Google Acquires Neverware

Posted on December 15, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Chrome OS, Chromebook with 21 Comments

Google has quietly acquired Neverware, the maker of CloudReady, a solution for bringing Chrome OS to older PCs.

“Neverware and CloudReady are now officially part of Google and the Chrome OS team,” Neverware’s Forrest Smith writes on the firm’s support website “We’re looking forward to sharing more details with all our CloudReady customers, users, and fans in the coming weeks and months.”

There are a few more details on the site. The most important, of course, deals with the fate of CloudReady. And that’s good news.

“CloudReady will continue to be available as-is, and we’re committed to supporting and maintaining existing customers,” the site notes. “Over the long term CloudReady will become an official Chrome OS offering, and existing customers will be upgraded seamlessly as that happens.”

Beyond that, there are no immediate changes to the product or how it’s supported, and those Google will continue to honor any previously-purchased multi-year licenses.

That is actually pretty exciting as, going forward, Google will for the first time officially support installing Chrome OS on third-party and/or used PC hardware.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Google Acquires Neverware”

  1. Sprtfan

    Think there is a chance that CloudReady might be able to start including Google Play now that Google owns them?

  2. sykeward

    Speaking as someone who just can’t freaking leave a fully working laptop alone, this is great news! I’ve used CloudReady for years on my old HP Stream (among other ancient laptops) and it’s breathed new life into that machine.

    • Sprtfan

      In reply to Sykeward:

      I've played around with CloudReady and it works well for the most part. I've had some issues on some devices losing touchscreen, or not rotating, and losing pen support on a device but the basic stuff typically seems to work. I have one laptop I really wanted to install it on but was not compatible. I think that had more to do with the laptop than CloudReady though. ( Asus X205T)

    • Philotech Mueller

      In reply to Sykeward:

      Same here. The HP Stream 11 360 (the model I have with 360 degree flippable screen) was never fast enough nor had enough memory for Win10. CloudReady made this a truly useful computer for my kids.

  3. rmlounsbury

    This is great news if you want to throw an official build of the Google ChromeOS onto old any old x86 device you have floating around. Even more so in that it means eventually it'll come with Google Play and Android App support.


    I have plenty of devices floating around that would work great with ChromeOS which means not having to buy a new device just for the purpose of testing out ChromeOS.


    I'm curious as to how Google will handle the whole auto-update bit for Chrome OS which today is cut off for devices after so many years from manufacture. Or, perhaps with the advent of this maybe they stop enforcing sunset dates for auto support?

  4. minke

    Neverware's CloudReady is pretty slick. I've tried it on various old computers and it works well turning them into Chromebooks or boxes. Installation is a bit slow, but once installed it just works like Chromebooks do. With school from home this year actual Chromebooks are sold out everywhere, and lots of schools have been unable to get enough. This is a great way to repurpose various old machines that are not really up to Windows 10, and with Chrome OS the default in most school systems it is a win win for Google and users.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to Minke:

      I agree with a lot of your points, but I'm still totally baffled about what Google gets out of this. It's not like Google couldn't figure out how to let end users install Chrome OS without the unique expertise Neverware brings to the table. Google could figure out how to build a generic Chrome OS image. It was never a technical problem, they just chose not to. Why the change now, and why do they need Neverware to do it?

  5. hellcatm

    Please don't pull an apple and shelve it!

  6. scovious

    Google keeps trying to make Chrome OS happen. It's not going to happen.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to scovious:

      Not only is it happening, It's really quite popular in schools, especially now that remote learning means that every kid needs a laptop.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Literally is already happening.
      • mikegalos

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        Really? What's its share?


        Seriously.


        Lots of "It's really popular" and "It's in lots of schools" but I haven't seen ANY ChromeOS fans showing any market share numbers. Nor have I seen it listed in Google's earning reports. For that matter, I don't even see any of the fans talking about how much they love using it or that they actually do.


        This is either the least successful OS since BeOS or the best kept secret in computerdom that even Google wants kept a secret.

        • Vladimir Carli

          In reply to MikeGalos:


          I my country (Sweden) virtually all schools hand out chromebooks to their students. That's a bit dangerous for Microsoft because new generations are getting used to Gdocs, sheets, slides and don't even know what word, powerpoint and excel are. On the other hand, they hate chromebooks becasue they find them so limiting. Basically you can't do anything with them that is not study related. This is changing a bit with Stadia.

        • Sprtfan

          In reply to MikeGalos:

          I think I saw that around 7.5% of laptops shipped in Q3 of 2020 were Chromebooks. The overall market share would be much smaller obviously. Chromebooks have a purpose and are a nice 2nd device if you need one. I don't see them catching up to Windows anytime soon either though.

  7. JacobTheDev

    This is *super* exciting to me. For a long, long time I've wanted an official way to install Chrome OS on older hardware, and it sounds like this is going to finally be that. Can't wait!

  8. obarthelemy

    I'm forever amazed I can't try out ChromeOS, the real ChromeOS, in a VM or on a Raspberrpy Pi. Buying a whole machine just to see if I can recommend it to others is a bit of an ask, especially when I know for sure it won't suit my own needs.

    • MikeCerm

      In reply to obarthelemy

      Truly, there is nothing to try out. It's Chrome, the web browser you can install on anything, and just a very rudimentary window manager. If all you needs is a functional web browser, then it's fine. If you need anything else, it's probably not fine. You can use Android apps (on real Chrome OS, not on Neverware), but they only kind of work. Other than that, there's nothing to try.

  9. adam.mt

    rmlounsbury: Wouldn't be so sure on Android support since apparently isnt supported by CloudReady therefore would require ARM emulation to be added (for a meaningful release). In fact, I don't think any intel versions of android have (officially) been released for a good while.

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