‘Tis the season for Chromebooks

The Chrome team elves have been busy packing a few goodies into Chromebooks in time for the upcoming holiday season.

A simple, streamlined user interface

From the moment you hit the power button and watch your Chromebook boot up in eight seconds flat, you’ll notice that the operating system got a bit of a facelift. For example, the Chromebook now sports a fresh, clean login experience.

We’ve also revamped the New Tab page to make it easier to manage your apps, bookmarks and most visited sites. By popular demand, we’ve added a few handy new shortcuts to the New Tab page: a shortcut to the File Manager on your Chromebook, as well as to music apps and games in the Chrome Web Store.

You may have also noticed, we recently gave the Chrome Web Store a new look, so that you can easily scan the wall of images to discover fun and useful apps and extensions.

Hassle-free for the holidays

We’ve heard from many of you that one of the things you enjoy most about the Chromebook is its hassle-free simplicity. If you’re someone who’s often called upon to provide tech support when you’re home for the holidays like I am, you’ll be happy to know that the Chromebook gets your loved ones up and going on the web quickly, without the usual pains of computing like seemingly endless boot times and setup manuals. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few updates to the lineup of Chromebooks that make them more giftable to loved ones.

For folks in the United States, Samsung is introducing a sleek, black version of its Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook Series 5.

We’ve also been working closely with our partners to continually improve the overall Chromebook experience while making them even more affordable. So, we’re excited to share that beginning this week Acer and Samsung Chromebooks will be available starting at $299. The updated prices will be available through our online retail partners.

Lastly, if you’re in the U.S. and you’d like to take a Chromebook for a test drive, visit the Samsung Experience in New York City or check one out when flying with Virgin America. We’re excited to hear your feedback, as we continue to build a faster, simpler and more secure experience on a computer that always gets better. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with one in a series of new film shorts that highlight some of the reasons why we think Chromebooks make a great holiday gift.

Go hands-on with a Chromebook in London

Many things in life, like football and rock music, are best experienced in person. Chromebooks are no exception.

So this week in London, we opened our first Chromebook experience inside a retail store. The brand new Chrome Zone is located inside the PC World / Currys superstore on Tottenham Court Road. Spend time with a Chromebook, discover cool web apps and chat with our Chrome specialists.

We’ll be opening Chrome Zones in additional locations in the United Kingdom over the next few months, so stay tuned. If you’re in London, do drop by and say hello!

The computer that keeps getting better...

One of the things that excites us about Chromebooks is that unlike other computers, the user experience automatically gets better over time. For instance, with this week's latest stable release of Chrome OS, users may notice their Chromebooks now resume even more quickly – 32% faster in most cases. For those of you who like watching movies and TV shows on your Chromebook, you now also have the option to do so using Netflix. If you'd rather enjoy a good read, you’ll be able to fire up the Amazon’s new Kindle Cloud Reader app, read your favorite books and even take them offline when you’re not connected. If you need to print, you can give trees a break and use the Print to Docs feature with Google Cloud Print instead.

For businesses and schools, we also have a host of new features launching this week. If you use Citrix in your organization, you can now install the Citrix Receiver Tech Preview app from the Chrome Web Store to access desktop software such as Adobe® Photoshop® directly from your Chromebook. In addition, this latest release brings VPN and secure Wi-Fi support (802.1X).

Along with these new features, our recent update delivers many bug fixes and improvements under the hood. Chromebook users should automatically get this release this week. As a consumer, business or school, all you need to do is relax and let your Chromebook do the work. We hope you enjoy the experience of a computer that keeps getting better.

Update 8/10: Added link to more information on Print to Docs feature

Update 8/11: Updated link to new Google Cloud Print site

Summer travel with a Chromebook

A Chromebook makes a great travel companion, with its 8-hour battery life, light weight, built-in Wi-Fi and available 3G. So we’ve teamed up with Virgin America and Ace Hotel to give you the chance to experience a Chromebook on your summer travels.

When you fly Virgin America from San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth or Boston, look for the Chrome Zone near your departure gate. Check out a Chromebook for free and browse away with complimentary Wi-Fi in the terminal and on your flight.

If your travel plans include a stay in the Big Apple, check into Ace Hotel New York and you’ll find a Chromebook waiting in your room. Use it anywhere, in or out of the hotel, with free Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.

To make your trip even more enjoyable, we’ve also developed two new web apps: The Ace New York Field Guide tips you off on the hottest spots in town, from cool clubs to unique boutiques, and the Beat the Boot game which challenges you to get the highest score possible in the 8 seconds it takes to boot a Chromebook. Plus you can choose from thousands of other web apps in the Chrome Web Store.

Chromebooks arrive this Friday, July 1st at Virgin America and Ace Hotel New York, and are available for the rest of the summer. Get all the details here, and happy travels!

Chromebooks now available for sale

Last month we unveiled the first Chromebooks from our partners, Samsung and Acer. Chromebooks were built and optimized for the web to give you a faster, simpler and more secure experience without the headaches of traditional computers. In the U.S., you can now order a Chromebook from Amazon and BestBuy.com. In other launch countries, visit google.com/chromebook to find a local retailer.

If you’re interested in purchasing Chromebooks for a school or business, please contact our sales team.

Living on the web with the Chrome Web Store (and the Cr-48!)

Since we opened the Chrome Web Store last month, I’ve made it a daily habit to check out the store for new applications. Each time, I’ve discovered new things I can do on the web that work just as well as and often better than software I had to install and maintain on my computer -- such as playing games, listening to music, or getting work done. Living on the web is much easier than you might think!

If you already live on the web and are itching to get your hands on a Chrome notebook, we’ve teamed up with a few Web Store apps for a chance to test-pilot the Cr-48. Check out blogposts from MOG, Box, LucidChart, and Zoho for more details. Then go ahead and rock out with 10 million songs, manage your files in the cloud, perfect your diagram drawing skills, or move your office onto the web. While you’re at it, you might also discover a new favorite app among the more than 2,000 apps in the Chrome Web Store.

Have fun!

Guest post from the Demo Lab: Help us test the Cr-48

Here at the Demo Lab we have only one mission: to protect your data no matter what happens to your computer. To serve this mission we have been evaluating our Cr-48 prototype notebooks in challenging, some might say extreme, conditions. We’ve been in the lab testing notebooks exhaustively (I'm talking 24 hours a day here). But, to try out as many notebooks as possible, we’re opening up the lab to the public today.

Are you ready to help take the Cr-48 through its paces? If you are up to this challenge, take these mean machines through explosions, carbicide, and destruction by ravenous zombies at google.com/demolab. While you're at it, you can submit an application to the Chrome notebook Pilot program.

That's all from here. Good luck, remember to wear your safety goggles at all times, and see you in the lab.

X = G / (C*H*R*O*M - 3)

Yesterday, we posted a demo video with a secret challenge where the first clever person to crack the code would receive a Cr-48. Just 20 hours later, the puzzle was solved correctly by the team at Jamendo. Congratulations!

Here’s how you can find the puzzle and the solution.
First, around 2:24 in the video, you see the following equations on the board:

The constants solve out as follows:
G = 900.91
C = 8335727
H = 269462689
R = 222647
O = 694079
M = 552
The final equation is written as:
X = G / (C*H*R*O*M - 3)
Plugging in the previous answers gets you to:
900.91 / 191605050401140404051920181525
At that point, the puzzle changes from math to code where the numbers represent letters. It hints to that by the final equation spelling CHROM3, but we expected people to get stuck here and have to play around for a bit. The first mental leap is that you have to visually identify 900.91 as goo.gl (just like spelling words on a calculator: 9=g,0=o,0=o,9=g,1=l). The division sign is a slash ( / ), so this pretty clearly points to the Google URL shortener. From there, you need to figure out the shortened URL.

The number 191605050401140404051920181525 may confuse people for a bit, but the large number of zeros and the repeated "04" and "05" sequences in it visually allude to pairs within the string. Once you see that, it can be broken up into:
19 16 05 05 04 01 14 04 04 05 19 20 18 15 25
If you've gotten this far, you've probably noticed that all of those numbers are between 1 and 26. From here, it's just a straight mapping to letters of the alphabet (A=1, B=2, C=3, etc). Decoding the full string gives you:
s p e e d a n d d e s t r o y
Putting everything together, the end result is:
That URL points to a page where you can fill out a form to request a shiny new Chrome notebook (the form is closed now, of course).

Keep calm and carry on: Chrome notebook

At our Chrome event on Tuesday, we showed how Chrome notebooks can make computing simpler.

Thanks to the cloud, your Chrome notebook might be how you do everything, but losing it means you lose nothing. No matter what crazy things happen to your laptop, your work stays safe online. Check out our demonstration video below.

An update on Chrome, the Web Store and Chrome OS

On the Chrome team, we’re constantly amazed by the speed of innovation on the web. We designed Chrome to make the web shine, and we hope our upcoming efforts will help support this vibrant ecosystem even more. By making the web faster, helping people discover great apps, and making computers more fun to use, the next year of computing should be even more exciting than the last one.


This year, the number of people using Chrome has tripled from 40 to 120 million. Speed is what people love most about Chrome, and we’re always working to make the browser even faster. Therefore we’re bringing Google Instant to the Omnibox, showing search results and loading web pages as you type. We’ve also overhauled V8, Chrome’s JavaScript engine. It now runs complex JavaScript programs up to twice as fast as before. These two features are available in our early access channels and will be rolling out to all users soon.

Chrome Web Store

Today the Chrome Web Store is open for business. Developers have already started uploading apps, and we expect the number to grow over time. Right now the store is only available in the U.S., but will expand to many countries and currencies early next year. The store will be featured prominently in Chrome, helping people discover great apps and developers reach millions of users around the world.

Chrome OS

Last year, we announced our effort to design an operating system that is built and optimized for the web. Many people already spend all their time in a web browser, and by building an operating system that is essentially a browser, we can make computers faster, much simpler and fundamentally more secure.

We’re not done yet, but Chrome OS is at the stage where we need feedback from real users. Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware, but we didn’t want to sell pre-beta computers. Instead we’re launching a pilot program where we will give test notebooks to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses. We're starting with the U.S. and will expand to other countries once we get the necessary certifications. To participate in the pilot program, visit the Chrome notebook website.

The test notebooks exist only to test the software—they are black, have no branding, no logos, no stickers, nothing. They do have 12.1 inch screens, full-sized keyboards and touch pads, integrated 3G from Verizon, eight hours of battery life and eight days of standby time. Chrome notebooks are designed to reach the web instantly, are easy to share among friends and family, and simply by logging in, all of your apps, bookmarks and other browser settings are there. Setting up a new machine takes less than a minute. And even at this early stage, we feel there is no consumer or business operating system that is more secure.

In the first half of next year Chrome notebooks will be available for sale from Acer and Samsung. More manufacturers will follow. Also, Chrome OS is designed to work across a wide range of screen sizes and form factors, enabling our partners to deliver computing devices beyond notebooks.

We’re excited to get Chrome notebooks into the hands of users. The data from our test pilots is key to building something wonderful. We look forward to working together to make computers better.