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Google and Microsoft reach beyond the operating system

Google has announced Chome OS Flex, now in early access.    This version is designed for businesses and schools and intended to run on old PCs and Macs (some of which date back all way to 2009).     The concept – make a Chrome OS image on a USB drive, then replace the existing OS with ChromeOS.     It’s based on the same codebase.  

And on the Windows side, Microsoft has released their update to Windows 11 that includes a public preview of Android apps within the operating system.    Included too are changes to the taskbar and notepad and Media Player redesigns.  

Google had another small announcement here – their Smart Canvas, launched last year within Google workplace, has been enhanced and now includes a page-less format for Docs and the ability to summarize those documents (among other updates).

In another small product announcement I noted, BMW has rolled out Blitzz, which lets technicians remotely help customers with everything from roadside assistance to troubleshooting their phone’s Bluetooth connection using video from a live human with face-to-face interaction.  

Why do we care?

It’s a clear sign of the power of the application over the operating system.    Google and Microsoft both are making the reach of their applications broader, thematically showing where the value in the chain is.    That’s my insight here.   There’s tactical value in the offerings, to be sure, but that’s the trend.

I admit I added the BMW story not to miss it – because it’s a changing expectation of how customer service, particularly technical service, is delivered to customers.     How is your help desk working?  BMW’s gives you a live, on video person…. And last I checked, BMW charges luxury prices too.