You’re Probably Going to Want to Buy Google’s New Device Very Soon


If I were to tell you that a creative and reasonably priced item with a unique, yet practical, solution to a common modern day need was coming out, you wouldn’t be blamed for looking for the obligatory Kickstarter link, and start wondering how much the minimum contribution is.

That’s because while that site is heavily flawed (for instance, some developers exceed their requested amount by almost a $100,000 and still blow all the money, not release the product, and fail to have any reasonable plans for a refund in sight), it’s a consistently entertaining source of devices that make you go “Hmmm, interesting” possibly while smoking a pipe.

But this particular device actually comes not from Kickstarter, but from our friends at Google.

Called the Chromecast, it’s capable of broadcasting content from popular devices (be it iOS, Android, or computer) straight to your TV. Admittedly that’s a feature only impressive if you’ve never heard of HDMI, DVI, or VGA cables, but the Chromecast gains a leg up in that it’s not a cable at all, but rather an HDMI plug-in that can transmit the feed wirelessly from your selected device. All you have to do is find a compatible program, select a cast button, and you can view the feed from that program on your TV.

Of those programs, only the presence of Netflix seems to be superfluous, considering that anyone with an HDMI port on their TV likely has Netflix compatibility for it in one way or another. The other compatible programs like Youtube, Google Play, and Google Chrome are much more encouraging, with that last one really driving home the point that the Chromecast is aiming to turn almost any TV into something more resembling a “smart” TV for the mere cost of $35.

Even though I think the adding of the word smart before a device and calling it a day is a trend that needs to die a thousand deaths, the Chromecast is far and away the most exciting device of its kind I’ve ever seen, and with more program support (fingers crossed for Steam) can become an essential home device, though its base loadout justifies its meager $35 asking price already.

Plus, unlike Kickstarter campaigns, this one is actually supported by a legitimate company (rather than “some guys”) and is not only likely to properly function as advertised, but will also probably include a definitive release date, which are things that are becoming significantly more foreign in the world of intriguing and affordable devices than I tend to like.


Google Is Developing A High Resolution Chrome Browser…for Apple Users?

Today on the Google Chrome Blog, there was a bit of a surprise announcement.

It seems that Google is currently working on a new version of their Chrome browser that will be specially designed to make use of the new and improved Retina display on Apple’s recently announced new Macbook line. A vague comparison of the current browser and the soon to be new and improved model can be referenced in the above picture.

The beauty of the Retina display certainly can’t be overstated, though it apparently can be calculated based off of the $2,200 price tag it commands with the new Macbook, and it is exciting to see a tech giant like Google jumping on the bandwagon already to adapt to what may one day become a wave of the future in display. Lets not forget that Apple managed to change the smartphone market with the introduction of a revolutionary touch display system, and all of the resulting tech that has emerged since that and because of it has been fast, furious, and exciting.

If this browser adjustment from a major smartphone rival is indeed the very early volley of a display revolution similar to the one that television enjoyed with HDTV, the future could be looking very good for Apple and consumers.


Eric Schmidt: No Chrome OS netbooks for the holidays

Google Chrome OS.According to Google’s CEO, Chrome OS won’t be ready to go in notebooks until after the holiday. It’s a bummer, really, because the OS release could produce a glut of development from app makers looking to make web versions of their current software.

The OS was originally supposed launch well before the holidays, then it was pushed back to late November, now it’s looking like we won’t see it until next year, outside of beta anyway. Google says it will have more to share later in the year. Guess what, guys. It is later in the year. It’s very late in the year in fact, so just tell us it won’t be ready until next year. That’s all we need to know.

Several manufacturers have held a “no comment” status on launching Chrome netbooks. That can’t be a good thing. I figured there would be some excitement about a slim new OS that won’t have the crazy licensing fees of Microsoft products. Really makes me wonder why the OS has caught a delay. Is Google having trouble partnering with manufacturers? Did they back out after agreeing to support the platform a year ago?


Chrome for Mac releases in beta

Chrome logo.The wait is finally over – Google has released Chrome for Mac in beta and boy is it fast. Being a beta, it’s still missing a few things, like extension support that you get with the Windows version but it’s still a good release.

The beta release does include support for themes along with the features I’ve come to love. There’s the gallery of recently visited sites, great bookmark support, and the ability to drag tabs off to create new windows. All in all, it’s a very intuitive, very slim browsing experience, which I’m really happy with.

The release also included a Linux beta as well as the new extension support for both Windows and Linux users. The gallery currently includes more than 300 extensions, and though there’s no Mac support yet, it’s coming soon to developer channels.

Source: Google Blog


What Chrome OS means for Microsoft

Chrome OS.Seems like every time Steve Ballmer has appeared for a Q&A over the past four months he’s been asked about Chrome OS at least once. His usual response is something like “Ah…erm…uh…well…WHY DO YOU NEED TWO OPERATING SYSTEMS?!?” Now that we know why Google wants two operating systems, and now that we see where Chrome OS fits in the OS marketplace, it’s easier to understand Ballmer’s, ah, consternation. Chrome OS is all about being fast and light, basically everything Windows isn’t, which makes it perfect for your everyday user. That could be really bad for Microsoft, considering the hordes of people who are unhappy with Windows but unwilling to pay for a Mac or bother with Linux.

But Google is only releasing Chrome on pre-selected hardware devices. There will be no download for your current netbook. There will be no install disc. If you want Chrome, you’ll have to buy a new machine. I was surprised to see Google take this path because it really limits the initial install base. I know a lot of people who would love to drop Chrome on a separate partition, if only to give it a shot. Those same people are highly unlikely to buy a new machine for the OS, though. The only way the hardware limitation makes sense is that it controls the Chrome experience for users in the same way Apple controls the OS X experience. Approved hardware should ensure a positive initial experience for every user, giving Chrome the kind of word-of-mouth power it needs behind the marketing.

Now obviously the most appropriate place for Chrome is the netbook market, where computers are designed with basic tasks in mind. By stripping down the specs, manufacturers are able to offer netbooks at unprecedented prices, something consumers have really loved. I’ll avoid extended discussion about the sole merit of netbooks being price, because I think that should be clear to everyone at this point (laptops at the netbook price sell just as well as netbooks these days). Chrome allows manufacturers to drive costs even lower because there is no “Microsoft Tax.” Imagine a netbook plunging to $199 (ignore Black Friday deals for a moment). You wouldn’t be able to keep those things on the shelf. Hell, I’d get one just to stream content to my TV. At that price point, more consumers would likely be willing to give the new operating system a try, especially if it sports the Google brand.

Google isn’t aiming for an overnight coup with Chrome, just a nice, slow bleed. By slowly turning money-conscious consumers toward a simpler operating system, Google can leech people away from Microsoft from the bottom up. Granted, Chrome isn’t going to replace Windows for the people who want to play Modern Warfare 2, at least not on their gaming rig. But even those guys need a laptop, and $199 looks a lot better than anything running Windows.