Google’s ChromeOS has been taking on more PC like traits in the past few months.
Google finally introduced Google Play to ChromeOS after a long beta period and brought more desktop-like computing through Android apps. However, there were a few things missing from the experience to make it truly competitive. One of the most notable was Android Parallel tasks. The lack of Parallel tasks meant that ChromeOS couldn’t run two Android apps on the screen at the same time, opting to freeze one while the other was in focus. For most Chromebooks running Android apps, switching away from an app would lead to that app losing focus and no longer updating.
Trivial use cases might mean a music app not showing what is currently playing, more serious issues would mean a messaging app not updating live — especially onerous in business scenarios.
In ChromeOS Beta 64, Google has added support for Parallel Tasks (via Chrome Unboxed), making it easier to run multiple windowed apps — just like a real PC.
ChromeOS has been catching up to Microsoft’s Windows 10 S in terms of usability, and the addition of parallel tasks makes this operating system a lot more PC like.
Microsoft is attempting to undercut the threat of ChromeOS with Windows 10 S, Windows 10 forARM, the introduction of the tabbed Windows currently known as Sets a nd many other measures.
The problem for Google isn’t whether it can make ChromeOS more like Windows or other “real” desktop operating systems, but how much Google can polish the experience till normal users no longer care.