Archive for 'Chrome OS'
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.
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
I recently came across a report that Taiwan, the island located just off the coast of mainland China, has anointed Chrome as the number two browser there. During the month of August, Chrome was able to capture a 15.53% share, passing Mozilla Firefox’s 13.35% share. In the number one spot is of course Internet Explorer, which holds a 67.52% lead.
This might not be of much significance to most, as the majority of readers on this blog don’t reisde in Taiwan. But what is important about Taiwan is the sway it has over the computer design and manufacturing industry today.
As has been noted, Google has opened a Chrome OS design center on the island as of late. They are trying to exert more influence in Taiwan because the majority of future computers are conjured up there for manufacture in China.
And there’s not doubt of the continuing influence that Microsoft has had on Taiwan, partnering with hardware giants such as Quanta Computer to ensure that the Windows dominance continues. It seems to be normal convention that when you use Windows, you seem to also choose Internet Explorer as your defacto browser.
Recent StatCounter measurements suggest that this seems to continue to be the case from a worldwide perspective, but the fact of the matter is that Internet Explorer does not measure up in the same numbers as it does in Taiwan – not neatly a 60% lead yet Chrome is in the 20% threshold even though it holds the number three spot.
Indeed every market is different, and the move towards more usage of Chrome in Taiwan suggests continued interest from a number of people there in the use of the browser, its operating system component as well as the webapp ecosystem that is surrounding it in terms of Google Apps and its ilk.
The Taiwanese have been somewhat suspect of Chrome OS as a viable platform such as Acer, whose botched Chromebook launch this summer must have had something to do with a degree of apathy to be so improperly carried out. Nevertheless, I would expect to see an uptick of Chrome OS devices in the future both in the number of model available as well as number of units shipped once we see a dramatic drop in price.
This is probably going to hinge on Chromebooks shifting from uber-expensive (comparatively) Intel Atom processors to ARM-based solutions that are a fraction of the overall cost. Indeed, Google’s acquisition may not just bold well for Android devices, which are ARM-powered, but also for finding specific solutions for Chrome OS on a number of different form factors.
Do you think that Chrome’s growing adoption within Taiwan is due to a curiosity of Chrome OS over there?
via Focus Taiwan
When the Chrome Web Store was first announced, it received a ton of fanfare throughout the blogging world. At some point in time, after it’s official launch, however, many derided the browser-based app directory as nothing more than a series of “bookmarks” that led to rich web-based functionality.
Despite the criticism, it appears that the Web Store is on an upward trajectory that does not seem to be at any leveling off point in the future. Indeed, a recent chart of aggregated data provided to me from as far back as its launch that is evidential of that fact.
While this does show that during the spring and summer of this year it is evident that the number of users was not far beyond the number of applications available, something happened around the May-June timeframe that has fueled user growth and subsequent interest in Chrome webapps.
The fact that Chromebooks began their early presales in June with a mid month launch suggests that the true source of growth for the Chrome Web Store can only come from an uptick in the sales of Chromebooks. Since you cannot install native applications on a Chromebook, it’s clear that this is likely to be a strong correlation.
I often wonder about the motivation of developers to continue to support the Chrome Web Store platform, as although we have seen some outliers, there doesn’t appear to be very many developers on this platform that are making a tidy some through this marketplace. It may prove to be that Chromebooks are actually best suited for business applications in the future, and as a result the best place for a developer to make money on web-based operating system software might be a more enterprise-focused resource such as the Google Apps Marketplace with easily connects into the Google Apps ecosystem.
Here are the month-over-month stats where user and application information on the Chrome Web Store for 2011 was available.
Date Users Apps
2/1/11 6,336,467 2,419
3/1/11 10,974,670 3,000
4/1/11 12,600,132 3,530
5/1/11 13,246,677 3,804
6/1/11 17,647,836 4,569
7/1/11 21,784,029 4,819
8/1/11 24,527,281 4,601
9/1/11 27,848,839 6,013
How much do you value the Chrome Web Store outside of Chromebooks?
via Chrome OS Apps
Have you noticed the icon for Scratchpad has changed from yellow to silver in your Chromebook? I refrained using Scratchpad for many weeks, because it just felt too buggy. I almost forgot about it, in fact, but it has recently been revamped to be a much more usable. With the latest upgrade, Scratchpad seems to have matured (finally) to its true potential.
Currently, if you open Scratchpad from Chrome and compare it to the interface that is displayed in the Chrome Web Store, you will see quite a difference.
Here is a list of new/improved features:
Google Docs Sync: While you can choose to run the application strictly locally, its seamless integration with Google Docs comes in real handy. All your Scratchpad notes will be tagged “Scratchpad” in Google Docs. You also have the option of staring any particular note that suits your fancy for your own personal system of organization. You can even star your note so it will appear in your starred documents in Google Docs. (NOTE: to to get this feature, you need to be authorize the application with your Google Account.)
Title Notes: Now, you are able title your notes on the top panel of the app.
Formatting Options: You now have more formatting options, which appear in a thin bottom pane. The options are: color, fonts, font size, bullet and numbered lists.
Send to Tab/Send to Panel: You can toggle between a panel interface (to use when referencing notes while working in another page) or expand your scratchpad to a tab.
Here are some ways you can bring Scratchpad to use:
(1) Use it to write notes on your web research.
(2) A To Do List. (The “star” feature can be useful here. That list wil be accessible easily if you use the Android Google Docs widget.)
(3) Use the panel feature to keep an outline open to reference as you are writing the actual document.
I can see Scratchpad replacing an application like Simplenote in many instances, especially for people who use Google Docs regularly.
Just a couple of days after the company released its first iPad app, Skype announced it is embracing the Open VP8 standard. This is the same codec Google developed and is using for Google Talk and Google+ Hangouts.
The latest Windows Skype client uses VP8 for one-on-one video calls as long as the other user has the same version of Skype. This is a big victory for VP8, comparable to Netflix going HTML5. The fact that the VP8 codec is being adopted by such a huge service as Skype despite MPEG LA threatening to form a patent pool, is a good sign for the open web and the future of VP8.
Now you may ask, what does this have to do with Chrome? Well, with Skype moving to an open VP8 standard, greatly increases the likelihood that Skype’s services will be available for Chrome OS users. What is good for the open web is good for Chrome OS. After all, Chrome OS is an operating system that depends on the web for its functionality.
While you can’t say that Skype had Chrome OS in mind when it announced its change in codec, it does show that Skype is getting behind the vision of an open web. The recent development brings to mind an important aspect of Chrome OS as well. The more Chrome OS is adopted, the greater demand there will be for the web service providers to adopt open web standards to great consumer benefit.
Of course, it is unclear what will happen if Microsoft’s purchase of Skype does get approved. It is worth mentioning that Internet Explorer currently only plays VP8 “if a compatible codec was installed.”
What do you think? Do you see a Skype for Chrome OS in the future?
Many people complain that the Chrome Web Store is just full of book marks. I guess you could see it that way, but I do find it handy to have a source of these apps which are available in one place for my perusal.
I’m sure there are a number of want-to-be adopters out there just waiting for the day when all of these services will be also be available offline. And yes, it is only a matter of time before that functionality will be available. Right now, there are a few applications that are available in the web store that don’t require web access to perform their designated function. One of the best I’ve come across is “Pillarbox.”
Pillarbox is an application that gives you a customizable full screen text editor that aides in creating a distraction free writing environment. You write words, and they appear on the screen. As you write, you get a word count on your bottom left corner, and on the bottom right, you have a clock. Move your mouse cursor to the bottom of the screen and you have the option of setting a timer. This allows for a frequent practice of writers: the “Timed Writing” in which you just write what’s on your mind for a designated amount of time.
For me, the stand-out feature of this little — and free — application is typewriter scrolling. Every line you type scrolls up when you finish, with the new line remaining at the same eye level. follow your cursor down to the bottom of the screen.
Pillarbox saves the text you’ve been working on for the next launch, so it’s a bit like having your document being backed up automatically. One thing to keep in mind is that Pillarbox doesn’t sync text between computers even you have enabled the “sync” in Chrome, at least not yet. This is likely to change in the future. Until then, you will want to cut and paste your text and save it in Google Docs or the like if you plan to access this draft from another computer.
With Pillarbox, it’s just you and the words.
To be fair, this site’s been around for quite some time- and we’ve covered it at one point in the past. Still, it merits something of a revisit now that Chromebooks have hit the market; don’t you think?
What Is It?
How many of you remember Dosbox? For those who don’t; it’s an x86 DOS emulator, designed to allow modern-day users to play DOS games on Windows. While that might not sound particularly impressive- or noteworthy-to play any of those games without DosBox involved a great deal of overly complicated mucking around in the Windows system files, or searching out a version of whatever game you wanted to play that would be compatible with the software of modern-day systems.
Either way, too much trouble. For anyone with an itch to jump back into the old days, Dosbox was a godsend. Now, you’re probably wondering what the point of this history lesson is, right? You’re trying to figure out exactly why I’m sitting here babbling to you about DosBox. Software emulation ahoy! DosBox has come to Chrome, via Chrome’s Native Client.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet NAClBox.