Google opens up code for Chrome for Android

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Google’s Chrome for Android development team has announced the mobile version of the Chrome browser is now “almost entirely open source.” The parts not open sourced include some media codecs, plugins, and Google service features that are restricted due to licensing issues. The team open sourced over 100,000 lines of code, including the entire user interface layer. For developers, this move means they can built their own versions of the browser for Android devices. Read more

Opera Browser Beta update brings 64-bit support, Chromium 42 codebase and other improvements

Opera Browser Beta

When it comes to Android, you have a ton of options to choose from when deciding which browser to use on your smartphone or tablet. Opera is a name that been around for quite a while, and it has pushed an update for its Opera Browser Beta app with some must-have features that will help it keep pace with the competition.

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Google putting Chrome on Ice Cream Sandwich in the freezer

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Citing the movement of users to newer versions of Android and the increasing complexity to support older devices, Google’s Chrome team announced today they will bring development of updates for the Chrome browser on Ice Cream Sandwich to a halt. The change in status for the browser will take place with Chrome’s 42nd release after which the browser will be put in the virtual deep freeze on Ice Cream Sandwich. Users will be able to continue to use Chrome on their devices, but there will be no more updates. Read more

Google drops Google account requirement for Chrome browser app installs

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Google made a change to the Chrome Web Store that makes it a little easier for users of the Chrome browser to install apps from the Web Store. Up until now, installation of apps required a Google account, even free apps. For users who only occasionally use the Chrome browser and don’t make use of other Google services, this could be a hurdle to just testing something out. Google’s change will now let users install free apps without being logged in with a Google account.

The change does not apply to paid apps though. This makes sense since Google needs to collect payment and their ecosystem is setup to do that using a Google account.

For developers, this does mean they will need to factor in the possibility that a user is not logged in to a Google account when using the app.

source: +François Beaufort

Facebook adds internal browser to app on Android

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Users are reporting that their Facebook app on Android is now loading links to web sites in an internal browser rather than launching one of the external browsers a user may have installed on their device. There is no indication in the Play store entry for the Facebook app that an internal browser has been added as an update which suggests this may be a beta feature that only a subset of users are receiving. Rolling out changes to only some users for beta testing is a standard practice for Facebook on the normal web interface and seems to be used more frequently with their Android app. Read more

New Hangouts feature allows sketch-messaging through your browser

Hangouts Sketch

Hangouts for the web recently got an update which allows users to sketch a message and send off the masterpiece to a buddy.

It’s a bit like Snapchat, without the expiration of the message of course. A few different options are available to users like brush width and a variety of colors.

To create a sketch, hover over the camera icon, click on the pencil and then begin. Sketches can be edited after they’ve been sent, which is a cool feature as well.

If you didn’t get the update yet, be patient because it’s still rolling out to everyone. Expect the feature to make its way to Android relatively soon as well.

Source: Android Police 

Google Glass vulnerable to JavaScript exploit

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There was a security issue back in Android 4.1 that would allow malicious code (specifically JavaScript) to interject itself into apps that created a WebView, which is something typically done when an app opens up a web window to display an external website, ads, etc. Needless to say, that’s a pretty common thing on Android apps. and apparently that potentially dangerous bug is present in Google Glass, too.

Metasploit, a popular vulnerability testing framework, added a new test module that would allow users to test how vulnerable some versions of the Android browser are to being hacked from shell access, and that’s when this exploit was found in Glass. The exploit would involve a man-in-the-middle hijacking that WebView instance, which wouldn’t be too difficult to do if you’re on a public WiFi or anything that isn’t well secured. At that point, the malicious code could do anything from taking photos with your device to remotely turning on your microphone. Definitely not a good thing. Read more