Google Chromebooks have always remained on the periphery of the computing ecosystem, looking in at all the fun that Microsoft Windows 10 and Apple macOS were having. It has always had potential, particularly with the productivity focus, and were quite affordable computing devices as well, but there weren’t many takers. Unless your workflow is deeply integrated within Google’s ecosystem of apps and web services. That is set to change now with Microsoft Office and other Windows apps arriving on Chrome OS. This is great news at a time when the COVID-pandemic has forced millions around the world to work from home, thereby increasing the reliance on laptops, PCs and pretty much any and every computing device, to get work done.
The way the Microsoft Office and other Windows apps arrive on Chrome OS is with Parallels, which will see their Parallels Desktop software integrated within Chrome OS. That will allow users to run the Microsoft apps such as Office offline as well and get much better performance as compared with streaming them through the cloud as the Parallels Remote Application Server does at this time. Google says this will first be rolled out for Chrome enterprise customers this fall.
This could just entice a lot of enterprise users towards the incredibly affordable Chromebooks, for their office and productivity requirements. This will also give Google a level playing field to push its own services at the same time—such as video meeting app Google Meet, cloud storage Google Drive and more.
“Our new partnership with Parallels brings legacy application support—which includes Microsoft Office desktop apps—to Chromebooks. More to come on this over the coming months,” is all Google is saying right now. But most certainly, this is a big development for Chrome OS which could give Google Chromebooks a real push at a time when the focus on computing devices is greater, than ever in the past decade.