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Google and Parallels to bring MS Office suite to Chromebooks

by Mark Tyson on 17 June 2020, 10:11

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Chrome OS

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Another impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is the change it has brought to home working practice and policy. Google data shows a big spike in the 'remote working population' earlier this year. It is predicted that things won't simply return to 'normal' though, we are going to see an elevated baseline of Work-From-Home folk, with higher growth rates in WFH for the foreseeable future, reckons Google.

Google wants its Chromebooks to feature in the 'redefined workplace' but appears to admit that its desktop/laptop Chrome OS platform is lacking in addressing the practical needs of the 'cloud workforce'. A new partnership with virtualisation software specialists Parallels hopes to fix this, at least for Chrome OS Enterprise devices.

You may know of Parallels, as it makes popular virtualisation software which allows Mac OS computers to run Microsoft Windows. The software is highly advanced, currently at version 15, and allows Apple Mac users to run Windows on their Mac without rebooting (unlike Apple Bootcamp), and it is even useful for PC gaming, with the latest version supporting DirectX 11.

The Google and Parallels in partnership seek to empower enterprises to do the following:

  • Seamlessly add full-featured Windows apps, including Microsoft Office, to Chromebook Enterprise devices
  • Enable efficient, productive and collaborative work anytime from anywhere
  • Eliminate additional hardware costs and minimize total cost of ownership (TCO)

Previously Parallels Remote Application Server allowed Windows apps to be streamed to your Chromebook via the cloud. The new partnership means that the apps will be running virtualised locally, instead. Parallels desktop will be integrated natively into Chrome OS Enterprise for better performance and offline access.

As mentioned above, this tech is coming to Chromebooks (Enterprise) in autumn. This is another positive evolution for Google's desktop / laptop platform, which only last year got Android app support as a standard feature. Hopefully the Chrome Enterprise feature will trickle down to regular consumers as Google pushes harder for market share.



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Ooooh, now this could be interesting.
I'm not and am not likely to be a Chromebook user, so it's irrelevant to me, but this strikes me as a very good move. I also fully agree that Covid has changed ‘normal’ and that that will have an effect going forward, in WFH (Work From Home) terms. I personally know of several small firms that didn't want to engage with this, due I suspect to trust issues, but having been forced into it by Covid lockdown, have realised that for some staff and/or situations it can work really, really well. One obvious benefit is downsizing office premises, or even simply cancelling planned upsizing of premises.

And, of course, ultra lightweight devices fit perfectly with that. I'm using an MS Surface Pro (with MS 365, mainly for Word, Excel and Outlook) but while (IMHO) superb, these do come at a stiff price and are over-specified for a large proportion of general office work that could, in a new ‘normal’, be done from home. Adding genuine MS applications to that on less pricey gear like Chromebooks is a very Good compromise for new-normal WFH. IMO, of course.
Saracen999
And, of course, ultra lightweight devices fit perfectly with that. I'm using an MS Surface Pro (with MS 365, mainly for Word, Excel and Outlook) but while (IMHO) superb, these do come at a stiff price and are over-specified for a large proportion of general office work that could, in a new ‘normal’, be done from home. Adding genuine MS applications to that on less pricey gear like Chromebooks is a very Good compromise for new-normal WFH. IMO, of course.

I'm not sure why lightweight laptops would be more preferred, they cost more and have less I/O and battery life. A relatively cheap standard 15" with a solid CPU like 3500U/4500U is enough for most common work procedures (mail, office, chat, video conferencing).
Psihomodo
I'm not sure why lightweight laptops would be more preferred, they cost more and have less I/O and battery life. A relatively cheap standard 15" with a solid CPU like 3500U/4500U is enough for most common work procedures (mail, office, chat, video conferencing).
Just because they're easier to get out, use, and put away when not in use. That is, my Surface Pro is less effort than my Dell 17" laptop. I'm fortunate enough to have a large dedicated home office, so a permanent installation is not a problem, but if using the kitchen table and dodging the kids, lightweight makes it easier. The really lightweight devices are more convenient when all someone needs is a basic computing capability and, say, a phone.

But you're right. Pricey stuff isn't required for simple work from home. I just do that with it …. and more, with the Surface Pro.
But there is open office out there too?