Acer quietly launched its second Chromebook, the C7, earlier this month, making it available through Google Play, BestBuy.com and Best Buy stores. Now, according to the Taiwanese PC maker, the $199 Chrome OS-running device has become popular enough to force some other e-tailers to begin selling it.
On Thursday, British hacker Liam McLoughlin, more popularly known by his nom de plume Hexxeh, announced the release of a Raspberry Pi port of the open-source Chromium browser. The talented hacker, whose highly fruitful association with Chromium OS dates back to its very inception, has been busy playing around with the Raspberry Pi ever since he got hold of one back in April. This release of Chromium for Raspberry Pi Beta is a testament to all his hard work.
After being absent for over a year, offline functionality finally returned to Google Docs in September 2011. This time, though, things were slightly different as the feature was powered by HTML5 and not Google Gears, and offline access was restricted to viewing alone. On Thursday, the second day of Google’s annual I/O developer conference, Google made things much better by announcing the return of offline document editing for Chrome and Chrome OS.
The initial response to the first Chromebooks has been rather lukewarm. But that is unlikely to deter Google, which is in it for the long haul. Now all eyes are going to be on the first few installments of changes and new features. Lack of offline functionality is being seen as the Achilles heel’ of Chrome OS. It will become a touch more usable offline when Google Docs offline support returns later this summer after a long hiatus. There are signs of the much awaited return of Docs offline support being just around the corner.
Google Chrome has amassed quite a favorable reputation for security with both users and security researchers. To its credit, it is the only web browser to have never been hacked at the annual Pwn2Own hacking competition. In fact, on the first day of this year’s Pwn2Own contest (Mar 9-11), Google even offered a $20,000 cash prize to anybody who could circumnavigate the browser’s sandbox “using vulnerabilities purely present in Google-written code.” While no one managed to claim the prize back then, researcher from French security firm VUPEN now claim to have finally “Pwnd Google Chrome and its sandbox.” Hit the jump for more.
In a season of outages, when internet-based services seem to be having a tough time staying online, the last thing anyone wants to talk about is an upcoming cloud-based operating system. But that is exactly what we are about to do. MPC readers, let us ignore the bone-chilling horrors of the past week that are otherwise likely to linger with many of you for a long time, so that we can concentrate on reports of an upcoming Chrome OS netbook from Samsung called “Alex.” The existence of this netbook came to light through a Chromium bug report. Hit the jump for specs.
Considering the fact that Chrome earned its stripes as a minimalist browser optimized for speed, the increasing size of Chrome's distribution binaries isn't really something to be proud of. Google has now decided to put the kibosh on this trend. To this end, it has set up a task force that will weigh in with with ways to “bring down the size of Chrome distribution binaries.”
Trying to define Google as a company isn’t easy, but if there is one theme that every project seems to share, it’s the drive to make the web every bit as rich and fast an experience as what can be found offline. Web App’s are starting to catch on in a very meaningful way, but browser technology is still far too immature to take advantage of all the powerful hardware found in modern machines.
The ideal solution would be to allow code to execute natively within the browser, but as Microsoft learned with ActiveX, this is far easier said than done. On Friday however, Google announced it is beginning to roll out its “Native Client” with Chrome 10, and they think they’ve found a secure way to deliver the type of performance that could power everything from 3D gaming to rich media.
The first crop of Chrome OS-based netbooks is expected to arrive this month, though there has been no official confirmation. However, a little known France-based cloud OS startup named Jolicloud could very well steal a march on Google with a netbook running its eponymous cloud-centric operating system.
The company has confirmed that the first Jolicloud-powered computer is on course for a November, 2010 debut. Called Jolibook, the netbook features a dual core Atom N550 processor and 250GB hard drive storage, and comes preloaded with “Chromium, Facebook, Spotify, VLC, Skype, and a bunch of cool apps that are one click away.” With the launch just round the corner, Jolicloud won’t be able to hide the remaining details for too long. We will keep you posted.
What’s next for Google now that it has begun delivering search results “faster than the speed of type.” The obsession with speed continues even as the spotlight moves from web search to Chrome. While the browser world has always been obsessed with speed, improvements are often imperceptible.
However, as exciting as the feature sounds, it will come accompanied by a number of challenges. For instance, it could deceive analytics tools into exaggerating page views. It would be interesting to see how exactly Google circumvents these challenges.