Google's Chrome head on Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface

The launch of Windows 8 later this year, along with the Windows RT version of the Microsoft Surface tablet, has certainly generated a lot of chatter in the tech industry. Today, Sundar Pichai, the senior vice president of Chrome and Apps for Google, offered up some praise and also some concerns about both Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface.

News.com reports that Pichai, speaking at the GigaOm Structure conference in San Francisco, said the Surface tablet reveal "... is a surprising announcement to say the least." He added, "They are doing everything right in terms of messaging, but to me it's a very complicated strategy to pull off."

As far as Windows 8 itself, Pichai said:

I am excited because the Windows ecosystem is in some ways ossified, and it takes time for it to change. Windows 8 is a big disruptive thing, and that is both good and an opportunity for everyone else. One of the main concerns with Windows 8 is that it is primarily designed around  touch and tablets, and it's not exactly fully clear how great of an user experience it is on a laptops and so on with Metro mode.

Of course, Google has been trying to push its own Chrome OS as an alternative to Windows, at least for notebooks. So far, sales of "Chromebooks" have not exactly been strong. Google recently launched a new version of the Chrome OS, along with a new Chromebook and a Chromebox mini-desktop from Samsung.

Source: News.com

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18 Comments

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we use Google corp apps at work so Chromebooks are no brainer for our people who only need web based access, which is pretty much everything these days. Compared to a regular notebook the savings is insane. no need to worry about backups either.

the420kid said,
we use Google corp apps at work so Chromebooks are no brainer for our people who only need web based access, which is pretty much everything these days. Compared to a regular notebook the savings is insane. no need to worry about backups either.

I hate to say this you are company is probable the exception not the rule. I've never seen company use chrome books. Of course most companies have a lot legacy code and they slow to update. A majority of it is on the web but not all and there somethings that just can't been done in a a browser.

Melfster said,

I hate to say this you are company is probable the exception not the rule. I've never seen company use chrome books. Of course most companies have a lot legacy code and they slow to update. A majority of it is on the web but not all and there somethings that just can't been done in a a browser.

I've seen companies try. And end up crawling back to a real operating system. Granted there are plenty of web apps out there. But when it comes down to choosing the right tool for the job (aka best productivity per dollar) You just shut down so many of your options and, in all honesty, web apps just don't have the UX that true native apps can provide.

Sure you don't have to worry about backups. But if you know what you're doing, you don't have to worry about backups on windows for a small price.

Finally, as far as "savings." Lets get this out there. The average laptop/desktop can be used, easily for 2-3 years in the enterprise. That's work days. Even if the computer is $1500 which is a really nice computer, you're talking less than $2 per day per machine. If you can't find that extra $1.50 in productivity per day from a solid Windows machine go right ahead and buy chromebooks... but to be honest, I've yet to find someone who could say it's worth risking the *options* of increased productivity to save $1.50 a day on an information worker... even at their lowest pay.

the420kid said,
we use Google corp apps at work so Chromebooks are no brainer for our people who only need web based access, which is pretty much everything these days. Compared to a regular notebook the savings is insane. no need to worry about backups either.
Mistakenly replied to Melfster, that reply was meant for you.

"One of the main concerns with Windows 8 is that it is primarily designed around touch and tablets"

People keep saying this but it's a very poor excuse. First of all, touch is huge for this release because it's an element of Windows that has not been on par with how touch in Windows should work. They detail everything they're changing on their blog and amazing detail. At first it was mostly Metro and Touch stuff, but the last couple of months they've been discussing a lot of optimizations and new features that will benefit the desktop environment.

wixostrix said,
"One of the main concerns with Windows 8 is that it is primarily designed around touch and tablets"

People keep saying this but it's a very poor excuse. First of all, touch is huge for this release because it's an element of Windows that has not been on par with how touch in Windows should work. They detail everything they're changing on their blog and amazing detail. At first it was mostly Metro and Touch stuff, but the last couple of months they've been discussing a lot of optimizations and new features that will benefit the desktop environment.

The problem is, the Metro, and no startmenu, while great improvements on a tablet, can be a hinderence on a Desktop/Laptop..

On my tablet, Windows 8 is amazing.. it's much easier to use than a startmenu and the like.
On my laptop Windows 8 is less so. I find the Metro, lack of a normal startmenu, etc, to cause me to take More steps to get what I want done..

Ryoken said,
The problem is, the Metro, and no startmenu, while great improvements on a tablet, can be a hinderence on a Desktop/Laptop..

On my tablet, Windows 8 is amazing.. it's much easier to use than a startmenu and the like.
On my laptop Windows 8 is less so. I find the Metro, lack of a normal startmenu, etc, to cause me to take More steps to get what I want done..


No offense. But the idea, reasoning, and real world stats about the startmenu have been put out there. Microsoft knows exactly what they're doing. I'm a power user and I rarely do anything with the start menu other than start button - type name. That experience exists in win8. People harping so much on the start menu will be the absolute minority 1 month in from launch. Taskbar Pins are the primary way to get to apps. Click apps inside the desktop will be relegated to a group off primary on metro. For everything else there's "type the name."

The experience on the desktop is fine. My primary problem is there really wasn't much change in the UX on the desktop. Though, I absolutely love the desktop interface already, I don't know what else they could have done to the UX to make me say "wow."

MrHumpty said,

My primary problem is there really wasn't much change in the UX on the desktop.

Good thing, too. People are already freaking out about the start menu getting bigger, imagine if they had touched the desktop!

MrHumpty said,

No offense. But the idea, reasoning, and real world stats about the startmenu have been put out there. Microsoft knows exactly what they're doing. I'm a power user and I rarely do anything with the start menu other than start button - type name. That experience exists in win8. People harping so much on the start menu will be the absolute minority 1 month in from launch. Taskbar Pins are the primary way to get to apps. Click apps inside the desktop will be relegated to a group off primary on metro. For everything else there's "type the name."

The experience on the desktop is fine. My primary problem is there really wasn't much change in the UX on the desktop. Though, I absolutely love the desktop interface already, I don't know what else they could have done to the UX to make me say "wow."

The start menu->type name was handicapped in Windows 8, to the point of making it tedious to use it anymore, i'll probably end up filling up the taskbar just so i can avoid the start menu.

I also think they did a good job with Aero, so kinda negating that work is a shame, basically they should've done the revamp to "Classic" already back in Vista, vista might even have been less hated if they had done so.

So underlying the changes are pretty great, but really even the really minor detail of making the "omnibar" worse is actually significantly changing the way the OS is used.

...it's not exactly fully clear how great of an user experience it is...

Did he actually say that? That's one of the clumsiest phrases I've heard in a long time.

What the hell's a chromebook/chromebox?

jakem1 said,
They've got to be joking. Why would I want to use a computer running an OS from Google?

What kind of phone do you have?
Android was made by Google. Millions of people are fine with a "computer" running an operating system from Google. How is this different?