Ug4GLDZJhe4O5IUsYTgN1WU_yqo May 2012 ~ Tech Wizards

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Google, Intel release new Chrome-based PCs

All of you haiku fans (like many of us on the Chrome team) can stop here; the rest can read on for more details.

A year ago Google introduced a new model of computing with the launch of Chromebooks. We’ve heard from many of you who’ve enjoyed the speed, simplicity and security of your Chromebooks at home, at school or at work. (Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and stories!) Today, Google wanted to share some developments with you—new hardware, a major software update and many more robust apps—as we continue on our journey to make computers much better.

Next-generation devices
Their partner Samsung has just announced a new Chromebook and the industry’s firstChromebox. Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office.

Speed is integral to the Chrome experience. The new Chromebook and Chromebox, based on Intel Core processors, are nearly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. And support for hardware-accelerated graphics, a built-from-scratch multi-touch trackpad and an open-source firmware stack provide a much faster and more responsive computing experience. The new Chromebook boots in less than seven seconds and resumes instantly. With the Chromebox, you can be on a video conference while continuing to play your favorite role-playing game on the side.

An app-centric user interface
With the new user interface you can easily find and launch apps, and use them alongside your browser or other apps. You can pin commonly-used apps for quick access, display multiple windows side-by-side or experience your favorite apps in full-screen mode without any distractions.

Be much more productive...or not
  • Get more stuff done, online or offline: With the built-in ability to view Microsoft Office files and dozens of the most common file formats, you can access all your content without the hassle of installing additional software. Google Drive makes it easy to create, store and share with just one click. Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect. In addition, there are hundreds ofoffline-capable web apps in the Chrome Web Store.
  • Have more fun: The revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader enable you to easily play and manage your personal media collections. Through the Chrome Web Store, you can access entertainment apps such asGoogle Play, Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader and Pandora, and thousands of games including popular games like Angry Birds and console titles such as Bastion.
  • Carry your other computers...inside your Chromebook: With Chrome Remote Desktop Beta, you can now securely connect to your PC or Mac from your Chromebook or Chromebox. With the underlying VP8 technology, it’s almost like you’re in front of your other computers in real time.
The (always) new computer
We’ve released eight stable updates over the past year, adding a number of major features and hundreds of improvements to all Chromebooks through our seamless auto-update mechanism. There’s a lot more on the way, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the benefits of the (always) new computer.

For those who want to try the Chromebook and Chromebox first-hand, we’re expanding the Chrome Zone experience centers. In the U.S., Chromebooks will be available to try out in select Best Buy stores in the coming weeks. In the U.K., they’re now available in a growing list of PC World and Currys stores.

Starting today, you can get the new Chromebook and Chromebox from our online retail partners in the U.S. and U.K., and in other select countries over the coming weeks.

Is Google the new Microsoft?

Google’s come up with its solution for Dropbox: If you can’t buy ‘em, copy ‘em. The search engine and online advertising giant replaced its popular Google Docs service with Google Drive, a cloud computing storage service designed to directly compete with start up Dropbox. This raises the question, has Google become the new Microsoft?
Us ancient folk who remember the 1990s and the Microsoft anti-trust trial can certainly notice some parallels. A big, dare we say monolithic, company doesn’t bother innovating on its own. It just waits for other companies to innovate, makes some changes for legally significant distinctions and enters into competition with the innovator. Sound familiar?
Still, Google is not unchallenged in its supremacy. Bing has gained a bit of traction as a search engine, showing that Microsoft isn’t dead or stagnant by any means. Yahoo! is always trying to regain its place in the search engine world. And not everything Google does comes across as the Second Coming in the market. Google Plus+ currently has fewer subscribers than MySpace, if that tells you anything. So it’s by no means a done deal that Google Drive is going to push Dropbox and other upstarts out of existence.
But Google has enormous resources, underscoring a fundamental problem of the free market: Google can offer an inferior product and sell it at a loss for years, effectively starving the competition out of existence. Further, an attempt to sue them for a breach of IP isn’t hopeless, but is obviously an uphill battle. Would anyone argue that Dropbox can hire a team of lawyers as impressive as the one that Google can enlist?
The free market is often touted as the perfect place for innovation. However, Google’s entry into the world of cloud computing emphasizes one of the key limitations of the free market: larger companies can find legal ways to rob smaller ones of the core of their innovation and can comfortably afford to take a loss on the product for decades. Thus, the idea that the free market raises the cream to the top, letting inferior products fall by the wayside is more of a superstition than anything resembling actual reality.
Further examples? Well, Betamax was largely considered a superior product to VHS. Ditto on HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter. The format with the most connections and best marketing was the one who prevailed. In fairness, the market still allowed us to have a videotape format and an improvement upon DVD technology. But while the market threw up the best of the best, it did not allow the superior product to prevail.
Google can’t bully everyone. Its main competitors in the world of tech are Microsoft, Facebook and Apple. Google can try to push those companies around, but it likely won’t do a whole lot. Still, this doesn’t contradict anything said above. Indeed, it underscores the broader point being made: Only companies with the resources and connections of Google are able to push back against them. This hardly makes for a good environment for innovation. 


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