A few days ago we reported that a leaked video purported to show an upcoming laptop from Google: The Chromebook Pixel. This new device is shown to feature a high resolution high density display with a capacitive touchscreen. This would be an iteration in terms of design on the previous CR-48 which was designed by Google and used as a proof of concept/development machine for the company’s Chrome OS.
At the time of writing of the original article it wasn't clear whether this is a real leaked video, a fake or just a well made concept. Since then, new information has emerged but unfortunately it doesn't do much good as the story is still convoluted and pretty strange, so we’ll just let you decide if this is true or not.
Recapping the events of last week: the Chromebook Pixel video, which you can see below, was leaked on the internet last Tuesday and was published on Google+ by Chrome developer Francois Beaufort. From there it was picked up by most major tech sites, includes ours. Soon after, a company called Slinky.me took credit for the video saying it was a project for Google that got leaked when the company’s servers were hacked.
For those that want to believe; there seems to be some compelling evidence that the Pixel may be a real device. There appears to be some references in pre-release versions of Chrome OS that point to the Pixel. Beaufort, the developer mentioned above discovered some references to a light bar that would indicate battery life similar to the one shown in the video. Other references to high-res images for Chrome OS have also been found. And Chromebookpixel.com was registered in October by MarkMonitor, a service Google has previously used for domain registration.
All in all there seem to be some compelling circumstances here that would prove the Pixel is real. However, as Cnet points out, the weak link is Slinky.me itself, the company that supposedly produced the video. First of all they seem to have very little legitimacy. According to their website written in poor English, Slinky is supposed to be a visual version of Wikipedia by building “the world’s largest visual guide”. However they also create browser themes, and apps – they even suggest one of their original apps “Slinky Plus” became the official Google+ app. The company also produced a few videos advertising Google products, though these seem to be closer to fan art than anything else or at the very least submissions for Google’s advertising team.
Then there’s Slinky’s CEO and co-founder Victor Koch. According to various profiles online he has worked for Google, finished in the top 100 Facebook Hacker Cup competition of 2010, invested in several different companies, none of which has an online presence, and “in 2011 joined the list of the richest promising entrepreneurs”. However, all of these online profiles are community-editable so they carry very little weight. Facebook has yet to verify his Hacker Cup claims and Google has repeatedly said they have no knowledge of Victor Koch ever working for them nor of any collaboration between Google and Slinky.
In an interview with Cnet he mentions his work at Google was a secret. A few hours later he backpedals and says he only said he worked at Google due to some 3rd party work he did on Chrome extensions, though that contradicts his earlier statements. The day after the video was leaked Koch posted an apology on his Google+ profile and tagged Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin. Many people questioned if a company that was actually working with Google would have done such a public thing but Koch said he did it because this was important for his team and Google’s team. He declined to answer any of Cnet’s follow-up questions.
This has certainly been a very strange turns of events, and in this story there definitely are some interesting pieces of evidence as well as some major questions left unanswered.