Chrome OS users take note, a brand new camera app is on its way offering a host of new features. The announcement came via Google’s “Happiness Evangelist” Francois Beaufort who suggested that while the current Chrome OS camera is good, the team can do better.
Since the iPad was announced, we’ve seen PC sales fall every year due to people discovering that they can do anything they need on a laptop on the more affordable iPad and Android tablets. Chromebooks, however, have become much more affordable over the last year, which has led to some people going with the Samsung and Acer models instead of tablets. According to the latest data from NPD Group Inc. (via Bloomberg), Chromebooks have accounted for between 20 and 25 percent of all laptop sales under $300 over the last eight months. Overall, according to IDC data, PC shipments fell 4 percent in 2012 and will fall 7.8 percent this year.
Overall, Chromebooks still make up a small percentage of the entire laptop market. In the first quarter of 2013, Chromebooks accounted for 4 to 5 percent of laptop market. When you compare that to the 1 to percent in 2012, however, it’s pretty tremendous growth.
“We’re seeing tremendous growth, without a doubt — massive, massive growth,” said Caesar Sengupta, head of product development for Chromebooks.
This shows that affordable, entry-level Chromebooks are not buggy and inconsistent like many people expected them to be, but are rather decent alternatives to tablets for people who still want a keyboard. Read more
Google has rolled out an update to the developer channel build of Chrome OS that adds the experimental ability to edit Microsoft Word and Excel files. First noticed by Google Chromium evangelist François Beaufort, the feature is in the Chromium code review and simply reads “Improved Quickoffice editing about:flag.”
In order to use this feature, your Chrome OS device must be on the developer channel. If it is, then type “chrome://flags” into the address bar, find the “Enable document editing” entry, and click enable. Your machine will then be restarted and when it turns back on, you’ll have the ability to edit Word and Excel documents. Read more
Google on Tuesday released a new Google+ Photos app for the Chromebook Pixel. The company originally demoed the app when the Pixel was announced, but is just now releasing it to the public. The app lets you log in with your Goolge+ account and backup any photos on your Chromebook to the service.
For example, if you plug-in an external SD card the app will automatically back the pictures up to the Google+ servers. You can choose to upload them in either full resolution or Google’s default 2048 pixel wide format, though there’s a cap when it comes to uploading at full resolution. When offline, you have the ability to view your most recently uploaded photos, as well as anything on your external storage device. All your images that are uploaded are private at first, but you have the ability to share them with the public or individual people, as well. Read more
During its Google I/O keynote earlier this month, Google announced that it would be bringing conversational, Google-Now like voice search to the desktop. Using a UI similar to voice search and Google Now in its mobile apps, Google would soon allow Chrome users to search and drill down further into results using only their voice.
Today, Google appears to have finally started rolling out the feature for Chrome users on the stable and beta channels of Chrome.
After updating to the latest version 27.0.1453.93 of Chrome, users can navigate to Google.com, click the microphone icon, and choose to allow the new Google Voice search feature to begin listening. Google will only ask for permission to listen once and from then on users can simply speak in order to search. For certain search results such as questions Google will also provide audible results.
Not all of the functionality seems to be available as of yet. For example, when Google first showed off the feature users weren’t required to click at all. Google execs were activating the feature by simply saying “Ok, Google” and were able to continue searching with their voice, hands-free, from on the search results page. The feature as it’s currently implemented now requires users to click the mic icon in order to start a voice search. Read more
Asus CEO Jerry Shen revealed today that the company plans to ship Asus notebooks running Chrome OS later this year.
Acer, HP, and Samsung have already shipped Chromebooks ranging in price from $199 to $449, as PC World notes, which gives an idea at where Asus could price their hardware.
The Asus CEO expects Chromebook’s success to be in government and education as well as commercial use rather than with consumers.