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The wildness of Windows applications on the Chrome operating system

The wildness of Windows applications on the Chrome operating system

Here, in the land of mobile technology, the worlds are colliding more than ever. Up is down. The left is the right. And the lines fade wherever you look.

As we talk, Microsoft is getting closer to its launch the first self-made Android phone , one that could become the most interesting Android device which I have seen for a long time. And now, to balance that moment of «frozen hell,» Google has announced that it is preparing to bring Windows applications It is platform Chrome operating system .

Take a minute to dive. Microsoft, the champion of the «never Google» desktop, uses Google’s mobile operating system to find its future. And Google, the company that has long referred to Windows and its ecosystem as an «legacy» computer artifact, is finding a way to allow you to run Windows software on its cloud-centric and proud platform. after a Windows.

What a moment!

However, all philosophical wonders aside, Google’s move to bring Windows apps into the Chrome OS environment has some pretty massive practical implications, both for those of us who already use Chromebooks and for those of us who have so far avoided that. train.

Chrome operating system limitations have been gradually reduced over the years. And with this move, they will be virtually wiped out, at least at the business level.

Chrome operating system, Windows and increasingly blurred lines

Before we delve too deeply into the state of the Chrome operating system and what the new Google support for Windows software might mean, let’s take a look at what’s really going on here, because it’s not exactly straightforward. Earlier this week, Google and a company called Parallels announced plans to allow companies to «seamlessly add full-featured Windows applications» Chromebook devices designated for companies .

The details are clearly incomplete at the moment and it almost feels more like an ad than a pending ad rather than something concrete. But we can read a little between the lines to find out what’s going on.

First, it is revealing that Google is referring to to the ability to run Windows apps on a Chromebook as an «old app support», a nice little touch of communication (and I imagine it was built carefully) to emphasize that this is simply a bridge to the past, not the way to the future as Google had anticipated.

However, in reality, we all know that certain business scenarios rely on traditional computer software, whether it is specialized or general, to work. And the reality is that so far, running such programs on a Chromebook has been a real headache.

Interestingly, it wasn’t really impossible. Parallels itself, the same company involved in this new effort, already has a product called Parallels Remote Application Server which «makes it possible to use Windows or Windows applications» on a Chromebook using a extension Special of Chromium and a continuous network connection. It’s a form of virtualization, for the tech lunatics between us, and it’s something that existed in the Chrome operating system. For a long time .

A less specialized tool called CrossOver It has also allowed anyone to run Windows programs on a Chromebook for some time, without the need for expensive licenses or complex configurations. And, of course, there is always service Chrome Remote Desktop by Google , which allows you to remotely connect to an individual Windows computer (or other traditional platform) and then use it as if it were right in front of you.

But all of these solutions are cumbersome in one way or another, whether they require a persistent remote connection and the associated probability of delay, in most cases, or simply it doesn’t work well enough , in the case of CrossOver.

So what differentiates this new effort is that apparently not it does not require any of the layers of complexity on which those old answers were based; instead, as explained to me, the setup would provide direct, native access to the «inherited» types of Windows applications that business users might want directly on a Chromebook, without the need for any complicated virtualization solutions. distance. This would mean, at least in theory, that the applications would be easier to use, more consistent in performance and able to run offline, practically more or less like any other local program.

Basically, we still don’t know exact what applications will be available: Google and Parallels continue to use Microsoft Office, to be more precise, but they told me that other «old Windows business applications» will be included and we don’t know yet. what specific cost will be involved or even when the whole system will appear («sometime this fall» is the most specific I’ve ever heard).

But hey what Yes we know it’s more than enough to come to a seemingly crazy conclusion.

«Everything» platform

With Windows apps mixed in, Chrome is truly positioning itself to be the platform for «everything.» I mean, think about it: Chromebooks are already running a variety of web-based applications alongside theirs cousins ​​with progressive web applications with several functions . add environment Native Chrome operating system for Android applications , and for the vast majority of regular computer users, can be approached virtually any need . Remember, too availability Applications from Linux , Y there are not too many things Most ordinary people want to do on a Chromebook what they can’t do.

The persistent exception is in business, where businesses often require specialized software that is only available on a traditional platform such as Windows. Or maybe a company intends to respect Microsoft Office as the standard for the entire organization and doesn’t want its employees to depend on web or Android-based equivalents for those programs.

Well, the Chromebook will soon be able to do it all. You’ll run almost any imaginable image, including company-specific returns, in a low-cost, low-maintenance, low-security environment designed for large-scale management.

For companies, this means the interesting option that I may have considered, but could not Fairly justifies before it is suddenly viable. For Google, this means that the profitable market of the company it tried to introduce with the Chrome operating system will suddenly be achievable. And for ordinary regular Chromebook users, it means that the platform could suddenly start to see a huge new injection of widespread interest, which has the potential to penetrate and lead to a greater diversity of hardware and software development in all markets. .

For now, Google says that the Parallels Windows support system will be something specific to the company, but it is not hard to imagine that it will eventually reach other markets, including, perhaps one day, and individual devices. And even if not, the effect of a new influx of large companies that can enter the Chrome operating system can only have a positive effect on the platform and the ecosystem around it.

Chromebooks become «everything» machines

Two years ago, I saw evidence of an internal Google project allows Chromebooks to start twice and gives users the amazing option to run Chrome OS or Windows on the same unique system. Despite the months of development, the project was eventually abandoned before taking off. The chapter remains a puzzling mystery in the Chrome OS community – a strange example in which Google tries to do the impossible and then gives up before reaching its goal.

What we see now could, at some level, explain what happened. Allowing users to switch between Chrome and Windows would be a messy and complicated experience that would only underscore the persistent limitations of Google’s cloud-centric vision. It will ask you to choose between two environments and jump back and forth depending on what you were doing. More than anything, if you need this skill, it will remind you that, hey, you better use a Windows laptop, because why bother with this inappropriate environment?

Bringing Windows applications directly to the Chrome OS environment meets the same basic need in a much cleaner and easier to use way. Keep the Chrome operating system and all its platform-based advantages in the base and then add items Windows that some business users still need. Chromebooks are truly evolving into «everything» machines – platform-challenging devices that can handle almost anything without the weight of their predecessors.

With Google, Windows is actually part of its ecosystem and Microsoft is about to make Android part of it It is world, things are about to become very strange, and for outsiders, this could end up being a very good thing.