Google Chrome Web Store Launches In USA

The Google Chrome Web Store, the browser based application marketplace that we have been anticipating for quite some time has now launched and is available to all Chrome browser users. In a blog post yesterday Google VP of Product Development Sundar Pichai had noted that the Web Store is currently available only in the United States. However, that only appears to be the case with paid apps as free applications can be accessible from anywhere.

The Chrome Web Store can be accessed from this link on any browser although you will need to access it from the Chrome browser in order to be able to download and install themes, applications and extensions. Applications are organized under a number of categories like Communication, Education, Entertainment, Family,etc. while Extensions are available under headers like Blogging, Fun, Shopping, Sports, etc.

The Chrome Web Store brings another new avenue for developers to build and sell applications from. If you are a developer, you can check out this article to learn how to build and submit your own apps to the Web Store.

Google Chrome OS Laptop – Features & Availability

Google has unveiled its upcoming CR-48 Chrome OS laptop. Right now, it is simply an unbranded model that is available for public testing – like all their web products. Branded Chrome OS laptops from companies like Acer and Samsung are expected to be available as late as mid of 2011.

So how do you get into public beta? Well, like it has always been for most of Google’s products – you have to apply to join Google’s public Pilot program. A limited number of beta laptops will be made available through the next few months and the company will get feedback from these individuals and businesses who may get the initial beta release.

Google Chrome OS Laptop CR-48

The specs of the upcoming laptop looks impressive. It features a 12.1″ screen along with a full-size keyboard, large clickpad and is equipped with a Qualcomm Gobi 3G chip. Besides this, there is also 802.11 dual band Wi-Fi connectivity, web cam and flash storage. The Chrome OS laptop is expected to last 8+ hours of active use an over 8 days of standby.

If you were wondering, the keyboard is the same as what we wrote about a few days back – a dedicated search button along with individual buttons for moving forward and backward while surfing the web.

Google Nexus S Vs. Apple iPhone 4 – Features & Pricing Compared

Google unveiled their new Nexus S smartphone yesterday. As expected, the phone will come equipped with the new Android 2.3 platform that has been dubbed Gingerbread. Like all other Google products, this one too is quite likely to be pitted against the iPhone 4. So which one is the better deal this season. We’ll take a look.

Nexus S Vs. iPhone 4

Tech Specs and Features

Dimensions : The iPhone 4 measures 4.5″ x 2.31″ x 0.37″ while the Nexus S measures 4.8″ x 2.48″ x 0.42″. So as you can see, while the Nexus S will come with a larger screen, you may also have to contend with a minor increase in thickness

Display : Apple has all along advertised the iPhone 4 for its best-in-the-industry retina display that packs 960×640 pixels. The Nexus S has a smaller display resolution at 800×480 pixels. But if you are talking about display size overall, Nexus S is better with a 4″ display compared to the 3.5″ multitouch display of iPhone 4

Hardware : Not much to choose from. Both the iPhone 4 and Nexus S are equipped with a 1GHz processor along with a 512MB RAM. The iPhone 4 comes with internal storage between 16GB and 32GB while the Nexus S has a built-in internal storage of 16GB. But unlike most other Android phones, the Nexus S does not have an external storage slot. That could quite surely be a deal-breaker for many.

Camera : Again, not much to choose from. Both phones come with a 5-Megapixel rear facing camera along with a VGA camera on the front for video chatting.

Battery : Apple wins here. One of the most advertised features on the iPhone 4 is the battery that is noted to offer up to 7 hours of talk time. While the Nexus One was noted to offer 10 hours of talk time, the new Nexus S on the contrary only gives 6 hours.

There are a lot of miscellaenous features that will be of interest on both phones. Google however has chosen to emphasize the new NFC technology on the Nexus S that will let users interact with RFID tags that you may find on t-shirts, movie posters, stickers, etc. You can quite surely expect a number of new apps and interactive ads that take advantage of this new feature to follow soon.

The Nexus S will be priced at $199 – the same as the 16GB iPhone 4. The device will be available from December 16 from Best Buy and T-Mobile stores in the US and from December 20 at Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse stores in the UK.

Personally, I do not find any big deal of advancement on the Nexus S that will make it my most-wanted phone. But that is not to say that Nexus S is a poorer choice than the iPhone 4 or any of the recent Android and Windows Phone 7 launches.

What are your views on this?

Google eBookStore Launches To Take On Apple iBookstore & Amazon Kindle

We have been following the Google Editions story for quite a while now. We first wrote about this new browser based eReader back in May this year. Since then, the project got delayed by several months to finally launch this month. Interestingly, Google has opted to go with a rather conventional eBookstore rather than ‘Google Editions‘. Writing about it on their blog, Google has noted,

“Google eBooks will be available in the U.S. from a new Google eBookstore. You can browse and search through the largest ebooks collection in the world with more than three million titles including hundreds of thousands for sale.

We designed Google eBooks to be open. Many devices are compatible with Google eBooks—everything from laptops to netbooks to tablets to smartphones to e-readers. With the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud. That means you can access your ebooks like you would messages in Gmail or photos in Picasa—using a free, password-protected Google account with unlimited ebooks storage.”

Given that Google eBookstore is readily accessible from all of the several digital platforms that you and I own, the launch already has given Google a competitive edge against rivals like Apple and Amazon. While the Apple iBookstore is only accessible over iOS devices, Amazon’s Kindle is only accessible over select platforms that run the Kindle app.

While Apple is unlikely to make any major change to their strategy, it will be interesting to see how Amazon’s counters Google’s new launch.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread Launch Today?

Interesting how we didn’t catch hold of this earlier. Notion Ink CEO Rohan Shravan may have just inadvertently given out the launch date for the highly anticipated launch of the upcoming 2.3 version of Android OS, Gingerbread. In his most recent post on the Notion Ink blog, Shravan had said,

“6th December is another big day for Android and you will find out how fast Notion Ink can work. (Eden is extremely compatible with 2.3)”

What makes this all the more credible is that it supports one of our earlier articles where we had pointed out the possibility of a December 6 release. Late last month, there were reports that Android co-founder Andy Rubin had confirmed his participation at the D:Dive Into Mobile event at San Francisco for December 6. We had soon speculated that Google could be taking the wraps off Gingerbread during the event.

Now with Shravan hinting at something similar, we know what to expect later today.

Google Chrome OS Keyboard To Feature Dedicated Search Button

Google could be taking the wraps off its Chrome OS netbook come tuesday. And apart from the software and back-end hardware that will be the focus of discussion, one another aspect that is already doing the rounds is a slightly refurbished keyboard.

According to reports, the keyboard for the upcoming Google Chrome OS netbook could come with  a dedicated button for Google search. This button is expected to replace the CAPS-lock key on the left-hand side of the keyboard. While it is not clear, it is possible that the Caps-lock function could now be invoked by using the Shift+Search combination.

Google Chrome OS netbook keyboard

Apart from the search button, another change in the keyboard layout that we have noticed is the forward and backward button on top of the keyboard along with several other control functions. These are located at the position where you normally have the function keys. While it may sound like simply reinventing the wheel, Google could be simplifying internet surfing by offering these controls on the keyboard thus making the process all the more mouse-free.

Google Nexus One Running Android 2.3 Spotted In Google Voice Search Demo Video

Gingerbread has really been taking a long time coming and with very little info available right now on what this next generation OS could look like, the anticipation level among Android users has been growing like crazy. Now thanks to a new Google video update, we seem to know about some features on this upcoming OS.

Google Hong Kong had recently made a video demonstration of the Google Voice Search application on an Android device – presumably a Nexus One. Eagle eyed viewers have pointed out that the demo could have been carried out on an Android 2.3 phone. Some new features that one may notice in the video are some new icons on the black status bar on the top of the screen, a modified launcher bar at the bottom and new options like ‘Related‘ and ‘Similar‘ on the app description page of Android market.

Interestingly, Google has pulled the video since these revelations came to light. Nevertheless, here’s a mirror video from Engadget that you can find embedded below.

Google Editions To Launch This Month In USA

It has been a long time since Google officially broke the news about its browser-based eReader project. Google Editions is regarded to be a disruptive new entrant to the ebook reader segment that is quite heavily dominated by players like Amazon. But unlike the current players who insist on proprietary hardware and software for enabling access to content, Google is planning on offering an open “read from anywhere” tool that can be accessed from any device that can connect to the internet via a web browser.

The project was earlier supposed to launch in the summer of this year, but got delayed due to technial and legal issues. Google has now confirmed that Editions shall be launching by the end of this year in the United States. Other countries are expected to get access to Editions by the first quarter of next year.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon and the rest of the eReader market react to this launch. Will customers be ready to ditch the eReader for the browser? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

New Google Nexus S Rumors Reveal OS, Carrier & More

Google Nexus S, the successor to the famed Nexus One has been doing the rounds for quite a while though we have not talked much about them in the past. Now a few pictures of the Nexus S are out in the wild that give us an idea about the phone’s features.

Firstly, the phone will indeed run on Gingerbread – aka Android 2.3 that is expected to roll out on December 6. Next is the fact that the phone will indeed be a Samsung make and will be tied to a T-Mobile network. Apart from this, the leaked Nexus S pictures also reveal a grey/black notification bar, a green highlights and a new squared-off launcher.

Apparently, the pictures were taken just a couple of days back and the word is that a launch is very much round the corner.

Google Nexus S pictures

Google Nexus S Pictures

Google ChromeBook Launching Privately In December?

Earlier this week, we got word from the Google HQ that Chrome OS was behind schedule at the moment and so netbooks running Chrome OS may not be coming this year. However, this does not mean we will not hear anything at all about the new platform.

According to a fresh rumor, Google could be “dog fooding” its new ChromeBook computer to “friends and family” of its employees during the holiday season. Dog fooding is a term used inside Google for public testing of its unreleased products. You may remember that the Nexus One too was rumored to have been released among employees in December last year before the public launch happened in January.

Google is reported to have ordered close to 75,000 such devices and while not too much of specifications related information is available right now, we do hear it will run on Intel Atom Pine Trail processor and is being manufactured by Taiwanese ODM Inventec.