This year’s Google I/O conference illustrates exactly where Google is headed as a company. There is a heavy focus on Android and Chrome OS with some very interesting announcements thrown in. Here are a few of them.
Chrome Web Store Available Worldwide
Google has opened up the Chrome Web Store to its entire user base of 160 million users. The store is going worldwide, speaking 41 different languages. Those outside the current markets will only have access to free apps initially, but that still means they can grab ChromeDeck.
Another app that makes it’s debut in the Chrome Web Store? Angry Birds. Now, you don’t even need a mobile device to waste you life away throwing birds at pigs. This is possible only because of the accelerated development of browsers and web applications load by Google and their Chrome Browser.
Google also announced in-app purchases, which takes just one line of code for developers to add, and is keeping the fee structure simple at a flat 5%. To date, 17 million apps have been installed from the Chrome Web Store.
Google Music is Finally Here
A year after it’s announcement, Google Music is finally running in beta. The service is quite close to what Amazon launched recently with their Cloud Drive. Both services allow for the upload, storage, and streaming of your music from the cloud. While Amazon is giving you 5GB of storage, Google is measuring your storage in “songs” and you get to store 20,000 of them. They say this is only for a limited time, though. Check ReadWriteWeb for a detailed run-down and comparison of the two services. You can request an invite to the service here.
A New Kind of Computer: Chromebook
Just when you thought those CR-48 laptops were just a gimmick to promote Chrome OS, Google changes the whole game. With the Chrome Web Browser at its core, the Chromebook offers a lightweight, fast, secure, and reliable way to do business. Remember the Chrome Web Store? Yeah, it’s in the Chromebook. You’ll soon be able to grab one from Amazon, Best Buy and other retailers.
Just another type of netbook, you say? While that may be true, the key here is in how Google is approaching the business and education. In an effort to address costly and insecure setups for these organizations, Google has announced Chromebooks for Business and Education:
This service from Google includes Chromebooks and a cloud management console to remotely administer and manage users, devices, applications and policies. Also included is enterprise-level support, device warranties and replacements as well as regular hardware refreshes. Monthly subscriptions will start at $28/user for businesses and $20/user for schools.
I’d say “BOOM!,” but that’s getting so overused, isn’t it? You also may be wondering how Google will address the problem of offline access, a major sticking point for a browser-based OS. They’ve announced today that they’ve been internally testing totally offline versions of Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs. These will become available to all users this summer.
Check out the hilarious video for more details on the Chromebook. One of my favorite quotes from the video is in response to the question “This has the web?,” where the Chromebook responds, “it actually IS the web.”