The Chrome Keynote Roundup

The Google I/O chrome keynote ended a few minutes ago and, though lacking the shine of the Android keynote, we got a lot of goodies out of the Chrome team. The keynote began with the usual swagger – adoption level, success, market penetration, etc. Chrome is now used by over 160 million people. It more than doubled over the past year. Chrome is now the most advanced browser on the planet and improves in leaps now that they’ve increased their update cycle. Html 5 is more widely adopted and the internet is better for it. In-app payments have made a leap on the Chrome webstore. Angry birds coming to Chrome Apps and getting a special exclusive level. Blah blah, woof woof. Let’s get to the meat.


Technically, this has been known for a bit (since April), but it was put on show and worth note. Google translate will have speech input. Go to Google translate, click on the microphone on the bottom right of the input box, speak your text, and pick your translation language. Shiny. You can also click on the “listen” button to hear the translation. Try it out here.


The two inaugural devices for the Chrome OS are being made by Samsung and Acer. They both have the small and sleek look you’ve come to expect due to the CR-48, but with a little more meat on their bones.

Acer Chromebook specs:

  • 11.6-inch HD Widescreen CineCrystal LED-backlit LCD
  • 2.95 lbs.
  • 6 hours of continuous usage
  • Intel Atom dual-core processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • High-Definition Audio Support
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • HDMI port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad

Samsung Series 5 Chromebook specs:

  • 12.1-inch 1280×800-resolution 300 nit display
  • 3.26 lbs
  • 8.5 hours of continuous usage
  • Intel Atom Dual-Core N570 processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • Mini-VGA port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad


Not to be ignored, the desktop space is getting a Chrome OS treatment as well. Google announced a sort of net top running their OS for the business/enterprise users. The device seems to be made by Samsung. Not entirely certain whether there will be other brands or if this is a one-off.


With all in one service starting at $28 per user for business and $20 per user for educational institutions. Besides the already present benefits of Chrome OS, these devices will be replaced when lost/stolen/broken, and also exchanged for the latest model as long as the monthly fees are paid. There is still a little confusion about this offer and what its limits are. Can you get it as a student, or is it just a deal for the schools? Are there limits to the number of replacements and upgrades? You can learn more about it at the Google blog.


Chrome OS is getting an improved file manager. People are already complaining that it’s ugly. Geeze, the sense of entitlement. They seem to forget the fact that it practically didn’t have one before. The ridiculousness of trying to manage files on Chrome OS was maddening. This simple and logical system is actually what appeals to me the most in this keynote. The new file management features include: document-type recognition, auto upload to various cloud services from USB devices, live previews for audio and video files in a new media player. It supports online media services like YouTube HD movie rentals, Hulu, Mog, and Pandora. What’s less certain is what role it plays with its new Google Music Beta. Google docs and Google calenders should be getting offline functionality this summer.

The haters and fanboys have already started creeping out of the wood works and started sharpening their tools. Some hate it, some love it. Some don’t see the value and some don’t even fully understand what Chrome OS is. There are the wide-eyed Google sycophants reminiscent of Apple fanboys in tears right now, proclaiming that everything has changed. There are the old codgers, also reminiscent of Apple fanboys proclaiming it a failed experiment without giving it a spin. It’s all irrelevant. This is simply what it is, an invention and an attempt to move technology forward affordably, while shilling for their own in-house services.

The thing that intrigues me the most is how Chrome OS pushes the hardware to the back of the bus, it presents itself as “Software as a Service” and perhaps rightfully treats the hardware as just a tool, not the whole cake. The most intriguing thing about Chrome OS to me is that i don’t have to give two damns about the hardware. Ultimately though, it isn’t for me. It will be a toy, a tool in a pinch, but will never fully replace my life because there are just certain things that I refuse to outsource to the cloud. They can have my music and movies, and even some of my documents, but I play the rest close to the chest.

Now if you’re left still wondering what Chrome OS is, let Google make the case to you and you decide whether you buy the kool-aid.

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