Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) isn’t content to simply attack
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) desktop hegemonies with
Chrome Operating System, the company’s lightweight Web operating system for
A recent patent filing by the search engine giant hints
that It might build desktops and laptops based on its Android software, which
to this point has been limited to smartphones, tablets, and the occasional
household appliance or other odd device implementations.
Patently Apple said Google’s new patent suggests similar functionalities from
Apple’s Multi-Touch Trackpad and Magic Trackpad. That is, capabilities for
trackpad operations corresponding to touchscreen events.
Specifically, trackpad operations may be directly mapped
to touchscreen events and processed by applications. In one implementation a user
may move a single finger on the trackpad device to cause a displayed pointer to
move on a display device of the computing device.
The user may also touch or tap a single finger on the
trackpad device to deliver a simulated touchscreen finger tap at the current
pointer location as displayed on the display device.
Patently Apple showed a
diagram from Google’s patent depicting a computing device that may be
configured to map trackpad operations to corresponding touchscreen events.
As one would imagine, the multi-touch trackpad
instantiation would work similar to the trackpad, albeit with two fingers
instead of one. Users could drag, scroll, fling or even pinch-to-zoom content
much as they would on a tablet computer. However, this technology would also be
used in netbook and laptops.
Patently Apple speculated that Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) could expand
its support for Android beyond smartphones to power Ultrabooks with its
“Haswell” processor chips, designed to create harmony between
notebooks and tablets, in 2013.
A Google spokesperson was noncommittal about the patent
filing, telling eWEEK: “We file patent applications on a variety of ideas
that our employees come up with. Some of those ideas later mature into real
products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not
necessarily be inferred from our patent applications.”
IDC analyst Al Hilwa said mobile and desktops are
converging, with the real battle being fought between congruent end-to-end
developer and device ecosystems built around these platforms. Ultimately, this
means Google , Apple and Microsoft will be stomping around in each other’s sandboxes.
“I have no doubt that Google will eventually push
Android harder into other form factors,” Hilwa told eWEEK.
device makers and developers would love this opportunity to expand their reach
and leverage their invested skills. Chrome OS may be seen as a play in this
area, but it’s pure Web approach does not really leverage the app economy in
the same way Android does. In many ways you are seeing Google respond to
Microsoft’s serious effort to take the PC into the mobile world by moving
Android to the PC world.”
Google Feb. 8 pushed Chrome 17 into the stable channel
for Windows, Mac and Linux, paying out
$10,500 to fix bugs and making the browser faster and more secure.
Bug hunters squashed 20 bugs. Google paid for 11 of them,
including $2,000 for the detections of “bad casts with column spans.
Chrome maker paid $1,000 apiece for five use-after-free flaws, including one in
PDF garbage collection. Google also shelled out $1,000 for a buffer overflow in
locale handling and race condition after crash of utility process.
Readers may peruse the full list of flaws and those who
discovered them in this corporate blog post.
To satisfy Google’s need for speed, Chrome 17 includes prerendering, the predictive search technology Google has used in search and its browser.
When users start typing in the omnibox address bar and the URL autocompletes to
a Website users visit with some frequency, Chrome will prerender the page. This
means the Web page could appear instantly once the user hits enter.
Faster page rendering, means faster information delivery to users, which means users may be more likely to search the Web more in Chrome, goes Google’s thinking.
Google also elevated the security levels in Chrome,
running checks on executable .exe and .msi files. If the executable doesn’t
match a whitelist, Chrome checks with Google to see if the Website the user is
visiting commands a lot of malicious downloads.
Google also pledged to begin rolling out updates to
Chrome Operating System that will make using a Chromebook better.
Google plans to add a new image editor to let Chromebook users view, edit and
share photos on the Web. Users will also see an improved Verizon 3G activation
portal, which will allow users to set up a recurring purchase of mobile data.
The arrival of Chrome 17 to beta caps a busy week for the
browser, which is used by more than 200 million people worldwide.
On Feb. 6,
Google released Chrome for Android to beta, finally bringing Chrome to Android
handsets and tablets, albeit only for Android 4.0 “Ice Cream
Also, Google confirmed Chrome Screenwise, a program in which it will pay online
surfers to browse the Web and share data about their travels with the
search-engine giant. Ideally, this will enable Google to improve Chrome for its
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) said Google Cloud Print has
connected more than 6 million printers via the Google Chrome Web browser, the
first time the search engine giant-turned business computing provider has
released statistics for its Web-based printing service.
More importantly, the new Chrome 16 build lets anyone
using the browser on Windows, Mac and Linux computers will print any webpage to
Google Cloud Print. Previously, this capability was only available via
Google introduced Google Cloud Print in April 2010 to let any application print to any
printer from any computing device using Google’s cloud computing
The Web service was designed to enable printing for
notebook computers based on its Chrome Operating System, a Web-based operating
system that eschews drivers. Google, which is positioning Chrome OS as a way to
extend its cloud and mobile computing efforts, said it did not want to build a
bunch of printer drivers for every computing device and operating system.
Thus Cloud Print, which the companyformally rolled out this year and gained support from printer power
Hewlett-Packard in April 2011.
Chrome OS-based Chromebooks rolled out from Samsung and Acer rolled out this
past summer, but adoption of the machines has been tepid at best.Both companies are now selling the machines for $300.
Despite the lukewarm reception to Chromebooks, Google Cloud Print Product Manager Akshay
Kannan said in a blog post Google has seen “a surge of enthusiasm from
users and developers.”
In addition to the 6 million Cloud Print-connected
printers, he said dozens of cloud-ready printers have been released or
announced by Epson, HP and Kodak. Also, developers have built applications and
extensions to port the service to run on mobile devices based on Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Google’s own
Kannan also noted that Google now enables Cloud Print
users to their printers with friends and family, while users can now save their
online receipts and confirmation pages to the Google Docs collaboration
Webmasters can add the print button
element to their Website to enable printing functionality for tablets and
mobile phones, and Google turned on print preview for Chromebooks.
Google plans to enable Cloud Print from more Google apps
and work with partners to add more printers and printing services.