Yesterday Darryl took a look at Google’s new eBookstore. Today he takes a more in-depth look at the service, and what it means for Australians.
Google Australia has recently begun promoting its Chrome OS platform to Australian business representatives attending the company’s Apps seminars. Continue reading
Google has confirmed that Sydney will play host to this year’s Australian Google Developer Day, with more details expected to be revealed in the coming weeks. Continue reading
At Google’s annual developer conference overnight the company announced as expected the first of the multitude of upcoming devices to run their first cloud-based operating system, dubbed Chrome OS, but confirmed it won’t be available in Australia at launch.
Update: Samsung and Acer say they’ll launch their Chromebooks in Australia before the end of the year, while a Google spokesperson said:
Chromebooks for businesses and schools will be available in US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands (same as consumer Chromebooks). In addition we know demand for Chromebooks around the globe so we plan to launch in Asia Pacific and LatAm later this year. Interested businesses and schools can complete a “contact sales” form from google.com/chromebooks. Chromebooks will be available starting on June 15.
Chrome OS was unveiled in July 2009, but first demonstrated the operating system -which relies entirely on a internet-connection – last year.
All devices are required to have in-built 3G network capabilities, while users interact with the cloud using Chrome, the company’s web browser that has been specially customised for the operating system. Google boasts the way the operating system is designed means that security and anti-virus protection is a non-issue, while the device will update itself every-time you switch it on, without requiring a pesky restart.
Since then, the company has offered their own limited-amount Chrome OS device — the CR-48 — as part of a beta test for free to US residents. Now however, Google says the stable edition of the operating system is now complete and ready to ship, and has debuted the first of many expected Chrome OS devices.
Samsung and Acer have been confirmed as launch partners, while the first sales of the devices will begin on June 15, but will only be available in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain using Amazon and BestBuy — there’s no mention of when the device will become available locally.
Samsung’s Chromebook will feature a 12.1″ display with 8.5 hours of battery life, dual-band Wi-Fi and 3G, Intel Atom Dual-Core Processor, a HD front-facing webcam, VGA port, a customised Chrome keyboard which adds a Chrome key and a mousepad like that of Apple’s Macbook Pro range, which is one large clickable button.
Acer’s meanwhile will launch with an 11.6″ HD widescreen display, the same Intel Atom Dual-Core Processor, HD webcam, high-definition audio support, the Chrome keyboard and a HDMI port alongside the WiFi and 3G connections. Battery life is a couple of hours less, coming in at 6 hours per recharge.
Google is offering a unique pricing incentive for companies and schools alike to switch to using the cheaper, portable computers. For just $20USD per user per month for schools and $28USD for businesses, subscribers can manage Chrome OS devices using Google Apps, get free lifetime updates, enterprise-level support, device warranties and replacements and regular hardware refreshes.
While Google promises the Chromebooks will be available elsewhere “in the coming months”, the trend follows yesterday’s announcements which included a new Music Beta streaming service and the addition of books and movie purchases for the Android Market that are only available in the US.
Google has revealed Australian support for the Chrome Web Store isn’t far away, with developer support for localisations added on Friday.
However, until Friday developers were unable to add support for other countries, with the US the only officially supported nation.
In a post on the Chromium blog, Qian Huang, a software engineer for Chrome, said that the list of countries to be added to the Chrome Store “later this year” will include Australia, alongside Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and the already-available support for the United States.
“When we recently announced the availability of the Chrome Web Store to Chrome users in the US, we mentioned that we were hard at work making the store available globally,” Huang said.
“Today we’re excited to announce a preview release of the upload flow for several international markets as a step towards that goal.”
It’s unclear when the localised Chrome Web Stores will be rolled out to the public, with support at the moment limited to developers uploading apps.
Google says it’ll be available “later this year” but doesn’t provide a launch date, instead saying they released the preview so developers have plenty of time to add local support to their apps.
Update: To clarify, Australians can use the store at the moment, but all prices are in USD and will be charged accordingly. You also need to have your Google Account language set to ENG-US, as opposed to ENG-AU.
By now you’ve probably heard the news that as of this morning Google have opened their Web Store for Google Chrome applications and that a special, limited Chrome OS device will be sent out to lucky testers in the next few weeks in the US. But what about Australia?
A Google Australia spokesperson has since confirmed the Web Store won’t be available in Australia (at a .com.au domain) until next year, but suggested those eager to download apps use the American store (.com) instead until it launches. It should function exactly the same, and payments should still be accepted although remember pricing will be in US dollars.
Unfortunately Australian developers aren’t much luckier, with Google forcing them to associate a US bank account with Google Checkout — one of the earlier complaints (now fixed) about developing for the Android app store.
Similarly, Google’s “dogfeeding” Chrome OS netbooks which are now publicly available as part of a limited pilot test are only available at this early stage in the US as well. There’s no luck for any Aussies wanting to test out the device — and from what we’ve heard it won’t be coming here at least until next year, if ever. Your best bet will probably be hunting down the device when it undoubtedly hits eBay when Google begins shipping them shortly.
As for the Chrome OS netbooks – aside from a mid-year 2011 release date we don’t know much more. It’s unclear at this stage if that rough date applies to Australia as well, or if it’s also (like everything else Google at the moment) US only.
Google has debuted their first Chrome OS netbook to get the OS into the hands of developers and consumers as soon as possible.
Samsung and Acer will begin selling Chrome OS netbooks mid 2011, with other OEMs to follow. Google however, will ship a few devices under it’s new “Chrome OS pilot program for early adopters” to use the netbook and give feedback on it.
The device, dubbed CR 48, is unbranded, has a 12.1″ display, full size keyboard, oversize clickable touchpad, world-mode 3G, 802.11n dualband Wi-Fi, no Caps Lock keys or Function keys, no hard drives, 8 plus hours of battery life and “jailbreaking mode is built-in to the device”.
Partner businesses including Kraft, Logitech, AmericanAirlines, Department of Defence and Jason’s Deli will be amongst the first to get their hands on the CR48 with consumers able to enter a promotion on Facebook, make a video on YouTube suggesting why you think you’d be best to test out the device or apply online to get a limited one. Media at the event also got an email with details about the device.
There’s no word yet if Australians are able to get their hands on the device.
Google says its upcoming Chrome OS is “nothing but the web” and will be available in Q1 2011.
In typical Google fashion — a company obsessed by speed — it’s very fast to get going with a brand new Chrome OS netbook. Users first setting up their Chrome OS notebook will be met with a login screen, accept terms and conditions, login with an account, take a picture for the user with the camera and they’re in.
“You’re in with four steps,” Sundar Pichai, Google Vice President of Product said. ”In less than 60 seconds you’re done.”
And the netbooks will boost near instantly and will resume almost instantly – Google says the only delay is the user getting their hands ready to go. And Google confirmed the “same experience” will be available on every computer on which you run Chrome – uninstall an app in Chrome OS, and within seconds it will disappear from your Windows or Mac installations as well.
Google has also added a “Guest Mode” into the operating system which they’re calling “Friends let friends use” mode that runs Google Chrome’s “incognito mode” and makes it “very, very easy to share computers with friends.”
And the search giant has also revealed its new offline modes for its web applications, that will allow users to continue to edit “Docs” offline and will synchronise changes as soon as you regain an internet connection. Web Store apps will also work in a similar fashion, allowing the netbooks to work even “if you don’t have connectivity”.
“Having said that in today’s modern world, you really need to be connected,” Pichai said.
“We’ve put in a lot of work to make sure users have the option to always have a connection in Google Chrome.”
The company has revealed every single Chrome netbook will ship with Verizon 3G connectivity in-built, allowing for use anywhere in the world, and will allow for Google CloudPrint to work remotely. Every user gets 100MB of data free every month for 2 years, with plans starting $9.99 and no cancellation fees and pay for what you need thanks to the self activation system. No word yet on Australian partners though.
“It works amazingly well,” Pichai exclaimed.
From a security standpoint, the company has streamlined the update process making sure they’re pushed out automatically, with sand-boxing, user separation and encryption available by default alongside a verified boot which cannot be modified, with a “safe part” to check the system to check nothing has changed. If something is changed, it will replace it with a “good” copy stored in the safest part of the OS.
“The single biggest threat is between the seat and the keyboard,” Pichai mentioned in regards to the biggest problem about security threats while revealing the company is very excited about verified boot. “It’s very, very hard to break… when Chrome OS ships it’ll be the most secure OS.”
As for businesses, Google says they’ve been “inundated” with requests for business features for Chrome OS, with Pichai demonstrating a number of enterprise features revealing a partnership with Citrix Systems.
“The best thing about this partnership is that it’s absolutely customer driven,” Gordon Payne, SVP Citrix systems said. “This is a natural partnership with Chrome OS and the netbook.”
Coming in the first quarter next year, Citrix allows for multiple applications running in a company’s data centre to run on any web browser anywhere, with Citrix demonstrating Microsoft Excel and a number of other apps running on a Google Chrome OS netbook, solvong one of the biggest potential problems of the new OS.
“It’s great, very simple,” Payne said. “It’ll really reduce the costs.”
The key points Google appears to be promoting for Chrome OS include instant on, same experience everywhere, seamless sharing, always connected, security built-in from the ground-up and
There’ll be a new version of the operating system “every few weeks” that will be automatically pushed to the users. The company, however “isn’t fully done yet” with Chrome OS with CloudPrint in beta and . We know exactly what we need to do, we need to tune performance more and finally there are bugs. We realise there is some time to go.”
Google has confirmed it’s Web Store for applications will be available later today with 500 launch apps.
Submissions for applications from developers opened earlier this year, with applications available from companies including New York Times, NPR, Sports Illustrated and Amazon, with the search giant citing issues between developers and getting their apps known as the reason behind the store.
“From a developers standpoint… it’s very hard to monetize applications”, Sundar Pichai, Google Vice President of Product said today.
The store, which looks very similar to the version demonstrated earlier this year, allows users to try applications for free and also appears to offer subscriptions — something Apple’s iTunes App Store doesn’t currently allow. A number of applications on the web store also work offline thanks to a new feature of Google Chrome, Pichai said.
It will roll out in the first quarter next year into the Chrome browser, but won’t make it to Australia until a later date.
Google also allowed the New York Times to demonstrate their application, which uses a number of new technologies including CSS 3 and HTML 5, and works offline.
“The app extends the boundaries of what is possible on the web,” Mark Frons, CTO of New York Times said today.
“With [the app] for Chrome, you can browse the NYT your way.. with more than 10 themes.”
Electronic Arts also confirmed they would be debuting a number of games at the launch of the store, with their acquisition of Pogo.com showing “Pop it” — one of the games from the acquisition.
“Today we’re proud to bring our strong expertise to the Google Web Store,” EA said.
However the app was completely written to make it “blazingly fast” and compatible with the Chrome Web Store which requires web technologies to be used to run the app.
“We were able to convert it to a HTML 5 standard web app in less than 48 hours,” EA’s spokesperson confirmed.
Amazon also showed off an app called “Window Shop”, which presents a rich, new and user friendly way to experience Amazon products and the new Amazon Kindle for Web app, both of which will be available free of charge.
“So for the past three years, we’ve been executing on our vision for our Kindle, to get every book anywhere in 60 seconds,” Amazon’s spokesperson said.
“We’re proud to announce Kindle for the Web…with no plugins and no downloads…it’s really, really cool.”
PopIt will also be included with the new Chrome browser by default from version 9, which is believed to be ready to debut soon.
Google has just revealed at its Chrome event in San Francisco that the browser is now used by more than 120 million users, up from 70 million earlier in the year with a number of new features demonstrated.
And Sundar Pichai, Google Vice President of Product, also announced that in some countries more than 1 in 3 computer users are now using Chrome.
Building on Google’s new instant search, Google also demonstrated a new instant browse feature which loads websites as soon as you type the first letter, just like instant search. The omnibox learns your most visited websites making the browsing experience even faster.
The in-built PDF reader in Chrome will also be updated, to make it “very, very fast and makes it easier to read” PDF files. The team have worked on making the load time as short as possible, and in Google’s demo it appeared to be much faster than it currently is.
In-built hardware acceleration will also make an appearance in the coming months, which Google is “very excited” about. Showing off demonstrations including a fish tank and earthquake simulation, the team revealed it will be made available soon and will be powered by Web GL.
“The more important thing is it’s going to be really, really fast,” Google said about the new features.
“We’re working with Adobe to make sure users are working with the latest version of Flash all the time,” Pichai said today.