Google has released the latest beta version of their popular web browser, Chrome. Number 15 (for those keeping count) has some real changes – much more than some new versions, which have been simply bug fixes. This comes within days of Chrome 14 hitting the stable channel.
Of course, the changes have become fewer because the browser has matured. Over time, though, we have seen it take shape as more of an operating system in a window, as opposed to just a web browser. That makes sense because of the development of Chrome OS and the introduction of the first “Chromebook” computers. And, if Android is an indicator, then we better watch out for when the Chrome OS really gets going.
The biggest change in Chrome 15 is the New Tab page. It’s been completely redesigned to better allow users to optimize their tabs and launch multiple pages. According to the official Google announcement, “Your apps, bookmarks, and most visited sites now appear in three different sections on the page. You can flip between these different sections by clicking the section labels at the bottom of the page or the arrows at the side of the page. Chrome will remember the last section you flipped to and return to it when you open a new tab.”
The second big change will probably benefit users the most. Previously, when a new version of an app was available for installation, it would direct the user back to the Chrome Web App Store to download and install it. Now, “trusted partners” can allow users to install updates on-the-fly with no redirects.
These changes could be tempting for many users, and many potential Chromebook buyers. They are certainly making my eye wonder from my trusty Firefox browser. I have Chrome installed, but I can’t tear myself away from Firefox just yet… However, that Asus Chromebook I have been eying is looking a little bit more tempting today…
You can get the Chrome 15 Beta here.
I feel much better about the sustainability of this show after todays, research and coverage. What is interesting is that in pre-show research I thought I had a app that we would demo that would act funny. Well during the show it worked fine.. Just goes to show you that if the cloud has an issue apps will break.
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Over the past 24 hours I have been using my Chromebook exclusively. I want to share my initial thoughts.
Chrome Web Store – User Experience Negative
- Significantly Lacking Compelling Apps
- Many of the Apps simply do not work on Chromebook
- Unable to tell if App is Chromebook ready on website
- Site Navigation sucks
- For a $500.00 Laptop it still feel underpowered
- Lid needs to bend back farther
- Switched fast between Wifi and Verizon Wireless
- Amazing Batter Life
- Touch Pad ok but still a bit hokey
- Boot Speed Amazing
- Have not figured out how to use HD camera
- Feature sets Feels Half Baked.
- No way to do screen captures.
- Printing is a pain to setup.
- File Management System Feels Half Baked.
I showed of the Chromebook to at least 20 people today and all felt it was more powerful than a iPad but severely laking apps. It is obvious to me that most expected it to be more like a smartphone and that the majority of the folks have expectations set for capabilities similar to iPhone and Android.
I am sure that I am being overly critical at this point, but Google has had a while to get their act together on this. While I am sure they will close the gap, there is a huge opportunity her for app developers to easily get to the top of the leader board if they design a Chromebook specific application.
As much as I am complaining, I will likely use it a lot more than my iPad simply because it has a keyboard and I can type faster with a keyboard and the browsing experience is better than the iPad by a long show.
Ironically this blog post is written on Firefox on my Computer versus my Chrome browser on my Chromebook because I could not capture or insert images in the wordpress editor.
I know I have my Chromebook about a week early. It is pretty obvious because the boys at Google are not ready for us yet. When I went over to Picasa the site thought I was a Linux machine and asked me to download some Linux RPM file.
Also when you visit the Chrome Web Store and try and install some apps they kinda get confused. I installed a screen capture app made by Google. It will capture the image but it kinda like gets lost when trying to figure out where to save it.
These are the big things Google is going to have to solve and like yesterday. If I install an App from the Chrome Web Store it better work on the Chrome OS aka Chromebook if it doesn’t it just is gonna piss people off.
So here is my advice to Google, flag the apps that will work well with the Chromebooks and hide the rest. I surely do not want to have to figure it out myself..
If these little things can be fixed, then the developers can also see what is missing and start designing apps for the Chromebook and the Chrome OS
I received the Samsung Chromebook today and thought I would do a quick unboxing. Had a little screen glare during parts of it but we will get it hooked up to the tricaster for future screen demos.
So far so good but I have discovered one major issue, it fails to connect to my main wireless router in the house on my high speed connection. It will connect to my secondary connections no problem but I have no idea why it refuses to connect to my main connection.
The data plans are not as generous as the iPad, Verizon is offering 1gb for $9.99 per month. There is no 2gb plan at all. I picked the 1gb plan to see how far it will really take me.
Bootup after setup is 3-4 seconds tops.
I look forward in seeing how far we can go with the Chrome OS on “The Chrome Show” launching here in a few days!
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