Chrome is Focus of Google I/O 2011 Second Day Keynote
We're back at Google I/O 2011! They seem to have learned from yesterday's experience. Instead of letting everyone proceed up to the third floor where the keynote will kick off the day, the security team is keeping everyone on the ground floor, where breakfast is available. Long lines appear for the two escalators, both wrapping around the large registration area several times.
Right before 9 the escalators are open for use. The lines last about 90 seconds before chaos theory takes over and there's a direct movement for them regardless of position in line. Here's what that looked like, on the right.
Yesterday's digital clock countdown of colored dots has been replaced with Chrome logos bouncing all over the screen. As far as today's keynote goes, the Android robot, excuse me, the BugDroid is dead, long live Chrome. We'll be getting back to the implications of this for Google as a company. And competition really is the story as far as Android fans are concerned.
Since this is an Android blog, I'll give you a really high level description of what was covered at the keynote, and what this could mean for the world of Android.
Google Chrome's Growth
Vic Gundotra is the first one on the stage to welcome us to Day 2 of Google I/O 2011. And he introduces today's star, Sundar Pichai, who heads up the Chrome project. The Chrome presentation has the same rehearsed smoothness as the Android keynote yesterday, but you know what the Chrome dudes got right? They put everyone's names in the slides when they were introduced so we'd mention them.
Pichai covered Chrome's successes (160 million users, up from 70 million last year, and about to release Version 12) before introducing several Chrome project members. We saw APIs that can add speech recognition into Chrome, just by adding an attribute using the Developer Tools in Inspect Element. We saw Google Translate worked into Chrome.
5% Fee for App Payments in the Chrome Store
Then we had the talk on monetization, and that the store would be localized into 41 languages. Here comes the big news. The Chrome store was gearing up for in-app purchasing and would take a flat fee of 5% (the crowd goes wild).
Five percent. If you develop for ChromeOS, you will pay Google 5% to use their Chrome Store. Developers who sell apps in the Android Market get 30% of their sales raked off. But no one's talking Android here. I had to hold that thought until the Q&A with the Android Market team.
Happy Nerds Get a Web Treat
The next presenter up is a surprise, because he isn't a Googler. Guess what hit game from your Android device is going to be running on Chrome?
It's Angry Birds, now available on your web browser! Not only that, there will be special Chrome-only levels, which even have Chrome-themed features. And Angry Birds will be available offline, so if your Android device runs out of battery, you can still play Angry Birds on the plane.
If you're running Chrome, here's the link to getting Angry Birds on the web, free.
Introducing the Chromebook
Then we get a look at an experimental project with music, 2 and 3-D modeling, and interactive environmental experience. And Sundar Pichai is back, with the big announcement. Remember Google's CR-48 pilot program? Those where Google's netbooks that used Chrome as an operating system. Google gave away thousands of them, choosing among more than a million applicants.
They've learned from how people used the CR-48 and they're expanding the idea with some hardware partners. These notebooks that run Chrome as an operating system are what Pichai calls "Chromebooks." Here is the video he introduced, saying he wants to get the word out on what a Chromebook is. It's short, sweet and gets the point across, so please give it a view.
And Google I/O Attendees will Get the Word Out on Chromebooks in the Best Possible Way: They All Get One
Pichai introduced two new Chromebooks that will be available for sale beginning June 15th, one 12.1 inch screen by Samsung and one 11.6 inch screen by Acer. Both are powered by a dual-core Intel Atom processor. They will be initially sold in seven countries: The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. In the US, they will be sold through Best Buy and Amazon, with both having a 3G option available using Verizon in the US. WiFi only models are available too.
Then Pichai announced that everyone in the room is going to get a Chromebook, and to watch our mail for an invitation. Unlike yesterday's early release of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to Google I/O attendees, it seems today's major swag giveaway will have I/Oers waiting until June 15th to obtain their Chromebooks. But we'll let you know if that changes.
So What Does This Mean to an Android Fan?
From what I could see at the keynote, and from attending the press Q&A afterward, the Chrome team and the Android team are both trying to take over the world, yet each insists they are not competing with each other. They say they are reusing a lot of code between the two projects, but they are not specifically working together. The Android browser is not based on Chrome, it just reuses portions of it.
Yesterday, we heard about why tablets are so important. Today, the message was that the Chromebook would make life simpler not only for the consumer, but for any large organization that is drowning in the complexity of managing their computers and users. How to integrate a corporate, governmental, or educational environment where everyone has a Chromebook but wants to use the same data on their tablets and smartphones wasn't really discussed. You can easily share the information in Google Apps; beyond that? Will Google be creating two slightly out of sync ecospheres that need to battle for world domination, or will Chrome and Android find some way to either merge or actively collaborate?
I did get an answer to one question: why is the Android Market taking 30% from developer sales? The answer is the carriers. Most of those fees go to the carriers who in turn market the Android platform when running their advertising and promotions. The fact that a certain fruity company also gets 30% for Apps in their Store was not mentioned.
But one possible answer to my question above on how Chrome and Android will fare as competing systems? When I asked about the 5% versus 30% fees for the respective App Stores, the Android Market Q&A team here, Chris Yerga and Eric Chu, said they didn't know about the Chrome announcement because they were preparing for their Android Market presentation.
So maybe we should expect a collision between a couple of herds of elephants wearing blinders, unless the elephants all downloaded some good real-time Navigation Apps.
In Case you missed the event you can watch it below.