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Google continues path to merge Android and Chrome OS

Five years ago Sergei Brin, a co-founder of Google, said that over time the Android and the Chrome OS operating systems would become one. Since then the company has made a number of steps towards this goal and recently it made yet another one. The vice president of Android engineering will now also manage development of the Chrome OS.

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of engineering for its Android mobile-operating system, is now also responsible for the engineering team behind Google’s Chrome operating system, reports the Wall Street Journal. While the company is not merging the engineering teams developing Android and Chrome OS, the new appointment once again proves that the two operating systems will eventually become one.

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Google appointed Sundar Pichai to oversee both Android and Chrome OS business groups in 2013. At this year’s Google I/O conference Google unveiled initiative to run Android apps on Chrome OS. The new appointment will ensure that engineering/development of the two platforms will go in the same direction.

While both Android and Chrome OS are developed by Google, the operating systems are vastly different. Android powers smartphones, tablets as well as some other gadgets (and is optimized mostly for touchscreen input) and can be customized in many ways by hardware makers. The operating system powers the vast majority of smartphones on the planet and a huge share of media tablets. Chrome OS is designed for personal computers (and input from keyboard and mouse/touchpad) and it only can be customized or updated by Google itself. Only around 2 per cent of PCs sold today rely on Google’s Chrome OS.

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Merging the two operating systems will significantly strengthen Google’s positions on the market of PCs and will allow it to create an ultimate eco-system of different devices running similar software. Given all the benefits that Google might get from an eco-system that spans from wearables to PCs, TVs and cars, all the potential problems associated with merging the two OSs do not seem to be important.

Google did not comment on the news-story and did not confirm the appointment.

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KitGuru Says: While it is obvious that Android and Chrome OS will become one platform, the question is when Google plans to make this happen. It is also interesting to note that Google’s move looks similar to Microsoft’s decision to use Windows on all devices, from smartphones to workstations.

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