Monday, October 4, 2010

Google Chrome Goes Pinoy with Themes and Extensions

Chrome was launched only sometime 2008 and yet it's now the Philippines' 2nd most popular browser. With innovations in extensions as well as variety of themes coupled with its robust infrastructure, Chrome is truly gaining grounds in the browser war. In fact, on both my desktop and laptop computers, Chrome runs as my default browser.

Last Sept. 30, another first was introduced to the Filipino bloggers -- extensions and themes done by Filipinos for Filipinos.

Themes are pretty much like your desktop wallpaper except that it carries over to the background of your browser and the colors of your tabs, buttons and bars follow the thematic colors. Extensions are small programs that you download and install. These either extend the functionality of existing applications or provide information.

Representing Google at the launch were Google Southeast Asia Head of Product Management, Andrew McGlinchey, and Google Southeast Asia Head of Marketing, Derek Callow.

(Andrew McGlinchey, left, and Derek Callow, right)

We were introduced to 3 of the 13 artists behind the Pinoy Google themes: Yabang Pinoy, AJ Dimarucot, and Corey Cruz.

(Yabang Pinoy's Patintero theme)

(AJ Dimarucot's Solar Eclipse theme)

Corey Cruz's Bahay Kubo theme)

Here are 12 of the 13 themes which I screencapped from the Google Chrome themes gallery.

Next, we were briefed on different extensions developed just for the Philippine scene (click on any of the links below to install the extension you want):

1. ABS CBN News Reader extension - this will allow users to get top entertainment news and the latest video feeds

2. Ayos Dito PH extension - as the largest Filipino online marketplace for buying and selling, its extension will allow users to receive relevant buy and sell information

3. Banco de Oro extension - will allow users to get foreign exchange (FOREX) information

4. Cebu Pacific extension - will allow users to get the best rates for the day

5. Carlos Celdran extension - Who doesn't know Carlos Celdran by now? His extension will update users on his latest adventures and tour dates.

6. MMDA extension - it will allow users to access the FAQ, the most searched category for local traffic information and Metro Manila driving tips.

7. Philippine Airlines extension - will allow users to check available flights

8. PEP extension - Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) will provide, via this extension, access to showbiz news such as TV interviews or sound bytes.

9. Pinoy Exchange extension - Pinoy Exchange is an online community of Filipinos around the world with a wide breadth of categories for registered members. The extension allows users to view top forum discussions.

10. SmartBro extension - allows users to get the latest news, promo updates and online help

11. GMA Breaking News - allows users to receive breaking news

Google also announced that in the works is a SmartBro/Google Chrome USB dongle which will already come with a Chrome installer. When the dongle is inserted into a computer, the Chrome icon will appear and users double-click this to access the web.

All in all, it was a fascinating evening and I am happy that the Philippines has been given a prominent place in the Chrome arena. This is just the start. I am sure that as more and more Pinoys make Chrome their default browser, there will be even more motivation on Google's part to innovate and create more themes and extensions just for the Filipino users' tastes.


gabbyu said...

Nice blog, Jane. I installed the Electrolychee theme...bright, but light background for easier reading. Also, installed some of the airlines and news extensions. No reason why Chrome can't get to be the top Filipino browser. I just love the language translation feature which I don't think is available with other browsers.

Jane said...

@gabbyu - Hahaha, I'm tempted to install that theme too.