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Google adds local app support to Chrome, looks to challenge Windows

  • Google (GOOG +0.6%), which has offered Chrome apps for 3 years (through the Chrome Web Store), is now adding support for apps that can work offline and (though still running on Chrome) outside of a browser window, as well leverage a PC's USB ports, camera, and local storage.
  • Importantly, the apps will not only run on Windows and Mac OS systems, but also on Chrome OS hardware (while syncing between devices across platforms). Thus, Google is addressing what has arguably been the biggest complaint about Chrome OS (an inability to run local/offline apps).
  • Chrome VP Brian Rakowski: "We want to make Chrome OS a full-fledged operating system ... We want to make sure there are no reasons it’s not the right product for everyone." Though currently PC-only, Google also wants to bring Chrome apps to mobile.
  • In spite of its shortcomings to date, Chrome OS has made modest traction against Windows (MSFT +0.6%): earlier this year, NPD estimated the OS had 20%-25% of the sub-$300 U.S. laptop market, and Gartner gave it a 4%-5% share of the broader U.S. laptop market. The education market has been a major buyer.
  • Google's latest moves make Chrome OS a bigger low-end threat to Windows at a time when consumer PC sales are nosediving. However, Windows should maintain a big edge in available apps for a long time.
Comments (4)
  • bdwight1
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    We'll have to wait to see how useful the off-line Chrome apps are. I've owned a Chromebook for 3 months now and I'm still quite pleased with its performance. I knew exactly what I expected of the machine before I bought it and it has met those expectations.

     

    Having off-line functionality may be useful but I see a big drawback, namely, one still needs to be on-line in order to access files from Google Drive or other cloud storage sites. If you forget to pre-load to your hard-drive the file you want to work on then, too bad, it's not available. I don't see how the new apps will address that problem.
    5 Sep 2013, 05:53 PM Reply Like
  • techy46
    , contributor
    Comments (5541) | Send Message
     
    Chrome like Android is free advertising virus so Google can make profits off of tracking your advertising clicks. No Thanks Google.
    5 Sep 2013, 09:23 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Blair
    , contributor
    Comments (4519) | Send Message
     
    Chrome may be a sleeper. If Google intends to make it a full-fledged operating system and is beginning to develop a suite of applications that do not need to be connected, it may become a low cost alternative to Windows in a serious way and is perhaps the real threat to Windows longer term. The fact that it has made deep inroads into the sub-$300 PC market must be disturbing to Microsoft since that is a volume segment.
    5 Sep 2013, 10:43 PM Reply Like
  • bdwight1
    , contributor
    Comments (30) | Send Message
     
    Another factor to consider. I bought my Chromebook at a big-box electronics store in Canada. I visited two such stores, researching the product and price. In both stores, the sales staff and tech support were not very knowledgeable about the product and even tried to dissuade me from buying a Chromebook, due mainly to the limited off-line functionality issue.
    My point here is, sales could get a big boost if front-line sales people get more comfortable with it and start pushing the product as the low-cost alternative it is. A Chrome operating system could be the trigger for that to happen.
    6 Sep 2013, 08:59 AM Reply Like
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