Google Stands Behind Chrome OS As It Becomes Android's Core

Late last night, in the wake of yesterday's WSJ's report of a Chrome OS/Android merger to be complete by 2017, Google pushed back with firm commitment to the platform. Hiroshi Lockheimer, Sundar Pichai's new head of Android and Chrome OS, tweeted his support for the platform's "momentum". 

Reporting his analysis following the tweet, Ars Technica writer Ron Amadeo offered additional insight into the charade:

"Google can't have the public think that Chrome OS will be spending the next two years on death row. It has Chromebooks to sell, and customers won't invest in Chrome OS hardware if they think it's a dying platform. So even if Chrome OS were on the way out, good business sense says that Google would have to be "committed" to the platform until it has something new to take its place."

Of course Google is going to put its full backing behind the platform! By taking action and merging it with Android, it is doing just that. Giving Chrome OS validation enough to add its features into Android means it believes fully in the future of the platform's ideals. 

The craziest part is what many analysts aren't saying: the transformation is already taking place right under our noses. Android already included Chrome as a centralized part of the Android experience by placing Chrome browser tabs in the multi-tasking switcher. This was done in order to place emphasis on the importance of the functional web. In contrast, Chrome OS and the Chrome browser have added support for running Android applications natively using the ARC Welder.

Android is receiving more of Chrome OS's core ideas than Chrome OS is receiving from Android. For example, everything you do on your Android device is already saved in the cloud (Google Photos, Hangouts, etc). An Android phone or tablet can already be replaced and restored to the previous glory of its lost, damaged or stolen predecessor simply by signing in to Google. Not all Android hardware may receive the latest and greatest Android operating system release, but the centralized Google Service Framework still consistently goes out to everyone in the same way as a Chrome OS or Chrome browser update. No one even knows the update happens. Heck, Google doesn't even install their gaggle of apps by default anymore. Every Google services app is installable after setup, so only what you want or use it installed at setup, just like a Chrome OS machine.

Google's two platforms are already very compatible when it comes to using the powers of the other, but combined, all the best features will be made clear (just ask the Pixel C team). The zero barrier of entry nature of Chrome OS will enable everything you do on your phone, down to every text you send (Google Hangouts and Google Voice) to be saved to the cloud, while also having the option to run on any form factor or screen size. Why do you think we haven't seen multi-windowing as a core feature of the Android Open Source Project? Because Google is waiting for app developers to adopt Material Design for phones, tablets, laptops AND TVs.

App developers will simply have to decide whether to use their web applications or native Android applications. For all we know, a new language is coming to usher in a new paradigm where native applications and web applications mix into one package on one native powered and cloud enhanced runtime. The rumors suggest we will see the next chapter of this story at Google I/O 2016, we just have to wait and see.


Android/Chrome OS Merger to Take Shape in 2016

Nathan Ingraham at Engadgt reports on a WSJ report, saying:

"The WSJ says that this new version of Android will also run on PCs, though it's not clear if the company is talking about Windows and Mac computers or just a rebranded extension of the current Chromebook lineup. The former seems likely, as the Chrome browser contains most of the functionality of Chrome OS itself."

Speculation of this nature creates a world in my mind where, by 2017, I have Chrome/Android OS 7.0, OS X 10.13 Redwood  (Tahoe is my second guess) and/or iOS X 10.2, AND Windows 10.2 (yes I believe Microsoft is going to do that to us) tri-booting on my iPad Book Pro. Although, lets be honest, it will probably be quad booting with Ubuntu 17.04 Zirconium Zebra as well. 


Vine Co-founder Rus Yusupov Among Twitter Layoffs

Brendan Klinkenberg at Buzzfeed reports:

"BuzzFeed News has learned that Vine co-founder Rus Yusupov was among those laid off by Twitter earlier this week. A company spokesperson confirmed his departure...

...Yusupov, along with Dom Hofmann and Colin Kroll, founded the six-second looping video platform, before it was acquired by Twitter in 2012. Since then, both Hoffmannand Kroll have stepped down. Yusupov lasted the longest of the service’s three original founders."

Somehow I believe Rus isn't too torn up over being let go. After all, I'm willing to bet he is in the overwhelming minority of the 336+ employees who received a solid piece of $970 million as an exit package.


Xiaomi 3D Touch Clones Incoming

Hang on, let me stop for a moment to contain my utter lack of surprise at shameless porting of iOS features to cheap Android phones.

"The report from a well-known Chinese tipster says that Xiaomi has patented a technology similar to 3D Touch, notes GforGames. It’s believed Samsung plans to use a Synaptics touchscreen controller, while it’s unclear whether Xiaomi plans to do the same or has created its own technology."


Steam Machines Sound Mediorce

When the Gabe Newell showed off a collection of restickered gaming PCs to well wishers in a washed out conference room at CES 2014, I think we should have taken the hint of the long journey ahead. Kyle Orland's Steam Machine/SteamOS review over at Ars Technica tells us what we should all have been expecting for years: 

"Were this a game or Steam update, Valve could rest on its software-first laurels. It could call all of this a “beta,” offer extensive patch notes along the way, and enjoy open communication with the community until its products and users’ expectations met comfortably in the middle. But releasing physical hardware is a much larger statement of intent—something that a few uploaded bits and bytes can only do so much to remedy. Steam hardware enthusiasts should be aware that they’re about to enter a serious beta-testing period, one in which the “DLC” may be the need to purchase new models down the line."


Paper by FiftyThree Coming To iPhone

FiftyThree, the Georg Petschnigg brain child, are bringing their popular Paper app to the iPhone. Another reason to own an iPad or iPad mini has been eliminated and made available to the iPhone 6+. The preview image looks to contain a UI with a field notes type feeling.

Bottom line: those who like writing in field notebooks when they have a quick idea are going to get the full power and usefulness of Paper by FiftyThree in the not too distance future. 



Alphabet Really Is Twenty-First Century Soup

I've been in a hotel basement in Brooklyn all day, so getting the news of the changes at Alphabet (formerly known as Google) a whole twenty-eight minutes late came as a shock to me. The barrage of messages I received upon resurfaced was a slightly overwhelming. I have since gone from confusion to a crystal clear understanding very quickly.

Larry Page, Alphabet CEO, writes: 

"For Sergey and me this is a very exciting new chapter in the life of Google -- the birth of Alphabet. We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity's most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search! We also like that it means alpha-bet (Alpha is investment return above benchmark), which we strive for! I should add that we are not intending for this to be a big consumer brand with related products--the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands."

What is abundantly clear about this headline catching move is this transition has been in the cards for at least two years. Sundar Pichai was already running the core of Google since his promotion last year, so his elevation comes as no surprise. Nor does Larry and Sergey's monsterous ambition to be "cleaner" and more efficient at making great strides come as a shock. They want to change the world in more ways than with software and computer hardware. Drones, cars, health, robotics, and many other twenty first century ambitions are all apart of this plan. Google isn't dying or being striped of its parts, its just becoming a big old diverse and ambitious family.

Six Seasons: Check.

Randy Shulman of Metro Weekly recently interviewed Joel McHale and asked him the all important question:

"Is it [Community] getting another season on Yahoo?"

"No. They wanted to. But all of our contracts were up after six years. All the actors on the show, almost without exception — their stock has risen significantly and it’s out of the pay rate that is affordable to make the show. So you’re not going to be able to get Alison Brie or Gillian Jacobs at a normal television salary anymore. There is just not enough money to be able to pay for the show."

While this may not be gospel, I do believe treating the show and everyone involved with respect is important. Don't infuse something that stands with authority on its own with more cash. Let it die gracefully, make the movie, and sell us the Six Seasons and a Movie premium Blu-ray box set.