Google is planning to put the Chrome operating system front and centre at its annual developer event this week, to judge from this short preview on Monday. Let’s hope it doesn’t become another Google Wave moment.
Under pressure from regulators, two more browsers are taking steps to help users avoid having their internet activity tracked–if the websites they visit cooperate.
Google is giving us a glimpse of the future with its Nexus S phone, the first to run Android version 2.3, and its CR-48 notebook, a prototype for its Chrome computing system.
Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters wrote early reviews of the products before I had an opportunity to play with them for this week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section. For me, the CR-48 represented the biggest change in my computing habits since I moved from the keyboard commands of MS-DOS to the Windows operating system nearly 20 years ago.
Google announced a web application store, a video standard and a cloud services initiative in the opening keynote of its developer conference on Wednesday – moves that rivals are likely to view as a threatening flexing of its web muscles.
The new Chrome web store will rival Microsoft programs and Intel’s AppUp store and provide tablet makers with a useful weapon to fight Apple’s iPad and iTunes. Its WebM video standard presents a long-term threat to Adobe’s Flash technology and could irk Apple, which favours the H.264 standard. Its cloud services collaboration with VMware and its associated Google App Engine for Business will be studied closely by Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and others involved in cloud computing.
From March 1, the 100m-plus users of Windows-based PCs in Europe who have Internet Explorer set as their default web browser will be invited to choose whether they want to keep Microsoft’s browser or ditch it for a rival.
Continue reading our Business Life Personal Tech review of rival browsers
The FT’s John Gapper says the most influential piece of personal technology to emerge in recent years did not come from Apple, Amazon or Research in Motion. Instead, he points to the Asustek’s Asus Eee PC, which created the category now known as “netbooks”.
Few analysts grasped the significance of the Eee because they did not think that people in the developed world would buy a not-very-powerful device with a tiny screen and a small keyboard. Meanwhile, US companies from Dell to Microsoft and Apple gazed studiously elsewhere.
Google has released a few more details on the Chrome operating system, including pricing, and yes, you guessed it – it’s free.
The news is completely expected but still refreshing, compared to the complicated tiered pricing and discounts detailed by Microsoft for Windows 7 last month.
Google Chrome has had a strange start to life. The browser is undoubtedly fast, and given it’s very new, has a lot of good features packed into it.
But where are the users? As Google took Chrome out of beta today , it revealed that the browser has gained 10m active users in its first 100 days. That sounds like a lot – until you compare it to others. Firefox – a rival browser that is more firmly established as the main alternative to Internet Explorer – has around 20 per cent of the browser market, compared to Chrome which is yet to break 1 per cent.