Microsoft has been talking up ‘Windows Everywhere’ for a long time now, but it’s only with Windows 10 that it’s actually starting to get there. Google announced at Google I/O that it will take a similar approach, only from a diametrically opposite direction.
As it announced, 1.5 million Android apps will make their way to Chrome OS. Those 1.5 million apps include some of the most beloved games, productivity suites, social networking services, messaging services and the latest new app to go viral.
For an OS that basically had no apps up until now, this could be a game changer. A lot of the criticism around Chrome OS was that it was nothing more than a glorified browser. There was not much that could be done outside chrome and so having some exceptional hardware recently released for it also did not make much a dent in the market share.
Google wants to try and ensure that its users have a seamless experience across apps irrespective of what system they are being accessed on. It’s not something new and as we mentioned Microsoft has been going on about it for quite some time now. The problem for Microsoft is that they just do not have 1.5 million apps to help sell Windows 10.
One of the first questions that used to pop up during discussions of android apps on Chrome was that Google would end up alienating their core market, schools. Chrome OS has found a huge amount of success in schools around the United States because these inexpensive machines are efficient, serve basic purposes and do not allow any software to be installed on them.
Thus, schools and even business could lock down their machines without much effort. Google has for the time being worked out a solution that would prevent machines in schools and business from installing the Google Play store.
The Play store is very familiar to anyone who is on Android (which is basically most of the world) and so will be immediately accessible to most people on Chrome. Google also completely reworked its initial plans for porting android apps to Chrome to one that they say requires little to no effort at all from the developer’s end.
According to company representatives, developers just need to publish their app on the Play store and it will automatically be able to run on Chrome as well.
It is interesting that both the major computing powers, Google, and Microsoft see a similar future but radically different ways to get there. Google is going from mobile to desktop while Microsoft is trying to attempt the much harder effort of going from full OS to mobile without losing anything.
Apple too has incorporated handoff features for its core apps but is yet to fully embrace the ‘One OS’ vision. Chrome and Android will continue to exist as separate operating systems for now but it only seems like a matter of time before one merged entity will emerge.