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Chrome OS Whether You Want It Or Not

Within the Android and Google community there has for a long time been discussion about the future of Android and Chrome OS. When the two OSs first came out they seemed to have a clear and distinct difference. Chrome OS was for laptops/netbooks with a traditional keyboard and mouse set up, Android was for smartphones and tablets with on screen touch keyboards. However, the lines started to blur first when companies such as Asus brought out the transformer tablets (which came with an attachable mouse and keyboard) and later when the Chromebook Pixel came out with a touchscreen.

All the doubts and questions between the distinction of the two platforms and Google’s need for two OSs have been brought to the fore and with the appointment of Sundai pichai to the head of now Android as well as Chrome OS it is obvious that the two platforms are heading to a joint future.

Why Should You Care About This?

But why does this matter for you dear Mac user and reader? Well, Google doesn’t want to stop with Android, Google wants Chrome os on every device and it just might do it.

If you have a mac with the chrome browser installed then you basically have chrome OS on your device. You can even add chrome apps to the desktop of your Mac (or a pc for that matter) as though they were a native app downloaded onto your device. In fact, if you really wanted, you could pretty much strip your mac down to just the chrome browser and the apps it held.

Ultimately this looks to be Googles vision for the future of computing. Developers make one Web app for chrome that is mobile responsive and then users can add it to whatever device they have, as long as they have chrome. There’s certainly some appeal in the idea of universal apps, which are “easier” for the developer to create and can instantly be updated without the user having to agree but I have my doubts.

Google the gatekeeper

Google has taken a more laid back stance on app supervision. More so than Apple at least. As such you are trusting Google to be the gatekeeper. You are trusting Google to weed out the poor apps and leave the high quality ones. Now even if Google gets it wrong with the approval system, if there’s one thing google generally does well, it’s search. So even if there are more low quality apps, you may be able to find high quality ones quicker.

Responsive web apps won’t neccesarily be easier than separate apps

The theory goes, you build one app that’s responsive and then it can be used on any device. PC, Mac, iPad, android, iPhone etc. The problem is, making things responsive isn’t necessarily easier than making individual apps. Sure there are frameworks that make it much easier but if you aren’t well versed in it the it maybe easier for you to make a native app.

Web apps aren’t necessarily better

Facebook was using a type of web app for a long time, but after slower load times and poor performance they reverted to native apps. They found they could offer a higher quality experience and that was more important than some abstract idea of a unified web app.

All Your Data Belongs To Google

Obviously the big aim for Google is to gain more data to put better targeted ads in front of you. By using Google and Google services you are accepting that exchange, that’s both as a user and developer. Of course, the services might not straight away give data to Google and Google usually uses the carrot rather than stick to buy in, but that’s something you have to expect in the future.

Chrome OS has snuck on the Mac and is heading for all devices. You may want to adopt this change or may not but it is coming?

Do you use Google chrome? Do you prefer to use native apps or web apps?

[Image via Wikimedia]

About Chris Wilson

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