With the release of Google Chromebook Pixel I think we all get the feeling that the Internet giant is looking to make some major improvements to its desktop operating system: Chrome OS. Over time, this operating system which is based on Google Chrome browser and designed to run web apps will have more and more offline capability.
Over the past year Google has added offline document editing, an offline email client, offline media player and a offline phone editor. The photo editor is rather on the basic side though limiting edits to cropping and rotating images, adjusting brightness and contrast and has a one button auto fix feature.
The next step in the Chrome OS evolution will be to integrate a Quick Office to provide offline document, spreadsheet and presentation creation. Hopefully, a more powerful photo editor is in the works. The Chrome OS Pixlr Editor, which is an online only app would be an excellent choice for an offline photo editor.
But even when and if all these changes are made, it Chromebook's will still be a niche product for the casual user and for institutions which use Google apps. It won't run the apps and games Windows and Mac users are accustomed too.
Still the Chrome OS fills a void in the Google ecosystem. For a user whose computing life is centered on a smartphone or tablet, Chromebook's will provide a low cost secondary or tertiary device for those actives where a smartphone or tablet are not the best choices for ergonomic reasons.
Eventually, Google has hinted that it will be merging Android and the Chrome OS. I would think the best way to do this is to simply allow Chrome OS to run Android apps. The touchscreen capability of the Chromebook Pixel is the first sep to such an effort. The 2560 x 1700 display on the Chomebook Prixel is aligned to the 2560 x 1600 display of the Google Nexus 10. Apps built for 10.1-inch tablets, should scale well enough with 11 to 13 inch Pixel type Chromebooks.
Chrome OS with the ability to run Android apps would really start to make Google's desktop operating system a threat to long dominant Microsoft Windows and Office environment.
Why is Google making the move now? Google foray into the operating system arena have been defensive in character. Google lives on revenue from advertising income and its ability to do so is enhance by its web services and browser.
When Apple iOS came with a closed ecosystem, Google unleashed Android. Microsoft's Windows 8 would like to see all apps migrate to the "Metro" interface with these new apps being sold through a Microsoft run app store. With Microsoft closing the Windows ecosystem. Google will unleash a more capable Chrome OS.