Google has released a new version of its open VP8 codec. This new version, which is codenamed "Bali", there's a focus on improving the performance and video quality.
For those using Google's Chrome web-browser, a new stable release is available that brings several key enhancements.
Earlier this year Google announced they would be switching to the EXT4 file-system on their Linux servers (previously they were still using the mature EXT2) and at the same time it was made available they had hired Ted Ts'o, the lead developer of this file-system currently in use by a majority of the new Linux desktop distributions. Google's continuing to love the EXT4 file-system and now with their new Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" operating system for smart-phones and other mobile devices, they are switching to EXT4 there too.
Following Google opening up the VP8 video codec specification in May and launching the WebM container format, in July the developers behind FFmpeg created the ffvp8 decoder that was much faster than Google's own VP8 decoding library. Google has now, however, provided a new version of the VP8 Codec SDK that they have codenamed "Aylesbury" and it's designed to be better and much faster than their original release.
Last year one of the many projects introduced by Google was the Go programming language. Do you remember? It's reached a state of being a production-ready language, at least within Google's confines, but this project hasn't received as much attention and interest by the Linux and open-source communities as some of their other work such as VP8 and their new container format. It's possible that this could change once the Go programming language is accessible to more developers, which may very well come with GCC 4.6.
After previously open-sourcing the VP8 video codec and coming up with a new container format (WebM), Google set its sights on making a new image format. Google has now publicly announced and released the initial code to the WebP image format. The goal of WebP is to better compress images than PNG and JPEG files commonly used on web-sites while retaining the same image quality.
For those that enjoy using Gmail for e-mail and chat but have been missing out on the video and voice chat capabilities when using this Google service, there's now official video and voice chat support available for Linux. Gmail video and voice support was added nearly two years ago and has been supported under Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X, but released last night was the first Linux plug-in offering this multimedia support.
Google Chrome for Linux was released this past December as a beta product, but today Google is releasing the first stable version of their Chrome web-browser for Linux. The Mac OS X version is being released today as stable too.
While there has been speculation about it for weeks, Google has announced today from their I/O conference that they have open-sourced the VP8 video codec. VP8 is the video codec that was developed by On2 Technologies and then Google got its hands on it by acquiring the company a few months back. The older On2 VP3 codec is what went on to become the Theora codec. Google has also announced WebM as a new container format that combines the VP8 video codec with Vorbis audio.
A week ago we reported on open-source GPU offloading, which allowed multiple GPUs from different vendors that were backed by open-source graphics drivers to offload the 3D rendering work to a secondary GPU and then to pass the rendered result back to the primary GPU driving the display. This open-source work referred to as PRIME was based on NVIDIA's Optimus Technology. This work was done by David Airlie just as a proof of concept and he doesn't intend to get the work completed and shipped in the upstream packages, but is hoping to hand off this task to someone else.
To help out the adoption of WebGL, the Khronos-backed API originally started by Mozilla that seeks to let web developers tap into modern graphics processors via the web-browser natively, has caused Google to get into the graphics driver game. WebGL binds to OpenGL ES 2.0, and with the Microsoft graphics drivers being more DirectX-optimized rather than OpenGL, Google's playing to Microsoft. Google wants more users to be able to use WebGL, particularly when running the Chrome browser, so they have just announced the Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine. The objective of ANGLE is to just take the subset of the OpenGL ES API exposed by WebGL and to translate those extensions into their DirectX 9.0c equivalents.
Almost exactly one month ago we reported that Roderick Colenbrander was working on a new open-source project after his once-popular NVClock program has since largely faded away. Details were scarce on the project originally, but we knew it was to do with Linux gaming. Today we now know that this project is called "Kwaak3" and it's a port of Quake 3 to Google's Android platform.
In early December a beta of Google Chrome for Linux was released (though Chromium could be built on Linux in an alpha form for months earlier) while just days prior was the first public code release of Google's Chromium OS. Google's Chrome web-browser has been quick to attract new users on Linux thanks to its speed and features, but some are having issues with this web-browser over its multimedia support.
Google is in the process of migrating their EXT2 file-systems over to the modern EXT4 file-system. This was brought up in a JFS benchmarking discussion. Google's Michael Rubin shared that they chose EXT4 after benchmarking it as well as XFS and JFS (possibly with our Phoronix Test Suite carrying out some of the testing, which they have used in other areas). Their results showed EXT4 and XFS performing close to one another, but with it being easier to upgrade from EXT2 to EXT4 rather than EXT2 to XFS, they went with the easier path. Btrfs is still too experimental for Google to even consider that an option at this point.
Google has written in to let us know that their Chrome team has just put up an official Linux build. There's been the official Windows build of the Chrome web-browser for more than a year now, but now there are finally official Google Chrome builds for Linux and Mac OS X. This is in addition to the Chromium web-browser, which is the open-source version of Chrome, that has been build-able on Linux for a few months now. Even last September CodeWeavers brought Chromium to Linux via their Wine software. Additionally, the Google Chrome browser now has support for browser extensions as a beta feature in their Windows/Linux builds.
While Google's Chrome web-browser is not officially available for Linux quite yet, a beta release of the Linux-based Chrome OS is now available (EDIT: see below, it turns out this is an independent spin that is not the proper "Chrome OS"). Uploaded now is Chrome OS 0.4.223 Beta and has made it publicly available for download through this web-page both as an ISO and VMDK/VMX files for VirtualBox and VMware virtualization support. The Chrome OS Beta ISO is a LiveCD, but that mode currently does not work and requires you to use the live installer first to install it to a hard disk.
Google's Chrome browser was released for Windows last year, but they are now finally pushing out development builds of this unique web browser for Linux and Mac OS X. Linux users could previously try out the rough equivalent of Chrome via Google's open-source Chromium project, but this is the first time they are releasing a development version of the official Chrome web-browser for Linux.
Almost one year to the day after Google first unveiled the Android platform, they have now released the source-code to this mobile phone stack. This move is coming just one day before the first Android phone begins shipping in the US, the T-Mobile G1. The announcement came on the Android blog and the code is available from the Android Source page.
Back during the first-ever Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit that was hosted at the Googleplex, there were several interesting bits of information worth reporting. One of these was a comment made by Google's Chris DiBona, who serves as the open-source program manager for this Internet giant. Chris DiBona had said "I would love to get either NVIDIA and ATI to actually give us the specs on the drivers we want or let's just reverse engineer everything and do it ourselves...Then people would say oh well there's free drivers out there, more people are using it, we'll open source our drivers so the users will use our driver and at least get the best experience." The complete quote is available in our earlier article.
If GIMP 2.4.0 doesn't meet your needs for photo editing or captioning and F-Spot doesn't suit you well, Google has released a beta 2.7 version of Picasa for Linux. Picasa for Linux premiered last year and uses WINE as opposed to a full-blown native port. The Linux beta version of Picasa 2.7 includes support for uploading to your online Picasa album, improvements to importing, better RAW support, and other enhancements. This updated version of Picasa can be found on the Google download page.
Last week Google announced Android, which is the newest open-source mobile phone platform. Google is not the only company behind Android but several companies make up the Open Handset Alliance. Among the OHA companies are Intel, Motorola, NVIDIA, eBay, and T-Mobile. Some of the Android platform features include connectivity support for leading cellular technologies in addition to Bluetooth and WiFi, a web browser that is based upon WebKit, a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) implementation, and support for a variety of different hardware. Yesterday a preview build of the Android SDK (along with a device emulator and other information) was released to the public. Prior to the announcement of Android, when it was speculated to be the Google G-Phone, it had received quite a bit of mainstream media attention. This media coverage has continued through the announcement.
Earlier this year we were first to break the news that Google would be expanding its Linux desktop application arsenal and then later that month Google released Google Desktop 1.0 for Linux. Today Google has released out their first beta update to the Google Desktop for Linux, in what will be version 1.1. Google Desktop v1.1 Beta for Linux adds in support for searching and launching applications, many more image formats are now supported, and the image thumbnails in the search results has also been improved. This Google Desktop update also allows the user to customize their "quick search" hot-key launcher and the Linux version now supports searching the contents of Microsoft Office documents. The official details are available from the Google Desktop Blog as well as Linux download links.
There has been a new batch of rumors swirling about Google producing a "gPhone" mobile telephone after a Reuters reporter stated High Tech Computer Corp would be designing the Linux phone for Google. A friendly penguin has told us at Phoronix that Google is looking to team up with OpenMoko for their "gPhone". Google will not be using the FIC Neo1973 GTA01, but they will be bringing the open-source OpenMoko platform to their own hardware, which looks to be manufactured through HTC, and making a few changes along the way.
We told you a few weeks ago that Google would be introducing new Linux applications in the very near future after seeing some interesting slides back at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. What is this new program to be released? Google has written a Linux-native version of Google Desktop. This GTK closed-source program allows you to search files on your desktop, open files, and find other information. However, it currently lacks some features found in the Google Desktop for Mac OS X and Windows. You can download the Linux Google Desktop from Google.
During the state of the Linux round-table discussion on the first day of the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, James Bottomley (Linux kernel developer) had asked the panelists what are the top two things each panelist would like from the Linux community. Among the panelists was Google's Chris DiBona, who is the open-source program manager at Google. His response was interesting when he had said the following: "I would love to get either NVIDIA and ATI to actually give us the specs on the drivers we want or let's just reverse engineer everything and do it ourselves. I would like to see you guys do that. Because I think that I am just so tired of this conversation and before what we would do is we would just do it. Then people would say oh well there's free drivers out there, more people are using it, we'll open source our drivers so the users will use our driver and at least get the best experience." Chris had went on to add, "I've met Jensen and Chris over at NVIDIA and have said to them almost every Wednesday morning as they go to my gym, I say you guys have got to open this up because it will just get uglier and uglier and uglier... I would totally support that. I think that it's important to enhance the desktop."
Google Earth version 4.0 has been released for Linux, Windows, and Macintosh. Among the new features in Google Earth 4 is 3D models, time animation, a new interface, support for joystick controllers, and regions support. Google Earth can be downloaded here.
Google's GWT (Google Web Toolkit) is now 100% open-source software. All of the source-code is being opened up under the Apache 2.0 license. The Google Web Toolkit is a Java framework to assist in writing AJAX applications. More on the Google Web Toolkit can be found on its project page, and the open-source announcement can be found on its blog.
Google, yes Google, is proposing a new power supply standard for designing more efficient PC PSUs. Their design eliminates the multiple voltage rails in favor of a single +12-Volt standard. This design would allow power supplies to be designed and run more efficiently, while the remainder of Voltage conversions would continue to occur on the motherboard. CNET News has some additional commentary on the matter.
215 Google news articles published on Phoronix.