Sunday, April 26, 2015

Google starts boosting 'mobile-friendly' sites in smartphone search results [feedly]

Google starts boosting 'mobile-friendly' sites in smartphone search results
// The Verge - All Posts

Google is now factoring in how mobile-friendly a website is when ranking your search results on a smartphone. Pages that are optimized for smaller screens will be boosted in result versus those designed strictly for the desktop. This boost will only apply to mobile searches. Google announced plans to take this step in February, giving web developers some time to prepare, and today it's officially going into effect. "Now searchers can more easily find high quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling," the company wrote in a blog post. The change applies to searches in all languages and in all countries...

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Find: First look at Project Spartan, Microsoft’s take on the modern browser

First look at Project Spartan, Microsoft’s take on the modern browser
// Ars Technica

When announcing that a Windows 10 Preview with the new Project Spartan browser was available, Microsoft made clear that the browser ain't done yet. What we have now is an early iteration of the company's take on a legacy-free forward-looking browser—a browser that's going to ditch the venerable Internet Explorer name.

Superficially, everything about the browser is new. Its interface takes cues from all the competition: tabs on top, in the title bar, the address bar inside each tab. The look is simple and unadorned; monochrome line-art for icons, rectangular tabs, and a flat look—the address bar, for example, doesn't live in a recessed pit (as it does in Chrome) and is integral with the toolbar (unlike Internet Explorer).

The design concept works well for me, though I doubt this will be universal. As is so often the case on Windows, it doesn't really fit with the rest of the operating system. While parts of Windows 10 have a similar appearance—most notably the Settings app—Windows overall remains an inconsistent mish-mash of looks and feels, to its detriment.

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Find: Google’s ARC Beta runs Android apps on Chrome OS, Windows, Mac, and Linux

Google’s ARC Beta runs Android apps on Chrome OS, Windows, Mac, and Linux
// Ars Technica

The ARC Welder is a Chrome app that makes Chrome apps. It shows up in the app list.

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In September, Google launched ARC—the "App Runtime for Chrome,"—a project that allowed Android apps to run on Chrome OS. A few days later, a hack revealed the project's full potential: it enabled ARC on every "desktop" version of Chrome, meaning you could unofficially run Android apps on Chrome OS, Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. ARC made Android apps run on nearly every computing platform (save iOS).

ARC is an early beta though so Google has kept the project's reach very limited—only a handful of apps have been ported to ARC, which have all been the result of close collaborations between Google and the app developer. Now though, Google is taking two big steps forward with the latest developer preview: it's allowing any developer to run their app on ARC via a new Chrome app packager, and it's allowing ARC to run on any desktop OS with a Chrome browser.

ARC runs Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS thanks to Native Client (abbreviated "NaCL"). NaCL is a Chrome sandboxing technology that allows Chrome apps and plugins to run at "near native" speeds, taking full advantage of the system's CPU and GPU. Native Client turns Chrome into a development platform, write to it, and it'll run on all desktop Chrome browsers. Google ported a full Android stack to Native Client, allowing Android apps to run on most major OSes.

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Find: 10% of Americans have a smartphone but no other Internet at home

10% of Americans have a smartphone but no other Internet at home
// Ars Technica

One out of 10 Americans owns a smartphone but has no other Internet service at home, with the poor far more likely to find themselves in this situation than those who are well off, according to a Pew Research Center report released today.

"10 percent of Americans own a smartphone but do not have broadband at home, and 15 percent own a smartphone but say that they have a limited number of options for going online other than their cell phone," Pew Senior Researcher Aaron Smith wrote. "Those with relatively low income and educational attainment levels, younger adults, and non-whites are especially likely to be 'smartphone-dependent.'”

Pew said that 7 percent of Americans are in both categories—a smartphone is their only option for using the Internet at home, and they have few easily available options for going online when away from home. Pew refers to these Americans as "smartphone-dependent."

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