2014: A Year In Chrome In All Its Forms, From The OS To Casting


As today is the last day of 2014 for us in the United States, and the first of the year in some parts of the Eastern hemisphere, Happy New Year or Almost-New Year.  We're here to bring Chrome to a close for 2014 with a roundup of the best moment and achievements of Google's browser, operating system, and casting dongle.

Courtesy of OMG! Chrome!, we have a lovely infographic which also contains some rather impressive statistics about Chrome in all of its forms.  Everyone knows of the recent Chromebook-v-iPad educational competition and victory on the part of Chromebooks, and we all should know how great the Chromecast did over the holidays on Amazon, coming second in sales only to the FireTV Stick by Amazon.  And everyone who reads Android news will likely know that Google has integrated Chrome and its tabbed interface into the latest version of Android's multitasking overview.  But, what of the numbers?

Let's do Chromebooks first, shall we?  5.2 million, 5,200,000, is the number of Chromebooks that are expected to be sold through the end of 2014 around the world.  As of now, December 31, there are 17 distinct Chromebook models from various manufacturers just from this past year alone.  That comes with the tag that says' many of these come from first-time Chromebook makers', and that's great news for the makers as well as those of us who prefer a certain company's design and style over another.

Chrome OS also got a healthy dose of love and made a lot of progress this year.  The OS, and specifically the browser, has gotten 8 updates this year, and that means more stability and features, and more bugs squashed.  For Chrome OS users, there are 18 Android apps officialy supported and available to install and use.  That number is impressive, seeing as the Android app compatibility was introduced as a goal and possibility at Google I/O back in June.  And those are just the official apps, since there was also a protocol developed (look for archos, you'll find it) that let a user make a Chrome-executable version of any Android app.

Also in the realm of Chrome OS are the -bas and -box suffix variations on Chrome.  We saw the first Chromebase launch, courtesy of LG, which offers Chrome OS fans an all-in-one form factor for their online and Chrome needs.  There were also the additions of Chromeboxes, a 'bring your own monitor' option for those folks that wanted a small and portable yet desktop-esque Chrome experience.

Chromecast is a little thing that doesn't have such a big footprint, but has a huge one around the world.  One year ago today, only the United States had access to Google's little casting dongle, and now more than 30 countries can make use of one of the most convenient casting opportunities available.  We've even gotten updates to Chromecast, with the ability to have it show a slideshow of images when inactive, the ability to cast your Android device's screen to the display, as well as the ability to have guests pair their device using sound instead of your Wi-Fi password.  We have also seen the number of cast-ready apps go up to hit 400 and keep on growing into the new year.

Now, the browser that made the name popular has grown this year too, and not just in program size.  Chrome on the desktop has gotten 64-bit builds for both Mac and Windows.  And Chrome on Android and iOS has become 100 million more users strong, coming to a grand total of 400 million, since June of this year.  Chrome has since been given the OS treatment for desktop with a notification panel area that shows your browser's latest attention-needing aspects and areas.  And, with Android 5.0 Lollipop, Chrome got integrated into the overview functionality, so that each tab gets to be its own page or instance in the overview interface, making the browser even better for Android users that need to get things done efficiently.

Google has a lot coming in 2015, like the first 15-inch Chromebook, possibly a new hardware iteration of the Chromecast, an bunches of new features for the browser that has the power of an OS, like always-listening voice queries, a new app launcher, and new under-the-hood improvements galore.  Chrome OS will only get more stable, Chromecast will only get more compatibility, and Chrome for mobile will hopefully only get more memory-efficient, since that's the most common complaint after Flash.  What was your best Chrome moment of 2014?  Which Chrome do you use the most: OS, Cast, or Browser?  Let us know down below.

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About the Author

Phil Bourget

Staff Writer
Using Android since 2012 and the Galaxy S III, I'm now running a Nexus 5 paired to a Moto 360 to keep updated on the Internet of stuff. Usually found on Google+ or in class.