What To Expect In Google Chrome OS

Google demoed its upcoming Chrome OS this morning, giving us a closer look into how it's actually going to work on real-world devices — including their pilot program hardware. Here's what to expect.

Ultra-Fast Setup

Chrome OS has always planned to offer "an experience that is nothing but the web," and that makes for some easy setup. In today's demo, Google showed how you can set up a Chrome OS notebook in just four steps. You log in to Google, set up your web connection, take a picture of yourself (or not), and get started.

Multiple Users

Chrome OS easily supports multiple users so you can let your friends use your machine without any issues. You can easily add guest users, which will open an "incognito" private browsing session so none of their user data will be saved on the machine or mix in with your own.

Easy Security and App Updates

Like Google expressed in their Chrome browser presentation, Chrome OS comes with many of the touted security features like sandboxed plug-ins and automatically-encrypted user data. Additionally, Chrome OS is designed to keep an eye on changes in your device on the hardware level, saving a backup copy of any settings and warning the user when it detects a change. Because Chrome OS is web-based, webapp updates will happen automatically and you don't have to worry about trusting the security of any particular app. Google's Chrome Web Store will help to provide a secure experience when buying and downloading web apps.

Citrix Receiver

Google's partnered with Citrix to make it easy to deploy desktop applications as a service to Chrome OS. Citrix Receiver is a well-established application that allows businesses to deploy desktop applications, such as Microsoft Excel. Citrix and Google have been working together to make Receiver work seamlessly, making Chrome OS a viable platform for businesses.


Speed was certainly the theme of today's event and Google wanted to highlight how fast Chrome OS notebooks will be. We've all owned computers and known them to grow slower over time. Google claims that Chrome OS devices will actually increase in speed for two reasons. First, the experienced is based on the web so the machine won't get bogged down with tons of files. Second, Google will release updates to the Chrome OS very frequently (every few weeks) to increase the speed of the operating system.

The Chrome OS Pilot Program

Acer and Samsung will launch Chrome OS notebooks in mid-2011. Other manufacturers will follow with additional devices in additional form-factors. Google has, however, launched the Chrome OS Pilot Program. In this program they've announced a Chrome OS notebook called CR-48 to be used for testing right now. It'll feature a 12.1-inch screen, a huge touchpad, a full-sized keyboard with no function or caps lock keys, and an eight hour battery life. A jailbreaking mode is a built-in feature of the product. You take out the battery, flip a jailbreak switch, and you're "jailbroken".

Google's making these CR-48 notebooks available to businesses and individual users right away, but there are a limited number. If you want to apply for the Google Chrome OS Pilot Program you can do so in a few ways. One way is to submit a video to YouTube explaining why you want to be a part of the program. Another is to just fill out a form.


    I just opened a new tab in Chrome and found a link at the top asking if I'd like to test-drive their new laptop. Seems to be going really slow, so I'm guessing half of the Chrome world has received this link.

    I don't think it's right that everyone calls this an OS when it's really just an application manager for web apps and that it only runs in a web browser.

    I guess the Cr-48 notebook will run some stripped down form of Linux which will only present the web browser as the UI.

    Google docs had to be specially written to allow offline processing, what about all the other apps? This doesn't bear well for those who have limited web access and quotas. Maybe Google thinks the rest of the world is the same as the US with cheap plentiful broadband. Hmm, maybe at home in a City, but not in the country and it's certainly not cheap over 3G.

    And what's so great about web apps? When Apple said that was the way to go with the original iPhone, everyone knocked them, so Apple changed it to be real apps with iPhone 2.0. Yet here we are with Google OS and Lifehacker has a few articles stating how great web apps are.

      Mate it's simply a new option.

      Don't boil your kettle at lifehacker, it's not like chrome will wipe everything else of the face of the earth.

      Those that don't like it can just stick to normal netbooks/pcs.

      If it's the primary means of communication between the laptop's hardware and the applications being run, it's an OS. In this case, I suppose you could consider the browser as an extension of the OS, and the internet-reliant connection is no different to a semiconductor-reliant connection.

      It's certainly a fairly major overhaul of the concept, but as far as I can see, Chrome OS is definitely worthy of its name.
      (except that it's not chrome)

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