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Chrome Corner - weekly updates, extensions, themes, and tips for Google Chrome

It's week 2 of Chrome corner, and there's plenty to talk about once again: a nice, new theme, an Omnibox tweak, and a juicy hardware tidbit. Let's start there.

Specs for Google's Official Chrome OS Laptop Netbook Smartbook leaked
IBTimes has posted a vague list of specs for the upcoming Chrome OS system which Google will begin selling in 2010. The smartbooks will feature an ARM CPU and NVidia Tegra chipset, 2GB of memory, a 64GB SSD, and a 10.1" HD-ready multi-touch display. Estimated price: about $300US, with additional subsidies offered from the cellular carriers Google will inevitably partner up with.

I've got to say, I'm a little surprised by the size of the drive. For a machine and OS which are all about the cloud, 64GB seems like an awful lot of local storage. Chrome OS will have a file browser, of course, and Google's going to include some offline functionality. 64GB would provide plenty of room to take your favorite videos, images, and music with you on those lengthy roadtrips...It could also be nothing more than a rumor. A Chrome smartbook would probably be just fine with a 16GB SSD.

As for IBTimes' suggestion that this "looks like a high performance machine," they're wrong. "It's like getting a Ferrari for the price of a Mini Cooper!" the article states. Really? I'd say it's more like getting a Ford Focus SES for the same price as a regular Ford Focus.

Google's Chrome ad banner is news again?
Over the weekend, Silicon Alley Insider apparently awoke from a deep coma to notice that Google's stark search home page sometimes displays a small banner ad for Chrome when visited with a different browser. Gizmodo decided to run a piece as well...Maybe it took them both so long to notice because the ad is so subtle?

The ad has actually been around for months, something I verified with CNet's Ed Bott.

A web browser is tricky to market, and Google's team is going to try all kinds of angles to educate the public - and tempt people to switch (like the Avast deal). Google wants you running Google products as much as possible - and their browser is the perfect starting point. They're going to push Chrome wherever they can, and what better place than on one of the most popular pages on the Internet?

Muku is a subtle wood theme for Chrome
Designer Daisuke Yamashita's Mac themes are nice to look at - nice enough that one Chrome skinner has decided to remix Yamashita's Muku for Google Chrome. As with most Chrome themes, there's not a lot to look at. Muku keeps things low-key and is perfectly suited to a zen-inspired desktop.

You can install Muku from the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery.

History2 adds a better History browser to Chrome
Searching your history might be the Google way, but it isn't always the easiest way to find an item. If you find yourself wanting a slightly more traditional approach to the history page, take a look at History2. It's a nice upgrade - read about it in my previous post, or check it out in the extensions gallery.

Increase the number of suggestions in Chrome's Omnibox!
One very useful way to tweak Chrome is by adding command line switches to your Chrome shortcut. One I've been utilizing for ages increases the number of suggestions in the Omnibox. By default Chrome only displays 5 items, and sometimes that's just not enough to be useful.

To expand your list of suggestions, simply add -omnibox-popup-count=10 to your shortcut's target. In Windows, just right click the icon and choose properties, and add the text here:
You don't have to limit yourself to ten, of course - you can set the number to whatever you want.

Tags: chrome, chrome corner, ChromeCorner, extensions, google