bySean Hollister||December 7th 2010 at 1:20pmDecember 7th 2010 1:20 pm
They rocked our world yesterday with Gingerbread, the Nexus S and a Honeycomb-based tablet, but Google's not done yet -- today, it'll unveil a horse of a different form factor in Chrome OS. That's right, Mountain View's finally ready to share hard details about its instant-on operating system (and perhaps a netbook or three) and we're here in San Francisco liveblogging the whole thing.
12:33PM And that's a wrap. We're going to go see if there's an actual device to touch.
12:32PM Last Q: Do you anticipate 4G / LTE connectivity for these devices? A: We knew it was happening... we're having conversations with partners. Our goal is to make sure there's an option with a leading carrier in the region for wireless.
12:31PM Google just did an impromptu survey, asking how many of the press had clamshell form-factor phones, versus tablet form factor. What about QWERTY sliders?
12:30PM Q: Will we see a Chrome OS tablet, and would a virtual keyboard be as good? A: We always wanted to do something with a full-sized keyboard, but we designed the user experience for touch. We aren't planning... we'll take it one step at a time. With the pilot program, there are some beta bugs in the software. Our goal is to do that first, and take next steps beyond.
12:29PM "We want ways that devices can talk to each other without custom software."
12:29PM "Will we see other ports over time? Definitely. We'll keep evolving the spec... HDMI is on our roadmap."
12:28PM Q: USB ports? A: They're a work in progress... We support all keyboards and mice already, even though storage devices won't work. For printers, there's Cloud Print, we think that's a much better model, since you don't have to install stuff...
12:27PM Google wants us to know that Chrome OS isn't necessarily tied to Google. "You don't need a Google Account to use Chrome OS."
12:25PM Q: Will there be a Google-branded Chrome OS notebook, and if so, will you be selling it directly? A: No, the first devices which hit the market will come from Samsung.
12:24PM Q: Can we access more than the OS in the CR-48? What about the local storage? A: There's a switch that lets you do anything you want with the hardware, install anything you want.
12:23PM "The first user we need to make happy is ourselves, and that's what we did with the CR-48. Once we move beyond ourselves, though, you'll see more interesting things come out."
12:22PM Missed that last Q, something about the evolution of the web. Sundar's talking about how awesome Chrome is and will be, so we probably didn't miss much.
12:21PM Q: What's the benefit of using a New York Times app rather than an NYT website? A: Developers are using this opportunity to try many different things. Some just want to add their website. Some want to experiment with different UI, different experiences. With Chrome OS, you can access your GPS data for geolocation features, etc. You can package that into an application.
12:19PM Q: How quickly will we see data propagate between the different Google systems (Android, Chrome OS, Google TV)? A: The sync we have in Google Chrome is a cloud service, and we can roll that out at the right time...
12:18PM Q: Who's manufacturing the CR-48? A: They're reference hardware... they won't be on sale... our partners will sell these devices.
12:17PM Q: You mentioned the test model runs on Intel Atom -- when do you expect ARM support? A: We designed the operating system so it can span a wide variety of devices. Our earliest partners are planning Intel architecture, and we'll support them wherever they want to go.
12:15PM Q: How do you make money on Chrome Web Store? A: We see improvements in Chrome for searches, etc, that directly impact revenue. We'll offer business apps. With the Web Store, our goals to help you find applications. If that works well, we'll figure out how to monetize that experience.
12:14PM Q: This looks like a better tablet OS than Android. Do you agree? A: We think both approaches are exciting, valid... I use an Android phone all the time and a Chrome notebook all the time. They are both important open-source projects... several OEMs have opted for Chrome OS, but we want the markets and users to use what they want. Both of them are Google products, so we're pretty happy.
12:13PM "We want to deliver a much simpler experience to users," where you don't have to configure the underlying hardware.
12:12PM Q: I have a laptop running Windows XP and want to install Chrome OS on it. How do I do that? A: If you're comfortable compiling source, you can run it anywhere, but some features including Verified Boot require new hardware that doesn't come on standard PCs.
12:11PM We didn't get that last one, something about the Native Client allowing C++ code to run securely across all platforms, and available for developers to use now.
12:10PM "There's nothing interesting we could glean from [keystrokes in the omnibox], even if we wanted to."
12:10PM Q: Google captures keystrokes, Microsoft claims they don't. How do you think Chrome OS will be better than Microsoft's OS? A: You won't confuse it with a Windows machine if you use it... you're able to share your data anywhere... it's far more secure... the goal is to provide choice to consumers. As far as the omnibox, we don't record anything...
12:08PM Q: Will they only work with Verizon? A: You're not commmitted to contracts or anything, but the CR-48s are tied to Verizon.
12:07PM Q: To what extent is the Web Store dependent on Chrome, and will you make it available for other browsers as well? A: "It does depend on some features in Chrome... but some applications you'll be able to access from any browser." The install navigation and payment transactions are native to Chrome, Sundar says.
12:06PM Q: Can I use "native" applications on Chrome OS? Are you defining web as the new native? A: Native applications are web applications. It's fully possible to do everything that you can do with native technology with web technologies.
12:05PM Q: How will Google put Chrome OS in the marketplace? Will there be any big media buy? A: We have no idea... we have a limited number of devices that we'll be handing out between now and January.
12:04PM Q: People are curious about pricing, do you have any details whatsoever about pricing for next year? A: We don't have anything to share.
12:03PM Q&A time.
12:02PM Sundar's back, recapping the entire event for us. Definitely a by-the-book presenter, this one.
12:01PM "Our instincts were right ten years ago, twenty years ago, but we didn't have the technology." But now, they can build him better, stronger and faster, we suppose.
12:00PM "We finally have a product that's scalable enough, technical enough, fast enough that you can build new architectures on top of it."
11:59AM Originally, Schmidt says, he was vehemently against Chrome when Larry and Sergey brought up the idea of a browser.
11:58AM "Chrome finally broke through the architectural frameworks with respect to security and speed."
11:58AM Software technologies also needed to catch up, apparently. "It took us all of this work to get to the point where a modern browser could emerge in the form of Chrome."
11:57AM "Moore's law... the disks are that much faster, the networks are more reliable..." In other words, technology caught up to the idea.
11:56AM "Why did it fail? Why should you believe us now? We were right then, and we were wrong then. The underlying problems were really a problem, but we were wrong in understanding how complex and subtle the problems were." That explains everything.
11:56AM "Why is this so hard?" he asks, referring to thin clients.
11:55AM Schmidt's talking about his days at Sun.
11:54AM Ah, you can also apply for the Chrome OS pilot program here: http://www.google.com/chromeos/pilot-program.html
11:53AM "Google is one of the handful of companies that can do real computer science at scale," he brags.
11:53AM Oh, and Eric Schmidt's here to congratulate the team and give a visionary statement.
11:52AM You can audition for one, though. youtube.com/googlechrome is your ticket to embarrassment and perhaps a Chrome OS notebook if you're lucky.
11:51AM "And... for a few users, there will be an opportunity to join the program." No details on how you'll sign up.
11:50AM The CR-48 pilot program will start at some businesses -- American Airlines will use it for reservations, apparently, and some hotel call centers will use it as well.
11:49AM No function keys, no spinning disk.. so yes, we're looking at an SSD. Oh, and the "jail-breaking mode" is built right in. The codename of the machine is CR-48.
11:48AM No caps lock keys. "We're single-handledly improving comments all over the web."
11:48AM 12.1 inch dispaly, full-size keyboard, global 3G, oversize touchpad, 802.11n dual-band WiFi (!), 8+ hours of battery life, 8+ days of standby and a webcam.
11:47AM "It's available in any color as long as it's black... the hardware only exists to test the software."
11:47AM That ugly notebook? Googlers are getting one.
11:46AM In the meanwhile... the Chrome OS Pilot Program.
11:46AM Acer, Samsung and Intel are partners for the hardware launch, which is slated for mid 2011. Sorry folks, doesn't look like we're going to see a product launch today.
11:45AM Ah, he's explaining that everything's still in beta, that's why it's going to get better. More features on the way. "We expect people to plug in cameras. We haven't done that yet."
11:44AM Sundar says he's been using a Chrome notebook for six months. "It only gets better over time." Nice to know.
11:44AM By the way, we've heard a lot about "notebooks" today, but we're pretty certain netiher Google nor partners have used the word "netbook" even once today. Might be a red herring, but hey.
11:43AM And Sundar's back.
11:42AM "We expect to introduce it in the first half of next year to allow all our customers to transition to notebooks."
11:42AM They've having some technical difficulty launching another app, but there's a nice big private store filled with boring business apps.
11:40AM And now, a CAD application. Solidworks eDrawings x64 Edition. Citrix tabs from Excel to SolidWorks, and it's nice and speedy, swapping between the 3D CAD drawing and the Excel spreadsheet instantly.
11:39AM They're showing off Citrix Receiver in a Chrome window, and are running an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet (and copy of Excel) are actually housed in a remote data center.
11:37AM (They deliver virtual desktop apps, by the way, so expect some Chromoting soon.)
11:36AM Citrix is everywhere, and proud of it.
11:36AM Citrix wants you to know it was Google's idea to approach them, not the other way around.
11:35AM Sundar's talking about how amazing Chrome OS is for businesses now. Gordon Payne, SVP of Citrix Systems, is "absolutely excited" to work with Google on Chrome OS.
11:33AM No root for you.
11:33AM There's also something called Verified Boot, which cryptographically checks the operating system for modifications, and can revert to an earlier version of the OS if something's amiss.
11:31AM Now that we know we've got some wireless options, we're back to talking about security. Like the Chrome browser, the OS has automatic updates and sandboxing, but there's also data encryption for each user of the machine.
11:29AM Prepaid plans also available from $9.99... "We'll give you the option to use it offline, but we've built in a Gobi worldwide modem from Qualcomm that powers all this..." with international support. "Users can move around and always be connected with this device.
11:28AM 100MB free data every month for two years on Verizon, part and parcel of Chrome OS netbook. Hello, whispernet!
11:27AM "We've partnered with Verizon to offer seamless connectivity in every Chrome OS notebook." Oh boy.
11:27AM Google Cloud Print spits out a spaghetti taco recipe from the printer on stage. Yum!
11:26AM Doesn't mean that Chrome OS isn't a cloud computing device, though. "We've put in a lot of work to make sure that users always have the option to stay connected with a Chrome netbook," he says, clicking on a drop-down menu to flip the netbook into cellular mode. It's getting four bars of 3G signal right now.
11:25AM There's a little icon in the upper-right hand corner that kills the network connection, flipping his Google Docs session into offline mode, so you can continue working without the net if need be. He says it's coming to regular Google Docs as well.
11:23AM Incognito mode's back with a vengeance in Chrome OS, keeping your entire sessions nice and hidden from those you share your netbook with.
11:21AM Instant synchronization of bookmarks between the two machines, but that's nothing we haven't seen in the Chrome browser since the dawn of Google Bookmark Sync.
11:20AM They've got a PC running Chrome and the Chrome OS reference machine running side by side now. Wonder which one responds quicker?
11:19AM And there it is... the ugliest machine we've seen in a long while, waking instantly from sleep.
11:18AM "Because we want to deliver the web to you instantly, we've taken the time to make sure you can resume instantly as well... and it's hard for the projectors to keep up."
11:17AM "We wanted to compare by setting up a PC, but we realized we wouldn't have time and still be able to get you back to your sessions."
11:17AM "Zero to done in less than 60 seconds."
11:17AM Sundar says it's running on "reference hardware" of some sort, but we haven't gotten a glimpse of the netbook yet. Now, we're walking through the entire setup for the OS. Four steps.
11:15AM Finally, it's time to talk about Chrome OS. The tagline hasn't changed. "Nothing but the web."
11:14AM Sundar back on stage. Amazon hinted at it already, but the Chrome Web Store's up for US customers right now -- find it at chrome.google.com/webstore and try it out. "We're starting in Q1 with the US, then rolling it out all over the world," he says.
11:11AM Amazon's pushing their "buy-once, read-anywhere" Kindle agenda with a brand-new app: Kindle for the Web. There's a Cover Flow style interface for paging through books, rather than a traditional digital bookshelf, and nice big images on the screen of individual pages.
11:08AM Eva Manolis and David Limp, a pair of VPs from Amazon. They're going to talk about Amazon Windowshop, "which is now available through the Chrome Web Store." It's a windowshopping experience, for sure. You browse through pictures of products against a white background, with a touchscreen friendly interface.
11:05AM Poppit will be bundled with the Chrome 9 release, so you won't even have to download it yourself. We can't wait to start popping.
11:05AM "I think Poppit players around the world are going to love this new Poppit experience." Ha!
11:04AM "We were able to convert into a state-of-the-art HTML5 web app in less than 48 hours... it's blazing fast. It's simply the fastest Poppit we've made.
11:03AM We will fill you in on the NYTimes stuff, but EA Games is on now. Demoing a game named Poppit!
11:02AM Having a few WiFi issues here. As you can see the NYTimes app is packed with, you know, news.
11:00AM On deck: Marc Frons, CTO of Digital Operations for the New York Times. Sounds like there's a NYT Chrome App coming up!
10:58AM He showed a simple 2D find-the-differences game, to show that Chrome is capable of gaming. Not necessarily the most convincing example.
10:57AM Chrome Web Store installs integrated with your Google account, just as promised. Charges a stored payment source when you purchase.
10:56AM Give it a try, if you're running Chrome 8!
10:55AM NPR web app, at npr.org/webapp. Can browse news in a fullscreen interface, and keep audio running in the background while you browse around.
10:54AM And there it is. Typical familiar app categories on the left, some suggestions on the right.
10:54AM "People want to get paid for their apps, but they don't want to trust a small, independent developer. That's one of the problems we wanted to solve with the Chrome Web Store."
10:53AM Sundar: "Our goal was to help users discover these [standout] applications."
10:52AM Chrome Web Store time.
10:52AM And now he's talking up Chrome's sandboxing functionality, which keeps your tabs sandboxed... and now plug-ins can be sandboxed too. First up? Adobe Flash. Good for keeping misbehaving third-party items in check, we guess. 'yawn'
10:49AM Chrome Sync will let you sync everything now, bookmarks, extensions, etc now. Welcome to the cloud.
10:48AM Auto-updates for Chrome, no need for users to monitor it.
10:47AM Now, he's talking about simplicity. "We're now down to seven click targets on top of the browser."
10:46AM "Today, we're adding an enhancement to V8 called Crankshaft, and it can be anywhere up to two times faster than before... if you compare it two IE two years ago, we're a hundred times faster. Thinks that took a minute two years ago, happen in a second today."
10:43AM Google Body Browser: he's removing layers of skin, muscle and sinew from a 3D woman by dragging a slider, and can search for any body part by typing it in the window.
10:42AM Now, he's at ninepointfiveorg.appspot.com, showing off a spinning globe with interactive earthquake visualizations.
10:41AM He's got lasers coming out of the frickin' shark's eyes! And the the aquarium globe is diffracting the beams. Not bad!
10:40AM "All of this is being offloaded to the GPU."
10:40AM Hardware acceleration's a nice new feature, and now we're seeing a WebGL demo of an underwater aquarium, filled with fish.
10:39AM Now, he's showing off Chrome's integrated PDF reading chops... twenty to thirty page PDF up instantly. Wasn't that fast when we tried it last night in Chrome 8, but still, integrated is nice.
10:38AM He's pulling up full-screen previews of the Google Instant results, thanks to Chrome. That can't be good for bandwidth, but it sure looks cool.
10:37AM But now, Instant is in Chrome's omnibox -- no need to navigate to Google.com. He types in "e", and up comes ESPN.
10:36AM He's showing off Google Instant, with a query for "Spaghetti Tacos." Sure enough, there are now spaghetti tacos on screen.
10:35AM Up on stage: Brian Rakowski, director of product management. He'll be talking about speed. We feel the need.
10:34AM "The single most common piece of feedback that we get from users, is that Chrome is fast... and we've got more speed coming ahead."
10:34AM "One in three internet users are using Google Chrome," he says.
10:34AM Chrome has 70 million active users by Google I/O... but today, it has 120 million. That's some rapid adoption.
10:33AM The history of Chrome OS starts in 2008, during the "AJAX / Web 2.0 revolution."
10:32AM He's going to brief us on the history of Chrome OS... but first, the Chrome Web Store!
10:31AM First up: VP of Product Management Sundar Pichai
10:31AM Okay, we're starting for real, folks. There's a Google rep on stage explaining the ground rules.
10:29AM The tiny clay figure manages to do some work with the browser / OS before he hits the ground. That's how fast Chrome is, folks. Even a clayman can do it.
10:28AM Now it's a white stop-motion pointer bouncing around a tablet, and a claymation typist falling from a tree! Exciting!
10:27AM To entertain us while we wait, some videos with abstract representations of Chrome's featureset. There's a mouse running in a wheel, a Chrome turntable spinning right round, and folks drenched in white paint.
10:26AM Yep, that's the web all right. Now how about some apps?
10:24AM What's that up on stage? Looks like a multi-function printer. Could this be Google's Cloud Print?
10:23AM We're just chilling here in rainbow-colored chairs, waiting for the show to begin!