Google Finally Shows Off Chrome OS

    November 19, 2009
    Chris Crum

Everybody has been waiting to see a glimpse of Google’s upcoming Chrome OS – that is Google’s new operating system. Those who attended an event at the company’s headquarters today had a chance to view a demo in person, and many more details than previously available are now out on the OS.

Google has now opened up the code for Chrome OS, so developers can get in there and see what it’s really all about. For all of the non-developer types, Google has provided the following short video, which sums up what Chrome OS is as a concept.

Google says Chrome OS is focused on three main things: speed, simplicity, and security. The main philosophy behind Chrome OS is that most people use their computers mostly to access the web, so Chrome OS cuts out the middle man, which is your operating system. With Chrome OS, your browser is the operating system. The programs you would use on Chrome OS are all web apps. They’re all in the cloud. Nothing is saved on your computer. This mean that if your machine dies on you, or you lose it, or if it gets broken, you can just get another one and all of your data will be readily available, because it’s all in the cloud.

Google says that it takes about seven seconds to go to the log-in screen, and three more to log on to an application. That’s much less time that it probably takes you to boot up and get onto Facebook on your current machine.

The look of Chrome OS is very similar to the Chrome browser, but it has application tabs and an app menu. You may have seen the screenshots at TechCrunch recently. Google did note, however, that the user interface could change to some extent by the time it actually launches.

When you use apps in Chrome OS, they can take up the entire screen, so that it doesn’t even look like you’re using a browser or an OS. You can also drag and drop tabs. If you hook up additional hardware to the machine, it will bring up windows for that. For example, at the demo, they pointed out that if you hook a camera up, it will bring up a window with the picture files, and you can pull a picture up and open it in a new browser Window.

Fore more technical details about Chrome OS, and how it handles security issues, read this live blog. Here is another account from Danny Sullivan.

From the sounds of it, Google Chrome OS will not be replacing established operating systems for users who use a lot of programs that aren’t web-based. However, it has the potential to cut significantly into the market share of Windows, Mac, etc. among users who do mainly use their machines to connect to the web. I can see this catching on in a big way, particularly with the Netbook crowd, which Chrome OS is essentially aimed at.

Google Chrome OS is currently scheduled to launch sometime before the holiday season next year. Do you think Chrome OS will be a hit? Tell us what you think.

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