Google Goes Big With Chrome Web Store, Chrome OS, Cr-48 Notebook
Chrome Web StoreToday, Google launched the Chrome Web Store, a place for developers to share rich Web apps that can be "installed" in the Chrome browser. The Chrome Web store lets content creators offer their apps for free or for a fee, either as a one-time charge or as a subscription-based service, or even as a free trial. Installing a Chrome app puts a quick link to the application on your new tab page, making access to them quick and easy.
Google showed off a few examples from partners like Amazon, the New York Times, Gilt, EA Games, Sports Illustrated and NPR. The apps are built largely in HTML5, which means they can be used on any modern Web browser. Built on HTML 5, these Web apps will work great whether you're using Chrome on your laptop or Safari on an iPad. The New York Times app -- one of the more impressive demos -- looks perfectly at home on a tablet. The app allows offline access to the entire newspaper and supports keyboard shortcuts for easy browsing. Amazon also announced that Kindle for the Web will come to the Web Store early next year, giving you access to your entire Kindle library from any PC with a browser.
Google has also worked hard to make waking from sleep on a Chrome notebook as fast as possible, and they've succeeded admirably. Anyone who is used to waiting for a Mac or Windows PC to resume after suspending will be astonished to see how quickly Chrome comes back to life. Other PCs claim to have "instant on," but Chrome OS is the first we've seen that actually delivers on that promise.
Since Chrome OS is a cloud-based OS, Google has partnered with Verizon to ensure that users can get online whenever they want. All Chrome notebooks will be able to get 100 megabytes of free cellular data from Verizon every month for two years -- no contracts required. Verizon will offer larger monthly data plans or day passes for single-serving mobile access. Thanks to the power of HTML5, some apps will still be available offline (like the New York Times), and soon Google Docs will launch an offline mode. Printing is still a much-needed feature in 2010, and Google's Cloud Print (beta) will allow you to print documents on your printer at home (or any printer you've connected to your Google Account) over the Web.
Cr-48While Chrome OS isn't exactly ready for prime time -- consumer Chrome OS devices from Samsung and Acer won't be launching until mid-2011 -- Google will be running a pilot program for early adopters to gather feedback about the operating system on a test platform dubbed Cr-48. The 12.1-inch notebook has no hard drive and can supposedly last eight hours on a single charge. It
packs wireless connectivity via Verizon 3G and 802.11N Wi-Fi. Perhaps most exciting, though, is that the Chrome notebook ditches the Caps Lock button -- something for which many of us have been campaigning for some time.
If you want to apply for the pilot program click here and fill out the form.