Google’s alpha-stage email encryption plugin lands on GitHub

Google has updated its experimental End-to-End email encryption plugin for Chrome and moved the project to GitHub. The firm said in a Tuesday blog post that it had “always believed strongly that End-To-End must be an open source project.” The alpha-stage, OpenPGP-based extension now includes the first contributions from Yahoo’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos. Google will also make its new crypto library available to several other projects that have expressed interest. However, product manager Stephan Somogyi said the plugin still wasn’t ready for the Chrome Web Store, and won’t be widely released until Google is happy with the usability of its key distribution and management mechanisms.

Google to close down Russian engineering operations

Google is closing its Russian engineering office, according to a report in The Information.

Google’s Russian engineers will be offered jobs in other countries or in other departments, the Financial Times noted. The company is not saying why it is shutting its Moscow engineering office, which focuses on Chrome OS and the Chrome Web Store, but it said in a statement: “We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them.”

The move follows a series of new restrictions on internet activity in the country, ranging from requirements for popular bloggers to register themselves and abide by censorship limitations, to requirements for Wi-Fi hotspot users to log on with personal ID.

Perhaps most pertinently — unless the department’s shuttering is purely for business reasons — [company]Google[/company] has been ordered to store the data of its Russian users in Russian data centers, and also to comply with the bloggers register law. Russia’s security services have previously urged the use of locally developed encryption in the country’s data centers, suggesting that the move is tied to a desire to be able to access citizens’ personal information.

Google just sped up searches on Chrome for Android

If you’re searching Google on Chrome for Android, you might (or might not) notice that you’re receiving search results a little faster than before– 100 to 150 milliseconds faster, to be exact. That’s because of a new feature called reactive prefetch that starts to roll out today. According to Google developer Ilya Grigorik, the few feature tells the mobile browser to download certain parts of a webpage before the user needs them. It’s “reactive” because it only starts fetching when the user clicks. Unfortunately, it’s only available for Chrome for Android for now because this feature requires the browser and the search engine to work closely in tandem.

Chrome Show: Hey, you got your Android apps in my Chromebook!

The virtual merger of Chrome and Android continues with apps from both platforms running on the other. Some of this effort is official and in beta but since both Chromium and Android are open, a little tinkering brings the two even closer together.