Posts tagged “Chrome OS

Made By Google 2018

On Tuesday October 9, 2018, Google showcased a variety of updated services and hardware offerings to the delight of many Google fans.  We knew all about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, in all of it’s “notchy” embarrassment, thanks to a variety of leaks, although Google teased as if we didn’t.  Overall, the keynote was lacking due to the leaks and due to several technical miscues throughout.

In the keynote we learned more about Google’s future for home, portable computing and services all through it’s products.  A future that is interesting, fun and oftentimes confusing, but with Google at the helm, it won’t be boring.

Let’s begin.


Google Home Hub

Every smarthome needs a centerpiece and Google Home Hub plans to be just that.  Over the course of the keynote, this proved to be one of the most well-thought out, polished pieces of the day.  From showing you recipe tutorials on YouTube, to weather and driving conditions and photos from your most recent trip — this device is designed in such a way that brings it all together and is excellent if you already have a variety of smart devices.  In addition to the Home Hub, the Google Home app received a significant update that mirrors what HomeView on the Hub screen, putting all of your connected devices first.  This is the way that it should be and the way that it should’ve been.

IMG_2918

Updated Google Home app, iOS.

The Google Home Hub is meant to be that home device that blends in with the rest of your home and buy offering different color options like Google Home, Home Mini and Max devices, it accomplishes that easily.  Interacting with Google Assistant on any of the Google Home devices is very simple and straightforward although during the keynote, that was muddied my interactions that had bad timing because they were prerecorded.

Featuring a 7″ display, the Home Hub is perfect for an office or a kitchen device; however, it can also go safely into a bedroom since there is no camera on the device — unlike the Amazon Echo Show.  This large and bright display is how you will interact with Hub and discover new things it can do.  Coming in at $149 and available on October 22nd, this little guy is bound to shake things up.

Source: YouTube, The Verge.


Pixel Slate

Is it a tablet?  Is it a computer?

The introduction of Pixel Slate started on a high note, with a stone thrown at it’s competitors Apple and Microsoft with the statement, “..something that isn’t a laptop trying to be a tablet…or a tablet, that’s really a phone, pretending to be a computer“.

It’s Pixel Slate and it’s neither.  Yet, it is a combination of both depending on how you utilize it.  A tablet is nothing more than a different type of a personal computer, just like your smartphone, laptop or gaming PC.

Pixel Slate is an interesting device.  Starting at $599 you get a tablet-esque device featuring a re-imagined “molecular” 12.3″ display featuring 293 PPI, Intel inside starting at the Celeron and fully equipped with an i7.

PixelSlateLineup

This device is the spiritual successor to Google’s Pixelbook and ultimately Google’s long game in the space and puts itself in a direct fight between Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Surface.  Chromebooks are ubiquitous in the classroom and with those who are entrenched in Google’s ecosystem for all of the right reasons.  Most computing today is done through the browser, whether you utilize Google Chrome, Edge, Firefox or something else — you’re still in browser.  One of the reasons why Chrome, Firefox and others have such a large userbase is due to the many add ons and “apps” that can be accessed through the window of a browser.

Nowadays, Google has been pumping Chrome OS to be much more than just a browser, to having Android app support and support for some Linux applications, the gap between a Chrome OS device and traditional desktop operating system is blurring more and more and the Pixel Slate seems to be a solid device the enter that “gap” with.  Pairing this device with the optional Pixel Slate Keyboard transforms this from tablet to that traditional laptop feel; however, Google did something different with it’s keyboard, allowing the user to have many different positions to the screen unlike the iPad Pro keyboard, mimicking a majority of the angles that a Microsoft Surface can reach.

Source: YouTube, The Verge

This is the future of mobile computing through Google’s Chrome OS and with this operating system becoming more open to other platforms, this increased interoperability is making it a more viable solution as most are simply in the business of content consumption rather than creation.


Pixel 3

It was noted that Pixel 3 was “built with exceptionally beautiful and design choices”, which is the biggest fable of the entire keynote.  While the Pixel 3 may be of good design, no person will agree with anyone on that stage that the Pixel 3 XL is a beautiful device.  This is absolutely one of the most tasteless and awful design decisions in all of smartphones with the largest and most obtrusive notch on any device.

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself.  It’s laughably bad and as I noted on #150 of the In the Weeds podcast, it looks like hot garbage.

Pixel3XLNotch

Pixel 3 XL close-up of the the display notch.

Aside from the addition of a notch, that no one asked for, there are several small additions to the Pixel 3 that push it slightly over it’s older sibling Pixel 2.

The design of the device was completely re-engineered by giving it an all glass back with custom milling to make the lower portion soft-touch, making it almost indistinguishable from the Pixel 2 and an additional second camera on the front, which extends the camera angle 184 degrees.  Camera upgrades don’t stop on the front as Google builds in a new feature called Top Shot, which utilizes frames before and after the shutter is pressed giving the user the opportunity to select the “top” frame as the still image.

Additionally, Google takes advantage of the best digital assistant in the business with it’s new Screen Call feature, which allows you to interact with a potential spam caller utilizing Google Assistant so that you don’t have to in an interactive exchange and potentially even mark the call as spam.  Lastly, with your shiny new Pixel 3 in hand, you need a charging stand to take advantage of the newly added wireless charging.  Meet Pixel Stand, which charges your device wirelessly, but also gives you an overview of your home, recent photos and more.  While this stand may not charge multiple devices at once — it is actually going to ship unlike Apple’s Air Power.  Pixel 3 starts at $799, with its large sibling at $899, up from last year and available on October 19th.

Source: YouTube, Made by Google

Here, the device you like the most comes to personal preference.  The notch is such a horrible design trend that doesn’t give the consumer any additional benefit, but allows the OEM the ability to tout “edge to edge” display while developers cannot utilize all of the space thanks to rounded corners and other elements of the display that need to be shown — this space that can be used is typically called a “safe area”, coined initially by Apple, read more here.


Overall

Google’s devices aren’t usually meant to be big mainstream hits, Google Home and Assistant are the exceptions, while Pixel devices are usually for the enthusiast with the aim of pushing either a platform, software solution or ideal forward.  The Made by Google event of 2018 was hit and miss, as presenters seemed spaced out and presentations early on were marred by off cue interactions.  With all of that aside, the future looks bright, we just have to hope that Google, who frequently changes it’s mind in the direction department, actually stays true to the course and continues pushing the ideals they’ve displayed ahead.

Google I/O 2016

There are numerous beneficial things that came out of this years Google I/O.  Usually there is a large Android release; however, this year, as with last year, we were given a solid preview for developers.  There was so much to cover, so for this particular write up I will focus on main “Top 5”.

Google Home
, the voice assistant that we’ve all been waiting for (at least I have) is finally here to help us in our daily lives.  Essentially the Google Home product is powered by Google Assistant, which is a beefed up, more conversational version of our beloved Google Now.  To paint the picture more clearly, picture an Amazon Echo, with all the power and integration of Google.  Scary right?  Well, let’s dive a little deeper.  When we speak of a conversational piece is is seriously good.  From being able to order movie tickets and drill down to determine movies that are appropriate for kids, this thing simply does it all.  Furthermore, it also integrates seamlessly with Google Cast — think of the possibilities with all of the other Google products and future products. 

Allo is the newest messaging service from Google that is tied to your phone number, basically this is an open iMessage.  With the ability to “whisper” and “shout” by dragging up or down on the send button, could this finally be the messenger from Google that we’ve all been waiting for?  Although, this is a big deal and a huge potential win for Google, it also proves how far they are behind in the messaging space.  We have iMessage, WhatsApp and others, why do we even need this?  One important thing to note is that Google already has Hangouts and Messenger.  So a chat and an Internet messenger.  The question is quickly raised, what happens to these other products?  (Especially Google Hangouts)  Hangouts has ties to Google Voice, so the hundreds of thousands of Google Voice users are left wondering, once again, what is going to happen as we have seen other apps and services go down in flames in the years before.

Duo is the FaceTime equivalent from Google that is tied to your phone number.  Incoming calls are presented to the receiver by a preview that automatically appears on the screen (this could be problematic).  The new service also features end to end encryption, which is becoming more and more of a need in a digital age where privacy is getting muddier and muddier.  Note that both Allo and Duo will be released for Android and iOS.

The Google Play Store is finally coming to Chrome OS!  You’ve been waiting for it and so have I.  This is probably the second biggest news behind Google Home, in my opinion.  This will be rolled out slowly to to specific Chrome OS devices then hopefully progress to a larger device take up.  The reason why this is a big deal is because picture the Chrome App Store, paltry at best, right?  Google Play Store has millions and millions of apps, games, movies and more — this is a BIG deal.

Android Wear 2.0.  When Google first unveiled Android Wear, it was simple, focused and intuitive — this time it adds a few minor tweaks and a kludgy keyboard — yes a keyboard, I don’t like it at all.  Android Wear is the best choice for an Android user that wants to stop constantly taking out their smartphones for updates and receive them right on their wrists.  Any update is a good update — except the keyboard, take that out, Google.  

All in all, it was an excellent time for developers, contributors and technology enthusiasts alike.  For the entire 2016 keynote, take a look below: 

Bottom line:  There are a lot of great things to look forward to from Google this year, just note that most things are coming in the Fall, so be on the lookout!

Chromebooks are they worth it?

Google’s Chrome OS; it certainly is a unique thing isn’t it  or is it?

Chrome OS, which is available on different Chromebooks and Chromeboxes are essentially a browser based operating system that enables the user to live in the cloud and function in an integrated manner with all of Google’s services and applications.

Why would I ditch Windows or OS X in favor of a browser based operating system?

Simple, Chrome OS is designed to work exactly how you want it to.  For some of those who simply use the internet to check email and browse social networks there is absolutely no better solution than having a Chrome OS device, especially if you would love to have a physical keyboard — something that tablets lack.  In addition, if you are a power user that is in the market for a second device that can be functional, lightweight and ultra-portable, then this device could be for you as well.  There are numerous Chrome OS devices on the market, highlighting that is the Samsung Series 3 Chromebook that happens to be the number one selling laptop on Amazon:

Samsung_Chromebook_front_webresThis device has a very affordable price-point of $249 and is available at a number of retailers online, Best Buy or Staples.

Chrome OS comes complete with all of the features of Chrome that you love on a functional laptop machine.  You want apps?  Get thousands from the Chrome Web Store.  You want a fast boot time?  Open the lid.

Chromebook informational commerical:

Bottom line: Chrome OS on a Chromebook is a wonder to dive into and fully enjoy.  Remember that there is a Chrome OS device or Chromebook for everyone and all are great functioning devices.  I whole-heartedly recommend this great device, truly a traditional laptop replacement.

Google Chrome: Lightweight but a RAM hog?

Google Chrome, to the non-technological observer, this may seem like a very lightweight application by it’s looks and performance.  However, once you get in deep and dive under the hood you will be horrified.  Let me start off by saying Chrome is robust in it’s own right; however, with the way that it hogs memory it will not receive my seal of approval just yet.

When it comes down to mobile devices, Chrome is the way to go.  The browser is fast, memory unobtrusive, sleek, and all-around beautifully designed.  On the other hand, on the desktop, this beast is a complete resource hog.  I am totally enthralled in the Google ecosystem, between my Nexus devices and content from Google Play — I am Google to the core.  However, for some reason, I cannot seem to drop Mozilla Firefox, which has been my browser of choice since it was 0.4 Beta (thanks to Kevin Rose).  Why?  The answer is simple, Firefox used to be a memory hog; but, Mozilla realized this and corrected the issue.  This browser is far less bloated that it has ever been, performs exceptionally and renders web pages like non other.

Now, let’s take a look at Chrome.  Being a Google user, I felt the need to give Chrome a true end to end test.  From the outside looking in Chrome looks like it uses no memory at all.  However, when you view your processes on the task manager you will notice that for every tab you create in the browser Chrome is essentially creating another instance of itself.  Why?  Firefox doesn’t do this, it manages all open tabs in one browser instance instead of virtually creating a separate instance for every tab.  This is why Chrome falls to 2nd place in my browser ranking.

Bottom line:  If Chrome fixes its memory issues, there would be no reason for me to stay with Firefox for my desktop browser of choice or at least let them duel it out on my machine.