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August 09, 2011

Now Playing On Chrome OS Notebooks: Netflix

As the Web becomes more capable, running full-fledged services historically requiring dedicated apps, the option of a cloud-centric operating system like Chrome OS makes an increasing amount of sense. The old model of storing all one's data locally on a single hardware device and putting it at risk from damage, theft, or simply corruption or loss as one upgrades from machine to machine seems antiquated when alternatives exist. But there is still, for some, a gap in functionality, as Chrome OS doesn't yet do everything the typical Windows or Mac box does. Until today, one of those gaps was Netflix, the popular movie streaming site that democratically has made its way to practically every screen, from traditional PCs to set top boxes and even game players, like the Nintendo Wii.

Netflix Loading on My Chromebook for the First Time

Today, Melissa Daniels, community manager for Chrome OS, announced on Google+ that Chrome OS devices from Samsung and Acer now play streaming Netflix films, assuming you are running the latest system update from Google. Without any additional software, you just need your Netflix account and the browser. While this isn't dramatically different from standard browsers on Macs and PCs, it helps fill a perceived gap.

Meet The Parents, streaming from Netflix, on my Chromebook

Without Netflix, I've been renting movies and watching them on YouTube, or from the Android Market, but film studios being what they are, not all titles are in every service at the same time, of course, and Netflix is far and away the leader in the world of Web-based feature film streaming, while Apple holds down its own space with Apple TV and iTunes.

The near-term arrival of Netflix on Chrome has been anticipated for some time, and could be seen with the latest release notes for those of us living on the Dev-Unstable builds of Chrome OS on our Chromebooks. But it's here. The wait is now over. It should be a great complement for the 8+ hours of battery life I've been seeing on my Samsung from Google IO.