, lite, and standard), is a free download, and launches on Windows systems only. Got a killer PortableApp setup on your thumb drive? Share the app list in the comments.

PortableApps.com Suite 1.5

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Gmail adds folders

Ok so they “sort of” added folder. Even though Gmail still uses labels, you can treat them like folders starting from today.

Gmail added a “move to” drop-down that combines two actions that were difficult to find or difficult to understand: labeling and archiving. Instead of clicking on “More actions”, selecting a label and then archiving the message, you can now click on “Move to” and select a label.

So what’s the difference between the two drop-downs?

“Move to” applies the label selected from the list and removes the label of the current view.

GMail "Move To"

“Labels” lets you add or remove labels from the list in a single action. You no longer have to repeatedly click on “More actions” to add multiple labels (THANK YOU GOOGLE).

GMail's Improved Labels

Of course you still get the straight drop down… NESTED labels are a needed addition. You can add nested labels with FireFox addons though. I personally recommend the Better GMail 2 addon available via LifeHacker. It’s a compilation of some of the best Greasemonkey user scripts that add features to Gmail.

One of my favorites, and something Google SHOULD add, is nested labels. They look and work like Folders that most users are familiar with from other email clients.

Folders4Gmail

If you don’t see the new features in your Gmail account, they’ll be enabled in the next few hours (I see it active in my GMail already). If you’re interested in the Better Gmail 2 addon you can grab it from LifeHacker here.

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Internet Explorer continues decline

Recently published Market Share statistics show the browser down almost 7% from the beginning of last year, continuing to slide down as time goes on. On the other hand, open source browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome are constantly increasing. Firefox’s market share increased by about 4% in 2008, and Chrome reached over 1% in the first few months of its availability. Opera’s share remained steady around 0.71 percent.

Internet Explorer Market Share1

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