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

GigaOM

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.

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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: A “draconian” future is OK, as long as it’s ours

“It’s really fun to work with other folks in the ecosystem to meet the needs of users, much nicer than just saying no.”

Actually, Mr. Gundotra, Google is meeting the needs of its business and the corporations it’s chosen to work with. Users come after that.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s Google’s business plan and they’re free to pursue it. Unlike so many, I have no issue with “walled gardens”, since it’s my choice to enter one or not. Let the best company (products, services, and support) win.

My gripe is masking it with BS buzzwords like “freedom” and “open” when we’re talking about products like Flash, or a hardware Google TV component not likely to accept Yahoo! or Bing searches. There are a lot of questions for Google to answer, but a fawning tech press seems unwilling to ask them.

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.

In-depth analysis of Google’s VP8. One worry is patent infringement.

Finally, the problem of patents appears to be rearing its ugly head again. VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264: a pithy, if slightly inaccurate, description of VP8 would be “H.264 Baseline Profile with a better entropy coder”. Though I am not a lawyer, I simply cannot believe that they will be able to get away with this, especially in today’s overly litigious day and age.  Even VC-1 differed more from H.264 than VP8 does, and even VC-1 didn’t manage to escape the clutches of software patents. Until we get some hard evidence that VP8 is safe, I would be extremely cautious.  Since Google is not indemnifying users of VP8 from patent lawsuits, this is even more of a potential problem.

Emphasis in the original. The article is a geek read if ever there was one, but an interesting read nonetheless.

MobileMe Mail Beta: Google Chrome need not apply

Safari 4 (Mac and PC), Firefox 3.6 (Mac and PC), and Internet Explorer 8 (PC) are fully supported.

Well, well, well, look whose browser is not invited to Apple’s MobileMe Mail beta program.

Of course, there’s no Opera, either.

A lot could be made of this, but it’s probably nothing. It makes sense for Apple to focus the beta program on the latest IE and Firefox, as well as their own, browsers. But it’ll be interesting to see if Chrome gets a shout when Mail is out of beta.

MobileMe Mail Beta: Google Chrome need not apply

Safari 4 (Mac and PC), Firefox 3.6 (Mac and PC), and Internet Explorer 8 (PC) are fully supported.

Well, well, well, look whose browser is not invited to Apple’s MobileMe Mail beta program.

Of course, there’s no Opera, either.

A lot could be made of this, but it’s probably nothing. It makes sense for Apple to focus the beta program on the latest IE and Firefox, as well as their own, browsers. But it’ll be interesting to see if Chrome gets a shout when Mail is out of beta.

Google to Mac users: Eat the crumbs we throw you

I’ll be interested to see how well Chrome does among Mac users.

You mean there’s finally a real Chrome browser available for Mac? Oh, wait, no, there’s not. Just the same old tired beta, even though it left beta on Windows ages ago.

Google’s taken so long to deliver a Mac version I assumed they’d outsourced the job to Adobe. No need; I guess when it comes to Mac software they’re the new Adobe.

Does Chrome install on the Mac with that insidious Google “updater” always running in the background? You know, the one that even if you hunt it down and kill it, it just reinstalls itself the next time you run the Google app? It’s just one reason the Mac version of Picasa (beta, of course) was blown from my Mac, with no Google software to return.

I’ll never understand why so many Mac users are eager to eat scraps off the floor that fell from a developer’s Windows table. Not me. No thanks, Google. Take your cheesy product to Linux, I’m not interested.