Google got me. Not because I didn't get the joke but for how far it actually goes. Perhaps you saw the April 1st post, "Re-rethinking computing", which introduces the project from a "rogue team of engineers...Today, we’re excited to announce a way to make your Chromebook self-browsing". Of course, it's an April Fools gag.
I first saw the post on my Nexus 9 tablet while exercising on the stationary bike. Later, thinking to post a quickie to Google+, I pulled up the URL from synced History on Chromebook Pixel LS. On the N9, I had clicked the post's last link, which did nothing special but when opened on the Pixel took me to the Chrome Web Store with option to install the self-browsing extension. Now that was unexpected. What to do, what to do?
Last year Google introduced support for Android apps on its Chromebook lineup. Since the announcement, we have seen several popular apps arrive at the Chrome Web Store, including Duolingo, Vine, and Flipboard, but the number of such ported apps has been pretty low so far. In an effort to lure in more uber-apps like VLC and others to Chrome OS, the company announces at an event, that it is opening the ARC program -- previously only accessible to select firms -- to all developers. The move will foster the growth of apps at the Chrome Web Store.
The Mountain View-based technology company last year at its developer conference I/O introduced support for Android apps on Chrome OS-powered laptops. The company had showcased a native client extension called “App Runtime for Chrome (ARC)” that runs Android apps on a Chrome OS-powered notebook almost natively through a sandboxed Dalvik VM.
It's April Fool's Day! This is a day where people play jokes on each other. Practical jokes can be funny if they aren't happening to you, but quite the opposite when you are the target. Oh, you put a whoopee cushion on my chair and everyone thinks I passed gas? Thanks for that. You replaced the grape jelly on my PBJ with petroleum jelly? Hilarious. I think that is poison actually, and probably a crime, but you have fun. Enjoy your wacky day.
I'm a bit of a scrooge on April Fool's Day, because I am usually the target of such jokes. I'm a busy guy, and I forget the date constantly, so all day today I will forget it is April Fool's Day. While in-person pranks with friends and family are annoying, online pranks from companies can be fun (sometimes). They have become a tradition and are admittedly hilarious. Google often leads this, and 2015 is no different. Here are some of the fake products that companies are pranking us with in 2015.
If my calendar showed April Fools' Day instead of March 31st, I would think the big Google announcement was a joke: $149 Chromebooks, with one model available from Walmart? I know some of these laptops sell for $199. But $50 less and models from Haier and Hisense?
Meanwhile, ASUS will, in summer, start selling something for even less: Chromebit, a $100 candy-bar size carry-all computer. Plug it into a HDMI-compatible display (like your TV), and your Chromie lifestyle is even-more mobile. The company also will release Chromebook Flip, a tablet-convertible wannabe, sooner. Someone tell me: This isn't a Foolie prank?
When you think of the world's majestic rivers many names come to mind -- the Mississippi, Amazon, Nile, Seine, Thames, and several others. The Danube also springs to mind, as the beauty of the famous river sprawls out, spanning multiple nations and attracting those who wish to go on one of its famous cruises.
The allure was too much to resist for Google and the company dispatched a Street View team to take that popular boat ride. The result is a stunning journey down the famous body of water, going from one end to the other.
Late last year, Google introduced support for multiple email providers in Gmail for Android, welcoming users of Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail and other such services to manage all their accounts using its app. There are plenty of folks who are not just Gmail or Google Apps users, after all. However, the app wasn't properly designed to handle all the extra accounts that users would set up.
The problem? Users had to switch between accounts every time they received new emails or wanted to reply to a message. Now, Google is finally correcting this by giving Gmail for Android a much-needed unified inbox.
Last year I wrote about my big move to Google's computer operating system, Chrome OS. At the time my plan was simple -- use a Chromebook for the summer since I work from my porch and wanted something light and small to move around with me. The 15.7 inch Windows laptop wasn't going to cut it and, for obvious reasons, I wasn't moving a desktop outside, especially with a porch that seems to face the rain in every summer storm.
Though the time of my move hadn't occurred to me, the subject came up today in our newsroom. Joe Wilcox urged me to write about my experience, while my colleague Brian Fagioli tried mightily hard to get me to change to a new Chromebook. He called my HP 11 underpowered and implored I get the new Toshiba. Throwing money at a problem I don't have is not in my DNA. What I have works fine and I see no current reason for unnecessary expenses.
Because some BetaNews readers think Chromebook is a joke, I realized the necessity of getting out our Pixel buying poll before April Fools' Day. So here we are. Google released the second-generation Chromebook Pixel on March 11. The high-end laptop costs less than its predecessor (one model for under $1,000), but many potential buyers will question—and they should—the wisdom spending so much on a computer with browser user interface meant to be mostly Internet-connected.
Chromebook Pixel isn't for everyone—probably not most people. But our readers aren't most people. Many of you live on technology's cutting edge, and some bleed because of it. The laptop could be for you, and it most certainly is for me. I bought the high-end LS model on launch day and took delivery on Friday the 13th. I will have much good to report in my forthcoming review. But what works for me may not for you. So let's look more closely at the computer.
Today, Rachel Whetstone, Google's senior vice president of communications and policy, asks what has been on my mind since a stunning scoop set the Wall Street Journal against the Federal Trade Commission and the search and information giant. As I explained in an analysis of the news reporting, the story is flush with insinuation and veiled accusation, bereft of context.
Among my more serious concerns: Journal-parent News Corp's ongoing tug-a-war with Google's business model and its impact on paid content. Both entities likely would benefit by any means that trustbusters could crimp Google. The scoop's timing and tone look like they intend to influence European Union public policy. Ms. Whetstone's response is brilliant, because it gets to the point: Conflict of interest taints the Journal's credibility and impartiality. She rightly observes: "We understand you have a new found love of the regulatory process, especially in Europe".
On the first day of the F8 developer conference, Facebook finally pulled the trigger on something we had expected for months. Facebook messenger is now a platform along the lines of WeChat and other Asian messaging apps. While this isn't necessarily "novel", it tells us something about Facebook's vision for mobile.
Facebook announced the SDK for messenger along with the fact that 40 apps, including ESPN, Dubsmash, and Talking Tom and Giphy had already signed up for the program. Their willingness is simple to explain -- app stores have fixed the app distribution problem, but have consequently made app discovery far more difficult. Easy app distribution and low entry barriers have created a deluge of app developers with more than a million apps and counting. But with these numbers, app developers have found it increasingly difficult to reach consumers through all the noise. This is where Facebook Messenger comes in:
A couple of days ago Google launched a Chrome extension that compresses web pages. This is a feature that has been available for the iOS and Android versions of Chrome, but now it has hit the desktop. It's something that will be off interest to people whose ISP puts data caps in place.
Launched on March 23, the Data Saver extension is currently in beta (come on, this is Google… what did you expect?) and it helps to "reduce the amount of data Chrome uses". This might sound appealing, but it does mean that your traffic is routed through Google's own servers. Do you trust Google enough?
Four years in the making, LibreOffice is working towards moving online. LibreOffice Online is due to spring from a partnership between IceWarp and Collabora with the aim of competing directly with Google Docs and Office 365. Upon launch, it will be the first cloud-based office suite to offer support for the Open Document Format (ODF) standard.
Based on HTML 5, there's not currently a launch date for LibreOffice Online but IceWarp and Collabora hope to drive competition and innovation by entering the market. The suite is already available for just about every mobile and desktop platform, so the move to the cloud was all but inevitable.
When isn't a cell phone too big? The Motorola-made, Google-branded phablet answers that question for me, and may very well for you. From Samsung's introduction of the original Note, I scoffed at large-screen smartphones—and, honestly, the seemingly stereotypical gadget geeks using them. But big is better, and my arrogant attitude about phablets and the people buying them was unwarranted.
Simply stated: Nexus 6 is the best handset I have ever used. The experience is so fresh and delightful, the emotional reaction reminds of using the original iPhone that I purchased on launch day in June 2007. N6 shatters my negative preconception about phablets, particularly unwieldiness when used daily. That said, I made some lifestyle changes, including choice of clothing, to accommodate the mobile's massive size.
In the hours running up to the big Apple show, Google attempted to rain on the Apple Watch parade by pushing its own wearable platform with a new ad. We already knew about the technology, but the cheeky move got the attention of many people. It was nothing more, nor less, than a smart business decision.
However, what we saw that day was only part of a longer format video which the search giant has just released on YouTube (naturally). It's still only one minute long, but that's a virtual lifetime compared to the original 18 second clip.
The first day of Spring is upon us, and Google celebrates with free offers to anyone buying Chromecast from today through April 19. The freebies arrive as Apple tries to whip up sales of its streaming set-top box by exclusively offering HBO NOW starting April 10. Apple TV sells for $69, but Chromecast for $35—and Google's goody box is valued at $80.
To 3 free months of Play Music and DramaFever add: One free Play Movies rental, 1 month free Qello Concerts, and 3 months free Sesame Street GO. You can find the offers here. These are for the U.S. market, and the goodies may not be the same in each of the 16 countries where Google offers any.