Google has quickly become a dominant force in the technology industry and it shows no signs of slowing down. The company’s latest expansion features additions to their Chrome lineup of products.
Google Chrome was originally just the name of a web browser, but over the last few years Google has used the name as a label for a series of products. The Chrome product portfolio includes devices that are geared towards internet connectivity and that don’t rely on native apps to be useful. Chromebox and Chromecast are the two latest additions to the Chrome lineup.
The, Asus made, Chromebox began shipping on March 14th. It’s a stripped down PC that runs Google’s Chrome OS. At $179 the box is extremely affordable, but the biggest hurdle for Mac or PC users is the absence of traditional office applications like Microsoft’s Word and Excel.
The Chromebox follows in the footsteps of Google’s Chromebooks which, like their name implies, are laptops built for Chrome OS.
Google is able to keep prices low on Chrome products because Chrome OS is designed for users who primarily only need internet access. They can leave out the huge hard drive and powerful CPU because Chrome OS isn’t meant to run native applications, or store large amounts of files. The assumption is that Chrome OS users only need enough power to run web apps.
Chrome OS is based on Linux and incorporates themes from the Chrome web browser, such as a clean look and feel. The operating system is perfect for the devices that Google has designed for it, and its simplicity fits well with its functionality.
The popularity of media streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu+, and Amazon Prime have lead to demand for devices that allow users to play that type of content on their TVs. Roku and Apple TV are examples of products that allow users to stream their content on a television with relative ease.ChromeCast is Google’s attempt to enter this market.
ChromeCast was released in the United States last July, but just began its international rollout with its UK release this month. Chromecast allows users to stream content from applications on their phones, tablets or computers. Two major advantages Chromecast has over Roku and Apple TV is price and ease of use. Chromecast retails for only $35 which is much cheaper than Apple TV and is about the same price as Roku’s lowest-end product. Chromecast was clearly designed with ease of use in mind. To use Chromecast the user simply downloads the app on their internet connected device, connects the Chromecast to the internet, and plug the Chromecast into their TV.
Google’s Chrome lineup of products is an interesting direction for the company. As internet connectivity becomes more ubiquitous and more and more computing comes in the form of web apps and in the cloud expect Google to continue with this lineup.