Report: Google developing new ‘Hera’ service to further unify Chrome, Search, and Android

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Android Police is reporting that Google is planning a new feature, known as Hera, for the next major version of Android. Hera is reportedly the company’s latest attempt to unify the experience that users have within all major Google services, including Android, Chrome, and Search on Android-powered devices. Hera looks to be based on a special Chromium build that is meant to run on Android and execute certain tasks though the web, as opposed to within an app.

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Google’s Chrome Remote Desktop Android app arrives in beta

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Google has long had its cross-platform Chrome Remote Desktop extension that allows users to remotely access desktops on the network through the Chrome browser. We also already knew that it’s been working on solutions to bring the feature to Android and even iOS devices, but today we get what appears to be our first look Chrome Remote Desktop running on an Android device.

Droid-Life posted the screenshots below showing that it says is an invite only beta of the app that was released in the last few days. The app is apparently being developed for both smartphones and tablets, allowing users to remotely access desktop computers with the Chrome Remote Desktop client installed from the Chrome web store.  Read more

Google continues April Fool’s pranks with accidentally-ironic emoji web translation for mobile Chrome

In keeping up with tradition, Google started rolling out its annual April Fool’s Day pranks last 🌇 and has continued into the early 🌅. A new post on the Chrome blog announced the availability of a new Google 🇺🇸🔄🇫🇷 feature that converts webpages into emoji icons for faster 📖:

Suddenly we realized that we could apply the magic of Emoji to webpages. Not only does this pictorial and theatrical language allow us to communicate complex emotions, it’s also far more compact. One Emoji symbol can easily replace dozens of characters, improving efficiency and comprehension on the go. It turns out the best way to communicate in the future is to look to the past: the ancient Egyptians were really onto something with their hieroglyphs.

The 😜 has a bit of an ironic twist, though… Read more

Two new Samsung Chromebooks pop up ahead of official launch

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While we’ve yet to get official word on the machines from Samsung, it looks like two new Samsung Chromebooks will be going on sale shortly as retailer B&H begins accepting preorders for the new models. The listings were spotted by OMGChrome (via GigaOM) but since removed.

Presumably replacing the original 11.6-inch Samsung Chromebook model that sells for $249 ($329 with 3G) is an 11.6-inch model starting at $299 featuring a Samsung Exynos 5 SoC and a $399 model with a 13.3-inch display. There isn’t much more information on the new Chromebooks at the moment, but we expect Samsung will announce them once it wraps up its big smartphone announcements at MWC this week.  Read more

Google & VMware bring Windows to enterprise Chromebook users

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Google announced a partnership with virtualization software maker VMware today that will bring Chromebook users access to Windows desktops and apps. The deal means enterprise Chromebook users will have access to Windows apps through VMware Horizon DaaS and an upcoming Chrome Web Store app:

Cloud applications allow flexibility, scalability and security and enable a work-anywhere environment, but many of our customers still use traditional desktop applications. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) helps bridge the gap between the cloud and a traditional desktop by allowing you to run your traditional software in the cloud and have applications appear on your Chromebook similarly to how they run today. An example might be your Windows based accounting application.

It might sound a little bit like Google is admitting that enterprise customers need more than just Chrome apps to get the job done, but it’s also embracing the upcoming end of life for Windows XP and encouraging business customers to upgrade to Chromebooks. Giving businesses access to the Windows apps many rely on is certainly a good argument for upgrading to Chromebooks. In a statement in VMware’s press release, Google’s president of enterprise Amit Singh said “Chromebooks can save businesses about $5,000 per computer when compared to traditional PCs.” Read more