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Offline Google Drive coming at Google I/O, ad-supported Chromebooks in the works

June 1, 2012

Google’s Senior Vice President of Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai took the stage at D10 yesterday, the Wall Street Journal’s yearly “All Things D” conference, to talk about some of Google’s products he oversees, including the Chrome browser, Chrome OS, and Google Drive.

During the interview with Walt Mossberg, Pichai praised Chrome, and its popularity, saying that the browser is now used by “hundreds of millions of active users.” Furthermore, he revealed that the Chrome browser has gained “substantial mindshare,” and that “roughly” a third of people using the browser, even more in the consumer business compared with the enterprise environment, which still relies on Internet Explorer.

While Chrome is a very popular Google project, the same thing can’t be said about the company’s cloud-based desktop operating system. Chrome OS is not yet in a position to challenge Microsoft’s Windows or Apple’s OS X, but Google will continue to improve it and market it to consumers. Chrome OS and Android will continue to coexist, although the SVP did hint that “convergence will happen.”

Furthermore, in order to encourage users to buy Chrome OS computers, Google could soon sell ad-supported Chromebooks, although that’s not something the company is ready to officially announce at this time:

I think it’s a good question [high price points for Chromebooks]. Just like with Android, we’re in early stages of enabling an ecosystem. This year, we’re working very closely with Intel, and there are many OEMs working with Chromebooks. You’ll start seeing Chromebooks spanning many price points. There are a variety of user scenarios; we picked the middle point to start at. It’s not lost on us that we can use advertising to provide better value propositions as well.

Most interestingly, Pichai dropped a bit of information about the company’s recently launched cloud-based storage solution. “Google Drive offline is coming five weeks from today,” he said, suggesting that Google will unveil Goole Drive offline at the company’s Google I/O developers conference that takes place during June 27-29 in San Francisco.