How Google plans to rule the computing world through Chrome

You can see where I’m going with this but lets take it a step further. Have you noticed that Google recently added the Chrome App Launcher to Microsoft Windows? It’s the same app launcher that’s native to Chrome OS. And Google is working on it for the Mac platform


Great article by Kevin Tofel on moves Google is making—and pieces falling into place—for Google’s play on all types of computers. It’s not just about Chrome OS or having a Chromebook. They’re assembling an ecosystem for their browser that, combined, will run as if it’s Chrome OS regardless of the base OS.

Chromebooks: Not PC, Not Post-PC

Chromebooks are here and getting a lot of press, just as Netbooks did before them. But in a post-PC world the two categories have more in common than one might think.

For starters, let’s see where a Chromebook differs from the leading post-PC device:


Chrome OS doesn’t approach the rich app ecosystem of iOS. This is further diluted when no Internet connection is available, as some apps require. The basics are there, but the beauty of post-PC—like the beauty of PC—is a wealth of third-party additions to make the machine “yours”. In this regard iPad’s versatility goes way beyond a Chromebook.

Chrome OS is from Google. Let’s not pretend a primary function isn’t to gather data about you for sale to ad agencies. It lacks iOS’ easy user-controlled granularity of privacy settings per app, photo access per app, location access per app, etc., as well as default third-party cookie blocking, ability to reset device identity and more.

Cheap hardware built to look like a “real” laptop. A major design goal is to beat out the cheapest Windows laptops while not appearing to be a tiny netbook.

This is one of the tenets of post-PC, yet Chromebooks are bulky and heavy by any iPad standard. Further, battery life is no better than a “regular” PC notebook.

Netbooks are cheap PCs with small screens and cramped keyboards. They fizzled in the marketplace when it become clear they don’t offer the UX of a conventional Windows laptop. Meanwhile, Chromebooks are “regular” laptop size to avoid the netbook stigma, but remain cheap by ditching the PC OS for Google’s data-gathering tools.

There are many ways to cling to a familiar past while cheating the experience in an attempt to reduce cost and appear “new”. Netbooks and Chromebooks take different approaches but the result is the same: their UX is unlike the laptops they’re designed to imitate. In many ways Netbooks and Chromebooks are the ultimate skeumorphic design. Designed to look like the familiar laptop form we’ve known for 20 years, but in reality being no such thing.

If you want a laptop for its usability and legacy functions, by all means get one. Mac or PC, there are plenty of excellent choices on the market. But be realistic on either cost or functionality. If you’re not, then one way or the other you’ll be disappointed.

Google wants to move away from local apps on mobile devices

At its recent I/O developer conference, Google advised manufacturers to adopt its Android mobile platform for near-term product releases and use its upcoming Chrome operating system for longer-term projects.

I read the above gem in an article about how the iPad caught competitors off-guard. We’ve all heard about Android’s success; that Android-based devices are now outselling iPhones. Given this success, why is Google still developing another mobile OS? The answer is simple, and Steve Jobs nailed it when introducing the iPad: People are using local apps, not web apps and search, on their mobile devices. 

The problem is, if you’re not on a web page, Google’s not making any money. They need you in a browser, not some local app. This is true even on Android. Whether on an iPhone or a Nexus One, if you use an app to find a restaurant near you, Google doesn’t get a cut of that action.

Android copied Apple’s iPhone approach because it had to in order to gain traction. But Google does nothing to help make the Android platform good for apps. There’s little to ensure consistency in the user experience across devices, or even across apps. Little to make third-party apps stand out of a crowded mobile field. Little to help maximize a developer’s reach to the Android base. Indeed, most of Goole’s moves work against those things:  

  • Fragmentation hurts developers since they have to pick and choose what devices to target. It hurts consumers since they will not be able to get the same apps on different devices. 
  • Minimal vetting on apps lets bad ones through, and Google lets the user base report security issues, etc., and pulls the apps after that. Consumers must suffer the pain of doing Google’s vetting for them. 
  • While preaching “open” at the top of their lungs, they’ve gone to bed with Adobe to put Flash on Android, and presumably allow Flash apps. These will be lowest-common-denimonator apps and poor performers, but that’s no sweat off Google’s back. 

In short, while appearing to do all they can to let as many apps be available as possible, they’ve created a platform to breed lower-quality, inconsistent apps that could be risks that have to be removed later. That might even be OK for geeks, but not for the remaining 99% of consumers.

Simultaneously, Google’s working on Chrome OS, a browser OS that does not allow local apps. Google is terrified of the rise of a device platform that no longer relies on their search engine. Even with the “sabotage” done for local apps on Android, they’ll feel better when you don’t run anything local at all. With all the success of Android, there’s little else to explain Google continuing to expend resources developing and pushing Chrome OS.

Google’s message is clear: Stay. In. The. Browser.

Google’s Chrome Web Store: “Open” or “Closed”?

Google is reminding us all that “apps” can and should run on the open web, and not just in closed, vertically integrated and controlled environments like the iPhone/Pad/Touch.

Is that what they’re reminding us of? Since Apple’s devices have a compliant web browser in Safari we’ll find out soon enough.

If the Chrome Web Store is truly about supplying apps that “should run on the open web” you’ll be able to use it on an “iPhone/Pad/Touch”. If not, then Google has just created a “closed, vertically integrated and controlled” environment of their own. If the latter, I wonder if the “open” zealots will call them on it.

I’m sure Apple is terrified

We’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience

The quote makes it sound like they’re rooting through Google’s dumpsters to bolt on whatever they find.

Good luck to them, but one is a wireless carrier, and the other an ad firm. Shouldn’t they get some hardware people involved before they decide what they’re going to build?

I’m sure Apple is terrified

We’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience

The quote makes it sound like they’re rooting through Google’s dumpsters to bolt on whatever they find.

Good luck to them, but one is a wireless carrier, and the other an ad firm. Shouldn’t they get some hardware people involved before they decide what they’re going to build?

Google To Offer Their Own Tablet Computer?

Google… is soon expected to begin selling its version of a slate computer, like Apple’s iPad

What a shock. Google has become downright Microsoftian in that figuring out their business plan for the next 6-12 months is as simple as looking at what Apple’s doing today.

The good news is the alleged tablet is claimed to be running Android, not Chrome OS. The even better news is that it appears Google is willing to lift their silly restrictions on the Android marketplace for tablet devices.

Google doesn’t really want to lift those restrictions. They prefer you be on the web performing searches, not running apps and bypassing the ads they serve up. Still, with the iPad ecosystem out there it would be tough to compete with a web-only device, especially since the iPad is also great at serving up web pages.

Google needed to rethink their mobile strategy. Continue to improve Chrome (the browser), and make Android (and its apps) their smartphone and non-smartphone OS. In other words, have a unified mobile strategy instead of two OSes with nothing in common. Maybe this is the start of that. Then all they need to do is kill off Chrome OS and use those developer talents elsewhere.

Even with the above, we don’t know if they’ll have a real competitor to the iPad, but they’ll be in a far better position than anyone else.

TAB – Google Chrome OS: Hope, Hype, or Humbug?

So there’s a new OS that’s based on the web, relies primarily on a web browser, and whose native apps are web apps. Old news, you say? We already know about Palm’s WebOS. No, I don’t mean that one. This one will primarily target netbooks. Still old news, you say, because we know a modified Android is coming to netbooks soon. No, I don’t mean that, either. I’m speaking of a Linux kernel with a modern web browser. Way old news, you say, since Linux distros and Firefox were available on netbooks even before Windows. No, no, I don’t mean that, either…

Read the rest of this article on the Apple Blog >>