Chrome

Chrome browser taps AI for new ‘Help me write’ tool

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Google Chrome 'Help Me Write' AI writing tool
"Help Me Write" uses AI to improve your writing online.
Image: Google

Google Chrome uses artificial intelligence in a new experimental tool that makes it easier to start writing or improve something already written online. “Help me write” can punch up the content of any text field in the browser.

It’s coming to Mac and Windows, and is just the latest AI addition to Chrome.

Apple will allow alternative browser defaults and engines in EU

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Screenshot of default browser screen in iOS.
EU users are about to get a lot more choice for their default browser and browser engines.
Screenshot: Apple

Apple is further opening up iOS to alternative browsers and browser engines, as part of Cupertino’s plan to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act.

In iOS 17.4 — launched Thursday as a beta — iPhone users in the EU will have a lot more choice over the default browser and browser engines.

The biggest change will be the ability to use alternative browser engines, like Google’s Blink renderer instead of Apple’s WebKit.

Google admits Chrome Incognito mode does almost nothing

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The Google Chrome logo with the caption:
Google admits Chrome's Incognito mode does almost nothing.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The description of Chrome’s Incognito mode will soon be changed to make it clear that Google tracks people who use the web browser. It also will warn users that websites can gather data about them as well.

This means the only people blocked from knowing your browsing history when using Incognito mode are family/friends who use the same computer.

5 reasons to use Safari instead of Chrome

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Chrome isn't as good as you think
You should reconsider using Safari
Image: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

A lot of Mac owners use Google Chrome as their web browser, and personally, I don’t get it. For Apple fans, it seems like a total disconnect not to use Safari instead of Chrome.

For starters, Apple markets its products as privacy-forward and seamlessly integrated with each other. And the web browser is an essential component of your computer, whether we’re talking Mac, iPhone or iPad. You have a lot to gain by using Safari on all your devices.

But look at the numbers: Although the Mac has 20% market share, second to Windows, Apple’s web browser Safari only captures 8.9% of the market.

Here’s my attempt to sway it the other way — the top five reasons I use Safari instead of Google Chrome.

Google tweaks Chrome to reduce MacBook battery drain

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The Chrome browser may soon become a more efficient MacBook battery user.
The Chrome browser may soon become a more efficient MacBook battery user.
Photo: Google/Apple

Google said Tuesday it’s making several changes to the Chrome browser to make it less of a MacBook battery hog. Modifications include adjusting timers to wake the CPU less often, tuning memory compression and further optimizing Energy Saver mode.

The company’s tests using a 13-inch M2 MacBook Pro suggest the tweaks may help folks browse for 17 hours or watch YouTube for 18 hours on a single charge.

Google and Mozilla test iPhone browsers not based on WebKit

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Google claims Chrome for Mac is now faster than Safari
A major under-the-hood change might be coming to Chrome for iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Google is tinkering with a version of its Chrome web browser for iPhone that does not use the WebKit rendering engine. The same is true for Mozilla and the Firefox browser.

Releasing these is currently impossible because of Apple’s browser rules, but the iPhone-maker may be forced to drop that restriction soon.

Google makes Chrome for Mac less of a RAM hog

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Websites may have issues with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox when each one hits version 100.
Google is improving Chrome so it takes up less of Mac's system memory. And it'll go easier on batteries, too.
Photo: Google/Apple

Google tweaked the desktop version of Chrome so that background tabs take up less memory. The widely used browser will also use less power when a laptop’s battery is getting low.

The changes are coming soon to the macOS version as well as other desktop OSs.

Get the most battery life out of your MacBook

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Get the most battery life out of your Mac.
Get the most battery life out of your Mac.
Image: Apple

How do you kill that which cannot die? The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro boast industry-leading battery life. In the PC world, the high power consumption of Intel processors means you generally must choose between battery life and performance.

The latest MacBooks use Apple’s own custom chips, cut from the same cloth as the iPhone and iPad chips Apple has been designing since 2010 (and, in a roundabout way, the one they made for the Apple Newton in 1994). This is what powers them to last all day at full speed.

If you want to take your M1 Max MacBook Pro to the coffee shop to get work done, and you leave your power cable at home — even if you’re editing 8K ProRes video streams in Final Cut Pro — you still might be ordering lunch and staying through dinner. How could one possibly need more battery life, and how do you get it?

Firefox and Chrome may start breaking websites soon

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Websites may have issues with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox when each one hits version 100.
Websites may have issues with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox when each one hits version 100.
Photo: Google/Apple

Google, which makes Chrome, and Mozilla, which makes Firefox, warn that those web browsers are about to reach version 100. And that could mean major websites stop working properly with them.

Why? Coded to recognize two-digit version numbers, websites may have trouble identifying browsers with three-digit numbers.

How to use iCloud Passwords inside Google Chrome on Windows

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How to use iCloud Passwords in Chrome
Grab Apple's new Chrome extension today.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple has rolled out a somewhat surprise Google Chrome extension that allows users to access iCloud Passwords on Windows machines.

You can use it to sync all the passwords you’ve created on Mac, iPhone, and iPad to your Windows desktop. And to sync any passwords you create in Chrome to iCloud Keychain for use on Apple devices.

We’ll show you how to get set up.

Google Chrome finally supports multiple windows on iPad

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Chrome for iPad got a major update.
Chrome for iPad can finally show two web pages at the same time.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A fresh update to Google Chrome for iPad lets users open multiple browser windows side-by-side. This long-overdue feature enables tablet users see two web pages simultaneously.

Google also released Gmail and Google Drive Home screen widgets.

How to change the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 default web browser

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How to change the default iOS browser
It’s finally possible to replace safari as the default iOS browser.
Graphic Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

For the first time, iOS 14 and the iPad equivalent allow you to change the default web browser. If you prefer Google’s Chrome, you can ditch Safari when tapping links on your phone or tablet. And that’s not the only option.

Making the switch is easy, though the setting is somewhat hidden. Here’s what you do.

Apple ‘discussing’ plans to allow third-party browsers, email apps to be defaults on iOS

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close all tabs
You might not be stuck with Safari for much longer.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is finally “considering” giving users the ability to set third-party web browsers and email clients as defaults on iOS, according to a new Bloomberg report. It could also open up HomePod to rival music streaming services.

iPhone and iPad owners can already install third-party alternatives, but iOS currently does not allow them to override Apple’s built-in services. That could change as Apple faces increasing pressure over the tight control it imposes over its mobile devices.

Chrome extension brings ‘Likes’ back to Instagram, sort of

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Instagram lawsuit
A Chrome extension can bring your hidden "Likes" out in the open.
Photo: Pixabay

The “Like”-minded Instagram influencer didn’t have to wait long to get a work-around to the social media app’s experiment with hiding the number of “Likes” on posts.

A company known as Socialinsider has created a free Google Chrome browser extension called “The Return of the Likes.”