Google’s Chrome browser and Chrome OS had another banner year in 2013 and with the Chromebook continuing to grow in popularity, 2014 looks to be even better. There’s little question that along with the growth of the Chromebook, Chrome as a web-browser continues to delight users the world over. With a bevy of new features and improvements in 2013, Google has its work cut out to improve on it next year. So without further delay, let’s take a look at the year’s top Chrome and Chrome OS stories of 2013 as determined by the number of pageviews each story incurred:
Coming in at number 1 is a story from the middle of April where we first learned that Google would stick an Apps shortcut in your bookmarks bar through Chrome. In the grand scheme, it seemed fairly trivial but for some reason this story resonated with 9to5Google readers the world over and hit as our stop story of 2013. If for whatever reason this small but important change annoyed you, it was as easy as unchecking “Show Apps shortcut” in the dropdown menu. Simple, easy, important.
Without a doubt one of the most notable and talked about Chrome OS products of 2013 was the release of the Chromebook Pixel. There was a period of time there that after months of begging, hoping and waiting we considered Google would never yield our cries for a high-end Chromebook. Then came the Chromebook Pixel with its 13″ high-res display, touchscreen and beautiful hardware. For all those reasons and more it allows for the 9to5Google review of the Chromebook Pixel to arrive as the second most-read post of 2013. In the end, the Chromebook Pixel was well-reviewed if not hard to swallow at its $1299 price tag. Considering how inexpensive some of the Pixel’s competition is in the Chromebook space, even if you give up the touchscreen display and ppi, you still get a far cheaper computer capable of all the same computing. Theres’s no question Google has gone all in on the Chromebook this year and if they can produce a Pixel-like device in 2014 with a sub $500 price tag, it might go a long way to pushing Windows PC more and more out of the low-cost market.
Google Now is without a doubt one of the best “things” to come out of Mountain View in recent memory. It’s introduction to the Android world amidst competition by Apple’s Siri has allowed it to become a staple feature of every Android 4.1 Jelly Bean device and above. Hints of Google Now coming to Google have been going on for a long time and by the the time our third most read story of 2013 happened in June, we had plenty of reason to believe it was simply a matter of when and not if. Upon the discovery of a pop-up notification in a developer build of Chrome that said “Enable Google Now Cards – Would you like to be shown Google Now cards” so many of us squealed with joy. As the calendar turns to 2013 we still have yet to see Google Now formally arrive on Chrome, but hints of its arrival continue in official capacities with the release of Google’s Voice Search Hotword beta. Given Google Now’s popularity as a staple feature in Android, it seems to be only a matter of time before Google is confident enough to roll this out to the desktop computing masses and we couldn’t be more excited.
Google TV was a big attempt by Mountain View to capture a portion of the TV market through a platform that only Google could construct. Its “failure” to truly capture the mind and marketshare of the television world has prompted TV projects to seemingly move to the backburner and instead allow for products like Chromecast to launch. Chromecast stands as a functional standalone streaming device utilizing apps from both the Chrome browser, Android and iOS. Since our fourth most popular story published in July, Google has opened up the doors to more of its own apps and iOS variants and has even set up a dedicated section of the Play Store for dedicated Chromecast ready apps. While not quite as functional as the Apple TV, Chromecast is a much cheaper and far simpler device for streaming to your television. It’s simplicity and $35 price tag along with a three month trial of Netflix upon its launch caused an immediate sellout that continued for weeks. Now, Chromecast continues to be one of the most popular Google products and with a new SDK on the horizon, Chromecast is definitely going to be a Google product to watch in 2014.
As Chrome turned 5 years old the web browser began to get serious about desktop apps. For our fifth most popular story we refer to a post on the company’s blog where they announced a new variant of “Apps” for the desktop. Google unveiled “a new kind of Chrome App, which brings together the speedy, security, and flexibility of the modern web with the powerful functionality previously only available with software installed on your devices.” The apps are more powerful and feature-rich than the previous “apps” Google offered as shortcuts to web pages. These apps allow Chrome users to work offline, work outside of the browser for less distractions, connected to the cloud, receive desktop notifications, keep updated automatically, pick up right where you left off, sleep easier with sandbox security and launch apps directly from your desktop. The Chrome App Launcher lives on your Windows PC or as of the past 30 days, on your Mac dock. Chrome Apps are a compelling reason to dedicate even more of your computer experience through Chrome, and with Chrome Apps we expect Chrome OS to continue pushing at Windows marketshare in 2014.