An update to Chrome OS provides the foundation for Netflix streaming on Chromebooks.
Slideshow: Samsung Chromebook: Hands-On Visual Tour
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Google Chromebooks can now stream videos from Netflix, through the Netflix browser extension available in the Chrome Web Store.
Google had hoped to include support for Netflix when it launched the Chromebook on June 15, but it was not to be. Then last Thursday, Google released Chrome 13 on the Stable Channel for Chromebooks, which covers the Acer AC700, the Samsung Series 5, and Google's own Cr-48. The update provided support for the Netflix extension, which was released this week.
Chromebooks launched with support for the playback of movie files from SD cards.
Google claims that last week's update also allows Chromebooks to resume 32% faster than before. This may or may not be noticeable, given that Chromebooks already woke from sleep in a matter of seconds.
Whether there are many businesses using Chromebooks remains an open question. Google isn't ready to disclose sales figures: "Our partners have only just launched their Chromebook devices into the market so it's early days, but we're excited by the positive responses we've received from consumers, businesses and schools so far," a company spokesperson said in an email.
Research firm Gartner suggests that Chromebooks won't affect Microsoft's hold on desktop PCs in large companies, even as the rise of Web applications helps Chrome OS and Android gain market share among consumers.
However, for businesses investing in Chromebooks that also use Citrix to host desktop applications, the Chromebook update enables the use of Citrix Receiver Tech Preview. This Chrome OS extension allows users to access Windows applications on their PCs through their Chromebooks without storing any data locally.
The Chrome OS update also adds support for VPN and secure Wi-Fi (802.1X).
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