It seems unlikely, what I wrote in the title. But it’s still comical to witness the fact that Microsoft’s Security Essentials software is seemingly removing copies of Chrome on users’ computers. I must admit, I think that Security Essentials is actually a good piece of software. It’s a free virus scanning and protection program that the company offers to help thwart what has been some very bad publicity over malicious software through the years.
Could it be possible that Microsoft is purposely trying to hold down Chrome? While it’s hard to put it past them, one would think that the company should know better than to try and participate in anti-competitive practices that would threaten put them into a litigious situation. Even though they have been known to put themselves in that particular position in the past.
And while Microsoft is claiming that the issue is a bug, last week Google posted a blog article explaining the situation and how to reinstall Chrome without incident. Surprising to me that the removal of a competitor’s software could possibly be construed as a “bug” and identifying it as a piece of malware called “PWS:Win32/Zbot” but I guess anything is plausible in Microsoft-land.
Look, Microsoft has a hold of the enterprise market for the time being. And Security Essentials is aimed squarely at the consumer market. I could understand if Security Essentials caused Chrome not to run, but a complete removal of the software? Come on. While it may be problematic from Microsoft’s perspective that Chrome is installed in the user profile file structure, it is still under “Google” and then “Chrome”, causing the removal of “chrome.exe”. Is that an accident?
I’m just bringing up these questions. At the same time, as I’ve stated above, it would be extremely dumb for Microsoft to think that they would be able to get away with this. Of course, they used to think that all software must cost money, which doesn’t always seem to be the case these days.
via LA Times
I probably don’t really need to rehash the news that the Chromium codebase is showing signs that the Chrome browser is coming to Android devices. From a standards standpoint, doing this makes sense. Google wants to create similar browsing experience regardless of what device a user is accessing the web from, and there had been rumblings that this type of convergence was going to arrive at some point anyways. What’s more interesting is that Android is built for the cheap, energy sipping ARM processor architecture.
That’s a departure from Intel-based devices that Chrome OS run off of right now. And while the Atom series f processors do a good job, my experience with them in the first generation Chromebooks can leave room for more processing muscle. While having a few tabs open on a Chromebook is really not that big of a deal, it becomes much more problematic when you try to run, say, Pandora, YouTube and several Google Apps instances all at once.
This can be a problem, especially for companies that are interested in signing up for the Chromebooks for Business program. One of the things that still needs to be resolved is solid HTML5 virtualization in order to take the place of native installed applications users expect from a customary Windows experience. And sure, for work purposes people won’t be running Pandora, YouTube and Google Apps (I hope). But they still will need to be running relatively complex applications to do their work.
These types of webapps are a step above your typical web page. I often wonder, because of this, if using a dual core Intel processor is really enough. If it proves over time to be really limited, then Intel would need to theoretically chip in with a more expensive power hungry processor, barring some technological leap. But for the time being it appears that Google and Intel have some kind of deal in place to make sure that Atom processors are shipped out with Chrome OS device.
Yes, it’s still early days. I still believe in the potential of thin clients in both the retail and enterprise markets, but my prediction is that it’s going to take much longer than I first anticipated. It seems that along with this processor situation, Google has steadfastly tried to keep Android and Chrome very much two separate entities. I’m starting to wonder, then, if perhaps the best strategy going forward might be for the retail sector to work with Android – going up against Apple. Then, the Chrome OS side can go up against Microsoft in the enterprise market.
The inclusion of Chrome on Android doesn’t make this division any clearer. It’s a promotion of Chrome, for sure, and users will be able to sync up their Chrome instances. But where does this put the Chrome Operating System?
It seems to be coming clearer how Google wants to position Chrome retail products, and as a result the first devices have only appeared online. Unfortunately, their ease of use would dictate that the company would need to go ahead and get Chromebooks as well as other Chrome OS devices into retail stores where people can actually have a chance to interact with them and possibly purchase one. This is a strategy that has boded well for Apple, as since the time that the company made the controversial move to get into retail its fortunes have increased dramatically.
It’s been announced that Google has opened a “Chrome Zone” located inside an electronics store called PC World in London. It’s a smart move, and continues with a slow pace of introducing Chromebooks to the masses. Already one can find similar Chrome testing grounds located within the San Francisco airport and at the Ace Hotel in New York City.
I’m curious as to why Google is not developing the retail market with some holiday pop-up stores in the United States, but I am going to assume that there are even less people in Europe that are familiar with Chrome OS so that may be why there is more impetus on Google to try to test these things across the pond with the London store within a store, which is pictured below.
The holiday season is a perfect time for Google to try to promote Chromebooks, but what might be even more beneficial for the company is to find a way to get its hardware partners to reduce the retail price for the devices. This likely is going to be a complicated affair, since Samsung and Asus took technical business risks just to get involved with selling these devices. Another element likely complicating pricing factors is that any adjustment to the retail side of the devices brings to debate how the monthly Chromebooks for Business and Chromebooks for Education would be impacted.
As prices are lowered on the retail side, which is inevitable over time, what happens to the monthly subscription fee for organizations that are buying hardware that is not as “new” as when the models first arrived months ago? It’s an interesting question, and it seems to be that on the surface Google is trying to just figure this out as time goes one, making decisions along the way. What’s very much true is the fact that they are in Chrome for the very long haul as it fits their overall strategy very well.
Back during Google I/O, there was much fanfare with the announcement that the Chrome Web Store would feature Angry Birds for free in HD glory for user to waste massive amounts of time upon. It was a great synergistic move between Google and the producers of Angry Birds, and has resulted in a promotion of sorts via a Chrome commercial that plays up the benefits of Google’s own browser.
While it’s unlikely that such a techie-oriented commercial will ever pop up on television, there continues to be strong efforts from Google to play up pop culture references in order to further Chrome’s expansion. Working in tandem with the company’s business efforts, they are certainly spending a lot of time to properly execute a marketing strategy that hits on all sides.
This new commercial comes in the same week that it is expected Chrome will soon surpass Firefox, long thought to be the dominating browser for developers and early adopters. The amount of sheer resources that Google has poured into Chrome and Chrome OS over the past year, along with marketing campaigns that Mozilla cannot match, is causing Chrome’s growth to be further propelled at Firefox and Internet Explorer’s expense.
Does commercial marketing help Chrome’s overall popularity? Do you even think that it is necessary?
via 9 to 5 Goole
I’ve been pondering the merits of Google+ recently, especially in light of the fact that Facebook has made some changes to their interface recently. Note that I said, “changes” and not any improvements. In fact, I think what they have done is more than a nuisance more than anything and serves to suggest that maybe Google+ is a viable alternative social network.
But enough about Facebook. One of the key elements that I have always found intriguing about Google+ is the fact that the idea of Hangouts is something that Facebook is unable to compete with right now. Indeed, the new Google+ Hangout Check will even indicate for you if anyone is actually hanging out.
Maybe I don’t have enough Hangout-centric people in my Circles, but it seems to me that the whole concept has petered out. Although I must say, the Hangout Check extension is actually quite useful because when you are not focused on Google+ you can still have an idea if there are people you want to chat with face to face.
Is Google Hangouts a linchpin of Google+ and the overall Chrome space? It’s too soon to tell. Something suggests to me that many people are still a bit uncomfortable with the idea of videoconferencing with friends, despite the fact that many companies already use some form of it for long distances meetings as well as for hiring people remotely.
Once people do use Hangouts and find that they are not uncomfortable or perhaps embarrassed in any way, however, when they use it maybe there will be potential. But there is going to be that hurdle that needs to be overcome, and it won’t be that easy.
via Chrome Story
One of the most overlooked elements of the Chrome OS hardware retail efforts (call them Chromebooks, if you will) is that since their launch over two months ago, one could only buy a new one through two outlets. One was Amazon, and the other was Best Buy’s website. You cannot waltz into a store and buy a Chromebook. The reasoning behind this has been that Google doesn’t want unsuspecting buyers to walk into a retail store an accidently purchase a Chromebook that cannot have native applications installed.
Well, one more online outlet has gotten into the Chromebook game in TigerDirect, a company known for selling computer hardware on the cheap.
It should be noted that the Chromebook offerings that are located on Tiger’s site are priced the exact same as both Amazon and Best Buy for the time being. As time goes on, and more models are introduced I would expect there to be more competition in terms of price, but for the time being it’s pretty homogenous where you buy your Chrome OS device from.
At some point soon, especially with the holiday season coming up, I would think that Google would begin to expand their Chromebook retail sources. I often wonder whether they over thought the strategy of leaving Chromebooks out of brick and mortar stores. The target market for these computers would seem to target the buyers that specifically go to outlets like Best Buy to get more understanding on what they are purchasing.
That’s why I think Best Buy over time will have a major influence in sales of Chromebooks. Giving their online store early access to selling them was a smart move by Google. The question is, what kind of incentive can Google provide to Best Buy in order to have them tout Chromebooks as a superior choice over clunky Windows devices for some buyers?
via Chrome Story
There was once a time not long ago that the business market was dominated by Microsoft and IBM. But some organizations are coming to the conclusion that complex and overly expensive infrastructures are not always the most ideal implementations for IT solutions, especially now that there are some alternatives within the market.
Indeed, research firm Gartner seems to conclude this with a new report that says Gmail is the defacto cloud email supplier at this point, nothing that competitors such as VMWare have struggled to maintain any sort of focus on their own email product, dubbed Zimbra.
And despite the detractors out there that dismiss Gmail as a solid solution, Gartner predicts that cloud-based email clients such as Gmail will zoom to 20 percent of the market by 2016 and to 55 percent by 2020. That’s up from the current miniscule share of only one percent of the overall market currently.
As much as Chrome and Chrome OS is trying to make inroads with the retail market, an entire generation of workers who have grown up with Google’s free services clearly will see the benefit of using the Google Apps suite of productivity tools in the workplace. It seems intuitive: it’s only a matter of time when these individuals won’t even require training and change management for that software because it will already be built into their consciousness as a result of the past ten years of Google services.
That’s not to say that Microsoft or IBM are going to go anywhere. Business environments will continue to become more complex, requiring both companies’ services. We’ll likely see Google moving up this tier in the long run as well, as consulting services and providing unique capabilities is what is the cream in terms of revenue in the business market.
Gartner also suggests that many organizations may never be able to fully switch to Google Apps, due to compliance issues. It’s probably that certain divisions of companies might be able to switch, while others might not, offering more of a hybrid model than ever before.
That’s all fine and well, but that brings IT environments into somewhat of a piecemeal-type of layout. With some areas of a company using, say, IBM Lotus Notes and others using Gmail, that could very well become a nightmare for IT personnel barring some unforeseen tools to help manage users in this way. Thus, it’s a concept that in the past has not been explored to a high degree, so it will be interesting to see how that may work out. Despite this, Gartner suggests that the remaining 45% may be using IBM or Microsoft in 2020, but that does not indicate whether there may be a complex, secure cloud solution from either of those two companies.
Late last week, Google made the announcement that Native Client has arrived to that stable version of Chrome, now at version 14. This essentially means that lower-level languages such as C++ can now be used for apps in the Chrome Web Store. At some point in the near future, with a technology called Portable Native Client, this will expand to encompass any application that may want to use this technology regardless if it has inclusion in Google’s own web application directory, a sign of some degree of openness in an environment that has often be criticized as being more closed than it should be.
An experimental version of this technology first appeared as a Chrome Lab in “about:flags” late last year in the browser, and Google has finally made it a regular feature of the browser, which will bode well for overall performance.
This is a significant step to be sure, but it makes one wonder what impact it will have, if at all, on the performance of the Cr-48 and Chromebooks that are on the market today. With all things considered, there are still some issues with Chromebooks being able to run certain web applications even with a dual core Atom processor as opposed to the Cc-48′s single core that can sometimes struggle to output video.
I often wonder if performance is one of the reasons that Chromebooks will not gain traction as quickly as some, such as Anton Wahlman from The Street, had predicted. While Native Client is one solution to this problem, it’s not going to be the be-all end-all that some might think in order to allow this market to grow. It’s going to take a number of elements combined in order for that to happen.
The onus on Native Client actually is on independent developers. That’s going to take time. What Google can do right now is try to do their best in optimizing future hardware devices that can perform at a higher level than these first generation device. While I do think that the current crop of Chromebooks are ably suited to business environs, the generally consumer that wants to enjoy media and interactive, processor intensive webapps are being left behind right now.
Sure, this inaugural set of devices are great early adopter machines, it seems to me that Google is going to have to aggressively move into the ARM-based processor segment in order to capture the consumer market when it comes to Chrome OS. The advantage between a person buy a regular computer versus a Chrome OS device comes down to simplicity. But you’re unable to play complex games while running Pandora and having your Gmail open, all advantages at that point go straight down the drain.
Look, Android didn’t take off until Motorola came out with a killer device for the operating system with the first iteration of the Droid phone. Many people didn’t think that Android would be able to survive in the phone market, and a lot of that in hindsight had to do with the devices that were available prior to the Droid.
Am I saying that Chrome OS will follow the same path from obscurity to popularity just because of what happened to Android? Not really. But it’s clear that Google’s purchase of Motorola gives me strong suggestions that they eagerly want to follow the same playbook. And that’s going to involve utilizing smaller, more efficient processors that can ably use Native Client to its full potential.
Google has made inroads in terms of advertising Chrome, and while watching football earlier this week I saw an ambitious project that features a farewell tribute to musician Johnny Cash through a webapp that pieces together scenes created from users to create a montage that features the music and thematics of the late singer.
The project involves director Chris Milk, whom you may remember from the Arcade Fire Chrome collaboration/ interactive music video called “The Wilderness Downtown”.
This Johnny Cash and Chrome ad spot is one you might not see to often on the television. That’s because it runs for a minute and a half. It’s ambitious in scope and shows why people would want to switch to Chrome because the things that Google are doing with these types of interactive projects show that browsers are not just for showing web pages any
Take BigTable for example. The concept behind this internal technology that helps to power both homogenous Google services as well as Google App Marketplace products is that it’s underlying structure is built to be able to handle hugely vast stores of information. Although some developers have taken to gripe about having to play by Google’s rules when using frameworks such as Big Table, it comes to the overall benefit of everything that speed and simplicity is the ultimate goal for Google’s technology. Again, the user is not supposed to see all of these elements of complexity.
via The Register
There is an interestingly named tool called Swiffy that is designed to allow developers to easily convert Flash (.swf) files to HTML5. A lot of you are probably thinking “So what? What exactly does this mean for us, and why should we really care all that much in the first place?” A good question, for sure. Why should you care?
The answer is simple. There are, sadly, a lot of devices out there that are simply incompatible with the Flash format. For example…the iPhone. For mobile devices without Flash support, running Flash-like animations was generally impossible without a third party extension for your device. As a result, many devices simply went without. Swiffy’s going to change that, naturally. It’ll allow you to use Flash content on devices that don’t have a Flash player, and its webkit ensures that it’ll function in browsers like Chrome and Safari. Wait, it runs in Chrome? Why?
The Story Of Swiffy
The idea for the program came from an engineering intern- a new hire who joined the mobile ad team last summer and has since become a full-time member of the team. Pieter Senster noticed that there wasn’t really any cohesive solution to the issues which arose when one attempted to run flash content. He wanted to change this, particularly where it pertained to mobile ads. Thus, the idea behind Swiffy was born. No word on who came up with the name- it sounds like an imitation of the Swiffer brand of cleaning products.
Anyway, The tool’s evidently incredibly simple to use, as well- all you need to to is upload a .swf file, and Swiffy will return it in HTML5 format. Since it just debuted in the labs, it’s naturally still in its early stages- so it can’t convert all flash content. Not yet, anyway.
I’m sure that once the tool is complete and out of the labs, it’ll be able to convert pretty much any .swf file from its native format into HTML5- allowing anyone, anywhere to view flash. It’s pretty clear that a technology like this is mostly for mobile users, isn’t it? People who run devices without a native flash player. Of course, mobile devices don’t really concern us, do they? What we really want to know is what this means for Google. More specifically, we want to know what this means for Chrome.
Swiffy and Chrome
Given that Chrome already has a shockwave plugin, it seems kind of strange that Google would be looking into making Swiffy functional in Chrome, doesn’t it? I’m not really sure what their motivation is, here- after all, they’re supposedly partnered with Adobe to integrate Flash support into the Chrome browser. Why would they bother developing a program like this? One word for you folks: ads. See, a lot of Google’s ads are in .swf format. And, since a lot of devices don’t support flash, that means a lot of users don’t see Google’s ads. You’re following me here, right?
Or maybe you’re still wondering when the hell I’m going to address what this means for Chrome.
Right. Well, I’m sure at least a few of you have noticed that the shockwave plugin has been behaving…just a touch odd lately. Perhaps it’s just me, but I noticed some time back that it was crashing a hell of a lot more than usual- and a hell of a lot more than it should. Pretty sure I’ve remedied that problem for the time being, but there’s always a chance it might come back in full force. A tool like Swiffy means that those of us fed up with shockwave flash can do away with the plugin if it doesn’t eventually start playing nice with the browser again.
There is another route Google could potentially go with Swiffy, as well. It could be that, while Google’s still looking to integrate flash, they also want to give their users the option to make the browser fully HTML5. I’m not sure what they- or Adobe, for that matter- would gain from this, but there it is. It’s either that, or they want to release a version of Chrome without shockwave flash support- unlikely as that seems.
It’s all speculation, one way or the other. We’ll just have to see what Google does with Swiffy once it’s finished.
Google’s new social networking service has reached twenty million members, according to data from ComScore. ComScore doesn’t have any official word from Google on this one- they’ve evidently based their estimates on a “global measurement panel” consisting of two million web users.
Those are good numbers – but the reality is that the number was passed in early August. When trying to research the numbers for where the service is at today, there really are no solid answers. It starts to make one wonder whether Google+ is starting to peter out – and it’s not something that is welcome news, but just an observation.
However, first and foremost, the service is still technically a closed environment- last I checked, if users want to sign up for Google +, they need to get someone who’s already signed up for the site to invite them (speaking of which, anyone who wants to nab an invite can drop me a line). You can’t simply sign up for Google +. With that in mind, the statistic becomes a little more impressive, doesn’t it? That’s not all, either- even more shocking is the fact that Google hasn’t actually even begun officially marketing the service on their search engine- most of what’s been circulating about G + has been word of mouth.
Not only that…Facebook took over two years to get past the twenty million mark- Google + took 23 days.
“I’ve never seen anything grow this quickly” said Andrew Lipsman, Comscore’s Vice President of Industry Analysis. “The only other site that matched this kind of visitor accumulation in a short period of time is Twitter back in 2009- but that happened over several months.” It seems as if Google’s got their finger on the pulse of the social network at exactly the right moment- when Facebook and Twitter both launched, social networking was a very different beast. They’ve changed it. They’ve popularized it. And now, Google + is capitalizing on that by doing what they do- only better. Plus, the fact that they provide a viable alternative to Facebook-which seems to be one of the more popular businesses to hate on these days- is icing on the cake.
There’s the added benefit of how well browser addons seem to interact with G +: particularly addons for Chrome via extensions. In only a few short weeks, we’ve seen more Google + inspired applications and extensions surface in the webstore than we’ve seen for Facebook since Chrome launched- and many of those are geared towards helping users make the switch between social networks. Something tells me that if things keep going the way they’re going, those kinds of extensions are going to be seeing a lot more use. Granted, we’ve yet to see many Google + apps that are specifically designed within the platform- but as the devs have a bit more time to fiddle around with the Google + developer kit, the applications will eventually come.
There’s still a long road ahead for Google +- Facebook has over 750 million, and Twitter over 200 million. Given those rather staggering numbers, 20 million kind of seems like a drop in the bucket, doesn’t it? Of course, if Google + continues to grow at the same rate it has been in its fast start, that road might be rather quickly traversed.