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Google appears to be working on Windows 10 certification for its Pixelbook

Google's Pixelbook is considered to be its flagship device for Chrome OS, but it could soon have a little Microsoft DNA sprinkled in as well. XDADevelopers has spotted increasing evidence that Google is working on getting the Pixelbook certified to run Windows 10, paving the way for users to work with Microsoft's OS as an alternative on Google's own hardware.

Recent code commits and reviews from Google make mention of WHCK and HLK, which are references to the Windows Hardware Certification Kit and Windows Hardware Lab Kit, respectively. As XDADevelopers notes, the fact that Google is working to get its hardware certified through Microsoft's programs signifies that this is a more concerted effort to get Microsoft's official blessing for running Windows 10, rather than a hack.

Pixelbook WHCK Reference

All of this stems from Google's work on a mysterious AltOS for Pixelbook, which started earlier this year. The recent code commits strongly hint that Windows 10 is that AltOS.

There's no way to tell when or if the Pixelbook will receive Windows 10 certification. The project could very well remain in the development stages and never see a release. However, it would present an interesting option for those who are looking for new ways to use Google's flagship Chromebook.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

86 Comments
  • Honestly a joint effort from Microsoft and Google would be a HUGE win for consumers. Those two working hand in hand would benefit everyone... i guess except for Apple
  • Only that Microsoft is already buddies with Apple. Is Google who's a little late to the party.
  • That would only be true if Microsoft turns down collaboration with Google because theyre working with Apple too... That 100% will not happen
  • Between google and apple I'd choose apple...
  • I would choose both
  • Isn't it fun from a Microsoft perspective, that you are given a choice between Google and Apple? A choice that you have as long as you don't choose Apple.
  • It seems that MS and Google do collaborate on things to benefit consumers most people don't think about. PWA started in Google, supported now in Edge and the UWP, as an example.
  • Even works on Windows 10 Mobile. If only W10M could have hung on a little bit longer...
  • But then, coders needa push different code to PC and WP (and QA for 2 OSes which both named after Windows). WoA is different, it runs what PC runs.
  • Windows 10 for ARM on Lumia 950 XL. I hope the Project finishes at some point...
  • Wonder if Google will still refuse to build Windows apps for their services after they get Windows 10 on their Pixelbook. Will be see Pixelbooks that cannot access their own apps ?
  • Id say its pretty safe to say this would launch alongside a G Suite of Apps for Windows 10 if this device truly happens. No chance they sell a Pixel device that cant access their own apps
  • Or maybe they're planning a dual boot device
  • I thought about that, but honestly, what a crap experience that would be. I have to switch my OS to do something? No thanks...
  • Have you ever heard of Macbooks?
  • That's why I don't have a MacBook.
  • Plenty of options to run other OSs, including Windows, in a VM on a MacBook. Parallels is one such option that works extremely well.
  • Well, many of google apps can be done with a simple PWA. youtube gmail gmaps (i don't use google services so I don't know more of them aha)
  • All of Google's "apps" are just websites. You don't need apps on desktop. They never had apps on Chromebooks either, no reason Windows wouldn't be the same.
  • I can see it now, W10 Google apps, exclusively on Pixelbook......
  • Not ALL their apps... Trying to keep Chrome off a Windows machine sometimes seems like a full time job.
  • PWA?
  • Progressive Web Apps. Basically, a web page that can be run as a standalone app, and if written correctly would look like a native app on a device. Because PWAs are built using web standards, in theory a developer could write one PWA that runs on any device, instead of writing a separate app for each device operating system.
  • Google desktop apps? They always sucked, Google apps only work con the web browser, for ex Maps, youtube, search
  • MS should deny the certification...
  • On what grounds? Or do you just want Microsoft to act like petty children?
  • Like say, the way Google did with the YouTube app?
  • Yeah, should MS sink to their level or rise above? There's so much hate for Google on these boards... Now you want Microsoft to copy their worst aspects? Makes sense.
  • I hate google too. Still think MS is right with working with them. Like Satya said - "It's not about your devices mobility - it's about yours". Only thing that stands against that is the really terrible MS Launcher on Android.
  • Google allowed Microsoft to make a YouTube app. They just had to follow the rules and Microsoft chose not to. It wasn't Google's fault Microsoft was slow developing Windows phone to support HTML5.
  • That was how many years ago? Life is too short to hold a long-term grudge over something like this.
  • Because netmann is a mindless fanboy?
  • Microsoft knows that Google employees are using OS X less and Windows 10 more so they will approve this. Imagine all Google employees using a device with Windows 10, that means a lot of cash for Microsoft
  • And google employees might the bring their management to develop apps for Windows.
  • I am look at it this way - Google may know something about Microsoft and trying to get out in front of it first and fast.
  • Remember that Google said it is working at making all of its apps into PWA? It could be possible that of this device ever happens, those Google apps would go into the MS store. As for the Apple and Microsoft vs Google, it is starting to be an all out front against Amazon. Microsoft, Google, and Apple all have strong points against Amazon, but a unified highlighting each companies strengths could be good for consumers. I also think that Google is seeing that today's Microsoft isn't the same Microsoft from 9-10 years ago.
  • I like Chrome OS and all, but the Pixelbook will really shine with a real OS like Windows 10.
  • What makes Chrome 'not' a real OS? I get that there are more things you can do on Windows, because of the preponderance of applications. That's true of Windows over MacOS or Linux as well. Operating System implies some basic functionality to me, one of which is to support running applications, but the number and kind shouldn't really factor into that.
  • "Operating System implies some basic functionality to me, one of which is to support running applications,[ but the number and kind shouldn't really factor into that]." According to you and those along with your line of thinking. I don't and God forbid few more like me. The number of Apps (Just like what called WP) and kind of apps (why developers embraced iOS and Android plus easily port them to Amazon store) factor in greatly to the OS of choice.
  • I like that gunmetal grey coloured keyboard.
  • I hope they do alot of work to get it certified and then Microsoft issues an update to Windows blocking the installation. I'm still salty over the YouTube app...
  • Mytube is so much better. Also, this is a win for Microsoft you idiot.
  • No it isn't. The actual YouTube app blows MyTube out of the water. Multiwindow and YouTube Music are not available in MyTube. MyTube also looks terrible since it is stick with UWP design elements. It feels like the UI is unfinished or came out of a middleschool design class. MyTube could also be killed any day. Google could change the YouTube API tomorrow and MyTube could become useless.
  • MyTube supports background music, you have to pay Google to use that feature in the YouTube app.
  • Don't forget the ability to download videos for offline play and audio only format
  • Youtube sucks as compared to mytube by a huge margin. you can't play music or videos in background in youtube app in both android and ios but mytube and others like tubecast can do that in windows and windows phone. And mytube also has continue where left off from other device and brilliant dark theme and you can save videos to sd card and can share them. I can go on and on how great mytube is as compared to official youtube app.
    Clearly you haven't use mytube and write crap like that.
  • This is an admit to defeat by Google, on a short term at least.
    Think about it this way, now Google have to pay MS the Windows OEM price for every Pixel book machine they sell.
    Feel better?
    Well this may not be the case anyway, Google may just do the certification and pass on the cost to consumer like Apple do
  • Why would Google have to pay MS..unless they are going to ship PixelBooks with Windows. I see this more as being certified to run Windows, setting up the option for PixelBook owners to dual boot (or something). They would have to provide their own copy of Windows, just as they do with BootCamp or Parallels on Apple Macs.
  • Youtube on the browser will never be as cool as the mobile Android app, so a PWA youtube app will not solve this issue so this is one of the disadvantages of PWA apps
  • Explanation?
  • Android app uses native code which is not compatible with HTML5/Javascript specially to do the small youtube video floating window which can be resized smoothly in a smartphone, good luck trying to do that on a PWA, it's impossible.
  • I would easily buy a 256 GB or even 512 GB Pixelbook if it dualboots Chrome OS and Windows 10.
  • Me too. I am totally in for a 512gb pixelbook with dual boot. The pixelbook is an amazing peice of hardware. Anyone who "hates" on it never used one. It is super premium. Light, thin, very well built, and the trackpad...….THE TRACKPAD! WOW. It's the best I have ever used on ANY device. Add in touchscreen, awesome pen experience and now, windows 10! ding ding ding, we have a winner.
  • I am not a google fan but indeed the pixelbook looks great. I do hope that 2-1 manufacturers make the top and bottom bezels a bit thinner so we can use these devices in portrait mode and have a better typing experience (like on the ipad).
  • No we don't. The only one that wins is the only 2 customers that bought one.
  • Oh you poor little fanbaby Bandito.
  • Lmao They want windows users to buy their ****. Not gonna happen.
  • Windows users certainly bought Google phones.
  • They also bought cars and dogs and coffee machines, none of which are relevant either...
  • You killing me Manus, that response was dope.
  • Nobody is buying these overpriced junk with Chrome OS on it. Hence google is thinking that atleast with Windows on it people will buy. LOL
  • You do realize it is Microsoft : Surface line :: Google : Pixel line, right? The Surface and Pixel series are meant to nudge OEMs into building devices. Neither was ever meant to outsell their corresponding OEM devices.
  • Why? Because Chrome OS is somehow subpar? There is very little the average person cannot do in ChromeOS that they need to do. That includes working with Office documents in MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. The 'mobile' versions are sufficient for most, and the web versions are nearly as full featured as the desktop apps. Skype works, mail is accessible, the web browser is the defacto standard In the first place. There are Chrome and Android options for an amazing variety of functions. It is easy to find a specific app that is not supported, and if that is a deal breaker, so be it. If you have specialized requirements, get something that supports them. If you have 'normal' requirements, Chrome OS will most likely meet them. Once past the ability of the OS to meet the needs of the user, why not get great hardware to run it on? You can get a $300 Chromebook. You can get a $300 Windows laptop as well, and they are comparable. Heavy, low res, shorter battery life, underpowered, minimal storage, plastic. I expect a PixelBook, given the build quality, to last as long as my MacBook (2013) or my Surface 3 Pro. Amortized over the expected life, the PixelBook is a deal.
  • As rude as you sound, I agree, Windows Ink + Windows Hello + Xbox streaming are some few use cases that a ChromeOS device is imposible To provide
  • I have never seen or used Chrome Os, can someone help confirm if it can run productivity programs?
    Adobe Premiere, JMP, Minitab, Vegas Pro etc
  • Ahhh, the fanbaby "productivity" cry. Productivity is such a relative term used by winidows fanbabies all over the place. It depends on what your JOB is, whether or not you can be "productive" on ChromeOS. It's great to see the mental gymnastics of the fanbabies here trying to discredit another platform with silly comments.
  • For the price of this device, it should be allowed to run windows.
  • Not a bad ideal for Google to offer a option for Windows 10 on the Pixel or better still a duel boot option. I don't know if Apple really sold more Mac's by having a Windows duel boot but it certainly did not hurt.
  • The question is what version of Windows 10 will we see on it. Perhaps it will use Windows Core with only PWAs and UWPs.
  • And no Photoshop for a $999 device? Dont think so, Pixel is a Pro device
  • There are many other programs other than photoshop to do photoshops job btw. I have not used photoshop since like 2006
  • Can you imagine MSFT offering chromeOS on it's surface range? I don't think so. I bet they want in on the windows on ARM snapdragon chipsets, so they are brokering a deal with QUALCOMM that requires their machines to also be able to run windows. Either that, or they think chrome is a dud, and are going to develop a full app platform for windows. Pretty curious either way - not a typically commercial choice. Must have some hidden motivation.
  • Drael, ever hear of Windows 10 S? it's basically Microsoft's version of Chrome. Same **** different pile.
  • Hope this means we get a native ARM version of chrome that runs on win10. Maybe google is trying to do what Apple has been doing for years by supporting windows on Macbooks. Now they can do this with ARM support.
  • It will only mean more money for Microsoft in the end.
  • Bingo Bandito. Listening to the fanbabies cry here you would think that it some how affects them directly. However, the truth is, it's more revenue for Microsoft and thats the BOTTOM LINE. I care less if the pixelbook runs windows. Actually, I do care....it's a sick device. Anyone who has used one knows. Even if the fanbabies here won't admit it, they do think it's a deadly peice of hardware. If I can run windows 10 on one, I will own one. SIMPLE.
  • It makes perfect sense for Google to do this. If Windows 10 for ARM can run on their hardware, then any corresponding modifications they make to ChromeOS will make it that much easier for OEMs to release ChromeOS versions of their W10A devices. ChromeOS on more devices means more users feeding into their revenue stream.
  • You do know the PixelBook is an I5, right. Same basic hardware as my Surface.
  • It makes sense. The number 1 reason most of these were returned is because people thought they were buying a Windows laptop. But this is pretty much the death of chromeOS. Why dualboot windows & chrome when opening the edge browser in windows is pretty much equilivant to chromeOS?
  • If that were true, MS wouldn't have any trouble getting people to use Edge. Had you said opening Chrome in Windows, you would be a little closer. ChromeOS has moved well beyond the 'everything done in a browser window' that people seem to think is still the case.
  • I was checking out a review of this product by a guy who reviews slot of Google products and he just kept saying how weird and kinds useless chromeos is. Anyways I think any device that needs to dualboot is pretty much a failed product.
  • It's a TRAP!
  • "Unlimited Poweeeeeeeer!" - Google
  • Jeeeeemwiiiiissssh trap
  • I do not think this is going to happen.
  • I stay as far away from google as possible! YouTube only. Lol, Ik, I'm in the minority but that's just me.