Chrome OS is a sort of Web operating system that boots up a netbook in a fraction of the time it takes to start today's existing computers, with Web applications loading in just a few more seconds. Google is trying to make the Chrome OS load time closer to that of a television than a computer. To do that, Google cut out several computer booting processes, and Chrome OS is geared for Flash-based storage. Security is also unique. The Web apps will run on application tabs within Chrome OS, which users will access with one click and manage in persistent windows if they so desire. The first Chrome OS netbooks won't appear until 2010, going head to head with Microsoft Windows Azure devices.
released its formerly mysterious Chrome Operating System to open source Nov. 19.
While geeks the world over may be playing with the code, helping
to mold the finished product, those who attended or watched the launch event
remotely learned more about Google's vision for the future of computing.
who missed it can watch the one hour, 20 minute event in total on YouTube here, and see these associated Chrome OS how-to videos on Google Watch here.
Chrome OS is a sort of Web operating system that boots up
a netbook in a fraction of the time it takes to start today's existing
computers, with Web applications loading in just a few more seconds. Sundar
Pichai, vice president of product management for Google, noted that he and his
team are trying to make the Chrome OS load time closer to that of a television
than a computer.
To do this, the Chrome OS team has bypassed many of the
computing processes associated with traditional operating systems, such as
Microsoft Windows, Apple's Mac OS X and other today's current Linux
distributions, such as Red Hat or SuSe.
Those OS' jump through several hoops
before users can access their data, explained Matt Papakipos, engineering
director for Chrome OS, who went through a technical preview of Chrome OS
For example, there's a firmware process, a boot loader,
the OS' kernel loads, system services start, then start-up apps, and then a
user has to click to start the Web browser. Then the computer begins to look
for a floppy drive that no longer exists, bogging down the OS.
With Chrome OS, the boot loader is merged into a custom
firmware startup. Then there is an optimized kernel to eliminate startup
services. Because Chrome OS won't run local applications, it doesn't have to
start up background services to prep apps to load. Finally, the Chrome browser
On the security side, Papakipos also said Chrome OS executes a verified boot, checking to make sure a Chrome OS
user's specific OS instantiation is running what it should be running. Chrome
OS auto-updates itself, providing patches where necessary.
Every component of Chrome OS, from firmware, to the kernel,
to the file, has a cryptographic signature attached to them. "It's as if each
one were a document that's signed at the bottom with a John Hancock saying
'Yes, this is the right set of bits," Papakipos said.
If a potentially crushing malware instance is detected,
the computer will then re-image itself if necessary, another departure from the
desktop operating system model.