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Pixel Picture Clearer? Google Ports Office-Substitute To Chrome OS, Browser

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the suite-port,-man dept.

Chrome 158

CWmike writes "Google confirmed on Tuesday that it has ported part of QuickOffice to a technology baked into Chrome OS and the company's Chrome browser. The popular iOS and Android app substitute for Microsoft Office that Google acquired last year will run using 'Native Client,' a technology that lets developers turn applications written in C and C++ — originally intended to run in, say, Windows. With that it will execute entirely within a browser, specifically Google's own Chrome. Google claims that Native Client code runs almost as fast inside the browser as the original did outside. QuickOffice viewers come bundled with the $1,300 Chrome OS-based Chromebook Pixel notebook, and Google will add editing functionality in the next two to three months. Does this all make the Pixel make more sense?"

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Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021179)

No.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (2, Informative)

Qwavel (733416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021423)

Agreed, but what does this have to do with the Pixel??

I can see this as a story about MS vs. Google, or about Google's Native Client technology - which, incidentally, is supported by the Chrome browser. It is not - as this story seems to suggest - limited to ChromeOS or the Pixel.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (2)

MurukeshM (1901690) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022475)

But when you see that Google intends Pixel+ChromeOS to be more than a toy. If Office, why not, say, GIMP or some audio/video editing software? *That* plus the 1TB-for-3-years - suddenly Pixel+ChromeOS makes a little bit more sense, though I still think its overpriced.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (1)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021469)

No.

Well put. It still makes no sense because with the exception of the screen it's packed with old or unreasonably spec'd hardware at a ridiculously high price compared to an Apple product (that are supposed to be high priced crap by a lot of /. opinion) that runs a full OS, plus a browser, plus a cloud, plus a lot of other things a real computer can do. Then there's an Android based system with a large app base, extensible, cheaper, more storage (32 GB SSD in the Chrome book Pixel?!?! Seriously?!?!). I could go on with other examples but the amount of negativity is already crushing this thing that one app suite that runs without the cloud is supposed to save this thing?. Not only no, but absolutely no.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (0)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022225)

It still makes no sense because with the exception of the screen it's packed with old or unreasonably spec'd hardware at a ridiculously high price compared to an Apple product (that are supposed to be high priced crap by a lot of /. opinion) that runs a full OS, plus a browser, plus a cloud, plus a lot of other things a real computer can do

Well, you can run Linux on every ChromeBook/Box out there - just flip the developer switch and install Linux.

Of course, if you're looking for a practical reason for a user who would probably want Windows or OS X.... well....

you could buy an Apple if you wanted high res, or you could buy an Ultrabook for less and get better value, for most people.

For /. though, running Linux on it would make sense, though they'd probably just get a MacBook Pro/Retina or an Ultrabook and get a better PC for not a whole lot more.

Cloud fail? (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021557)

Whatever happens to their sales pitch for Google Docs for enterprise?

Re:Cloud fail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021883)

Huh? This is still Google Docs. I think the mis-leading summary has confused people.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (1)

InfoJunkie777 (1435969) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021593)

No.

I had looked into the Chromebook, as it is a good price. But once I saw it was a "cloud machine" with limited memory, I found many better deals elsewhere, including Google's only Nexus (if one can find one - they seem to be continually "sold out"). But I am confused why Google would do this. They already have Google Docs. Guess I am not up on it. This is "cloud only"? The new Pixel is just ridiculous. Sure the screen is good. I don't even LIKE Apple products. But the Airbook still seems to be a better deal at that price point.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (1)

monzie (729782) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023057)

some people, yours truly included, prefer the lag-free typing that one gets on a decent-powered desktop app. I have always found lag while using online wordprocessors. They keyboard shortcuts that I use/want-to-use are not present, not properly implemented. There are other reasons. I want to use a stable 'decent' alternate solution which lets me work on the desktop with ease. Right now my choices are limited to LibreOffice and AbiWord/Gnumeric.

Slashvertisement (1)

mystikkman (1487801) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021895)

>Google will add editing functionality in the next two to three months

What? An Office suite without editing functionality on a $1300 device? Computers were more capable in the 70s and 80s.

Also look at the summary from the story yesterday about HP making Android tablets:
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/02/25/2129208/hp-continuing-to-flee-windows-reservation-with-android-tablet?utm_source=rss1.0mainlinkanon&utm_medium=feed [slashdot.org]

"Hewlett-Packard seems more determined than ever to flee the Windows reservation, unveiling a $170 Android tablet, the HP Slate 7. It runs Google Android 4.1, the first version of the 'Jelly Bean' build, which has been ever so slightly outdated by the recent release of Android 4.2. This isn't the first time in recent memory that HP's opted for a Google product over one offered by longtime partner Microsoft. As it helpfully pointed out in a press release, HP has produced a Chromebook running Google's Chrome OS, a largely cloud-dependent operating system for laptops and notebooks. Built around Google services such as Gmail, Chrome OS also offers access to the Chrome Web Store, an online storefront for apps. If HP and other manufacturers increasingly adopt Google's offerings over Windows, it could cause some consternation among Microsoft executives. Microsoft, of course, is pushing Windows 8, which is meant to run on tablets and traditional PCs with equal facility. If it wants the Windows division to continue as a cash cow, it needs manufacturers to adopt that operating system in massive numbers. Android and Chrome OS could make that strategy a lot more difficult."

What has Chrome OS got to do with HP making Android tablets that it deserves a huge section of the summary to shill it?

The shilling and astroturfing is heavy here.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022439)

I agree, but only because it already made perfect sense. Google is not trying to make a mass market popular device, they are setting a high bar for Chromebooks to change their image from cheap low end device to luxury laptop.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022735)

That is a fine thing to want to do. The limitations of the device stops it from being luxury; but it is nice to see that screen being used. Maybe others will take note and we can kick start something better.

Re:Does all this make the Pixel make more sense? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022825)

Pixel Picture Clearer?

Still to cloudy to see.

This is what Islam is all about (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021191)

Defend it if you must but you are just proving how much of a pig you are for standing up for these shitballs [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This is what Islam is all about (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021489)

give me an accurate percentage of muslims actively committing these acts. turning a blind eye is done equally on all sides when it comes to the "home team", so that part is irrelevant.

Grammurh? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021197)

I had to re-read this summary multiple times to understand it. I'm not saying it needs to be perfect, I know I'm not, but that summary is just terribly written.

make more sense? (3, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021207)

...ported part of QuickOffice...
...add editing functionality in the next two to three months...


"make more sense?"
Not yet, but keep going.

Re:make more sense? (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021599)

Your smartphone can take a picture, right?

When will MS get Touch Office out the door? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022455)

What struck me about Surface RT was it came with MS Office but didn't support touch. Indeed the Office division barely ported it across with only a few tweaks (they boasted about turning off the cursor blink as if that was a big thing!). The whole OS seemed to have been botched to run the desktop version of Office.

It's like Microsoft are lazy or have corporate inertia.

So whether Google delivers a successful Office port for Chrome is not as important as whether they deliver a touch version. Because a touch version would easily port to Android and be across everything. Then MS's second cash cow would also be under attack (think Windows 8 vs Android).

Re:When will MS get Touch Office out the door? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022535)

What struck me about Surface RT was it came with MS Office but didn't support touch. Indeed the Office division barely ported it across with only a few tweaks (they boasted about turning off the cursor blink as if that was a big thing!). The whole OS seemed to have been botched to run the desktop version of Office.

It's like Microsoft are lazy or have corporate inertia.

So whether Google delivers a successful Office port for Chrome is not as important as whether they deliver a touch version. Because a touch version would easily port to Android and be across everything. Then MS's second cash cow would also be under attack (think Windows 8 vs Android).

previously MS ui kits were built _FOR_ office(so what if it was practically 20 years ago).
because that makes sense, you know, because otherwise the office team has to hack an ui on top of an ui kit not suitable at all for building a text processor.

aaaaaand that's what they have to do with metro.

Translation (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021209)

Google figured out that a computer that runs only cloud based stuff isn't such a good idea. But, since Chrome OS doesn't have native apps, they had to hack those native apps into Chrome, where they run "almost as fast" as they would if they were proper applications under a real OS. As a demonstration of how great this technology is, Google hacked an entire open source office suite into Chrome.

That certainly does explain why you'd want to buy a Chromebook that costs more than an ultrabook or an Air.

It almost sounds like Google wrote the summary... except for the use of annoying cliches and the incomplete sentences.

Re:Translation (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021303)

...except for the use of annoying cliches and the incomplete sentences.

You're looking at the glass as half empty instead of half full here. it's a start ....

I know, folks are penny wise and pound foolish with some of the Chrome book .... of course there's a silver lining here - it will make Chrome OS more usable outside of a dumb terminal for the cloud.

anyway, I'll make like a tree ....

Re:Translation (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021351)

it will make Chrome OS more usable outside of a dumb terminal for the cloud.

Yeah and if I spray perfume on a dog turd it's slightly less stinky. Yet it still smells like shit.

Re: Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022039)

God darnit, Anonymous Coward,, you use your tongue prettier than a twenty dollar whore.

Re:Translation (0)

multimediavt (965608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021539)

...except for the use of annoying cliches and the incomplete sentences.

You're looking at the glass as half empty instead of half full here. it's a start ....

I know, folks are penny wise and pound foolish with some of the Chrome book .... of course there's a silver lining here - it will make Chrome OS more usable outside of a dumb terminal for the cloud.

An IBM Selectric typewriter is more usable than a dumb terminal outside the cloud. What's your point? What you wrote up there didn't make much sense. It's a start to what? The product failing in the marketplace due to poor hardware specification? A nonexistent application base unless you have internet connectivity? (one app suite ain't gonna cut it) Less storage than a tablet unless you have internet connectivity? Because you inverted the meaning of "penny wise and pound foolish" [thefreedictionary.com] ? The glass isn't even close to half anything. It's got a few drops of water in it from where it was cleaned before being put on the store shelf and the bulls are already in the china shop.

Re:Translation (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021649)

An IBM Selectric typewriter is more usable than a dumb terminal outside the cloud.

Haha! That was a funny summary of an offline Chrome OS.

Re:Translation (4, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022333)

Actually, it's not just about the software, but the method of delivery of it. Think the App Store/Google Play/Chrome Web Store. With this play, Google is deploying mass-market business applications through a centrally managed repository/marketplace that runs on a portable browser platform. This is Google's vision of the PC, and also the reason why Microsoft has been such a big detractor of Google. If Google can pull this off, Microsoft will go the way of Blackberry.

Re:Translation (2)

macs4all (973270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023765)

Actually, it's not just about the software, but the method of delivery of it. Think the App Store/Google Play/Chrome Web Store. With this play, Google is deploying mass-market business applications through a centrally managed repository/marketplace that runs on a portable browser platform. This is Google's vision of the PC, and also the reason why Microsoft has been such a big detractor of Google. If Google can pull this off, Microsoft will go the way of Blackberry.

...and then all our base belong to Google.

Re:Translation (4, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021367)

Google figured out that a computer that runs only cloud based stuff isn't such a good idea. But, since Chrome OS doesn't have native apps, they had to hack those native apps into Chrome, where they run "almost as fast" as they would if they were proper applications under a real OS. As a demonstration of how great this technology is, Google hacked an entire open source office suite into Chrome.

That certainly does explain why you'd want to buy a Chromebook that costs more than an ultrabook or an Air.

It almost sounds like Google wrote the summary... except for the use of annoying cliches and the incomplete sentences.

Quickoffice [wikipedia.org] isn't open source - it's a proprietary IOS and Android app... Google bought the company last year.

I'd be more impressed if they *did* port Openoffice/Libreoffice to Chrome.

Re:Translation (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022481)

I would be even more impressed if they open sourced Chrome.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022515)

I see what you did there.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022713)

Sorry if I've missed your point, but Chrome is as open source as its going to get with the Chromium project, and I don't much care for any proprietary shit that is included in Chrome and not Chromium (that doesn't mean I care for everything that is included in Chromium or would care for the proprietary bits if they were open sourced and included in Chromium.)

Re:Translation (3, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021393)

I would think that it is more an admission that they are not going to be able to get a real office app totally on the cloud, at least not for a profit. I have been really disappointed at the lack of development in Google docs over the past year. They have clearly become bored with the project, and one again gone off on another tangent. That is the thing with Google. No focus, other than collecting user data and selling it, which is fine, but they used to give us good services in return.

The price point is also confusing. It is $100 more than a MacBook air. I know it comes with an office app, cellular and a touch screen, but OO.org is free, and the Apple office suite is only $60, for all the machines on an account. And a cellular router is only $60, and if you buy it separately you can go with any carrier you want. It is not like this thing is a tablet and you will walking around with it. OTOH, it only comes with 32GB, while that air comes with 128GB. Of course you get 1TB online for 3 years, but we all know how reliable Google is at responding to end user problems. In any case it is a $150 value.

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022729)

Maybe there hasn't been much progress on Google docs over the past year because they have been working on their new aquisition, Quickoffice, behind the scenes and how they can integrate that or technology from it with google docs.

The progress with the phone version of Android was pretty slow while they were working on the tablet version and how to integrate the two versions back together.

Re:Translation (2)

macs4all (973270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023817)

I have been really disappointed at the lack of development in Google docs over the past year. They have clearly become bored with the project, and one again gone off on another tangent. That is the thing with Google. No focus, other than collecting user data and selling it, which is fine, but they used to give us good services in return.

Exactly.

Google has a very distressing habit of going all-out on a Project, then, even if it is even moderately successful, suddenly saying "Well, we're done with this. Thanks for playing!" Everyone does this to some extent; but Google is even worse about it than Microsoft (I think).

Re:Translation (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021407)

So you mean the network isn't the computer? How do you Gage that?
For those that missed the feeble joke the "new" cloud thing was pushed hard by John Gage at Sun around a decade or more ago. The difference now is we've got more bandwidth, better CGI scripts (by whatever name), and the ability to drag in more content from other places than just images hosted elsewhere. I'm not sure what we've got in the way of client side scripting in any better considering all the java problems and active-x being an almost certain malware vector since day one.

Re:Translation (3, Informative)

Qwavel (733416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021451)

Your 'translation' is wrong on every point.
- Native Client apps are cloud apps - they just use a different client technology.
- Second Chrome OS (and Chrome) does have native apps - via NaCl - and has for a while. This isn't new at all.
- This isn't hacked into Chrome - it's not part of Chrome at all.
- There is no way that anyone at Google would want to write such a misleading and confusing summary.

This is just a new cloud app, that runs on an existing client technology that's been built-into Chrome and Chrome OS for a while.

Re:Translation (0)

Qwavel (733416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021857)

Ah slashdot. Someone writes negative comment that is factually incorrect on every point - modded to 5. I correct their mistakes - modded down to zero. I think it would be more satisfying if the modder had to also respond to my comment.

Re:Translation (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022841)

You suck.

(As an example of modder feedback)

Re:Translation (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021463)

Perhaps (and I could be wrong here) another reason to buy this Pixel is that it's got decent hardware but isn't going to be troubled by secure-boot and things like that so you can install your own OS on it if you get tired of chrome-OS.

Re:Translation (1)

unrtst (777550) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021699)

Perhaps (and I could be wrong here) another reason to buy this Pixel is that it's got decent hardware but isn't going to be troubled by secure-boot and things like that so you can install your own OS on it if you get tired of chrome-OS.

No. It DOES have secure boot on it. It's got a dev mode and a 3rd BIOS slot that boots an more standard bios image (I probably could have phrased that better), but you will still be troubled by secure boot, assuming you find it troubling in the first place. If you choose to use it this way, you're stuck in developer mode, which means it will take 30 seconds longer than usual to load every time you start it, because the boot sequence feels the need to take that time to remind you that you’re in Developer Mode. More info from a google dev that put Linux Mint on it: https://plus.google.com/100479847213284361344/posts/QhmBpn5GNE9 [google.com]

It's got *some* great hardware, but it's lacking in other areas (memory, local storage, battery life (5hr is good for a full blown laptop, but I'd like to see more from a 12.5" chromebook), physical screen size (2560x1700 makes me want it on a 15"+ screen), no USB 3.0, no eSATA, no ethernet (has wifi)). I'm sure it's perfect for some, but I'm still looking for the one.

Re:Translation (2)

hawkingradiation (1526209) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021929)

Actually you can press Ctrl-D to avoid having to wait the extra 30 seconds once you are in developer mode according to the informative link. When are we going to get Chrome(books|boxes) along with Google Play Music and some decent movies of which some have appeared to have been removed on Google Play in Canada? What are the issues? High bandwidth cost with the cell phone providers? Recalcitrance by the content providers? Why not a Wifi version?

Re:Translation (1)

macs4all (973270) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023865)

Perhaps (and I could be wrong here) another reason to buy this Pixel is that it's got decent hardware but isn't going to be troubled by secure-boot and things like that so you can install your own OS on it if you get tired of chrome-OS.

Same with a MacBook (any model). No "secure boot" there, and much better build quality, too.

Now, what was your point, again?

Re:Translation (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022299)

I think you're mixing openoffice with quickoffice.
openoffice port would have been impressive(and useful).

quickoffice on the other hand is a document READER application for which google paid an ungodly sum of money for after quickoffices money pipe from Nokia was cut short after nokia finally after 3 years of "really soon now" got their act together and helped MS do the port to symbian for MS's own office tools(which was kinda late anyhow, since symbian at that point was on it's way out - but the point is quickoffice should have been dead for good riddance years ago).

(and they plan to add editing functionality but that's a lot easier said than done - and they're native apps.. launched by/in the browser process. they're slightly sandboxed of course but native apps anyhow so it is really a case of "hey we don't have native apps! let's run native code!!!!").

Re:Translation (1)

shitzu (931108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022319)

As a demonstration of how great this technology is, Google hacked an entire open source office suite into Chrome.

Quickoffice is open source?

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022919)

This post is so hilariously ignorant on nearly every point.
How the hell did this get a +5 insightful?
What the hell has happened on here, are people just as clueless on here as well now?

Native Client has existed in Chrome for ages now.
You could enable it manually by activating the flag in the expert options (aka, URL-only options)
There is no hacking needed, NaCi does all the translation part itself.

The cloud part, however, that is completely true.
Cloud-computing won't work for another 2 decades at least, when we actually get a stable network. (that is globally, not just in the awful areas like the UK an US)

Re:Translation (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023019)

"almost as fast" as they would if they were proper applications under a real OS

Just like Windows then...

more sense? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021211)

$1300 for a netbook? No, thanks.

Re:more sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021715)

$1300 for a netbook? No, thanks.

$1500 for the base model?

No than...oh wait, it's Apple you're talking about? Oh, in that case, let me stand in line for hours and buy two.

Common Sense and consumer statistics often do not find correlations. Never underestimate the purchasing stupidity of large groups of people wanting to be cool.

What is a browser anyway? (4, Insightful)

gadzook33 (740455) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021263)

While I think anyone has to be impressed by how extensible the browser and HTML has been and how far it's all been able to go, are we going to at some point face the fact that we're using the browser for something it was never intended for? We want a browser experience that feels like a native app, but we shun things like flash and silverlight (and even java!). Don't we need to eventually concede the possibility that something like Silverlight wouldn't be that bad? If it weren't for the MS tie-in, and it was truly an open standard, wouldn't it make more sense than trying to string together HTML and JavaScript in clever ways to accomplish the same thing?

Re:What is a browser anyway? (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021365)

If it weren't for the MS tie-in, and it was truly an open standard, wouldn't it make more sense than trying to string together HTML and JavaScript in clever ways to accomplish the same thing?

Why is "stringing together HTML and Javascript" a bad way of doing things? Really, for these UI-type things, most development models involve you creating "things", stringing them together with "actions" and (possibly) changing the way they look with a "skin". Why is using HTML to define the things, javscript to define the actions, and CSS to describe the skin, a bad idea? Is there a different language for one of those functions that you think is more appropriate to that particular domain for some reason?

In short HTML+JS+CSS are rapidly (relatively speaking) converging on the capabilities of Flash/Silverlight - and bringing some of their historical strengths (accessibility, separation of content and style, human-readable data formats, open standards, etc) to the table as well. I mean, doesn't Flash even now use a Javascript dialect for its scripting capabilities?

Re:What is a browser anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021411)

For me, when you tack on the back end language, you end up with a kludge. Also, there still isn't an HTML designer / editor that works as well as the old Win32 designers. After. All. These. Years.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

TuringTest (533084) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022487)

That's because HTML is a semantic language, not a visual language. A designer would work against the languages purpose, and only serve for limited purposes. (There are *lots* of HTML designers that work "as well as Win32" for limited purposes, btw.)

Re:What is a browser anyway? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022701)

That's because HTML is a semantic language

No wonder everybody hates the Jews.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

Motard (1553251) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023859)

And that's why HTML is not very good for doing visual things. HTML's original purpose is directly at odds with the roles it is being asked to perform today.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021459)

I'd prefer to do it all in one language, not three plus the back end, plus the various JS frameworks. It seems like a klugey hack to me based on a model that was not intended to be used the way the web is being used today. We've overextended it. But seems to be typical. Something that was good enough for a limited domain gets extended to cover all scenarios, when there are older and better technologies around. For example, did we have to reinvent everything on the desktop in the browser?

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021703)

Exactly. I created a web based ERP system in last 3 years and I feel that with every cell of my body.

JavaScript is not suitable for large scale development, even with frameworks (We use JQuery). It is difficult to introduce structure into it, it does not handle typed variables well and several other shortcomings. It was not supposed to be used for large scale serious applications in my opinion.

Html itself is a messy language (if at all).

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021849)

I wouldn't consider JQuery a framework, and if that's what you were looking for, no wonder you had problems. JQuery is a nice collection of shortcuts with a selector engine and some cross-platform abstraction, that over time has grown into something more powerful simply because of how common it is. It's getting better, especially as they throw away some backwards compatibility with older versions, but I wouldn't use it as my starting point for a full web app or an ERP system.

If you wanted an honest-to-goodness framework, you should at least have gone with MooTools (which was built ground-up to be a cleaner object-oriented solution), or a full Framework [tutsplus.com] .

Re:What is a browser anyway? (2)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022031)

I'd prefer to do it all in one language, not three plus the back end

Why? You don't use C++ to query a database do you? Why would you use it to describe a visual style? It's a procedural programming language, not a stylesheet language. Horses for courses.

plus the various JS frameworks

What, you never use any common libraries for your non-web code? That's all those JS frameworks are - useful, general functions collected into a library.

...gets extended to cover all scenarios, when there are older and better technologies around. For example, did we have to reinvent everything on the desktop in the browser?

Bad example. An app that runs on the desktop is not comparable to one that performs the same function in a browser. For one, the browser app is inherently accessible remotely; it almost certainly stores files remotely, and is orders of magnitude easier to make cross-platform than your average desktop app (unless it was written explicitly with cross-platformness in mind, and often even then).

When people started wanting apps that were accessible from multiple devices, accessing files stored in a central, remote location, browser-based applications started taking off. Not because they were new and shiny, but because they were doing something the desktop ones didn't.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (2)

theVarangian (1948970) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022449)

If it weren't for the MS tie-in, and it was truly an open standard, wouldn't it make more sense than trying to string together HTML and JavaScript in clever ways to accomplish the same thing?

Why is "stringing together HTML and Javascript" a bad way of doing things? Really, for these UI-type things, most development models involve you creating "things", stringing them together with "actions" and (possibly) changing the way they look with a "skin". Why is using HTML to define the things, javscript to define the actions, and CSS to describe the skin, a bad idea? Is there a different language for one of those functions that you think is more appropriate to that particular domain for some reason?

In short HTML+JS+CSS are rapidly (relatively speaking) converging on the capabilities of Flash/Silverlight - and bringing some of their historical strengths (accessibility, separation of content and style, human-readable data formats, open standards, etc) to the table as well. I mean, doesn't Flash even now use a Javascript dialect for its scripting capabilities?

I have used 'Office' apps written in HTML+Javascript as well as poor-mans Visio substitutes written in Flash and while they were useful for casual note taking they quickly reached their limits once I wanted to do a bit more like add references, automatically indexed figures and captions, figure and tables indexes, tables of content, etc. With drawing programs written in Flash it was pretty much the same story plus only begin able to export your drawings in some strange Flash format or JPG/PNG/etc. wasn't exactly condusive to portability. While I'm sure these features can be added, it still seems that no matter how hard the developers try they never seem to be able to get the user experience consistent accross different browsers. Finally, while native apps can also be buggy and badly designed from a UI perspective with these HTML+Javascrip webapps you get an addititonal category of bugs and annoyances that are down to Javascript being used to try and make something inherently stateless like HTML into a statefull event driven app. This is even the case with Google Docs which is one of the better alternatives.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023481)

It's not a bad way of doing things, but neither was FORTRAN. That doesn't mean it's the best tool for the job. I'm not promoting flash here, but a framework/engine like Silverlight accomplishes all the things you just listed and enables a much greater level of productivity (in my opinion) than HTML/JS/CSS. We still don't have great tool sets for quickly developing good solutions using those techs (yes, I know people are going to argue this isn't true but if you reasonably compare what's available to other technologies, it's not even close).

Re:What is a browser anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021473)

While I think anyone has to be impressed by how extensible the browser and HTML has been and how far it's all been able to go, are we going to at some point face the fact that we're using the browser for something it was never intended for? We want a browser experience that feels like a native app, but we shun things like flash and silverlight (and even java!). Don't we need to eventually concede the possibility that something like Silverlight wouldn't be that bad? If it weren't for the MS tie-in, and it was truly an open standard, wouldn't it make more sense than trying to string together HTML and JavaScript in clever ways to accomplish the same thing?

Did you read the summery? This is a native client application: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Native_Client

Silverlight and flash are shunned because for all practical purposes they only work in a single runtime environment. That environment places many restrictions on the programer in the name of security, but the security track record of the environment itself is so terrible that it is not clear the user is any better off. Java has a real standard with multiple implementations, but the only widely deployed runtime has a terrible security record.

"Something like silverlight", but with the following properties, would be wonderful:
    * As performant as compiled code, or very close.
    * An open spec anyone can implement, and be sure they will not be sued later.
    * At least one widely used open implementation.
    * Works on the top three consumer OSes.
    * A solid security track record.

Native client meets these criteria.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021573)

Yet:

"Although Google has debuted a partial native client edition of QuickOffice on Chrome OS and plans to wrap up the port on that platform, there are no technical barriers that prevent the finished application from also running within the Chrome browser on Windows, OS X and Linux.

Google declined to comment on whether or when it will offer QuickOffice for Chrome."

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022011)

I would be reluctant to claim a "solid security track record", until we start actually seeing active use of NaCl.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022343)

The problems with HTML/web arise because it is stateless, browsers differ in their implementation, and the only language available on the front end is js, which is not terrible, but not beautiful either, and content is not always separated from code.

The many advantages of HTML/web come from the fact that it is stateless, most operations are idempotent and cachable, URIs can be shared, and that it's so simple even humans can create it by hand (and getting simpler with html5), readers get to control presentation and parse content, writers get to use any language on the server, content is easy to separate from code, there is no one way to do things or awful widget library, and browsers are constantly pushing the envelope.

Personally I don't want a browser experience just like a native app, there are several aspects of web apps which I'd like to keep - urls, fast updates, stateless operation, control over presentation, open data, and many from a dev perspective, chief amongst which is i don't need to rely on a platform vendor at all, and deal with their annoying toolkit and their currently blessed technology of the year.

The only thing I'd change about html dev is a better front end language (ideally a sandboxed vm shared by all browsers on which people can port whatever language they want) and a faster protocol like spdy, otherwise it's really not bad compared to mobile or desktop app dev, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Re:What is a browser anyway? (1)

gadzook33 (740455) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023137)

I agree that statelessness is almost always a desirable trait. However, it's not a trait that is unique to HTML. When you include the back end in this and consider RIA type applications, it becomes even murkier. You're going to be hard pressed to make the argument that gmail exhibits idempotency. At the same time, it's a rather useful tool!

Coherence (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021277)

Or is meant to be a cloud computer, or is not (and it have too little hard disk to not be). There are things that have sense to run locally (i.e. some games), but for Google strategy the only fitting office alternative is a local version of google docs (for editing offline), not another different office suite, with different formats, different functionality, and not meant to be edited online.

Sounds like the best of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021287)

The productive UI of a web browser combined with the Internet security of a native application.

Re:Sounds like the best of both worlds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021329)

I heard they are re-branding Native Client as ActiveNC.

Everything old is new again (4, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021327)

Hurray to Google for re-inventing ActiveX. May they have just as much success as Microsoft with it.

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021337)

This. POTD

Re:Everything old is new again (2)

Qwavel (733416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021495)

Native client is open-source; activeX was not. That has very real implications: though I doubt we'll see MS adopt, there is a very real possibility that Firefox and Opera could.

Look at SPDY for comparison. Google added it to Chrome, now Amazon, Opera, Firefox, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all using it.

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43021667)

A lot of ActiveX was delivered as "shared source" (source code available but under Microsoft's copyright) in the form of a Visual Studio component called Active Template Library (ATL). That didn't help with the security issue - an ActiveX component could do just about anything that an shrink-wrapped application could (MS eventually added some weak sandboxing, but they were too little, too late).

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

Qwavel (733416) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021765)

No. ATL was for developers to write components compatible with ActiveX - that's different then making ActiveX itself open-source.

And, as you point out, MS's license ensured that no one else adopted it. It was meant as a proprietary extension.

Google mostly uses standard open-source licenses, like GPL and Apache - that's why their technologies get adopted.

Re:Everything old is new again (2)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022051)

What do you mean by "ActiveX was not open source"? ActiveX is a protocol, a specification - a bunch of ABIs (COM) and APIs [microsoft.com] . IE is closed-source, yes, but you can definitely have another browser support ActiveX controls (in fact, Mozilla was halfway there with XPCOM, and someone actually wrote a plugin for it that lets it host ActiveX controls). For that matter, ActiveX was never IE-specific - any Windows app can host a control, and many apps do, both those from Microsoft and third-party ones. It does not require any secret magic closed source code.

The real problem is that ActiveX controls are inherently non-portable, because the API is Windows-centric - for example, it deals in things like Win32 device context and window handles.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

BZ (40346) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022271)

NaCl is open source but tied to totally undocumented Chrome internals via Pepper, which makes it pretty hard to adopt without adopting Chrome wholesale.

Worse yet, NaCl is tied to particular hardware, which means that if it gets traction on the web the bar for a new hardware platform would become very high (think "ARM would not have been viable if this had happened 15 years ago" high). PNaCl, if/when it starts working would help with that problem, but not the Pepper dependency.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022473)

Chrome itself is actually not open source.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021529)

Actually, it's more like everything old is still old.

Given that Native Client has been around for five years now, don't you think you've had enough time to learn that it's NOT like ActiveX?. Try Googling Native Client vs ActiveX to get yourself started.

This could actually sink Chrome altogether (1)

popo (107611) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021737)

It was ActiveX that almost single handedly drove users away from Internet Explorer. ActiveX was a massive security problem from day one and was always an incredibly easy venue for malicious code.

It's not clear to me whether this ability to execute code is intended solely for Chrome OS, or whether it is intended for all versions of the Chrome browser. If the intent is the latter, this has a good chance of driving users en masse away from Chrome as Google's security nightmare is probably just beginning.

Re:This could actually sink Chrome altogether (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022173)

It's in all versions of Chrome. It's much, much more secure than ActiveX -- but that's mostly because ActiveX was not secure at all. NaCl was built from the ground up to be secure, within a sandbox with a contained instruction set.

It's not clear to me whether this ability to execute code is intended solely for Chrome OS, or whether it is intended for all versions of the Chrome browser

Did you even bother to Google what you were unclear on before blathering about your unclarity on the Internet? Here, let me help you with that [lmgtfy.com] ... ah yes, here it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Native_Client [wikipedia.org]

The feature is enabled from version 14 of Chrome

Re:This could actually sink Chrome altogether (1)

CommanderK (1078087) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022183)

If the intent is the latter, this has a good chance of driving users en masse away from Chrome as Google's security nightmare is probably just beginning.

Except Native Client was designed with security in mind from the beginning, and they take this very seriously. NaCl enforces some restrictions on the running binary that prevent it from interacting with the rest of the system; ActiveX never really had that. A while ago, there was a Native Client security contest where they challenged the community to break their sandbox ( https://developers.google.com/native-client/community/security-contest/ [google.com] ).

Re:This could actually sink Chrome altogether (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023907)

security nightmare is probably just beginning

Except the Java plugin was designed with security in mind from the beginning, and they take this very seriously.
The JVM enforces some restrictions on the running binary that prevent it from interacting with the rest of the system.

Re:Everything old is new again (5, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022023)

The big difference between ActiveX and NaCl is that the latter has a sandbox - a very smart one, actually, which lets it run native code directly while remaining secure.

The other big difference is that they are also tackling the architecture portability issue by the PNaCl project (basically downloading LLVM bitcode and compiling it for the current architecture).

So, yes, this is like ActiveX - but done right. All the perf of native code with none of the security issues.

I really, really hope it catches on - especially PNaCl. If it does, we can finally ditch JS as the web client language, and move on to something more decent (and better yet, you and me can make different choices about the languages that we want to use).

Well, not until IE has it (4, Informative)

coder111 (912060) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022843)

I'd love to have programming-language agnostic scripting on a broser- PNaCl looks quite interesting. However, application development on the browser can only advance as quickly as IE features advance. IE still has huge marketshare, so if your website (web-app to be more precise) doesn't run on IE, you are excluding a huge customer base. This is all changing quickly with tablets and mobiles (which mostly run webkit) but IE is still very big. This will put pressure on Microsoft, and hopefully these features will get incorporated into IE sooner or later.

In my opinion the whole application on a browser thing happened because MS has (had?) a monopoly on desktop. So if you wanted to develop something cross-platform that has a UI, you had following options:

* Do it in a cross platform language that has UI programming. The only one I know is Java. 10 years ago, computers were much slower, and Java on desktop was quite worse than it is right now, so this would result in sub-par applications.

* Do it in C/C++ and use a cross-platform tookit. The only ones worth talking about are wxWidgets and Qt, and again, 10 years ago they weren't mature. On top of that you need to deal with tons of "backend" programming hassles, as windows is not really posix compatible. Again, cross-plaform toolkits like Qt or wxWidgets help here, but only some.

* Use some kind of thin client technology and do all the heavy lifting on the server. This basically evolved into a web server + a browser as a thin client. And until AJAX, your applications could not offer much interactivity.

All thigs considered, for many things browser-as-a-thin-client model makes a lot of sense. You always get the latest version immediately, you don't need to install anything (installing/removing/updating software is a huge hassle on windows. I'm appalled windows still doesn't have any package management and repositories). You get decent security- you can trust a web page will not screw up your computer (well, except some exploits in the browswer, but that's nothing compared to installing and running a native app from untrusted source).

Looking back I always think if this could have been done better. HTML+JS is quite nasty from an application development point of view. First of all, JS works differently on different browsers, and these differences are hardly documented. Things like GWT or jQuery help, but the problem is still there. Again, Microsoft and IE screw things up badly for everyone time and time again. Another two things- running inside a browser you don't have propper networking support and access to local storage. Both are required for complex interactive applications. HTML5 is an attempt to improve both, but it remains to be seen how successful it is. HTML/CSS layout is hard. There are still few to none WYSIWYG tools to drag and drop UI elements and construct a web-app in this way. And web-apps have a different look & feel than native apps- you still need to think in terms of URLs, "back" buttons, tabs, browser menus, etc. And not all hotkeys work either.

In general, I think a browser using HTML/JS/HTTP is a bad to mediocre thin client for applications. The only reason its so widely used is because it comes preinstalled on all new computers/tablets/mobiles shipped. If Microsoft wasn't a monopoly, it would have been possible to ship some other better thin-client with all the machines sold, and we would not have to deal with all this mess. I would probably prefer to have a browser just for reading PAGES, and a dedicated thin client for running remote apps. Hopefully things will get better with HTML5, and Microsoft has less influence on internet standards these days...

Sorry for the long rant,
--Coder

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023469)

Hmm... Running sandboxed applications in a browser... What a novel idea! What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43023499)

Because sandboxes *never* have exploits right?

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022155)

Hurray to Google for re-inventing ActiveX.

Reinventing Java, more like. NaCl,like Java, uses a virtual machine for security. ActiveX uses code signing. The latter is bad because it increases the attack surface of your computer with the contents of every signed program in existence. The former - does not. As long as the VM is secure, you're secure.

Re:Everything old is new again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022219)

Nope NaCl doesn't use a VM. It places constraints on the native code generation to ensure no illegal access will take place. Stop spreading fud, intentionally or not

No it does not (2, Insightful)

Taantric (2587965) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021435)

Still just the world's most expensive web browser. What a useless device. Someone at Google made a boo-boo.

Does this all make the Pixel make more sense? (1)

Goody (23843) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021571)

If all you wanted in the first place was an Internet-dependent dumb terminal, errrr "cloud device", it already made sense. If you want more than that, it will never make sense for that price. Sounds like Google fan boys are suffering from the same madness they claim Apple fan boys have.

Nope don't want it still (1)

cashxx (1882268) | about a year and a half ago | (#43021831)

As long as its made by Google I won't use it. Don't want them rummaging through my personal documents like they do with mail and everything else they make.

Nope (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022025)

It's still an overpriced thin client with a nice screen.

Will it run Windows 8? (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022093)

I'm curious to know how Windows 8 will run on this thing. W8 is supposed to be designed to run well on a wide variety of pixel densities. This thing's got a ton of pixels and a touchscreen. Should me a match made in heaven. It's a bit low on RAM and storage but it's enough to install and run the OS and a full suite of productivity apps.

Re:Will it run Windows 8? (1)

enec (1922548) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022563)

Windows 8's handling of HiDPI displays still leaves a lot to wish for. There is still just one "right" DPI setting, the "normal" scaling and anything other than that causes small artifacts on some apps due to the text being scaled up but some other elements not. It gets even worse if you connect an external monitor that has a lower pixel density and thus should use a lower DPI setting. You can't set different DPI's for different displays so one of them ends up looking ugly and just a bit off.

This is something that OSX does great. I have a Macbook Pro with the 220 ppi Retina display and a 27" Thunderbolt display. They use different DPI values and the transition is seamless even when dragging windows from one screen to the other. If I boot to Windows one display becomes basically useless. Either everything is way too small on the Retina display or everything is way too big on the external monitor.

But anyways, the Pixel is a normal x86 machine so I'd imagine it should be possible to install other operating systems on it.

It's a trap... (1)

tgv (254536) | about a year and a half ago | (#43022441)

I've already said it when Google launched Chrome: they are trying to tie the users in. Sooner or later, they're going to offer a product that is exclusively available in Chrome. They're going to do better gaming in Chrome (Javascript is too slow; think how nice Farmville can look!). That time seems to have come. And once accepted, there's no way back, and the masses will be logged into their google account forever.

Re:It's a trap... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022665)

I've already said it when Google launched Chrome: they are trying to tie the users in. Sooner or later, they're going to offer a product that is exclusively available in Chrome. They're going to do better gaming in Chrome (Javascript is too slow; think how nice Farmville can look!). That time seems to have come. And once accepted, there's no way back, and the masses will be logged into their google account forever.

How ironic that 95% of those users perma-attached to their Google feeds will be using Chrome to login to Facebook, only to have their online world distorted even more by that fucked-up view of reality.

Don't be so dramatic. There are plenty of utter failure points to go around. They are mere shepherds tending the flocks of the world, and are thus insignificant to those who are not gullible sheep.

This is just the beginning! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022745)

Yes, this is insanely great!!! Now just if they could only have, like, a way of getting all them cool appz from Android to run!

I dunno, like, having 'Chromium' or something being able to run, like, appz and access my data when my interwebz is busted??

Maybe they could call it Google's Not Unix?

2013 is gonna be the year of Ginux on the tablet!!!

Pick two of these three (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43022863)

* $1300
* Notebook
* "Almost as fast"

Is it just me, or should you never have all three of those aspects bundled together in a device you hope to be profitable in today's market place?

Inefficient (1)

Captain_Chaos (103843) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023031)

OK, so their plan is to replace the OS with a really inefficient OS? What could possibly go wrong?!

Need laptop advice ... (1)

jon3k (691256) | about a year and a half ago | (#43023903)

So I want a laptop with a REALLY nice REALLY high res display, a great keyboard and trackpad. The touchscreen shit I don't really care about. Other than a Macbook Pro 13" retina for $200 more, what are my options other than the Pixel? Everyone seems to hate the Pixel, so what are my options? It seemed like throwing Ubuntu on the Pixel made the most sense to me.
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