Google’s mobile quest may lead to Android, Chrome merger

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google has a big change in store for Chrome.

SAN FRANCISCO — Google plans to combine its Chrome operating system for personal computers with its Android operating system for mobile devices and will unveil an early version of the new operating system next year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Engineers at the company have been working on the project for a couple of years already, the report said, which Google GOOG 0.56% plans to unveil next year and make publicly available in 2017. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 23.72 points to 17,755.80, the Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped 0.94 points to 2,089.41 and the Nasdaq composite sank 21.42 points to 5,074.27. (Associated Press) European equities have dipped after the U.S. Android, which Google acquired in 2005, is the most widely used mobile operating system, powering more than 1 billion smartphones and other devices globally. Federal Reserve hinted at a potential December interest rate rise, sparking fresh investor uncertainty. (AFP News) Gold dropped to the lowest in more than two weeks after the Federal Reserve signaled an increase in interest rates is still on the table for this year. (Bloomberg News) Starbucks delivered another quarter of sales gains as more customers visited its stores worldwide.

The Journal reports that Chrome is essentially being folded into Android, because Android has emerged as the dominant operating system by quite a long stretch. Chrome, on the other hand, was developed in-house for Google’s lightweight laptops, called Chromebooks, and is mostly focused on browser-based applications. Combining the two operating systems means setting up Android to run on laptops and desktop computers, which would require big changes, as well as supporting the Google Play Store.

Chromebooks will get a new name, but Chrome will still be the name of Google’s Internet browser which runs on both personal computers and mobile devices. This fall, Google introduced the Pixel C, a tablet running Android instead of Chrome (a first for the Pixel line), and made it obvious that Android was encroaching on Chrome OS territory.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told analysts on the third-quarter earnings call last week that “mobile as a computing paradigm is eventually going to blend with what we think of as desktop today.” Google has said it’s easier to share knowledge now that the two teams, Chrome and Android, are working closely together and developing cross-platform features such as unlocking a Chromebook using an Android phone. At the time, Google’s Sundar Pichai (now Google’s CEO) called Chrome OS an “attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.” More, from Pichai: Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. While this is a major and somewhat surprising move — Chromebooks have been fairly successful and are a great low-cost computer option — it’s easy to see how Google got here.

If Google (er, excuse me, Alphabet)‘s track record for naming stuff is any indication, the new word for “Chromebook” will probably be something impressively stupid. With this major change to Google’s product lineup, the company will reportedly sunset the Chrome OS and Chromebook name — but the “Chrome” browser isn’t going anywhere.

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