updated 09:22 pm EDT, Fri June 1, 2012
Ad-supported Chromebooks possible
Google Drive, the cloud-based storage system that functions as a file system for Google's Chrome OS computers, will soon be getting an offline mode, according to Google's Senior Vice President of Chrome & Apps, Sundar Pichai. The addition of an offline mode would address one common complaint about Google's browser-based line of computers, which recently received a refresh. Pichai also hinted that an ad-supported model for Chrome OS devices wasn't outside the realm of possibility.
Speaking at the D10 conference, Pichai commented that offline Google Drive support for Chrome OS would be arriving in about five weeks, which would see the feature available around the time of Google's I/O conference. Google's Chrome OS devices were refreshed in May, and an update to the OS brought its feature set more in line with standard desktop and notebook capabilities, but the lack of an offline-accessible file system was still a sticking point for the operating system. Pichai gave no details on how the offline mode would work on the devices, which have a small amount of internal memory but are expandable with SD cards.
When asked about the price points for Chromebooks, Pichai said that Google is working with an array of OEMs and that customers will likely start seeing a number of different price points for Chromebooks. He noted that the company is considering many pricing scenarios, and that an ad-supported model, like the one seen on Amazon's Kindle e-reader and rumored to be heading to the Kindle Fire, could be applied to some future Chromebooks.