Posts Tagged ‘Chrome OS’

Google Exploring “Web Intents” – an Open Approach for Different Web Apps to Work Together

Friday, August 5th, 2011

The Chromium team has announced their intention (pun intended ;) ) to introduce a new standard for independent web applications to work together. Named “Web Intents”, it was inspired by “Android Intents” and would behave similarly.

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In Android, “Intents” works by having an application register its willingness to service a particular type of service, aka an “Intent”, such as to view a webpage. An application that wants to delegate webpage-viewing to another application could then broadcast this request, and the application registered to handle this webpage-viewing event would then be tasked to handle this request. If there are multiple applications that have registered for this event/Intent, then the user would be ask to choose one of them.

Similarly, the proposed Web Intents would allow a visited web app to register itself with your browser to handle a particular event/Intent. Another web app that wants to leverage on another web app, such as for editing an image, could then inform the browser, which would then choose a previously registered web app to handle this request.

Example from Chromium blog:

Credits: Chromium blog

This proposal probably came about to address a major limitation of browser-based Operating Systems (OS) such as Chrome OS, as there are currently no robust way for arbitrary inter-webapp communication. Current collaboration standards such as OAuth requires the requesting web app to predefine who the service providers are.

Mozilla to Build Browser-Based OS – “Boot to Gecko”

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Mozilla has revealed plans to build a new ChromeOS-like, browser-based operating system that will be based on the Firefox rendering engine – Gecko. Called “Boot to Gecko” (BTG), this project was conceived in order to accelerate efforts to allow web applications gain capabilities equivalent to that of native apps. As a start, the BTG group has identified 4 main areas to address:

  1. New web APIs: build prototype APIs for exposing device and OS capabilities to content (Telephony, SMS, Camera, USB, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.)
  2. Privilege model: making sure that these new capabilities are safely exposed to pages and applications
  3. Booting: prototype a low-level substrate for an Android-compatible device;
  4. Applications: choose and port or build apps to prove out and prioritize the power of the system.

The BTG group has also identified mobile device space as an area where energy can be best spent, and intends to leverage on the Android project for the nitty-grittys of low-level kernel and drivers management.

Google Unveils First Chromebooks (Chrome OS)

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Is this neccessary? Google has unveiled the first Chromebooks – laptop computers running on Google’s Chrome OS – at the Google I/O conference. Chrome OS is a Google-developed operating system that is specifically designed for running all applications on top of the browser. Stripped of its marketing terms, Chromebooks are essentially just barebones laptop PCs that is centred around the web browser.

Google touts everything can be done on the browser, and everything can be stored on the web, including computer adminstration; which brings me to my next question. If everything can be done in the browser and stored on the web, why do I need to purchase Chromebook? I should be able to access my account from any PC using any browser (at least with Chrome browser).

Additionally, I think the sad truth is that in most areas, there still isn’t a true “always-on” internet connection, meaning that it will still be more convenient to be able to install some applications on the PC. Good news is that it was revealed that the Google team had been experimenting with fully offline access to Gmail, Google Calendar and Docs, and these will made available to consumers this summer.

Anyway, for those interested in trying, the Chromebooks will be made available on June 15 in the US, UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy and Spain. Business buyers can rent Chromebooks for $20 per Chromebook per month.


Newsflash: Google Chrome OS Released (Prototype)

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Google has released a prototype of its Chrome OS laptop, and CNET has posted a review of it.

The Chrome OS is a browser-based operating system, and users will run all their applications on the browser. It is somewhat reminiscent of a “thin client” concept that heavily hyped but had fizzled out in the past, and in fact goes one step further by running applications on the browser. The “thin client” had never really caught on because the infrastructure – e.g. broadband ubiquity, bandwidth – was not ready at that time. Furthermore, the form-factor of thin clients was not attractive – it looked like an ordinary desktop.

Even with today’s technology and Internet coverage, I’m not optimistic that the world is ready to accept Chrome OS as a serious laptop; it’s probably better off as an advanced mobile Internet device with an attractive form factor (think iPad) or as public Internet kiosks.