Google I/O, day two: 310 million Chrome users, Chrome and Drive for iOS, better offline Google Docs, and more

For complete news of today’s events, visit the Google I/O 2012 page.

Today was the second day of Google’s annual developer’s conference Google I/O, and Google showed no signs of slowing down. While yesterday’s announcements were quite Android-centric, today’s show Google’s vision of the future of Cloud and web services. Let’s take a look at what’s new!

Chrome has 310 million active users

One of the very first things announced yesterday was that Android has had over 400 million activations. Now, Sundar Pichai, the SVP of Chrome and Apps, has announced that Chrome has 310 million active users. While they didn’t define an “active” user, it is presumably someone who uses Chrome on a daily or almost daily basis. Along with this impressive number, he also announced that 60 billion words are typed daily, which works out to approximately 194 words per active user, and that over 1TB is downloaded daily. Chrome’s built-in prefetching is also advertised as saving 13 years every day.

Overall, the statistics sound impressive until you figure out just how small each of those numbers is. Up until this point in this article is approximately the number of words typed per user, and just over 3KB downloaded. The prefetching also only saves 1.3 seconds per user, which is nice but not really impressive.

Chrome and Drive for iOS users

One of the biggest announcements of the day was the availability of both Google Chrome and Google Drive for iOS, available immediately. These apps, both optimized for all iOS devices, allow for easy use of Google cloud services, such as Chrome’s bookmark, tabs, and password syncing and Drive’s offline documents and impressive machine learning abilities.

If you upload a picture of the Great Pyramid of Giza, for instance, and forget what it’s called, you can just do a search for pyramid. Like magic, Google will recognize what’s in the picture and call it up when you search for it. This is the future.

Google Docs gains offline editing

Want to edit your documents while on a plane? Until today, you’d have had to download them as things like Word files, but starting now, you can actually edit them offline right inside Google Docs. At the product demo today, Clay Bavor, the product manager for Google Apps, even went so far as to remove the ethernet cable from his computer, close Chrome, open it back up, and edit the files. When he plugged the cable back in, all of his changes were quickly synced.

Offline editing is available now, right inside of Google Drive.

Compute Engine: the power of 600,000 cores

If you’re a developer, you may have wondered how much it would cost to get powerful cloud computing from major hosters like Amazon’s EC2 and Microsoft’s Azure. Now, Google is in the game too, promising even better performance and “up to 50% more value”.  Though it costs slightly more per hour, Google promises to make that hour work more.

Compute Engine is all about speed. You can have 1, 2, 4 and 8 virtual core VMs are with 3.75GB RAM available per virtual core. It also features classic awesome Google networking, allowing you to create high-power clusters with ease. As a tech demo during the keynote, they used Compute Engine to power an application called Genome Explorer that normally takes around 10 minutes per match. With Compute Engine, they were able to get around a match every second.

Compute Engine is available as a limited preview now.

Chromebooks headed to Best Buy

Have you been hankering for a Chromebook? Neither have I. There’s good news for you, then, as Chromebooks are officially headed to Best Buy and are available today.

Available from $329.99 up, the Chromebooks are advertised as always new, and are updated regularly by Google. These Chromebooks are designed to be web-only, with bargain specs and a beautiful OS for anyone who needs quick internet and doesn’t care about desktop apps.

One day left

Though there’s still one day left at Google I/O, today’s keynote was the last for the year. Google’s introduced an amazing amount of new stuff, including a tablet, a funky media player, and much, much more. It’s been an amazing year, and I can’t wait to see what Google has in store for next year.

For all the news from this year’s Google I/O, check out the Google I/O 2012 tag!

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