Oct 10 2010

Hot Google Netbook Demand Opens New Possibilities

According to the google keyword tool there are approximately 33,100 searches per month for the term “Google Netbook.” Although there is no clear indication that Google will release it’s own Google netbook computer the company has spoken with netbook manufacturers about producing netbooks with the Chrome OS operating system. This begs the question though, with the current demand for Google netbooks will Google consider producing a netbook like it has cell phones?

Although it is unclear whether those searching for “google netbook” are simply looking for a netbook with google chrome OS pre-installed or a netbook produced by Google, there is clearly a demand for Google products in the netbook marketplace. Google did announce earlier this year that they do plan on releasing Chrome OS in the 4th quarter.

As the leading manufacturer of netbooks, Acer also receives 33,100 monthly searches for the term “Acer netbook.” If the leader in the market is receiving the same searches, the demand cannot be ignored. Only the future will tell if Google will one day produce its own netbooks.

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Jun 27 2010

Competion between Google Chrome OS and Microsoft Windows Heats Up

Google and Dell are in communication about Google Chrome OS and the future it plays in computing and possible installation of Google Chrome OS on a Dell netbook. Dell realizes that Chrome OS could very well offer stiff competition to Microsoft Windows and working with Google could benefit them in the next couple years as changes come to the industry.

There has been no official announcement from Dell or Google about a deal but “talks” are underway. If an agreement is reached Dell would be the third manufacturer to build a future netbook with Chrome OS. The other computer manufacturers that plan on releasing netbooks or other computers with Chrome OS are Acer and HP.

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Jun 1 2010

Google Tries to Phase out Windows

According to sources within Google, the search giant is currently trying to phase out the Microsoft Windows operating system on company computers in order to reduce security problems. Google and Microsoft have been rivals for some time now and the two companies have become increasingly hostile in recent months.

Google experienced attacks in China that resulted from a flaw in Microsoft’s browser, Internet Explorer. Coupled with the fact that Google has a web browser (Chrome) and is planning an operating system (Chrome OS), the move makes sense. Why should Google give Microsoft, a competitor, any more money by buying a competing operating system?

Some security analysts have said the move is not as logical as it seems. According to them, although Windows is often the target of hackers, because of this it has excellent security features that are allegedly not found in other operating systems, such as Mac OS X. By switching, Google will actually open itself up to more attacks.

I know there are not many attempted attacks on Mac OS X because not nearly as many people use it as Windows and I hope Google’s move does not increase the number of attacks on Mac. Maybe it’s time to start learning Linux…

Via PC World, image via Google.

May 24 2010

Google To Steal Apple’s ‘Cult’ Status?

At Google’s developer event last week, something strange happened: the high energy present made it more like an Apple event than a Google event. Could Google be ascending in popularity and eventually achieve the cult status that Apple has held for so long?

Many people are showing support for Android, and some have suggested that this means Apple is now trying to catch up to Google. At the event, Google introduced Froyo, the updated version of Android, which got people talking. Apple needs to do something new and exciting at WWDC or it will be left behind.

The funny thing is, in this whole Apple vs. Google battle, Microsoft is left out. Apple is cool, Google is on the way to becoming cool, and Microsoft is so uncool that it’s forgotten. But if Google wants to continue being in the ascendant, it needs to deal with some major issues, such as how Android and Chrome OS will work together.

Via CNET, image via Google.

May 14 2010

First Chrome OS Device to be an Acer Netbook

In a couple weeks — two to be exact — Taiwanese computer manufacturer Acer is rumored to be launching netbooks (and possibly other tech devices) that run on the Google Chrome OS.  The official display will take place at the Computex Taipei Show that will be held from June 1 to June 5.

It’s still uncertain what other devices the Google Chrome OS will be featured in, but Google has mentioned that smartbooks and tablets running ARM processors would be likely vehicles.  There has recently been rumors that Samsung is developing ARM-based smartbooks running Chrome.

Using an OS other than Google Android for netbooks is a good idea.  The Android OS is better suited for tablets and cell phones.  Google originally planned to release the Chrome operating system during the second half of 2010.  The rumored Acer Chrome OS-based netbook is expected to launch in June, so that’s just perfect.

Via VentureBeat and CoolTechZone.

May 13 2010

First Chrome OS Device to be Released

The first device running Chrome OS, the open source operating system by Google, is supposed to be introduced by Acer in two weeks, according to multiple sources.

Acer is supposed to show off its new device at Computex Taipei, a yearly computer and electronics show that opens on June 1. Chrome OS was designed for netbooks, smartbooks, and tablets. Acer has said previously that it would have a Chrome OS netbook ready by the middle of 2010. There currently is no word about what the device is going to be.

Other netbook manufacturers have expressed interest in working with Chrome OS, including Dell, though it said that it was still evaluating Chrome OS.

What is unclear right now is the relationship between Chrome OS and Android. Android is intended for mobile devices, like smartphones, but some companies have expressed interest in using it on tablets as well. Google co-founder Sergey Brin says that the two will eventually merge.

Via CNET, image via Google.

May 4 2010

Internet Explorer Usage Drops

This news makes me extremely happy because I absolutely cannot stand Internet Explorer. I hope that people are realizing that there are so many great alternative browsers out there to use. According to statistics published by Net Applications, Internet Explorer use is down to about 60 percent, which is quite a change from the 80 percent it had two and a half years ago. Firefox has nearly 25 percent of the usage, Chrome has 6.7 percent, and Opera 2.3 percent.

Alternative browsers use different rendering engines from Internet Explorer’s Trident and offer a vastly improved performance. Trident does not meet the latest web standards and has very slow rendering speeds compared to Gecko, Presto, and WebKit, the rendering engines of Firefox, Opera, and Chrome/Safari, respectively.

I would highly recommend switching from Internet Explorer if you are still using it. Firefox is a great alternative (it has lots of pretty themes that you can use to customize it), as is Safari (it’s really, really fast). I have heard great things about Chrome, though I have not used it myself. And if you’re a Mac user, Camino is a great choice as well—it’s based on Gecko and integrates really well with the Mac OS. I have tried Opera in the past and I found it a bit difficult to adjust to, but it is also a good alternative to Internet Explorer.

Via AppleInsider.

Apr 21 2010

Google Chromium-Based Netbooks Priced at $300-$400

According to Google Chief Eric Schmidt, netbooks running on Google’s new Chromium operating system that are expected to be on sale in retail stores by the end of this year or early next year will be priced in the $300-$400 range. “Those prices are completely determined by the costs of the glass, the costs of the processor and things like that, but in our case Chrome OS and Android are free so there is no software tax associated with all of this,” Schmidt says.

Google introduced the Chrome operating system two months ago and boasted it as a lightweight, browser-based OS that could boot up in seven seconds or less.  The company has not yet revealed who they will be partnering with to manufacture their new netbooks, but Acer has said that it expects to offer about a million of these devices this year.

Google’s trying hard to get into the netbook market and is up for a fight against its competitors, namely Windows-based devices.  Guess we’ll just have to wait to see Google’s latest creation.

Via Wired.

Mar 31 2010

Google Defies Apple by Supporting Flash

Apple famously does not support Adobe Flash on its mobile devices. Steve Jobs has spoken out against Flash (the man’s insistent resistance to giving us iPhone users Flash support drives me crazy) rather strongly in the past.

However, Apple is one of the only companies that harbors such a vendetta against Flash. Apple’s recent competitor, Google, has announced that it will support Flash by bundling Adobe Flash Player with downloads of its Google Chrome browser. Chrome is used by only five percent of Internet users, but Google is a big company that has a very large presence as a search engine and as an online advertiser, so its support will be important to Adobe.

A Google spokesperson said that Flash will be integrated seamlessly into Chrome and and “truly feel like a part of the browser.”

In contrast to Google’s support of Flash, Apple has expressed support of HTML 5, which allows users to view video content even if they do not have Flash installed.

Via Wired, image via Google.

Mar 27 2010

Apple and Google CEOs Have Coffee Together

BFFs? I think not.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google CEO Eric Schmidt were spotted earlier in the day having coffee together at a Palo Alto coffee shop.

Google and Apple, two companies that used to be friendly with each other, have grown increasingly competitive in recent months. The enmity comes from Google entering what is perceived as Apple’s traditional part of the market: smartphones (Android is a competitor to the iPhone OS), browsers (Google Chrome, anyone?) and even operating systems (Google’s Chrome OS will compete with Mac OS X).

Jobs and Schmidt continued their discussion until they saw a crowd growing. According to an observer, Jobs then said, “Let’s go discuss this somewhere more private.” The only other thing heard from the discussion was Jobs saying, “They’re going to see it all eventually so who cares how they get it.”

Gizmodo reported about the meeting of the two CEOs, going as far as to hire a body language analyst (bottom line: the two men were extremely uncomfortable with each other). Though it would be easier and more accurate to analyze their body language from a video rather than from just photos, the analyst concluded that Schmidt is afraid of Jobs. Such fear is perhaps inspired by Apple’s recent lawsuit against HTC.

Via Examiner, image via Gizmodo.

Mar 24 2010

Firefox Releases Update to Fix Security Issue

Mozilla released its latest Firefox update yesterday, about one month ahead of schedule. The update fixed stability issues and security flaws, including a bug that could allow a hacker to execute a malicious code on a user’s system.

Firefox is a popular alternative browser to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and, in light of the attacks on Internet Explorer in the past few months, has been recommended as a replacement browser in some EU countries, most notably Germany and France. However, the German government recently recommended that users stop using Firefox due to the recent security flaw.

The recent security flaw only affects Firefox 3.6 running on Windows XP or Windows Vista—Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows 7 users are unaffected. Mozilla probably released the update early in order to prevent users from abandoning Firefox, and it also probably wants the browser to be updated in the time leading up to the CanSecWest security conference.

Via PC World, image via Firefox.

Mar 20 2010

Google Announces ANGLE For Chrome

HTML 5 has exciting prospects for web applications.  It will hopefully result in the end of plug-ins, like Flash, and allow for a more universal standard across the internet.  One possibility would to be able to have 3D graphics in web pages.  The result could be high-end games directly available on web pages, not suffering from the performance load caused by Flash.

This isn’t just hypothetical stuff; the Mozilla Foundation along with Opera, Apple, and Chrome are all working to make this real with WebGL, a JavaScript library which allows for 3D rendering.  The only problem is it requires OpenGL support, something which is lacking on many Windows PCs.  So Google has announced its plans for ANGLE,  a “cross-platform web standard for accessing low-level 3D graphics hardware”.  Basically, it’s a way for Chrome to use Direct3D in place of OpenGL on Windows machines.

It is interesting to note that this announcement comes on the heels of Microsoft’s release of its new IE9 platform, which introduces HTML 5 and Direct2D hardware rendering.  It showed off some very impressive SVG based demos.  Google is taking the Microsoft threat very seriously, and has an added stake due to its browser based OS, Chrome OS.

Via Gizmodo

Mar 4 2010

Microsoft Browser Choice is Limited

I reported last month that Microsoft would, starting on March 1, be offering browser choices to its European users as a result of an agreement between Microsoft and the EU.

Microsoft has started offering browser choices, as they promised. But according to a web designer, users are not getting as much of a choice as they think they are, due to the fact that a lot of the browsers offered are basically clones of Internet Explorer. Many of the lesser-known browsers offered use the same rendering engine, Trident, that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer uses.

Of the twelve browsers offered, five use Trident, three use Mozilla’s Gecko, two use WebKit, and one uses Opera’s Presto. One of the twelve browsers can use either Trident or Gecko. Most web designers do not like Trident because it does not conform to rendering standards. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera are the browsers that adhere to rendering standards best.

Via BBC News, image via Microsoft.

Feb 23 2010

Solving Your Netbook’s Software Problem

While they are at their core small computers, netbooks were made to have a slightly different function than their laptop predecessors. Laptops are frequently being built as substitutes for desktops for many common functions, and some are even advertised as such – remember that category called “desktop replacements”? Netbooks, however, seem to have taken up the niche that laptops used to fill – portable computing.

Like the laptops of old, netbooks tend to be underclocked, and their size generally allow for very limited storage and expansion space. There are programs available, however, that allow you to get just a little bit more utility out of your tiny netbook.

While I will always have fond memories of the Windows OS, I must admit that the Apple side is seductive, and their Dock does a great job of keeping programs I use all the time in such easy reach while keeping my desktop uncluttered. Rocketdock is a free program that adds a dock to any side of a netbook’s screen and adds utility to everyday use.

When I go online, I find that Google’s Chrome browser is a great performer on netbooks. It doesn’t use as much of the netbook’s limited resources, is quite fast, and is constantly being updated. If you have a touchscreen, you might want to look into getting ChromeTouch as well, which is an extension of the Chrome browse and adds touch control to the Chrome browser.

While you’re online, if you find an interesting site and bookmark it, Xmarks will keep your browser bookmark and site passwords in synch among multiple PCs. While there already exist other programs that do this, Xmarks stands out among the rest in that it works across browsers,  keeping Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer all synced among a network. And while many people are firm believers in AVG Free for protection, Microsoft Security Essentials takes away less from your netbook performance while still doing a good job of protecting your computer.

Depending on what you do with your netbook, some of these programs might not be right for you. There are a bunch of other programs out there of course, so with a little effort, I’m sure you can find a solution to whatever problem you have.

Via jkOnTheRun

Jan 26 2010

Acer To Deliver New eReader, App Store, and Chrome OS Netbook

Acer Logo

Acer, already the second largest computer maker in the world, has ambitious plans for the future. According to Bloomberg, Acer is tossing its hat into the already over-saturated yet underdeveloped market of eReaders, facing off with the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others. No specifics have been announced other than it will have a 6-inch, monochrome (assume E-Ink) screen and ship in Europe.

More surprisingly, Acer is announcing an online apps store. Jim Wong, president of the Acer IT product division, has stated it would contain hundreds of applications, “otherwise you can’t call it an app store.” It will likely be a cross-platform marketplace for Android, Windows Mobile, and ChromeOS.

However, Acer’s most stunning announcement is the fact it has announced plans to rush forward with a ChromeOS netbook to provide a “a change to the Microsoft-Intel environment,” according to Wong. The mention of Intel hints that this new product line might be ARM powered as an alternative to the standard Atom on-board most mainstream netbooks. Acer plans to release the netbook sometime around Q3 2010, on schedule with Google’s release date for ChromeOS.

Via Bloomberg, image via Wikipedia.

Jan 3 2010

Google Chrome Surpasses Safari

Google’s browser Chrome, as of today, now holds 4.63% of the browser market, meaning that is has finally surpassed Apple’s Safari. This gain is attributed to the release of Mac and Linux versions of the browser. Safari has stayed relatively static, losing a miniscule 0.15%.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was the biggest loser this past month. It lost one percentage point, bringing its share down to 62.7%. Some people are predicting that if this trend continues, Internet Explorer will have under half of the browser market in six months.

Google is still continuing to improve Chrome. It released an extension today (currently only for Windows) that allows one to go to similar pages from the browser itself. More and more people may become dissatisfied with Internet Explorer and switch to Chrome, Safari, or Firefox (or another browser), which are, in my opinion, better alternatives to Microsoft’s product.

Via Computerworld.

Dec 30 2009

What The Google Netbook Will Look Like

We’ve been eagerly awaiting Google’s netbook for a while now, and for neither the first time nor likely the last, rumors have surfaced about what specs we should expect to see in the thing.

The Google netbook will run the Google Chrome OS on a 10.1-inch screen that will be HD-capable and powered by the Nvidia Tegra.

The system will also include an ARM CPU and 64 GB SSD – small, but lightning-quick. It should have 2 GB of RAM, Bluetooth, 3G suport, a webcam, 3.5mm audio jack, multi-card reader, and a few USB ports.

The Google Chromium OS will be a fascinating experiment when it comes out next year. It suffers from a constant need for a connection to the internet, but with Google apps like Gmail, Maps, Docs, Calendar, and Wave, it will feature an integrated and lively interface, streamlined for mobile use. A $300 price tag could be in the works as well.

All these details are moot until the Google netbook hits stores, but if the pieces come together as projected the Google netbook will be a fine thing to get one’s hands on.

Via TFOT.

Dec 28 2009

How Jolicloud Plans To Compete With The Google Chrome OS

Jolicloud has racked up $4.2 million in venture capital, and a lot of hopes are riding on its success. But how will it look once Google’s Chrome OS hits the netbook world?

Tariq Krim, the operating system’s mastermind, says he doesn’t know for sure how everything will play out but knows Jolicloud will be able to compete. While Google will rely mostly or entirely on Google Apps for the Chrome OS, Jolicloud will be making use of third-party partner services like Dropbox to customize the user experience.

Furthermore, Jolicloud netbooks will be able to run high definition video, which is hard to do on netbook browsers today. Chrome OS will be based mostly in the cloud, but with Jolicloud users will be able to store files locally and then sync with the cloud at their discretion.

Even so, Jolicloud doesn’t have the market in the bag just yet. Krim says that hardware is becoming less and less important, and consumers’ rising spending on cloud services could lead to unanticipated restructurings of the tech industry. In other words – we’re going to have to wait and see how it plays out for Jolicloud.

Via The Washington Post.

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Dec 27 2009

Competition Between Google and Microsoft Intensifies

VS.

I have posted before about the competition between Google and Microsoft, which really started to heat up earlier this year. But Google is not just going up against Apple: they are also competing against the giant Microsoft, and they are putting up a pretty good fight.

The battle really escalated this year as each company infringed on the other’s traditional territory. Google has been making a move into the browser and operating systems market, and Microsoft has been trying to establish a presence as a search engine.

Even just a few years ago, it was inconceivable that Google would be able to go up against Microsoft. Microsoft has long been a dominant force in the computer industry, but now their role is being challenged by a web company. Microsoft seems worried, which is why they have spent millions trying to get some of Google’s search market share with Bing.

Google’s online applications also represent a huge threat to Microsoft programs, such as Office. Microsoft has, for years, pulled in a huge amount of money with sales of Microsoft Office. Google presents a huge danger on this front with its user-friendly online word processors, which are free for personal, non-commercial use.

Microsoft is on the defensive with its software and operating system, but it’s on the offensive in the search engine market. This June, it overhauled its Live Search and instead launched Bing (I don’t loveMicrosoft, but I do have admit that Bing is kind of cool). Though Google still commands the search market, Bing is slowly but steadily gaining. Microsoft also plans to team up with Yahoo to try to get more search market share from Google.

Google, on the other hand, tried to push its online office applications into the corporate sphere this year. Microsoft is not just sitting idly by: it has announced plans for online office applications as well. In 2010, it plans to offer online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Google as further challenged Microsoft with its browser, Chrome, and planned Linux-based Chrome OS.

Analysts say that the battle between these two companies has only just begun and things will really begin to get interesting in 2010. This may frustrating for people running Microsoft and Google, but it will mean lots of interesting developments for us.

Via Computerworld.

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Dec 13 2009

Competition Between Apple and Google Intensifies

For many years, Apple and Google have complemented each other: Apple made computers, an OS, and software, and also acquired quite a presence in the music industry, while Google stuck to the world of search engines. But recently, the two companies have each been branching out into each other’s territories, bringing them into direct competition.

It’s not that the two companies did not have any ties earlier: they did, sharing two directors, which caused a bit of a legal tussle culminating in the resignation from Apple’s board of Eric Schmidt.

More recently, Google has attempted to break into the music industry where Apple rules with iTunes. In one example,Google considered buying Lala.com until Apple elbowed them aside, acquiring Lala for $85 million.

Google has recently launched a music search and listening service that it says will integrate with its forthcoming operating system, Chrome OS.

Operating systems and software is another traditionally Apple-dominated area that Google is trying to push into. Google is going to release an operating system, Chrome OS, sometime in 2010. It also has a web browser, Chrome, which has just recently been made available for Mac. (Of course, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer still dominates the web browser scene.)

Mobile phones are another area in which Apple and Google will compete. Apple itself is relatively new to the mobile phone scene, releasing the iPhone in June 2007. Google has released a phone OS called Android and plans to release its own cell phone to consumers next year.

Despite the headaches it must be causing in Apple and Google board rooms, this kind of competition tends to be great for us consumers. Both companies will have to continually improve their products to stay competitive, which should mean lots of great, high-quality products for us in the future.

Via the Wall Street Journal.

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