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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.
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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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Blah
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
quote:
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
quote:
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.


Chrome has been less than successful because...
By Jeff7181 on 4/10/2012 1:10:26 PM , Rating: 5
Chrome has been less than successful because these "Chromebooks" are less capable as their Windows laptop/notebook counterparts, but cost almost the same.

If you're going to neuter a laptop, at least discount it.




By Alexvrb on 4/11/2012 4:10:50 AM , Rating: 2
The problem there is that volume is so low, that if they discount it significantly it wouldn't even be worth shipping. Regardless, you can take two devices with identical hardware, and throw Windows on one and ChromeOS on the other. What's holding the Chromebook back? The OS.

Google should have just released their own full-blown Linux distro. Toss in a custom/semi-custom UI, tighter integration to Chrome and Google Play, and call it a day. Not this lightweight crap.


By Wolfpup on 4/16/2012 3:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, from what I've seen they actually cost more than a real PC running real Windows 7 on BETTER AMD hardware. They'd be a rip off at $100 compared to what you can get running Windows.

Don't know if you guys saw what appeared to be shills for these things pop up everywhere right around launch just blathering on and on about how wondrous they were (despite them making virtually no sense for anyone), then mysteriously disappearing back into the woodwork.


meh..
By NellyFromMA on 4/10/2012 11:58:31 AM , Rating: 1
Personally, I liked using Google products a lot more when they didn't try to replace the things I like using and have no reason to replace.

It seems like their strategy basically boils down to:

1) Make crazy money by shoving 'targeted' ads in your face no matter what device you use.
2) Getting users to rely on their service(s), then switching the game up and taking all your personal information (half of which the common person didn't realize they supplied nor its value to big biz) for said strategy above.
3) Based on the silly ad-cost justification of major enterprises, continue to rake in money on ads while making all sufficient paid for products slowly irrelevant so that all that is left is Google.

Of course, we all have the choice not to use Google anything, but that doesn't make its actions seem any less 'dirty'.

It's almost like Google enters these markets 'just cause'. Without a doubt they have the right and even the prerogative to do so, but at the end of the day, Google doesn't care any more about the average person than any of its competitors.

Either way, the consumer surely is losing, even if they aren't aware of it -_-

Convenience has always been what people will opt more towards, heck, look at how convenient those subprime mortages were... That turned out well...




RE: meh..
By Smilin on 4/11/2012 10:42:34 AM , Rating: 2
Yep.

There are no Google "products" per say.

YOU are the product that they are selling. If you remember that you can get along with Google just fine. (I use nothing of their except youtube...with no account)


Sure they copied....
By Smilin on 4/10/2012 2:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
You're doing it wrong!

Everyone copies to some degree but then you are supposed to copy the good stuff and then add your own better stuff to it.

They stole torn tabs from IE (pretty good stuff there)
The start menu from Windows (just as MS itself is going away from it)
The desktop of Windows 3.x ?
Then they added.... ???

I expected Chrome OS to struggle with the 'always connected' limitations. I'm stunned that Google is so uncreative with the rest of the OS. We haven't even gotten to the part where it does "real os" stuff like handle USB, multimon, devices ... etc.




Gnome 2
By drycrust3 on 4/10/2012 5:58:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google Inc. (GOOG) is looking (unofficially, of course) to the veteran software giant for inspiration.

The silly part about this is Google didn't even need to look at anything from Microsoft to get inspiration. I just can't see why anyone would overlook the Gnome 2 layout. To me, it is one of the best layout's around.
Here is what I'm talking about for those that don't know:
http://linux.softpedia.com/progScreenshots/GreenTe...
This doesn't look exciting, but that is because this layout is meant to be an interface between the user and the applications they want to use, it isn't meant to be the centre of attention, a piece of art, or to be constantly tinkered with. You set it up and go.
You don't expect a racing car to have a nice interior, you expect the interior to help the driver drive. The same applies with Gnome 2: the desktop is meant to help you spend your time using your applications.

Looking at the top bar of the desktop, you can already see three icons on the left (just to the right of "System") which a user (note the singular) can easily change or add to so their favourite applications are literally "a mouse click away". No need to minimise or rearrange open windows to start a new application, the user just clicks on the icon they have place on the top bar and the application (or some other function) starts.
The "Applications" and "System" are obviously drop down menus for the rest of your applications or system settings, while to the right are things like you battery charge, date and time, etc.
Looking at the bottom bar, the left hand side is mostly the applications that are concurrently running, while on the right are the multiple windows environments ... yes, multiple windows environments. That means you could set up one windows environment for some documents you are editing, while another has a game you're playing.




I see a pattern..
By TileGuyJesse on 4/10/2012 10:59:11 PM , Rating: 2
Wave, Buzz, Google+, Chrome OS,.. ?

Gotta give them an A for effort! ('A' being Android)




"Stealing"?
By Pudro on 4/11/2012 2:38:15 AM , Rating: 2
"One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion."
- T. S. Eliot




By Donovan on 4/10/2012 4:17:32 PM , Rating: 1
Apple has "Aqua".
MS has "Aero".
Google has "Aura".

In other news, the Google Play store's appearance will now be known as "Hetero".




Seriously?
By zzebi on 4/10/12, Rating: -1
RE: Seriously?
By cigar3tte on 4/10/2012 10:33:23 AM , Rating: 2
Could just say they're copying Mac or Linux, who copied Microsoft. Both Linux and Mac have taskbar at the bottom; what OS doesn't?


RE: Seriously?
By serkol on 4/10/2012 10:33:50 AM , Rating: 5
Stupid Microsoft, they did not patent this. They surely could have patented "a mechanism of influencing the state of operating software programs by means of pointing the user input towards the lower part of the visual user graphic interface device."


RE: Seriously?
By Helbore on 4/10/2012 1:03:50 PM , Rating: 5
They were denied the patent on the grounds that Apple intended to patent the same idea five years later.


RE: Seriously?
By amanojaku on 4/10/2012 11:14:08 AM , Rating: 4
The taskbar (or panel, or dock) can be tracked back as far as 1988, in (Apollo Computer) HP's VUE. Then came OpenGroup's CDE, also with a taskbar, in 1993. Then there's Acorn's Icon Bar in 1987. And don't forget Amiga Workbench in AmigaOS 2.x in 1990.


RE: Seriously?
By WalksTheWalk on 4/10/2012 3:09:45 PM , Rating: 2
In the US, prior art is just a minor fly to be swatted on the road to patent-ville.

I say everyone should apply for anything possible so everything will be patented and we can sue ourselves into oblivion.

Soon I will be patenting a design for a machine which will move people and products around streets and cities using a self-contained power source and internal fuel receptacle. This machine will be a slightly different size that any existing machines using the same design so it should go right through the USPTO for approval.

</sarc>


RE: Seriously?
By Obujuwami on 4/10/2012 11:46:30 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, everyone copied Xerox's design when it was at PARC. This is why Apple and Microsoft pay MILLIONS to Xerox every year and it's never acknowledged.

As for Google, they need to do something with their OS. Android won't work well to a desktop/laptop environment and they will still need to learn the lessons that Microsoft learned between 1998 and 2006, which is what Apple is learning now. It would be nice to see a 3rd party in the desktop OS realm as competition will breed innovation...I hope...


RE: Seriously?
By ajcarroll on 4/10/2012 12:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
Obujuwami, not disputing that Mac was inspired by Xerox Star, but in terms of licensing, Xerox lost big time when they sued apple in the late 80's, and I'm not aware of them earning any substantial royalties for windowing system.

Xerox's lawsuit vs Apple was interesting, in addition to claiming apple infringed on their copyright (which they lost) they also tried to have apple's copyright on the Mac look and feel declared void, on the grounds that apple's ownership of the Mac IP made it harder for Xerox to successfully license their IP to other computer makers; in addition they tried to get apple's copyrights declared void on procedural grounds surrounding how apple registered their work with trademark and copyright office. Both of these claims were dismissed on the grounds that there is utterly not legal standing to make such a claim.

Despite all their groundbreaking work with the Star Workstation, Xerox Parc earns very little if any licensing royalties from apple or microsoft for windowing operating systems. They may earn stuff for other patents.


RE: Seriously?
By zephyrprime on 4/10/2012 2:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
It's been more than thirty years since windowing and the gui was invented so I think royalty payments would no longer be necessary. The patents probably expired when the number of computers in the field was probably a small fraction of what they are now.


RE: Seriously?
By tayb on 4/10/2012 11:04:24 AM , Rating: 2
Google copies Microsoft just as often as Microsoft copies Google. The side swiping on the youtube Android app screams "Zune UI" and the Google Play store is laid out almost EXACTLY like the Metro UI. There is nothing wrong with this. If you see a good UI idea, you use it. It would be dumb not to.


RE: Seriously?
By WalksTheWalk on 4/10/2012 3:12:45 PM , Rating: 2
Except that Apple owns a patent for swipe gestures so they both will be sued into submission.

Yea for broad brush software patents.

</sarc>


"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer














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