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Aura UI looks a lot like Windows 8 Desktop, will deploy to all Chromebooks except CR-48

Even as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) heads in bold new directions with its user interface (UI) in the Metro UI powered Windows 8, Google Inc. (GOOG) is looking (unofficially, of course) to the veteran software giant for inspiration.

Google's Chrome OS project has been more or less a flop.  While exact sales numbers are hard to come by, the project was only backed by two manufacturers -- specifically Acer Inc. (TPE:2353) and Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930).  Launching mid-summer in 2011, Chrome OS felt buggy and incomplete.  

While it came packaged in a number of nice netbooks, the built-around-the-browser concept was hampered by the inability to connect properly to token-authenticated networks commonly encountered at coffeehouses.  Coupled with poor publicity these issues led Acer to reportedly only sell 5,000 "Chromebooks" (Chrome OS notebooks) in 2011, according to Digitimes.
But at CES 2012, Google seemed intent not to give up, working with Samsung to announce new models.

Now a bit more of its plans for a Chrome OS revital have come to light.  Google is freshening up the mobile PC operating system with a fresh taskabar-enabled user interface, complete with a positively Windows-like right hand notification area and pinned program icons in the lower left hand span of the taskbar.

Chrome OS v. Windows 8 Desktop
Chrome's Aura UI looks awfully similar to Windows 8 Desktop.
[Image Source: Google (bottom), Tinkertry (top)]

Like Windows 8's desktop, the new Google UI has a taskbar, but lacks any sort of "Start Menu" so to speak.  Really, Windows 8's desktop and the new Chrome OS UI, dubbed Aura UI, are spitting images of one another.  The only real visual difference is the lack of a shade back to the taskbar in Google's UI.  However, a Windows-like shaded backing to the taskbar is added when Browser Windows are active

Aura UI
Google goes Windows. [Image Source: Google]

Google brags that the new Windows-like interface offers "rich visuals, large-scale animated transitions and effects that can be produced only with the assistance of hardware acceleration" and should "provide the foundation of a flexible windowing system and shell for Chrome and ChromeOS on a variety of form factors."

Aura UI
The program icons are reminiscent of Android or iOS, but lack the cutting edge feel of Metro UI's LIVE Tiles. [Image Source: Google]

The update is currently in the Dev channel and should be rolled out to all Acer and Samsung Chromebooks in the wild shortly.  The early prototype CR-48 Chromebooks, which Google handed out to promote/test the platform, will not be eligible for the UI upgrade as they lack sufficient hardware to support it.  Google clarifies that, "They will continue to receive security and critical updates as necessary."

And it tells CR-48 owners to hang on, stating, "We’ll bring CR-48 devices back onto the release train after this release."

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By Motoman on 4/10/2012 11:25:44 AM , Rating: 4
You could just as well say they copied Linux or Mac. The basic design concepts of the GUI desktop haven't changed in a loooooong time.

For good reason, I might add.

RE: Blah
By B3an on 4/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Blah
By B3an on 4/10/2012 11:45:23 AM , Rating: 2
And the Google Play store is obviously also influenced by Metro.

RE: Blah
By Motoman on 4/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Blah
By drlumen on 4/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Blah
By Reclaimer77 on 4/10/2012 12:59:17 PM , Rating: 4
Your argument is like saying Shakespear didn't do anything because he wasn't the first playwright in history. Or that Bach sucked because he didn't personally usher in the Galante era, therefor nothing he did mattered.

Microsoft hasn't created or innovated anything EVER? The troll is strong with this one...

RE: Blah
By dark matter on 4/10/2012 12:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they've ripped me off. Since back in my Amiga days I used to arrange my apps (yes, I called them Apps waaay before Apple) as a horizontal row along the bottom of my screen because I have OCD about having a clean desktop.

So shut up.

RE: Blah
By dark matter on 4/10/12, Rating: 0
RE: Blah
By Smilin on 4/10/2012 2:56:48 PM , Rating: 1
I bet you really arrange your icons by penis.


RE: Blah
By nafhan on 4/10/2012 12:48:36 PM , Rating: 3
Getting pretty sick of Google copying others.
Why do you care? Large corporation A creates a product similar, but slightly different than the product created by large corporation B. How does this impact you?

Plus, I feel like this would be noteworthy if someone was copying the look and feel of Metro, but they're copying the Windows 8 desktop, a feature MS is practically trying to hide.

RE: Blah
By WalksTheWalk on 4/10/2012 3:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
...and I'm getting sick of anyone copying anyone else's good design. Come on, every good design influences another good design on some level. Competition is what drives innovation. As long as companies aren't making direct copies and causing confusion in the market where people think they are using one thing but actually using its copy it's healthy.

RE: Blah
By Smilin on 4/10/2012 5:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
They aren't copying a good design though. If it was that good then Windows would still be using taskman too. :P

RE: Blah
By Reclaimer77 on 4/10/2012 12:28:37 PM , Rating: 1
You could just as well say they copied Linux or Mac.

Except nobody uses those so it's not as good of a comparison to Windows which nearly everyone uses and is universally identifiable to the reader.

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