Google introduced Tuesday the latest version of its Chrome Browser, Chrome Web Store, and the Chrome OS, a browser-based operating system designed for networks that connect with the cloud.
On hand at a Google event in San Francisco for the unveiling, Amazon.com demonstrated Kindle for the Web. Built from the ground up in HTML5, the app provides consumers access to books in the Chrome browser on any device. It will give third-party booksellers the ability to embed widgets on their sites to sell books geared for Kindle. The move by Amazon is seen as a direct response to the Google eBookstore announced Monday.
The Kindle app introduced at the Google Chrome event becomes available early next year through the Chrome Web Store, now open for business with about 500 applications. Google counts about 120 million Chrome users today. Users can roam around the app store looking for new applications and purchase them by logging in. The store will store payment data using the person's gmail.com address to catalog the information.
The Google Chrome team built in Google Instant, the real-time search engine that shows results with each letter typed. It learns from each search. So, when the searcher types the first letter of a word for a frequently visited Web site, Chrome knows the site to serve up. It has a built-in reader for fast-loading PDFs. It also can support more graphically intense Web pages through support of HTML5. And finally, the browser now provides better support for Java through Crankshaft -- offering much faster load times, according to Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google.
Google also made a major bet that the cloud would become the next desktop by unveiling a beta version of its Chrome OS -- an operating system a year in the making -- and a test version of its branded netbook, which boots up near instantly.
The latest version of Chrome OS supports a variety of Web-based apps like mail, document editing and photo sharing or social networks for basic productivity tasks. Cloud computing devices like the Google netbook simply give access to the apps based on user preferences through the Chrome OS platform -- no matter who the person is logging in. This means multiple users can log on to Google apps through one computer and all see a different configuration of applications.
Sun Microsystems has used this business model for years, providing employees with a key fob that provides access to files stored in the cloud. This allows employees to work from any machine that connects to the Internet.
Google partnered with Verizon Wireless to offer cellular service to the netbooks through 3G. Plans will start at less than $10, with no contracts required, or cancellation fee. Acer and Samsung begin shipping Chrome netbooks in mid-2011.