Google buys Cameyo to deliver Windows applications on Chromebooks

Google has acquired Cameyo, the maker of an alternative to Citrix for virtual application delivery, to make legacy applications easier to access and manage on ChromeOS based devices like Chromebook.

The two companies have worked together before, but ownership  will enhance Google’s ability to offer a better experience for virtual applications and positions Chromebooks as a more attractive option for businesses that still rely on legacy applications.

“By bringing the Cameyo team’s expertise in-house, we are doubling down on our commitment to delivering a streamlined experience for virtualized applications,” Google’s head of product management for ChromeOS, Naveen Viswanatha, wrote in a  blog post announcing the acquisition.

Running legacy applications in new environments

For businesses that have specific apps that run only on Windows moving to a new platform or a device such as a Chromebook that does not support Windows can be a challenge, despite Chromebooks offering significant advantages including cost for some.

Traditionally, businesses have used virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to operate legacy applications without having to install them on the new device. However, this approach has its challenges, including the need for specialized skill sets to manage and secure it and, from the end users’ point of view, latency in application response.

Another approach, the one taken by Cameyo, is virtual application delivery (VAD), which also runs the application on a remote server, but in a self-contained environment, isolated from the underlying operating system.

“This innovative approach to virtualization streamlines the delivery of legacy applications to any device, eliminating the need for a full desktop environment. VAD significantly simplifies application management, making it easier for IT teams to keep software up-to-date and secure, all while improving the end-user experience by making all apps accessible without needing to sign in to a separate virtual desktop environment first. With VAD, users have seamless access to both web-based and legacy apps side-by-side without having to change their behavior,” the blog post said.

Cameyo offers this solution and is a pioneer in the VAD technology, the blog stated. With Cameyo, ChromeOS can run those Windows applications as if they are residing on the device itself.

Deeper relationship

Google first incorporated Cameyo’s software into ChromeOS in 2023, offering a way for enterprises to package needed legacy Windows applications as if they were installed locally on Chromebooks.

“Recognizing the potential of VAD, we partnered with Cameyo last year to launch a seamless virtual application delivery experience fully integrated with ChromeOS — with local file system integration, ability to deliver virtual apps as progressive web apps (PWAs) and enhanced clipboard support,” the blog added. “These features ensure users can seamlessly access data and files in a secure, easy, and familiar way within virtual apps.”

The acquisition of Cameyo promises easier access to Windows apps on Chromebooks, eliminating the hassles of “complex installations and updates,” the blog post said.

PCWorld tested an early version of Cameyo’s technology back in 2015, and Computerworld looked at its usefulness in the enterprise in 2019.