Category Archives: General Information on Chrome

The Difference Between Google Chrome and the New Windows S Operating System

Here’s why Google isn’t worried!

Windows 10 S vs Chrome OS: What’s the Difference?

Guiding Tech – By: Ajinkya Bhamburkar – “Last week, Microsoft released a new Surface laptop and a new edition of Windows 10, the S. While not the upgrade to the Surface Pro 4 that everyone was hoping for, the new laptop is sleek & beautiful. But more than that, it’s a statement made by Microsoft to showcase the new OS, much like what Google did with it’s mighty(and now discontinued) Pixel.

With Windows 10 S, Microsoft is hoping to take on Chrome OS, which has been a darling of school & college goers with it’s cheap hardware and equally light OS. So what makes Windows 10 S different from it. Quite a few things, which we are going to see today. Below are the top 5 ways in which both the OS’s differ.

1. Windows 10 S is not light
With Chrome being the competitor, many might think that Windows 10 S is as lightweight as the Chrome OS. But that’s not the case. Apart from few under the hood changes in areas of battery life & performance, the S is essentially comparable to Windows 10 Pro edition, albeit with few features cut down.

Disk space wise, the installer for 64-bit version of Chromium OS is 116 MB in size & it takes around 7 GB when installed. As for Windows 10 S, we can’t test that as we don’t have the new Surface book and you can’t download Windows 10 S from anywhere. But I am sure it would be definitely greater than what Chromium OS demands.

2. Windows 10 S is not Cloud Based
The whole point of Chrome OS was to get you faster online. So they shifted the OS part to the cloud, making you online as soon as you boot up the PC.

This also made the OS much lighter as majority of the files were pulled from the cloud instead being stored on your PC. In contrast Windows 10 S is not cloud and will take up disk space just like regular Windows.

3. Windows 10 S can be Upgraded
If you don’t like being forced to use Edge, Bing & only Windows Store apps, you can upgrade to full fledged Windows 10 Pro and remove all these restrictions for a fee of $49.

While this is a little frustrating as you just spent $999 on the laptop, at least you get an option. In Chrome OS world, any kind of upgrading means switching to a different OS altogether.

4. Choice of Hardware

Chrome OS being an older and popular operating system has many hardware options from laptops starting from as low as $299, mini PCs and your own PC. As Chromium OS(there’s a difference between Google Chrome OS and Chromium OS) is open source you can download it and install it on your own PC or laptop.

On the other hand, Windows 10 S comes bundled only with the Surface laptop(and other models from OEMs). Moreover currently there is no other option than the (pricey) Surface laptop which offers Windows 10 S.

Also, as a plus point, Windows 10 S offers the same hardware compatibility as main Windows, so no driver hunting is needed and most of the peripherals will work out of the box.

5. App Eco-System

Choosing between the two is much like choosing between iOS & Android. With Chrome OS you will have to live within the Google Eco system of Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Maps etc. For other apps there is the Chrome OS app store or one can even run Android apps.

Windows 10 S is similarly bound to the Windows Store UWP apps. While not quite in numbers as Android apps, the upgrade fee allows you install the almost uncountable Win32 apps.

The Chrome OS is mostly limited to lightweight browser based games while Windows Store app has titles like Gears of War and Forza.

So What’s Your Choice?
With the Back to School season coming in few months, Microsoft has rightly timed the release. But will you switch? With many schools & colleges already heavily invested in the Chrome eco-system, it remains to be seen whether the features & appeal of Windows 10 S is enough to make them switch. Do share your views on the new Windows 10 S in the comments.”

Microsoft’s Chrome OS “Killer” Probably Isn’t!

The newly announced Windows 10 S doesn’t appear to be much of a threat to Google Chrome OS.

Google isn’t afraid of Microsoft’s Chromebook clone, for obvious reasons

BRG – By: Mike Wehner – “Google’s Chrome OS and Chromebook computers are a bit hit among students from high school through college, thanks in no small part to their extreme affordability, ease of use, and overall simplicity. Yesterday, Microsoft announced Windows 10 S, a stripped-down version of its ubiquitous operating system designed with students in mind, along with the sleek, lightweight Surface Laptop. With Microsoft making such an obvious attempt to impose on the Chromebook market, you might expect Google to be on the defensive. Well, they’re not, and in an interview with Business Insider, one Google executive even boasted that Microsoft’s announcements were ‘validation.’

Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, vice-president and head of G Suite apps, told the website that Windows 10 S and Microsoft’s overall strategy is just proof that Google is already doing the right thing when it comes to computers. ‘I’m happy to see validation of the approach we’ve taken,’ Raghavan said. ‘What educational institutions have demanded is simplicity. It’s a real test tube for all of us, whether it’s Microsoft or any of us, right.’

Judging by what we saw on stage from Microsoft, Google is probably fairly safe in assuming that its Chromebook business is safe, at least for the time being. Microsoft has chosen to go with a remarkably locked-down approach with Windows 10 S, including the inability for the user to change their default web browser (Microsoft Edge is the default) or even their preferred search engine. On top of that, the Surface Laptop, at $999, is twice (and in some cases three or four times) as expensive as some perfectly capable Chromebooks.”

Chromebook Sales Cut Into Windows 10 PC Sales!

I told you this day would come!

Chromebook shipments surge by 38 percent, cutting into Windows 10 PCs

i>PC World – By: Agam Shah – “In a slowing PC market, Chromebooks siphoned market share away from Windows PCs in 2016 as their popularity grew outside the education market.

Chromebook shipments grew by a stunning 38 percent in 2016 compared to 2015. Gartner estimated 9.4 million Chromebooks shipped, compared to 6.8 million units in 2015.

The number is just a fraction of overall PC shipments, but growth came in an otherwise down PC market. Overall PC shipments in 2016 were about 270 million units, a decline of about 6.2 percent, according to Gartner.

[ Further reading: Our best Windows 10 tricks, tips and tweaks ]
Looking forward, 2016 may go down as the best year ever for Chromebook shipment growth. Gartner is estimating shipments to continue growing in the coming years but at a slower pace.

In 2017, Gartner is projecting Chromebook shipments to be about 10.9 million units, a growth of about 16.3 percent compared to 2016. In 2018, the shipments will total about 11.9 million units, a growth of 8.6 percent.

Analyst firm IDC has also predicted Chromebook shipments will grow by double-digit percentages in coming years. Most of the Chromebooks are shipping to classrooms in the U.S., Nordic countries, Australia and New Zealand.

There is also growing interest in Chromebooks from businesses in the finance and retail sectors. Companies are using Chromebooks as no-frills mobile thin clients, considering they are cheap to deploy and easy to manage, said Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner.

Traditional client-server virtual desktops can be expensive to deploy and hard to manage. Conventional thin clients from companies like Dell, HP, and Ncomputing aren’t portable but remain popular as a way to centralize data on servers.

Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome OS and are targeted at users who do most of their computing on the web. They are popular in classrooms because they are rugged, low-cost and fit into the limited budgets of schools. Schools are switching to Chromebooks from the expensive and fragile iPad.

The iPad had limited use for educators, many of whom need a keyboard, Kitagawa said.

While popular in the U.S., Chromebooks still haven’t broken through in international markets, especially in Asia, Kitagawa said.

Some basic problems, like a lack of cellular modems, are holding back the adoption of Chromebooks. Chromebooks today are reliant on Wi-Fi, which has a strong presence in the U.S. but not developing countries, Kitagawa said.

Google, however, is taking steps to grow in international markets. Android is popular worldwide, and many new Chromebooks support apps downloaded from the Google Play store. Newer Chromebooks have touchscreens to run Android apps.

Microsoft this week announced Windows 10 S OS to counter the growing popularity of Chromebooks. Windows 10 S will run applications downloadable from the Windows App store, similar to Chromebooks.

Also, like Chromebooks, teachers will be able to easily set up Windows 10 S laptops. Laptops with Windows 10 S will be priced starting at around US$189 will begin shipping in the coming months.”

Chrome OS Version 57 Has Been Released

Here’s an overview of the changes. Note the PIN Unlock feature!

Stable Channel Updates for Chrome OS

Google Chrome Blog – By: Ketaki Deshpande – “The Stable channel has been updated to 57.0.2987.123 (Platform version: 9202.56.1, 9202.56.2) for all Chrome OS devices except AOpen Chromebase Mini, AOpen Chromebox Mini, Google Chromebook Pixel (2015), ASUS Chromebook Flip C100PA, Samsung Chromebook Plus. This build contains a number of bug fixes, security updates, and feature enhancements. Systems will be receiving updates over the next several days.

Some highlights of these changes are:

  • Enable silent authentication
  • Updated default wallpaper
  • Updated boot animation
  • Media files from Android Applications available in Files
  • Application
  • PIN unlock is available on all Chromebooks
  • Chrome Camera App Front/Rear Flip UI
  • Image copy/paste feature for Citrix Receiver on Chrome OS
  • Power button now turns off display on devices that support tablet-mode

Security Fixes:
Note: Access to bug details and links may be kept restricted until a majority of users are updated with a fix. We will also retain restrictions if the bug exists in a third party library that other projects similarly depend on, but haven’t yet fixed.

If you find new issues, please let us know by visiting our forum or filing a bug. Interested in switching channels? Find out how. You can submit feedback using ‘Report an issue…’ in the Chrome menu (3 vertical dots in the upper right corner of the browser).”

Android O Will Address the Chromebook Keyboard

I am looking foward to Android O!

Android O will work better on Chromebooks, thanks to improved keyboard support

The Verge – By: Nick Statt – “Part of Google’s upcoming Android O release is a new and improved model for keyboard navigation, which will make using Android apps on a Chromebook a little less frustrating. As it stands today, a majority of Android apps are designed with only touchscreen navigation in mind. That makes them hard to use on larger screens, and pretty much unusable on devices that rely solely on keyboard and mouse inputs. So with Android O, Google wants to give developers an opportunity to integrate better keyboard navigation so Android apps can play a bit nicer with Chrome OS laptops.

‘With the advent of Android Apps on Chrome OS and other large form factors, we’re seeing a resurgence of keyboard navigation use within Android apps,’ Dave Burke, Google’s vice president of engineering for Android, writes in a blog post. ‘In Android O we focused on building a more reliable, predictable model for ‘arrow’ and ‘tab’ navigation that aids both developers and end users.’

Google first announced cross-platform capability for Android apps at last year’s I/O developer conference in May. Since then, Google has added support for a number of a different Chromebook models from companies like HP, Dell, Samsung, and Asus. The company also attempted to bridge its two software ecosystems together to make the process of using Chrome OS as simple and seamless as an Android smartphone.

Yet that last mission hasn’t been so successful. Too often new Chromebooks, regardless of whether they’re from Google or Samsung or manufacturers, feel unequipped to handle mobile apps. That’s made Android support on Chrome OS feel like a beta feature waiting for the finished software touches. As time goes on, however, we can expect Google to use newer versions of Android to make the experience smoother and more refined. Keyboard navigation is a small step, but it’s one in the right direction.”

2-In-1 Chromebooks Are Getting a Fix to the Power Button

This will help them function more like a tablet when in tablet mode.

2-in-1 Chromebooks will start using the power button correctly in a future Chrome OS version

9to5 Google – By: Ben Schoon – “2-in-1 Chromebooks like the Samsung Chromebook Plus and ASUS C302A are just begging to be used with Android apps as tablets, however, there are some key differences between these and your traditional tablet ─ aside from Chrome OS that is. One of those is how the power button acts when the device is in tablet mode, but that’s soon changing…

Currently, Chromebooks that have 360-degree hinges only change how they work in terms of disabling the keyboard and adding free rotation of the UI. Everything else works exactly the same as it does in laptop mode. That includes the power button, which in laptop mode acts first as a button to lock the device with the screen on, then turn off the machine with a longer press.

Android tablets, on the other hand, immediately lock and turn off the display when the power button is pressed, activating sleep mode. It’s a little thing, but having this on a convertible Chromebook would certainly make things feels a bit more familiar, and that’s exactly what Google is working on.

As pointed out by ChromeUnboxed, the beta channel of Chrome OS currently supports using the power button as a sleep button on the Samsung Chromebook Plus. One click turns off the display and puts the machine in sleep mode while a second click brings it back to life at the lockscreen. This is certainly a welcome change for these machines, and is only going to be more vital as new hardware debuts, especially the Chrome OS tablets and detachables that are coming soon…”

Neverware Now Supports Microsoft Office 365!

Neverware, now with Office 365?!

Neverware’s Chrome OS for old computers now includes Office 365

Engadget – By: Devindra Hardawar – “Neverware has made a name for itself with its CloudReady software, which essentially transforms any old PC or Mac into a Chromebook. But while that’s a nice way to breathe new life into aging computers, it’s naturally reliant on Google’s online services. Now, the company is offering a new version of Cloud Ready for schools that integrates Microsoft’s Office 365 online suite instead. It might seem blasphemous, but it could be useful for schools and other organizations that are already deeply integrated with Microsoft’s software.

While it’s still basically just Chrome OS, the new version of CloudReady will sport integration with OneDrive instead of Google Drive. And similarly, it’ll point you to the online versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and other Microsoft software. There’s nothing stopping you from using the online Office 365 apps with the original version of CloudReady, but the deeper integration could make it a bit easier to use for students, teachers and administrators.

Another plus? Neverware’s Office 365 version of CloudReady will cost just $1 per student every year (or $15 per device annually). That’ll make it very useful for cash-strapped school districts. Neverware worked together with Microsoft to develop the new version of its OS, which should allay IT department fears about relying on a young software company.”

Are More Cameras on the Horizon for Chromebooks?

It looks like more cameras could be coming to future Chromebooks!

Chrome OS Camera Gets Multi-Camera Options

Chrome Unboxed – By: Robby Payne – “Up until this point, the camera app for Chrome OS has been limited to a single camera. Namely, the camera right above your screen. And, until now, that has been all that is really needed. Chromebooks keep it simple, and a single webcam is as simple as it gets.

We are now seeing reports from Google’s own François Beaufort that the standard Chrome OS Camera is now capable of multi-camera input.

So, if you have a webcam sitting around or a much nicer camera that can act as a USB webcam, just plug it in and the camera app will give you the ability to choose between all of your connected cameras.

Sure, this isn’t exactly ground-breaking, but it is sign of things to come and a potentially beneficial feature moving forward. Let me explain.

A POSSIBLE USE CASE

For YouTubers, this addition could become very useful. YouTube Live is just getting started, but I can see us using a Chromebook connected to our Sony A6000 for live video.

With the Android YouTube app, a camera, and a Chromebook, you could be uploading some potentially crispy live video.

Sure, it is nice to use a phone for live video, but being able to set up a tripod with a more capable camera is very interesting, to say the least.

SIGN OF THINGS TO COME

Additionally, this change points clearly to a future (one that is coming very soon) with Chrome OS Tablets. Front and rear-facing cameras are common on tablets, so this change is more likely a move to accommodate this new form factor we are looking very forward to. Though the multiple camera setup would be nice on a standard Chromebook, this tablet implementation is likely the reason behind the move.

Either way and for any of the use cases you can think of, this is yet another step forward in the ever-evolving Chrome OS landscape.”

Chromebooks Can Now Use Skype for Web

Audio only so far, but it is still useful!

Chromebooks can now make voice calls with Skype for Web

PC World – By: Chris Hoffman – Chromebooks can now participate in audio calls using Microsoft’s Skype for Web. Microsoft didn’t officially announce this new feature, but it’s already working today. This feature now works on Linux, too.

Skype for Web just works

This feature should “just work.” Head to the Skype for Web website, sign in with your Skype account, and click the voice call button for one of your Skype contacts. Chrome will ask if you want to share your microphone with Skype. Agree and the call will happen normally, just like it would via the Skype client application on a desktop PC or phone. It now uses standards-based web technologies instead of the plugin it initially required on Windows.

While audio calls work and work well, video features don’t yet seem to be working on Chrome OS. Skype for Web already offered solid text-messaging support for Chromebook users.

This new feature is a boon to Chromebook users who place Skype calls and Linux users who are sick of Microsoft’s crumbling Skype for Linux application.

Skype’s Android app is still an option

Chromebook users already have another way to run Skype on their Chromebooks. They can install the Skype Android app. Unfortunately, Android app support is currently in beta and will initially be limited to a small number of Chromebooks.

If you really want video calls on Chrome OS and can’t wait, you can still install the Skype Android app via Google’s ARC Welder application. This makes use of Google’s previous Android-on-Chrome technology, and it doesn’t work as well as the new Android app support. However, you can use ARC Welder on any Chromebook today without installing developer builds of Chrome OS.

New Features in Chrome!

I usually don’t talk about Chrome Browser specific options, but these look good, and are also, (of course) it will be in the ChromeOS/Chromebook eventually as well.

Google’s Chrome browser has a new ‘Cast’ option, mirrors to Hangouts

TNW – By: Nate Swanner – “Google Cast, the underlying technology behind Chromecast, is being baked directly into Chrome, and can be used for Hangouts.

Chrome

The Chrome browser will have a new ‘Cast’ feature in the drop-down menu in Chrome 51, which is currently in beta.

As you can with the extension, Cast simply lets you cast your browser tab onto a TV or other Cast-enabled monitor. While the extension may no longer be needed, it’ll continue to work — and may be a more streamlined option if you cast often.

Interestingly, Google has also offloaded things like streaming rate and screen resolution to boilerplate functions. Instead of manicuring a good stream, you’ll soon just be streaming while Google Cast does the heavy lifting.

Cast will also be found in Chrome OS.

Hangouts

Google’s chat service is also getting the ability to receive Google Casts.

A beta feature first spotted last May, Cast to Hangouts now seems to be rolling out as a stable release. In the comments section of an Android Police article noting the feature, one user notes it also peeks into your calendar to find scheduled hangouts:

I have this working (though buggy) in Chrome OS v52. My workplace uses Hangouts for our meetings. If I choose the Cast option in the menu it finds meetings in my calendar and lets me share my tab or desktop to the hangout. It’s similar to screensharing in a Hangout but there’s no audio transmitted. One use case is if you’re in a room set up with a Chromebox for Meetings and want to share your screen with everyone, without having to join the Hangout.

The support page for casting to Hangouts also lists ‘cloud services’ as options for casting, though doesn’t list any specifically. As casting seems to be best suited for video chats in Hangouts, it seems Google’s new Duo app could also see screencasts, but we’re betting Google is just laying the groundwork for any service that may use it down the line.”