Native image editor coming soon to Chrome OS

Chrome OS image editor

Google is hard at work turning Chrome OS into a fully-functional operating system. Right now Chrome’s claim to fame is that it’s little more than a web browser. Instead of installing and running desktop apps, you run web apps, and when you boot a Chromebook the only thing you see is a login screen and then a web browser.

But while there are web apps that let you do almost anything these days, and while Google’s approach has led to laptops with super-fast boot speeds, there are a few problems. Many web apps, for instance, don’t work if you don’t have an internet connection, so a Chrome OS laptop starts to look like a paperweight when you’re on an airplane or in a subway.

And some tasks are just simpler to do with native apps than web apps. Why, for instance, should I have to upload a picture or movie to the web to edit it? Well… soon you may not have to — at least when it comes to pictures.

Google is building a native image editor into Chrome OS. You can use it to resize, rotate, crop, or add effects to images without uploading your image to the web first. Developer François Beaufort describes the process for downloading the code for the utility from the Chromium project. That’s the open source, development version of the Chrome operating system.

The user interface reminds me a bit of what you see when you use the Picnik web-based image editing service. That’s not surprising, since Google acquired Picnik last year.

Since Google first unveiled Chrome OS, the company has added a file browser, music and video players, and soon there will be a built-in image editor. If this keeps up, soon the browser-based operating system may just look like… an operating system.

via Chrome Story

  • Anonymous

    The whole point is that it will just look like an operating system in the end.
    It’s fair to talk about chrome’s weaknesses, as with anything.
    But every article I see talks about how web apps won’t work without web access.
    It is rare to see any of these articles, including this current one, mention that html5 based apps can indeed cache specifically to be used when offline.
    And while it is a problem to upload and download large files, the reason you would want to do it is the same as it is for anything.
    Lose or break your chromeOS hardware, or just decide to buy a new unit or borrow a friends unit or… whatever….  and you just login and your world/stuff is there.
    No importing/exporting installing apps over, etc, etc…
    Just sign in and carry on with your day.
    Right now, the upload/download speeds and data caps conflict with this idea for video especially.
    So, that will be a weakness for chromeOS for a while to come.
    Just as the other things I mentioned (losing data, moving systems) are weaknesses for most current OSs.
    It’s a world of choices don’t you know.

    • Anonymous

      Issues with offline range from having to need the developer to give their app that ability, cache manifests lists for example (preventing things like only a part of the app from being cached), and preventing conflict with data synching as this causes multiple copies that will have to be synced, to whether they will block any form of caching because it goes against their business model. 

      Like it’s harder to track users who work offline and harder to stream ads to them.

      This also means more work for the developers.  So unless they specifically state they support offline functionality then we can’t assume they can.

      • Anonymous

        Yes – sorry, I was not meaning to imply that all html5 based apps would have this ability.
        It does have to be specifically written to take advantage.
        Still – it is an important point, I think, that the emerging technology has built in capability to allow for offline use of web apps.
        Because I do see quips a lot about how Chrome OS will not be usable when you are offline.
        Frankly, what 99% of business users need to do is either create something – doc/spreadsheet/presentation – or, communicate.
        You are not handling e-mail and other comms if you are offline no matter what OS you are using.
        For the other, if google docs works for you then it will soon work for you offline according to google.
        If it doesn’t then it doesn’t matter about offline/online.
        At that point, for business, it will meet an awful lot of use cases as well as any other OS.
        And it will still have the security and convenience of being much, much more hardware independent in relation to specific user accounts.

        It certainly won’t be answer for everyone.
        But I think it is an interesting new answer for some.

  • http://twitter.com/ihbrune Henning

    The interface remindes me in _no_ way on Picnik. 

  • Kiril

    I’m tired of people saying that chrome os cannot run native applications. It most definitely can, there are only a few of them at the moment though, and they don’t look like native apps because of their simplicity. Chrome os can run native code, it just has no APIs for hardware access, so most people don’t look at them as native apps; but for most things, you don’t need hardware access. We just need developers to start writing these apps.

    • Anonymous

      Chrome OS is intended to be a cloud OS, running anything natively is a secondary concern for it and runs into problems of having to support multiple hardware, added development time and costs that can also slow updates, would change the reasons why some would prefer it over traditional OSes, and whether or not it fits the developers business model or not.

      • Kiril

        That would only be true in the conventional native app software model. The native apps for chrome os are more akin to the “extension” model. The apps don’t support different hardware, because, like I said, they cannot access the hardware. They only need to support browser standards. Also, these already exist (timer tab is a very simple example). Third party deb’s can easily develop long supported apps with no problem, and Google development would in no way be affected.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry but how do you think they’ll get things like GPU acceleration without access to the hardware?

        Things like image editors require a certain level of performance and Chromebook CPU is only capable of so much.  Games especially will tax the system.  Otherwise you might as well keep the application strictly cloud based.

        Not everything may need hardware access but one of the points of native application is for increased performance and the easiest way to do that is optimizing for the hardware.

        To this end Google is working on a Native Client that will do most of the work, but it’s still a work in progress. 

        While even standard browsers require more support than you’re thinking and not all developers can support native applications and still keep up with how rapidly Google is pushing updates in their business model. 

        Depending on the rate of changes to the OS a app can suddenly stop working from one version to the next and the fix may not always be a simple one.  So running from the cloud/web is much simpler for many developers and they wouldn’t be as invested in providing native applications as Google itself.

        Native apps, since they run on the system instead of from the cloud also means greater danger of losing data if something happens to the system.  You’d be entirely reliant on how often the native app syncs, if it does so at all.

        So doesn’t change the fact Chrome is intended to be a cloud OS.  Since one of its key selling points is the ability to not have to worry about hardware damage, as you can just log in with another system and have everything because it’s all running from the cloud.

        Also doesn’t change that it may not fit developers business model, since native applications can be run offline and developers for Chrome OS would normally be interested in keeping you online.