Wednesday, March 16, 2011

(Not quite) Live Blog: Google Chrome O/S presentations

Dear Diary,
Here I am at Bellevue City Hall, in a very modern-looking little auditorium. WiFi is up and connected and Bluetooth is working fine.

I was a little late for the opening networking session but I managed to sign on to help demo a web-based team whiteboard tool with my wedding plans! I'm still not sure what my fiance is going to make of that. :)

After an introductory presentation by hosts Wicresoft: IT consulting & outsourcing company, we got to the meat of the evening...

Raghu Simha - Software Engineer in Test @ Google
Google "Browser": "A viewer who looks around casually not looking for anything in particular"  (Actually I just tried this and it returns just what you would expect - web browser references - delivers though)

[Note to self: Look up Chrome speed tests and Chrome experiments pages - they sound fun]

Chrome Engineers have been writing a lot of code apparently - a good thing for engineers to do :)
This has translated into a rapid series of updates: 25 full-fledged stable releases in 2010, 8 stable releases in 2011 so far (18 beta releases) - I think one downloaded itself to my PC just now in fact

Team works on a 6 week release cycle (down from 12 weeks for the first few releases). Keeping it simple by all working on a single code branch. Code is delivered first to a beta branch and later to a stable one.
(Apparently somewhere in there they found time to teleport Goats into the Linux version of Chrome... busy busy :)

But all your application settings & preferences are device specific. This can be a handicap when managing / using multiple devices so why not sync them via a service - Google.  Motorola Xoom with Android 3.0 supports Google's bookmark sync.  The dream is to do more...

Alberto Martin - Technical Program Manager
Chrome O/S - how fast can you get a user online from power-in?
Start up really quick < 10 secs... log on took a little longer because Alberto forgot his password. Oops. :) 

"Manually hot-switching" to another machine he was logged on to, we continue..

Booting up a traditional PC can take a whole minute! (I wish mine would boot that fast) So Google set about thinking how to speed things up.

The Google Chrome O/S is designed to be minimalist, compartmentalized (sandboxed), secure and seamless with automatic updates & verified boot (with automated reversion if there are issues).  "The computer in your kitchen" - Me

Available today: only Cr-48 Netbook device (can access USB thumb drive) Acer and Samsung are bringing out devices by mid-2011.

Developer mode takes 5 minutes apparently - it has to set a restore point for the stable boot. Not so fast. (My six year old laptop can create an Android emulator faster and the poor thing is maxed out trying to do so)

Eric Li - Test Lead for Chromium O/S (Chrome O/S - same thing? - I thought Chromium was the root from which Chrome was derived..)
Chromium O/S - confusing - is posting incremental updates to public domain whereas Android only posts releases. Also have open discussion groups - really open with Google insiders and public sharing information & ideas.

In addition to dedicated devices, Chromium also runs in virtual machines: VMware, KVM supported.

The minimal O/S is less vulnerable (in theory) & faster but... no root password. No shell either. No editors, no compilers, no debuggers, no remote login. So how does one test? Answer: You create a test partition. (Heyyy, that's cheating!)

Can we have some pretty diagrams next time Eric? Pretty pleeeease? Box diagrams are soooo 1980s.

Alex Levitch - Product Manager (but not for Chrome O/S) and ex-Israeli intelligence apparently (You don't mess with the Zohans!)

Nice screensaver Alex - seriously, that was cool looking and a welcome flash of colour. :)

Chrome browser 120 million users and growing.
Applications are moving from the PC to the cloud. Really? Are you sure?  Gaming, sure, it's like sand: gets everywhere. Photo editing? Maybe to a print shop. What else?
The problem is one of discovery and distribution.

Enter the Chrome web store.. like the Android Marketplace for web apps.
Web store offers the same benefits as Marketplace: credibility (user ratings), discoverability, trusted payment system, buy once run anywhere (at least anywhere that Chrome is).

For developers: large, open marketplace, secure payment (via Google or using other provider e.g. Paypal), flexible payment options - one time / subscription, 120+ million audience.

They really do want to make it as easy to publish web apps as they have Android apps. Neat idea.

App store is fully open as of Feb 2011.

Sadly I wasn't able to publish any of this from the actual event because 'Blogger droid' refused to upload my post and I still don't know why: my WiFi access was working fine for other things.  The error message didn't specify and with everything else going on, I didn't have the bandwidth to go digging through logs.  I was able to upload it in draft form once I got home but that is small consolation.

NOT Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.7 because it wasn't working!

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