Google released the Chrome Operating System, an alternative to Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS X, to open source for developers, but said end users will not be able to use the Web operating system until late 2010. During a demo, Google's Sundar Pichai showed how Chrome OS booted up on an Asus Eee PC netbook in 7 seconds, with 3 more seconds to log onto an application. Chrome OS had the look and feel of the Chrome Web browser, which has 40 million regular users. Chrome OS was designed with speed, simplicity and security in mind.
Google officials released the company's Chrome Operating System to open
source for developers to begin testing, but said end users will not be able to
use the Web operating system until late 2010.
Chrome OS is a Web operating system Google is building to
run on netbooks as an alternative to computers running traditional operating
systems such as Microsoft's Windows and Apple's Mac. Those machines take
several seconds to boot up, or even minutes if they are older models, because
they go through a number of data-checking procedures.
Similar to Windows and Mac, Chrome OS will let users run and manage
applications. But unlike Windows and Mac, which invite users to download apps
to their desktop, Chrome OS leverages the Internet as the platform in a model called
cloud computing. Microsoft earlier this week said its own Windows Azure cloud platform will reach users Jan.
Google's Chrome Web browser runs atop Chrome OS, providing the gateway
through which users will access Web applications. Every application running on
Chrome OS will run in the cloud, supported by Google's servers.
Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, said during
an event at the company's Mountain View, Calif.,
headquarters that while Google is at least a year away from making Chrome OS
available to users on netbooks, developers can download the code and begin
working with Chrome OS free under the open-source license.
"As of today, the code will be fully open, which means Google
developers will be working on the same tree as external developers,"
Pichai said. The idea is to get third-party developers designing applications
to run on Chrome OS.
He also said Google's goals with Chrome OS are speed, simplicity and
security. Noting that Google wants Chrome OS to be "blazingly fast,"
Pichai said, "From the time you press boot, you want it to be like a TV: You
turn it on, you should be on the Web using your application."
During a demo, Pichai showed how Chrome booted up on an Asus Eee PC netbook
in 7 seconds, with 3 more seconds to log onto an application. Chrome OS had the
look and feel of the Chrome Web browser, which has 40 million regular users.
However, Pichai said the user interface will be different when it finally
Pichai demonstrated Chrome OS' application tabs for Google Gmail, Calendar
and other apps, showing how users can "favorite" an application by
pinning it to the browser screen. The Chrome browser already enables this for
Web pages; the idea is to help users get to their favorite apps quickly.
There is also an app menu similar to what users see on Apple iPhone or
Android-based smartphones, allowing users to click into apps. When Pichai
clicked the app tab for Google Talk, a pop-up window appeared on the screen,
similar to the way the chat window does within Gmail. Google calls these
Pichai also showed a YouTube video from the band U2 running in a separate
application tab, as well as how users can read books from the Google Books
service on Chrome OS. See screenshots, videos and Chrome OS documentation on Google Watch here.
Pichai said Chrome OS will not support traditional desktop applications,
with every app being a Web application. Users won't have to install programs or
manage updates because the platform depends on the cloud. "The computer
should just work."
Users who lose their Chrome OS-based netbook will be able to buy a new
machine, log in to their Google Account, and have their data, including Web
apps, cached data and personalization data such as backgrounds, in seconds.
Chrome OS' security was the big question on many peoples' minds because of
the threats to security to the Web.
Pichai said that because Google understands all of the code on Chrome OS, it
has a better chance of detecting malicious processes and manage the systems
with a reboot. eWEEK has more on Chrome OS security here.