Google Now Coming to Chrome Browser and OS

François Beaufort, a Google Chrome user from France, has spotted signs of impending arrival of Google Now in the Chrome browser. In the latest build of Chromium, the Google Now component extension can be enabled from chrome://flags. Before you get too excited, it’s worth pointing out that ordinary folks can’t play with it yet, since the extension requires Google Now server URL, which is yet to be uncovered.

Google Now is a personal assistant built on top of Google Search that uses natural language processing to answer questions. Additionally, it also pulls information from various Google services to highlight information it believes might be useful for the user. It was first introduced in Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), and has since then been updated several times by Google.


I am not convinced about the utility of Google Now as just a Chrome browser extension, but it does make some sense for Chrome OS, in which everything is done from the browser. In fact, it’s very much possible that Google might be planning to add new cards to Google Now to make it more appealing for desktop users. For now, it appears that Google Now will be available only on Chrome browser for Windows, and Chrome OS.

Google Chromebooks Up For Sale on Amazon and BestBuy

A few months ago, Google made a bold move to enter the Netbook market with a new web-based OS called . In the initial months, Google gave out free netbooks to few users called as Cr-48. I was one of the few lucky users to get my hands-on the Cr-48 netbook and found it pretty usable while travelling and performing tasks such as creating documents, emailing and more.


Last month, Google announced retail availability of Chromebooks in partnership with Samsung and Acer at the Google I/O 2011 conference. The sales of the Chromebooks were slated to begin by June 15, and today Google has officially announced that the Chromebooks are available for sale on Amazon and BestBuy.

Chromebooks are available from two manufactures currently; Samsung and Acer. Samsung has already released their version. However, Acer is yet to make their Chromebooks available for sale.

Samsung Chromebooks are available on Amazon starting at $429.99 for the Wi-Fi version and $499.99 for the 3G version. They are available in two colors: Black and Titan Silver. Acer Chromebooks might be available later this month, however, there is no fixed date yet.

So go ahead and browse through the available selection of Chromebooks at Amazon.

Acer & Samsung Chromebooks Orders Start June 15 (Specs)

Google is currently doing a Chromebook demo at their Google I/O  conference. While that happens, here are the details on how you can get your hands on the Chromebooks:

  • Orders begin June 15.
  • Two OEM partners: Acer and Samsung.
  • Chromebooks will be available for purchase via Amazon and Best Buy.

Specs for Samsung’s Chromebook: ($499)

  • 12.1″ (1280×800) 300 nit Display
  • 3.26 lbs / 1.48 kg
  • 8.5 hours of continuous usage  1
  • Intel ® AtomTM Dual-Core Processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • Mini-VGA port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad

Specs for Acer’s Chromebook: ($349)

  • 11.6″ HD Widescreen CineCrystalTM LED-backlit LCD
  • 2.95 lbs. | 1.34 kg.
  • 6 hours of continuous usage  1
  • Intel ® AtomTM Dual-Core Processor
  • Built in dual-band Wi-Fi and World-mode 3G (optional)
  • HD Webcam with noise cancelling microphone
  • High-Definition Audio Support
  • 2 USB 2.0 ports
  • 4-in-1 memory card slot
  • HDMI port
  • Fullsize Chrome keyboard
  • Oversize fully-clickable trackpad



Google I/O 2011 Keynotes and Conference Details

Google I/O LogoGoogle I/O 2011 is just a few days away and it will host a large number of developers who will be keen to spend two days learning more about Google’s technologies including , , Google APIs, Google Web Toolkit and App Engine among others.

Google I/O will be held on May 10 and 11 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco with the BootCamp being held on May 9, 2011 at the Mission Bay Conference Center is San Francisco. Google I/O 2011 will also have I/O Extended sessions which will be hosted around the world by Google offices, their partners and student ambassadors.


Google has released an official Google I/O app for Android. You can download the Google I/O 2011 app for Android to keep track of all the schedules, detailed session and speaker info, companies in developer sandbox and more.

Google I/O 2011 Android App

This years Keynote speakers have not yet been announced, but it would more likely than not be Android SVP, Andy Rubin and Sundar Pichai the SVP of

Google I/O 2011 might spring up several surprises in the form of the new Android OS codenamed Ice Cream, which will unify the tablet and mobile phone OS. Currently, Google is dealing with multiple OS in the form of for mobiles and Honeycomb for tablets. A unified OS will give developers and manufacturers a simpler way to develop and deploy Android on different devices.

There might also be announcement about Google Chrome OS enabled netbooks being made available to the general public. There have been rumors that Chrome OS based netbooks will be available in June-July 2011 and it looks like Google I/O would be the best time for that announcement.  Other than that, there might be other surprises in the form of updates to Google TV and Google Mobile Ads.

Here is the Google I/O 2011 schedule and keynotes that are going to be held this year.

Google I/O 2011 Schedule and Keynotes

Monday, May 9th 2011

  • On-site check-in – 1PM to 6PM
  • I/O BootCamp – 9AM to 5PM

Tuesday, May 10th 2011

  • On-site check-in from – 7AM to 9PM
  • Keynote – 9AM to 10AM
  • Developer Sandbox – 10AM to 5:30PM
  • Breakout Sessions – 10AM to 5:30PM
  • Office Hours – 12PM to 6:30PM

Wednesday, May 11th 2011

  • On-site check-in from – 7AM to 3PM
  • Keynote – 9:30AM to 10:30AM
  • Developer Sandbox – 10:30AM to 5:30PM
  • Breakout Sessions – 10:45AM to 5:15PM
  • Office Hours – 12PM to 5:30PM

Google I/O will also hold several Office Hours session on Tuesday and Wednesday where they will talk about Google Chrome, Geo Location, Google Apps, App Engine, Developer Tools, , Android, Google TV and Google Mobile Ads among other things. You can visit this page to know proper timings of the Office Hours.

The Breakout Sessions will focus on the similar topics as the Office Hours, however, those sessions will go into more details. You can find schedule of the Breakout sessions here.

You can visit the official Google I/O 2011 site for more information about the events and schedule.

No More Free Cr-48 Netbooks; Chrome OS Netbooks Coming Mid-Year

Several thousand users got lucky when Google sent out free Cr-48 netbooks to them. I was one of them too (see Cr-48 unboxing pictures, Cr-48 Easter egg). However, it looks like Google will no longer be sending out free Cr-48 netbooks to users.

Cr-48 Chrome OS Netbook

The Chrome Source saw a tweet from the VP of Product Management; Sundar Pai, where he replied to a user query. The tweet mentioned that Google will no longer be shipping the Cr-48 units. He also said that Google will be coming out with partner devices in mid-year. So you can expect to see   based netbooks coming out somewhere in June or July.

@palmjeff Sorry we have shipped all units for now. Thanks for your interest and we will have partner devices out mid-year.

I have been using the Cr-48 netbooks for few months now, and though it is not perfect (Read: What’s Lacking In Chrome OS Cr-48 Right Now? 100% Cloud Storage), it very well suffices my needs.

Google has not given any indication on with OEM’s it will be partnering with, but you can expect most of the heavyweights to offer Chrome OS based netbooks.

Did you get a free Cr-48 netbook? Do you like it or hate it? Do let me know through your comments.

Google Cr-48 Hacked To Run Windows 7 and Mac OS X

Google Cr-48, which is a pilot netbook running seems to be quite hackable. It provides users with an Easter egg in the form of developer mode and several eager developers and geeks have made use of it to do things the netbook was not supposed to do.

Windows 7 Running on Cr-48

Earlier, some geeks had managed to run Ubuntu on the device, however, here is something much more interesting. A users has managed to install and run both and Max OS X on the Chrome Cr-48 laptop.

Yes, the hardware specs and storage space might not be that great on the Cr-48, but it can definitely run these OS. Watch a video of the Google Cr-48 running Mac OS X below.

Click here if you can’t watch the video.

(Source: Engadget)

What’s Lacking In Chrome OS Cr-48 Right Now? 100% Cloud Storage

I have been playing around with the new Cr-48 (check out pictures) for over a day now and I can tell you that I can live with it for a long time. However, before I do my full review of the experience, I have to talk about certain things that are lacking in the Cr-48 and in general.

Chrome OS Cr-48 Netbook

One of the important things I have missed is the password sync, of course it should come out soon, so I will not delve much into it right now, however Chrome OS and Cr-48 have a bigger problem on hand than that.

Chrome OS Cr-48 is Not Cloud Safe

Let me backtrack a bit. When the came out, I started using a lot of , several of which provided me with in-browser experience (apps which were not just shortcuts). I reviewed quite a few of them including TweetDeck, Write Space  and Sticky notes and Note taking apps.

All of the above mentioned apps stored their data locally. I have also been using an excellent weather app called Weather Bug which works inside the browser and does not use a shortcut, however, all this data is stored locally.

Now the problem is not the apps itself, when I setup the Cr-48 and logged in all my apps were there thanks to Chrome Sync. Google is definitely driving the point of no data loss with it destroying 25 laptops, however, here is the BIG problem I wanted to talk about, If your Chrome netbook dies, you LOSE data.

What data? Well the data which these apps have stored locally, you lose them. You cannot get back that data even if you use Chrome Sync, maybe not for which stores profile information in the cloud. However, you will lose all your tabs in TweetDeck and have to set it up again.

So if you have taken tons of notes and stored it locally, when your Chrome OS Cr-48 crashes all that data will be gone, forever. There is no way to get it back and this is the biggest problem with Chrome OS and Cr-48 in general.

Like a good beta/alpha tester I reported this problem to Google, hopefully they should take note of it. Here is what I had to say to them:

I am not sure if you already do, but you should definitely provide App developers with an API to hook into Chrome Sync.

The biggest frustrating experience I have had with Cr-48 is having to reset all the settings for the apps I use. This is fair enough, little work, but your concept of having destructed several laptops to drive the cloud storage feature seems a bit flawed in this case.

If I destruct my laptop, I can get all my extensions back, but not the settings and saved data, so you are definitely not 100% cloud safe. I would seriously love to see developments in this area and also a push to developers to start using Chrome Sync rather than an external service to store data.

Of course not everyone will oblige, but I am Ok with it as long as I have access to my data no matter which laptop or netbook I use.



As you can see, my biggest problem has been the lack of cloud storage for information which Chrome does not have access to. Of course, it is up to Chrome to provide an API to Chrome Sync so that developers can make use of it to sync data in the cloud. I believe that would be a good move since many developers do not have the money to setup their own servers to store data. And frankly, I would prefer all my data sits in one place rather than it being scattered across the internets.

I am very sure that Google will add this feature to and the shortly. But, if you wanted an honest opinion from me about the Cr-48, I would say that it is not yet 100% cloud-safe.

No Video Recording Capabilities

Another feature that is lacking in Chrome OS and Cr-48 in general is the lack of native video recording. Though this is specifically my own blogging rant, I do feel that it should include a feature.

For example, I wanted to record something on Chrome OS itself, but wasn’t able to do it properly. Of course I used a camera to do it but the video was not perfect at all. To top it there are no apps right now in the Chrome Web Store which support video screencasting. This is not a big deal but people will want it in future.

Overall, there are several more things which I am exploring right now, however, the app data store in Chrome Sync is definitely a feature I will be looking forward to.

Easter Egg In Google CR-48 Netbook – Developer Jailbreak Mode

Google is sending out the CR-48 netbook through their pilot program for free. Many users have already received their netbooks, including me; do checkout some unboxing and hands-on pictures of Chrome OS CR-48 netbook. However, Google’s Chrome OS based CR-48 has a hidden Easter egg and it is called developer mode.


Why is it an Easter egg? Because it takes time to find it and it is hidden inside the battery chassis of the laptop. To enable developer mode, you will have to remove the battery and then remove a sticker next to the battery connector and flip the switch towards the battery connector.

CR-48 Developer Scare Screen

Once you do that insert your battery back in and then reboot Chrome. You will see a scary screen as shown above, it shows a message saying:

Chrome OS verification is turned off. Press space to begin recovery

Don’t worry, just press Ctrl + D and you will on your way booting into your Cr-48. Also, you will always see this screen when you restart the machine, so remember to use the hotkey above.

Booting Cr-48 In Developer Mode

When you boot into developer mode for the first time, Chrome will delete some data and your older profiles, however, you have nothing to worry about since your data is always stored in the cloud.

Google Cr-48 Running Top

I was able to use this developer mode to figure out what is behind Cr-48, there are few things I found out which include:

  1. Cr-48 has a 16GB SSD
  2. Cr-48 has 2GB Ram
  3. Cr-49 has Xorg package installed.

Phew, I will continue my hacking around with the Cr-48 and update you’ll whenever I come across new and interesting things, so stay tuned.

h/t All Credit to the folks at Chrome OS Site for pointing this out.

Google Cr-48 Unboxing Pictures and Netbook Pictures

The Cr-48 netbook just arrived in our stables and I am pretty excited about it. I have already started playing with the netbook and so far it feels pretty good.

Chrome Cr-48 Netbook

There are a few standout features on this device one of them is the casing for the laptop, it’s more like plastic and feels different when you use it. Along with that the multi-touchpad is also pretty good and the keyboard feels great while typing. Checkout the entire specs of Cr-48.

Overall, I have just used the Cr-48 netbook for a few hours. I plan to spend a lot of time with it this weekend so expect a really detailed review of the device some time next week.

In the meantime take a look at the unboxing pictures and the device tour in the embedded album below.

Waiting For a Cr-48 Laptop From Google? Here is How To Track It

Google is sending out free Chrome OS Cr- 48 laptops to users who register on a selective basis. If you are one of the people who registered for the pilot program, here is some bad news, Google is not sending out emails to users who are going to receive a laptop, they want it to be a surprise. However, you can track Chrome laptop deliveries in your area thanks to a nifty app.


The Cr-48 Tracker app uses the UPS API to display shipping information for the laptops that have been shipped or are in transit. Once you enter your city and state, the app will display information as shown in the screenshot above. The good thing is that, it drills down deliveries down to zip codes, so you can easily see if your zip code is receiving any laptops.

Pretty nifty and nice way to track your Cr-48 laptop deliveries.